Overview

Introduction

Over two-thirds of Costa Rica’s population live in the Central Valley area, a high plateau surrounded by mountains and volcanic peaks. The main cities of this area are San Jose, (the capital), and the three surrounding cities of Alajuela, Heredia & Cartago.

Founded in 1738, San Jose found wealth through tobacco, and later coffee trading, giving it the edge over Cartago the former capital, and the other two cities. After a period of conflict San Jose tentatively became the capital in 1823, and remains so today.

Twenty minutes from San Jose International airport (actually near Alajuela), at an altitude of 1,1161m, modern San Jose is a bustling city with little classic architecture apart from the spectacular colonial National Theatre building and some colonial houses and villas. The Gold Museum with its pre-Columbian collection and The Jade Museum are also worth a visit if you are passing through. Far more enticing however, are the natural attractions of the Central Valley.

Three of Costa Rica’s most famous volcanoes: Irazu; Turrialba; and Poas; lie in the Central Valley within 2 hours of San Jose. At 3,432m, 3,339m and 2,704m respectively, they nestle amongst farm lands and dense vegetation, ideal for walking and horse riding.

Two of the most spectacular white water rafting rivers, the Pacuare and Sarapiqui are also to be found in this area, winding down to the Caribbean sea through miles and miles of virgin, tropical rainforest. 

Near to Poas volcano are the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, a wonderful introduction to Costa Rica’s flora and fauna with a butterfly house, an orchid garden, a frog house, a humming bird garden, and a trail to the waterfalls. It is also possible to visit a coffee plantation in this area for those wanting to learn more about where their morning coffee comes from.

Near to Cartago are the Lankester Botanical Gardens founded in 1917 by an Englishman, Charles Lankester Wells, whose flora includes over 700 species of orchid. Also in this valley is the Inbio Institute, which celebrates Costa Rica’s bio-diversity.

Read more

White water rafting

Costa Rica is a white-water rafting paradise. Running a river is an enjoyable adventure and a memorable part of your holiday. Our local agent in Costa Rica has selected reputable rafting companies to ensure the necessary safety precautions and procedures are in place.

However, be prepared to get wet and thrown about the raft. You may even be tipped out of the boat during the trip (guide and raft-mates will help you back onto the raft!) and some light bruising is all part of the fun and to be expected!

Rivers are rated from Class 1 (flat water, considered a floating trip) to Class 5 (high waves, deemed suitable for experts only). No prior experience is necessary for Class 1 to 4 runs.

We normally book clients onto class 2 / 3 on the Sarapiqui or class  3 / 4 on the Pacuaré unless otherwise instructed. Please ensure you have adequate insurance to cover you for this activity if you wish to include it in your holiday. Please call us on 020 8758 4774 for more details.

Traveller Tips

-Visit the volcanic peaks of Irazu, Turrialba and Poas 
-Raft down the mighty Pacuare River 
-Explore La Paz Waterfall Gardens, which include the world’s most spectacular butterfly display and a serpentarium with 30 different species of snake
-Horse-ride along tropical trails 
-Roam through Lankester Botanical Gardens with over 3,000 varieties of plants – including a spectacular range of orchids

Useful information

Talk to one of our experts

020 8758 4774

We're open tomorrow at 9:00 AM

Get in touch

It is a nature-lover’s paradise. I love the fact that 25% of its land is protected by national parks and reserves. Seeing a puma or a vivid flash of morpho butterflies in Corcovado is a real thrill! Rafting a river is a must!

Lloyd Boutcher
Lloyd Boutcher
Best time to go
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC
Time Difference

GMT - 6hrs

Currency

Costa Rican Colon or US dollar

Language

Spanish

Average flight times

11 hours. BA direct flight from London Gatwick.

  • Average temperature

    Average rainfall

Note: Map is for guidance purposes only.

Talk to our Costa Rica expert

Lloyd Boutcher
Lloyd Boutcher

It is a nature-lover’s paradise. I love the fact that 25% of its land is protected by national parks and reserves. Seeing a puma or a vivid flash of morpho butterflies in Corcovado is a real thrill! Rafting a river is a must!

Call one of our experts to discuss your next holiday with Sunvil on

020 8758 4774

We're open tomorrow at 9:00 AM

Make an Enquiry

Please use this form to request further information about a Sunvil holiday or destination.

We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

Required Information

* Mandatory Information
Title *
First name *
Surname *
Telephone number *
Alternative telephone number
Email address *
Confirm email address
Preferred method of communication *
If you would like to be called during a specific period, please specify

Destination Details

San Jose and Central Valley, Costa Rica

San Jose and Central Valley

Preferred departure date *
Duration *
Party size *

Back

  • Adults(12+ yrs)
  • Children(2 to 11 yrs)
  • Infants(Under 2 yrs)
Budget range
Other comments:

Email newsletters

We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

Required Information

* Mandatory Information
Title *
First name *
Surname *
Telephone number *
Alternative telephone number
Email address *
Confirm email address
Preferred method of communication *
If you would like to be called during a specific period, please specify
Booking reference number *
Alternatively, please enter your query in the box below:

Email newsletters

Thank you for your enquiry

Thank you for your enquiry. A member of our specialist reservation teams will be in touch shortly.

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

Your details have been saved

Feel free to continue to browse the site and add to your enquiry. Don't forget to send the enquiry before you leave!

My Suitcase

We understand that so much choice can be overwhelming which is why we have developed 'My Suitcase'. This facility allows you to save and compare your favourite holidays, and even allows you to return to your selection at a later stage.

Why not use 'My Suitcase' to compile a wish list of your future Sunvil holidays?

 

Sign in


New to Sunvil?

Create Account


Already have an account?

Password reset

Back

Close

Close