Alajuela Province
Meet the Locals

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Our most recommended Alajuela Province Meet the Locals

La Fortuna: Waterfall, Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs Tour

1. La Fortuna: Waterfall, Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs Tour

Escape into the nature of the La Fortuna area. Walk by the river and follow a trail to a panoramic viewpoint. Visit a Maluku Indian village and trek through a forest, lava fields, and farmlands before relaxing at a natural hot spring resort. Be collected at your accommodation and be driven to the beginning of the forest walk. Trek on the easy track along the crystal clear La Fortuna river. En route, hop on a tractor cart uphill to a panoramic viewpoint. Spot the next location from a distance then begin the return walk down a jungle staircase. Halfway down is a high suspension bridge to cross. The trail leads further down the huge canyon, which was shaped by a volcanic mega-eruption. Encounter the spectacular La Fortuna waterfall. Be amazed by the lush vegetation on its 70-meter high walls, the huge volcanic rocks at its foot, and the water splashing down in its massive pool. Bask in its beauty or even take a refreshing dip. Return to the viewpoint then walk down to the little village of the Maluku Indians. Seated in their Palenke (main house), enjoy a rest while listening to an interesting story about their culture, art, and history.  After being active for a few hours, the time has come to relax and enjoy a typical hot lunch. Next to the restaurant is a butterfly garden and frog pond that you can explore until your food is served.  Reenergized, take a 15-minute ride to the park at the foot of the Arenal volcano. Being the trek through the primary forest where you can see huge trees with giant roots. Besides a variety of birds, the forest is host to monkeys, sloths, and coati. Leave the forest and each the highest viewpoint that exists around the volcano and absorb the most spectacular panoramic views of Lake Arenal, the jungle, the valley, the lava fields, and most of all the Arenal that towers over you.  Conclude your tour at the natural hot spring resort. Relax in its soothing warm water for about an hour and enjoy a volcanic mud facial and a complimentary cocktail. Afterward, you will be taken back to your accommodation.

San Jose: Irazú Volcano, Cartago City & Orosi Valley Tour

2. San Jose: Irazú Volcano, Cartago City & Orosi Valley Tour

Start with pickup from your hotel and travel by minibus along the Panamerican Highway until you reach the base of the Irazú Volcano. Travel up the winding road through fertile farmlands where many types of fruit and vegetables are cultivated. Enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding hills and valleys. At the summit of the volcano, on a clear day, marvel at the spectacular view of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Next, descend to the city of Cartago and stop at the Virgin of the Angels Basilica. Discover this local pilgrimage site which has large vaulted ceilings and exquisite examples of stained glass windows.  Continue the tour through the Orosi Valley, an area of magnificent natural beauty. Visit one of the few remaining colonial churches in the region and stop for a tasty typical lunch at one of the local restaurants. Finally, be returned to your hotel to complete the tour.

San Jose: Tortuguero Park Day Tour with Breakfast & Lunch

3. San Jose: Tortuguero Park Day Tour with Breakfast & Lunch

The day begins with pickup from your accommodation in San Jose, Heredia, or Alajuela at 6:00 AM. On your way to breakfast, drive past rolling coffee plantations and admire the mountains of Braulio Carrillo National Park. At around 7:15 AM, stop for a traditional Costa Rican breakfast to set you up for the day's adventure. Enjoy fresh fruit juice, coffee, eggs, and the popular gallo pinto (a typical Central American rice and bean dish.) After breakfast visit a local banana plantation and learn about the process of growing and exporting fruit. At around 10:00 AM, leave the bus behind and hop onboard a boat as you cruise into the jungle of Tortuguero National Park. Surrounded by tropical rainforest, which covers over 29,000 hectares, soak up the magic of this luscious green landscape. As you sail along the jungle canals, see native green sea turtles, as well as other endangered animals such as sloths, monkeys, and manatees. There’s also countless colorful butterflies, toucans, herons, crocodiles, and more. Learn about each of the animals and their habitat in the jungle, as well as about local conservation efforts to protect them. Once you’ve worked up a bit of an appetite, enjoy a hearty buffet lunch. After lunch, take a relaxing stroll through Tortuguero Village where you’ll discover local life and learn about the history of the town and its residents. At the end of an unforgettable day, get back on the bus at around 3:30 PM and begin the return journey back to San Jose.

