Things to do in San Jose, Costa Rica
Whether you’re interested in Costa Rica’s famous volcanoes, cultural treasures or national parks, Wyndham San Jose Herradura’s central location near downtown San José is perfect for discovering the top attractions in the area.
Situated three miles from Juan Santamaría International Airport, our contemporary property is a short walk to dozens of shops and restaurants at Real Cariari Mall and a five-minute drive from Cariari Country Club – home to one of the top-rated golf courses in the country.
Guests who want to explore more of the city will find museums, cathedrals and theaters just 15 minutes away in downtown San José. There are also plentiful opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, zip-lining and beach-going within a 90-minute drive of Wyndham San Jose Herradura. Visit our Tours desk to arrange an excursion or guided city tour during your visit.
City Mall the largest shopping mall in Costa Rica, 170000 m2 , and more than 2400 business establishments: banks, shops, Class A restaurants and office center. Inteligent parking lots.
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum
Located next to the celebrated National Theatre, the Gold Museum features a collection of 1,600 intricately worked gold pieces that reflect the worldview, social structure and gold-working techniques of the Pre-Columbian peoples of Costa Rica. Included in the admission is entrance to Costa Rica's Numismatic Museum – a walk through Costa Rica's history in currency.
Costa Rica’s jade is famous worldwide. Said to be the largest collection of jade in the world, the pieces held by the National Insurance Agency (or the INS) date back to 300 B.C. While large deposits of jade were never found in Costa Rica, the stone was one of the most valuable commodities in pre-Columbian Mexico and Central America.
After Costa Rica disbanded its army in 1948, the old army barracks were converted into a museum and a symbol of national pride among Costa Ricans. Sitting on the eastern edge of the Plaza de la Democracia, this museum houses some of the most important historical artifacts of the country.
Costa Rican Art Museum
Housed in the old airport terminal, this museum has more than 6,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures and photographs. The museum is known as a leader in plastic art and displays the work of both national and international artists. The building, which was designed by architect José Maria Barrantes Monge in 1937, still has a historic room where government officials would welcome foreign diplomats (the Salon Dorado).
Juan Santamaria Museum
Named for the young boy who gave his life to stop the attempted takeover of Costa Rica in 1856, the Juan Santamaria Museum was established to preserve the collective memory of the Costa Rican people. It's housed in an old prison in Alajuela, the former capital city of the country.
Melico Salazar Theatre
Located in San José, this theatre maintains a full schedule of concerts, recitals and plays. The building was designed by José Fabio Garnier Ugalde, a dramatist and architect. Construction was completed in October 1928. Originally named the Raventós Theater, it was renamed in 1986 to honor famous Costa Rican tenor Manuel "Melico" Salazar.
Museo de los Niños
This children's museum is located at the Centro Costarricense de la Ciencia y la Cultura complex in San José. Spread across some 39 rooms, Museo de los Niños has interactive educational displays about everything from astronomy to ecology to science.
La Sabana Metropolitan Park
Located in downtown San José, La Sabana Metropolitan Park is the country's biggest and most important urban park. Covering an area of 178 acres, several important institutions and organizations are located inside the park, including the country's national stadium and art museum. An artificial lake, several sports fields and tracks for running and skating are also inside its boundaries.
The National Theater of Costa Rica
Located in the central section of San José, the National Theater hosts high-quality performances, with artistic criteria being very high. The building is considered the finest historic building in the capital and is known for its exquisite interior and lavish furnishings.
The Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels
This Catholic church in the city of Cartago is the center of a religious pilgrimage in Costa Rica, especially on the occasion of the feast of Our Lady of the Angels, celebrated on August 2. It is estimated that each year between one and two million people walk from their homes to the church.
