The seduction of Costa Rica is now understood, it took me in and transformed my thinking of how one should enjoy their life, and the concept of Pura Vida is now part of my thinking.
Our trip to Costa Rica happened by chance, we initially planned and booked our trip to Mexico, but at the last minute, we decided to change everything and go to Costa Rica. It was one of the best travel decisions we made. I had always heard about Costa Rica and its lure to outsiders and the promise of “Pura Vida” or “Pure Life”, but never realized how much this really means to the Costarricense and how their lives are guided by the community, culture, and tranquil life. No matter where we went we were in awe of the beauty around us and enjoyed ourselves through every adventure we decided to go on.
This trip was two-part, we spent a couple of days in the capital, San Jose, where we landed, and then ventured out to Jaco Beach which was southwest of San Jose. To say we were completely taken aback in only 48 hours within landing is putting it mildly. From waterfall chasing to a private dining experience to understand Costa Rican cuisine, we did so much in 48 hours so keep reading to get your step-by-step guide on what to do!
Here are my top 6 things to do in San Jose Costa Rica along with tips.
- Book a Private Dining Experience at El Taller de Billy Sazon
I found this experience when looking for dining options in San Jose, we wanted a fancy dining experience and this looked like the one. I will be writing a whole post dedicated to our dining here, it was that incredible and immersive! Chef Billy was great from start until finish and got us involved in the food, the history, and the different regions in Costa Rica where he was basing his dishes from. This is a must in every way!
- Visit Parque de Cafe (in the Sabana Park Neighborhood)
Our Airbnb was in the Sabana Park neighborhood and there was this beautifuol park across from us that was beautiful. We enjoyed the view for our balcony and also walked along the paths at the park. I remember feeling the sun and breeze and feeling every bit like I had truly been transported to relaxation. Stop by for a walk or read a book on one of the park benches.
View from our Airbnb
- Book a 4-part day drip via Airbnb Experiences to:
- Volcan Poas
- Doña Mayela ( Local lunch spot)
- La Paz Waterfall Gardens
- Hacienda Alsacia (Starbucks Coffee Farm)
This Airbnb experience was one of the most beautiful things we ever ventured out on. Not only was it easy to book via Airbnb, but from the time they picked us up at our accommodation to the end of the day where we saw the sunset at Hacienda Alsacia, it was perfect. Our guides made sure we had the best experience and shared so much about where we were, what we visited, and the local food. I had the best strawberries of my life at Doña Mayela, which had been freshly picked. La Paz Waterfalls had us see some of the largest most beautiful falls and it was so cool to go to Volcan Poas. Being surrounded by coffee farms at Hacienda Alsacia was incredible as we drank our delicious coffee and noshed on some delicious sweet treats.
Coffee at the Hacienda Alsacia
View from the Coffee Farm
Hard hat when visiting Volcan Poas
La Paz Waterfall Gardens - male attaches itself to female and then dies.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Casado - typical Costarricense meal
Prepping fresh strawberries for a shake
Fresh Strawberries and other fruit
- Eat at Nuestra Tierra Restaurant
On our last day in San Jose, we decided to explore on our own and we found some gems! This restaurant was incredible, the vibe was fun and vibrant plus the food was perfect. The fresh Costa Rican coffee was potent and delicious and the overall experience was great. Plus it was almost directly across from the Museum we ended up visiting so it was super convenient.
This was a great museum visit. In every place we travel we like to learn about the history and Museo Nacional de Costa Rica did that and more. Not only did we learn of Indigenous history but we also learned about different customs, independence, and more. It was interesting to see how colonialism has affected every part of the world in some way and how Costa Rica went through that as well.
- Try Sugar Charm Donuts the only artisanal donut shop!
Before driving to our next Costa Rican destination we stopped at Sugar Charm Donuts and I am so happy we did. There are lots of bakeries in Costa Rica, but from what I could find and read online this is the only artisanal donut shop! The donuts were top notch and my favorite was the passion fruit.
Now here are some hot tips on getting around in Costa Rica and other things we learned:
- We rented a car (from Adobe) to get around after reading My Tan Feet’s blog as they are avid Costa Rica travelers. We saved money by using their discount code. I have linked it here
- Bring some local currency to pay where they don’t take credit cards or USD. We took $500 worth of Colones and that was enough to tip the guides and pay at some local spots who didn’t take cards. (We were there from Sunday-Saturday)
- Bring different types of clothes – rain jackets, sweatshirts, short sleeves, etc. When we were in San Jose, the air was breezier and altitude high, very different than Jaco Beach where we ended up. At the volcano we had sweatshirts and raincoats, it was chilly and rainy!
- Experience what’s around you, there is so much to see and do. Appreciate the beauty and the people. We loved everyone we came into contact with.
I hope you enjoyed my Ultimate 2 day Guide to San Jose Costa Rica and come back soon for my guide on Jaco Beach, Costa Rica!!
Life as a Maven