The Orosi River Valley is an easy day-trip from San José. Most half-day tours include a stop at Lankester Botanical Gardens, which has over 800 species of orchids, bromeliads, and other tropical plants, and the 17th-century Virgin of the Angels Basilica. Following the gardens, head to the quaint village of Orosi along the Reventazón river, to admire the colonial artifacts and religious paintings inside the 18th-century Iglesia de San José de Orosi.
If you have more time, full-day trips tack on a tour of Irazú Volcano National Park to see Costa Rica’s highest active volcano and its enormous Diego de la Haya crater, which changes color from green to red depending on the minerals present. Or, experience this beautiful countryside on a guided bicycle tour, which is available no matter your skill level.