Ruinas de Ujarrás
Ujarrás is a village and historical site in the Orosí Valley of Cartago Province in central Costa Rica. It lies near the northeastern bank of the manmade Lake Cachí, created by the damming of the Reventazon River. The valley of Orosi, which is crisscrossed by many rivers and streams, is known for its coffee and flower plantations. Other landmarks near the town include one of the oldest churches in Costa Rica, Tapantí National Park (part of La Amistad WHS) and Lankester Botanical Gardens.
Arenal Volcano is an active volcano in northwestern Costa Rica, around 90 km northwest of San José. Geologically, Arenal is considered a young volcano and is estimated to be less than 7,500 years old. In 1968 it erupted unexpectedly, destroying the small town of Tabacón. Since October 2010, Arenal's volcanic activity appears to be decreasing and explosions have become rare. Visitors to this site can enjoy hiking, fishing and taking spectacular photos of the landscape.
This laidback, bustling town is one of the most popular Costa Rican beaches. Located on the Pacific Coast, this resort city is approximately two hours by car from San José. Jacó Beach is 2.5 miles (4 km) long and offers some of the best surfing in Costa Rica. About 15 miles north of Jacó is the Carara National Park, recognized for its exuberant wildlife and dense rainforest.
Manuel Antonio National Park
This small National Park is located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, just south of the city of Quepos and 132 km (82 mi) from San José. The park is well known for its beautiful beaches and hiking trails and receives about 150,000 visitors annually. In 2011, Manuel Antonio was listed by Forbes as one of the world's 12 most beautiful national parks.
Braulio Carrillo National Park
This national park is located in the Volcanic Cordillera Conservation Area between San José and Puerto Limón. The park contains many notable geological features, such as the Barva Volcano, Hondura River, Patria River and the mineral-discolored Sucio River. The park contains several dormant volcanoes including Cerro Chompipe, Cerro Cacho Negro and Cerroslas Tres Marias. Barva itself has three crater lakes – Barva, Danta and Copey.
Poas Volcano National Park
This famous National Park covers an area of approximately 16,000 acres and is notable for allowing visitors to travel to the edge of the Poas Volcano crater. The main crater is 950 feet (290 m) deep and is quite active, with frequent small geyser and lava eruptions. The park maintains a variety of wild plant and animal species, including the Clay-colored Robin, black guan, Resplendent Quetzal, hummingbirds, tanagers, flycatchers, toucans, coyotes, rabbits and marmots.
The Irazu Volcano is still active, although its last major eruptions were between 1963 and 1965. The park is the site of a reforestation project to restore the area, which was destroyed by the eruptions. The Crater Principal Lake has an unusual greenish-yellow color caused by rainfall dissolving the minerals along the crater’s walls.
Puntarenas is a Pacific Coast beach town that attracts many tourists, especially surfers and families. The main drag, a wide walkway facing the beach, is jam-packed with places to shop and eat. The area is commonly referred to as the Paseo de los Turistas, or "stroll of the tourists."
Lankester Botanical Gardens
Located outside of Cartago, the Lankester Botanical Gardens are open to the public but operated by the University of Costa Rica as a research center. British orchid enthusiast Charles H. Lankester originally built this landmark as a private garden in the 1940s. After his death, the American Orchid Society and the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust worked to have the gardens preserved. In 1973 the garden was donated to the University of Costa Rica.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
La Paz Waterfall Gardens features the best hiking near San José and the most famous waterfalls in Costa Rica. It’s also home to a rescued wildlife preserve with over 100 species of animals. At La Paz Waterfall Gardens you’re guaranteed to see lush tropical rain forest, flowing white rivers, spectacular waterfalls, birds, butterflies, monkeys, sloths, snakes, frogs, jaguars and more.
Located in La Garita, Alajuela, this animal park shelters more than 115 species of birds in a relaxing 14-hectare setting. The zoo also houses all four species of Costa Rican monkeys, wild cats, reptiles and other native critters. Though technically a zoo, it is also an important animal-breeding center that aims to reintroduce native species to the wild. Admission fees fund wildlife rescue, rehabilitation, release and conservation programs.
