San Jose and Central Valley
Founded in 1738, San Jose was built on the profits of the coffee export business, and is home to over two-thirds of the Costa Rican population! Known as the cultural capital and located in the heart of Costa Rica, it makes for a great place to begin or end your Costa Rican adventure.
Enclosed by the Central Valley, San Jose is surrounded by jagged mountains, fertile valleys and active volcanoes. With picturesque highland villages and rolling coffee plantations, this agricultural hub offers spectacular views and ample activities to be enjoyed.
In the city itself, there is not masses architecturally of note (frequent earth tremors over the years have taken their toll), other than the National Theatre: it’s Costa Rica’s most revered building and beautifully decorated with fantastic works of art. There are countless world-class museums such as the gold, jade and natural history museum, as well as gastronomic delights, contemporary art galleries and boutiques to be explored.
The surrounding Central Valley offers access to national parks, powerful river rapids and wildlife-rich rainforest. Poas Volcano National Park is the most visited in the country and a wonderful way to glimpse inside an active volcano without having to make the climb to the top. Deep inside one can see bubbling turquoise waters and surrounding the crater are a number of trails that lead through the cloud forest home to many birds including hummingbirds, tanagers and toucans. The Braulio Carrillo National Park is made up of dense rainforest, cascading waterfalls and the Barva Volcano. Less visited than Poas, Braulio Carrillo is home to an abundance of animals including the quetzal, tapirs and monkeys. The area is excellent for bird and wildlife watching as well as hiking and even climbing to the summit of Barva Volcano.
From the freshest coffee to spectacular green views and adventure activities for all, paired with a fantastic range of luxury boutiques and fine dining, San Jose and the surrounding area is an excellent introduction to Costa Rica.