Hola and welcome to Costa Rica! A welcome pack will be waiting at the hotel including all the information you need for your tour. With over half the country's population living within its parameters, San Jose is a bustling capital city with lively markets, intriguing museums and a dynamic atmosphere. A good place to start exploring is the main plaza, a fantastic place to get comfy and do some people watching. Artisanal booths are common here and you never know when there'll be a spontaneous art fair. If there's time, perhaps have a look at the Gold Museum and see its amazing collection of indigenous gold art, or head to the outdoor markets at Plaza de la Cultura and Central Market, where you can buy anything from handicrafts to seafood.
Rise early and meet your local leader at the Central Market for a food tour. There’s no better place to experience local cuisine than at San Jose’s bustling marketplace, housed in a 120-year old building that’s full to the brim with typical Costa Rican food and drink. Here you can sample local delicacies, learn about the herbs used in local medicines, and hear about the unique chorreado coffee brewing method while sipping on your second (or even third) coffee of the day. The Central Market is an experience that no visitor to San Jose should miss, and with a local guide by your side you’ll unearth all the secrets behind this local treasure.
Get ready for another early start, this time meeting your local leader in a café across the road from the northeast corner of Espana Park. There’s a lot of ground to cover today so the group will be meeting at 7am sharp. Grab a cup of coffee then take a short stroll to Yellow House nearby. The distinctive building has been used at varying points in time as a presidential residence, meeting place for the Legislative Assembly and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Culture. Continue on to the National Liquor Factory and learn how San Jose’s national drink, guaro, is made from sugar cane juice. Next up, enjoy a quick 10-minute hike into the hills of San Jose and arrive at the Atlantic Railroad, where you’ll hop on a train headed to Cartago. This scenic 45-minute journey travels past the San Jose University campus, through coffee plantations and deeper into the mountains. At the end of the journey lies Cartago, a beautiful historic town where many of the locals still get around by bike – which is what you’ll be doing too! Saddle up and then cruise the streets, stopping to visit the key sites with your leader. Pull up at the Cartago Central Market for another round of delicious local food before catching a local bus back to San Jose. The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore. Perhaps gather together your fellow travellers and celebrate the end of this San Jose stopover with dinner in trendy Barrio Amon.
This stopover comes to an end today and you are free to depart at any time after breakfast.