Choose from 31 Fun Things to Do in Central Valley
The Costa Rica Children’s Museum is an interactive fun experience for all the family.
Housed in a gaily painted toytown castle, that’s actually a historic old military prison, the museum’s hands-on exhibits range across all manner of topics.
Kids will love the 40 exhibits exploring outer space, old-fashioned fun on the farm, history, music, science and ecology and everyday life in Cost Rica.
The Costa Rica Children’s Museum is housed in a striking red and yellow fort on Calle 4, above Avenida 9, a little north of downtown San Jose.
- Closed-toe shoes are required in Mistico Park; wearing sandals is not permitted and you will be refused entry.
- The Sal & Pimienta Restaurant, on the park grounds, is open daily from 7:30am to 4pm.
- The rain forest is home to a hearty bug population; insect repellent is a good idea.
- Children under 10 years old receive free admission.
- Dress in layers and for rain, as it can be cold and wet near the crater.
- Visiting time is limited to 10 minutes at the crater.
- The visitors' center is wheelchair accessible.
- On-site facilities include parking, picnic tables, restrooms, and a cafe with some food options.
Travelers can spend the morning wandering through Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi Church, where Spanish Colonial artifacts and religious paintings line the interior of Costa Rica’s oldest church still in use. Adventurers will enjoy an afternoon at the Irazu Volcano. Crater lakes and lush farmland make for scenic hikes and picturesque views.
The Ruins of Ujarras, with peaceful gardens and even a nearby public swimming pool, prove another popular destination for both travelers and residents. Buy lunch from one of the local women selling fragrant arepas before exploring the historic ruins and cooling off with a refreshing dip.
- Arenal Volcano tours from San Jose can last upward of 12 hours.
- Many tours include hotel pickup and dropoff from the La Fortuna area.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes suitable for uneven ground.
- Although the volcano’s summit is closed for safety reasons, there are plenty of hiking trails closer to the base.
For less-fit travelers and those in search of more leisurely strolls, the forests of Chirripo National Park offer plenty of opportunity to explore the unique flora and fauna indigenous to Costa Rica. Its scenic passes, lush pastures and minimal elevation gains are accessible for the entire family.
- Bring a bathing suit, sun protection, bug spray, and comfortable shoes.
- Swimming is allowed, but only in pools well away from the potentially dangerous currents produced by the falls, especially during the rainy season.
- Keep in mind that the staircase down to the falls is steep and sometimes slippery.
- Remember to bring comfortable shoes, sun protection, and plenty of water.
- An on-site restaurant offers traditional Costa Rican dishes.
- The road to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is half paved and half unpaved; a vehicle equipped with 4-wheel drive is recommended.
- There is an admission fee to enter the Tenorio Volcano National Park and visitor numbers are limited, so it’s best to arrive early.
- The trail to the waterfall is 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) round-trip, and hiking to the waterfall takes about an hour.
- A raincoat and sturdy shoes with a good grip are essential, as rain is common even in the dry season. The trails are unpaved and can get extremely muddy.
- Restrooms, a restaurant, and a car park are located at the entrance to the national park.