San José to Granada

San Jose to Granada

San José is the capital city of Costa Rica which is located in Central America.  San José offers the following points of interest for tourists and photographers;

  • Day trips to Arenal volcano
  • Day trips to the Tortuguero national park
  • Day trips to Poás Volcano or Irazu Volcano
  • Day trips to Cerro Chirripó
  • National theater of Costa Rica
  • La Fortuna waterfall
  • Winchester Mystery House
  • Downtown San José
  • Many museums and churches
Poás Volcano, Costa Rica

Poás Volcano, Costa Rica

San José makes a great base to take day tours to the various sites of Costa Rica.  The city itself is nice enough with lots of restaurants, bars, shopping malls and a few sites.  I actually didn’t take any photos of the city as I was distracted by all the great day tours I was taking where I got thousands of pictures (which I share on Instagram).  However, I do recommend staying in the city for the amenities, great value hotels and the fact that it’s very walkable.  The tour companies arranges to pick you up and drop you off from your hotel, your hotel will probably have a information about the tour companies and prices.  I went with Expediciones Tropicales, they are very professional.

Sloth, Costa Rica

A Sloth at the side of the road, Costa Rica

I love to visit volcanoes and there are plenty to visit in Costa Rica.  On the Poás Volcano tour, the driver almost performed an emergency stop when he saw a Sloth at the side of the road.  Before going up the Volcano, the tour stopped at a coffee plantation.  I must mention that the coffee here is  even better than that of Colombia, could it be because it’s grown on volcano enriched soil?  When you get to the top of the volcano, you need a bit of luck that the view is not blocked by clouds.  Part of the time I was up there I couldn’t see anything, but I managed to take the above Poás Volcano photo.  Take a coat, it can be cold up there!

Jesus Christ Lizard

The basilisk, aka Jesus Christ Lizard

Another tour I took was the 3 in 1 rainforest tour where there were lots of guaranteed animal sightings and photo opportunities.  Pictured above is a common Basilisk lizard.  These lizards are amazing, they can run on top of the water, which is why they are given the name, Jesus Christ lizard.  There were also lots of different types of monkeys, exotic birds and insects.  This tour took me as far as the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica which has a black sand beach, black because of the volcanic lava deposits.

Irazu Volcano, Costa Rica

Irazu Volcano, Costa Rica

I also took an Irazu volcano tour, the pictures you’ll see of this volcano will have an emerald lake in the crater.  Unfortunately, I was not there in correct season, so it was just a crater.  Nevertheless, it is a beautiful volcano and worth a trip to the top for any photographer, any time of year.  I was lucky with the weather this day though!

There is another volcano day tour which is possible from San José, Arenal Volcano, a perfect cone shaped volcano.  This is the most famous volcano in Costa Rica which has had live magma visible at night.  Most Arenal volcano tours are coupled with a hot springs visit.  Arenal volcano has also featured in the Will and Jaden Smith movie, After Earth.

Waterfall, Costa Rica

La Fortuna waterfall, Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a beautiful country, in many other countries the La Fortuna waterfall would be a major tourist attraction.  But in Costa Rica, it’s just one beautiful attraction of many.  I really recommend you visit Costa Rica, it is a small country with so much beauty packed in.

Overnight bus from San José to Granada

Bus from San José to Granada, Tica Bus, $28, 8 hours.

After successfully arriving in Costa Rica from Panama using Tica Bus, I decided to use them again for the trip north to Nicaragua.  Again it was a successful, comfortable and safe journey.  The cost was $28 for the 8 hour journey, and the border crossing took about an hour, was organised and problem free.

Granada to Managua

2017-03-13T13:35:15+00:00December 8th, 2016|Central America, Costa Rica|8 Comments


  1. Hendrik January 13, 2017 at 7:29 am - Reply

    Amazing pictures! I heard already from quite many people that Costa Rica is really beautiful, but I had no idea that there are volcanic activities as well.
    I think I would do something similar once I travel these countries, e.g. by Bus traveling around. How were your experiences regarding safety at all?

  2. James Smith January 13, 2017 at 8:03 am - Reply

    Only in Venezuela have I had problems. You do need to make sure you take the most secure bus company. In Central America that is the Tica bus.

  3. Vicky @ A Backpack Full of Adventures January 13, 2017 at 8:30 am - Reply

    Costa Rica must be gorgeous! I’ve never hiked a volcano before, so that’s definitely on my bucket list for the future. And that waterfall! It’s stunning!

  4. Kcalpesh Ajugia January 13, 2017 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    I am totally into nature photography and looks like this place could give someone like me a plenty of opportunities to go about shooting. La Fortune waterfall looks like a beautiful site to be at.

  5. Laura January 13, 2017 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    Costa Rica looks stunning! I’ve not been to any part of Central America but I really want to. Thanks for giving so much info on what you can do there.

  6. Danijela WorldGlimpses January 15, 2017 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    So envious! Seeing that sloth on the road and tasting various kinds of coffee? Oh well, it sounds more than interesting. Thanks for sharing, enjoyed it! 🙂

  7. SindhuMurthy January 16, 2017 at 5:46 pm - Reply

    Woow.. Costa Rica seems to be an amazing destination to get up close with nature and for wildlife sighting. With such a variety of landscapes and fauna, this sounds like a complete package any nature lover would love to experience. Loved the pictures, especially the one of Sloth bear by the side of the road.

  8. nisha January 20, 2017 at 3:51 am - Reply

    your pictures and the article makes me want to go to there. I am actually planning to go to South America for a while now. but somehow it is not happening. The place sounds amazingly cheap too 🙂

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