Plaza Real Cariari Shopping Mall
Plaza Real Cariari is located just across the highway from the hotel. This mall often hosts shows for children, fashion shows for all ages and a signature horse carousel. The shops, department stores, service stores and a large food court will give guests a complete day of shopping without having to leave the mall. It also features a supermarket, six-screen movie theater, a convention center, bars and a parking lot for over 700 vehicles.
Paseo de las Flores Shopping Mall
This shopping mall features 340 commercial establishments with local and international brands, a variety of restaurants and bars, a gym, cafes, banking branches, a business center, movie theaters and a parking lot for 1,600 vehicles.
The largest shopping mall in Costa Rica, Multiplaza Escazú features 365 shops with the best international and national brands. More than 15 franchises are represented, as well as upscale restaurants, a supermarket, five department stores, modern cinemas, a business center, banking branches and a food court. It is located in San Rafael de Escazú, the most exclusive area of San José.
Cariari Bowling Center (Bol Cariari)
This 20-lane, state-of-the-art bowling center in Heredia is one of the best in the country. The 32,290-square-foot facility features a restaurant, pro shop, Brunswick Anvilane Lanes, GS 98 Pinsetters, a Bowler Entertainment Automatic Scoring System and more.
Cariari Country Club and Golf Course
Designed by George Fazio, this championship course is one of the best in the country and features heavily wooded areas with narrow fairways and Bermuda grass greens. Built on a large coffee plantation, this beautiful and exciting golf course will challenge all golfing skills. With fewer than 200 golfing members, the exclusive Cariari Golf Course is one of the least crowded courses throughout the golfing industry. The club also features pools, a gym and restaurant.
The National Stadium of Costa Rica
This multi-purpose stadium in La Sabana, San José, is the first modern arena built in Central America. The stadium was completed in 2011 and officially opened its doors to the public on March 26 of that same year, with a capacity of 35,175 seats. The stadium replaces the original National Stadium and serves as the headquarters for the Costa Rica national football team.
National Amusement Park
Located in the district of La Uruca, west of San José, the National Amusement Park is open daily from 9:00 a.m. and admission is free. The Amusement Park is divided into several thematic areas and shows are performed that capture the cultural essence of Costa Rica.
Universidad de Costa Rica
This public university is located in San Pedro Montes de Oca, in the province of San José. It is the oldest, largest and most prestigious institution of higher learning in Costa Rica. It is also the most important research university in Central America. Approximately 39,000 students attend UCR throughout the year. The University maintains a prestigious position in Costa Rican society and is the most often cited governmental institution in Costa Rican media.
National University of Costa Rica
The National University of Costa Rica in Heredia is one of five public universities in the country. In Spanish, it is called Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica. Over 12,000 students study at its main campus. In addition to undergraduate programs, it offers 16 Masters of Art degrees and is strong in ecology, sociology and education-related coursework.
Costa Rica Institute of Technology
Located in Cartago, the Costa Rica Institute of Technology (also known as "ITCR" or "TEC") is a public university specializing in engineering and science. The university is one of the most prestigious higher education institutions in Costa Rica and also in Central America. The ITCR offers both undergraduate and graduate studies in a wide range of fields, including engineering, computer science and business management.
Latin University of Costa Rica
Latin University of Costa Rica, commonly called ULatina, is the largest private university in Costa Rica. More than 16,000 students are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs in Business, Education, Engineering, Health Sciences and Social Sciences. The university is accredited by the National Council of Higher Education and is recognized as one of the most prestigious universities in Costa Rica. The university has two main campuses: Campus San Pedro and Campus Heredia (former Universidad Interamericana de Costa Rica). The university also has 10 regional offices located throughout Costa Rica: San José, Grecia, Palmares, Puntarenas, Cañas, Santa Cruz, Guápiles, Limón, Pérez Zeledón and Paso Canoas.
Wyndham San Jose Herradura Hotel
General Cañas Highway,