San José: Arenal Volcano, Waterfalls, Coffee and Hot Springs

4. San José: Arenal Volcano, Waterfalls, Coffee and Hot Springs

Start your tour in the morning when you are picked up from your hotel in the San Jose area in an air-conditioned vehicle. Travel to Arenal on an alternative route that is more scenic than the regular highway to this popular destination. On the way, stop at a plantation where you will learn about the coffee of Costa Rica. Observe the coffee plants and see the workers picking the ripe cherries during the harvest season. Learn about this important product to the local economy and taste a freshly brewed cup of some of the best coffee in the world accompanied by traditional snacks. Continue the tour at the famous La Paz Waterfall. Stop at the San Fernando Waterfall look-out point and observe many exotic birds including toucans, hummingbirds, and many other colorful tropical species. Visit the iguana’s center, a place where you will see lots of iguanas at eye level resting on the top of numerous trees. Following this, arrive at the Town of La Fortuna, and enjoy a delicious Costa Rican lunch in a restaurant located at the base of the impressive Arenal Volcano. After lunch, visit various points around the volcano to take pictures of this amazing mountain on clear days. Next, participate in an indigenous presentation performed by native people from the Maleku Tribe, and learn about the native culture of Costa Ricans. Later, travel to the beautiful Paradise Hot Springs Resort and relax for a few hours in the multiple hot springs pools surrounded by lush tropical gardens. This hot springs facility is one of the best in the Arenal area and provides the perfect environment to relax in thermal mineral water pools, jacuzzis and cascading waterfalls. After this, go to a local typical restaurant to have a delicious Costa Rican dinner before you are taken back to your hotel in the San Jose area.

Arenal: 4 Activities Tour with Optional Hot Springs

5. Arenal: 4 Activities Tour with Optional Hot Springs

Visit the most important attractions of Arenal Volcano National Park and hike along a mountain trail to get magnificent views of the mighty mountain in safety. Hope for clear skies to see as far as Arenal Lake, the secondary forest, and the area devastated by previous eruptions.  Continue to the impressive waterfall of La Fortuna, where you can go for a refreshing swim in the cool waters or take pictures of its natural beauty. Stop at a restaurant near downtown La Fortuna for a delicious a la carte lunch. Then, head to the Arenal Hanging Bridges to hike the trail high above the tree canopy. Cross 15 hanging and stationary bridges and look for the local wildlife along the way. End the day at the hot springs of your choice, with or without dinner. Get picked up after your meal for the drive back to your hotel. 

La Fortuna: Peñas Blancas River Safari Float

6. La Fortuna: Peñas Blancas River Safari Float

Experience the abundant wildlife and undeniable beauty surrounding the Peñas Blancas River as you drift downstream for an enchanting and unforgettable river safari experience. Relax as an expert naturalist guide takes care of the rowing, leaving you free to admire the lush rainforest canopy. Keep an eye out for monkeys, sloths, reptiles and other species. Snap photos of the lazy iguanas sunning themselves on the passing braches or grab your binoculars to catch a closer look at some of the rainforest's native bird species. Upon exiting the river, pay a visit to a traditional Costa Rican family home. Here, get a glimpse into daily life for locals and sample some traditional Costa Rican delicacies before getting dropped off back at your hotel.

Lake Arenal: Kayaking and Biking Combo Tour

7. Lake Arenal: Kayaking and Biking Combo Tour

Explore and discover Costa Rica by water and land with this combo tour of Lake Arenal. Enjoy the unique experience of mountain biking through lush forest and gliding across the mystic waters of the Arenal lake all while reveling in the extraordinary beauty of the Arenal Volcano.    First, enjoy a 2-hour kayak across Lake Arenal and its surrounding islands. Keep an eye out for local birds such as ospreys, kingfishers, and neotropic cormorants. You will also have the opportunity to spot wildlife such as howler monkeys, spider monkeys, white-nosed coatis and sloths. Once you are finished kayaking, relax lakeside and enjoy a light fruit and power bar picnic before setting out on your mountain biking adventure through natural paths, traditional Costa Rican neighborhoods and small rivers.

Combo Cooking Class and Salsa Dance Lesson

8. Combo Cooking Class and Salsa Dance Lesson

The best way to learn about a new culture is to learn about what the locals eat. Costa Rica has an amazing cuisine that is healthy, natural, and actually very easy to learn how to cook. Take some of the best local recipes back home with you after this cooking experience. These cooking classes are a great way to get to know other travelers and hang out with a knowledgeable local chef. As soon as you finish cooking, you will be able to sit down to the delicious meal you helped cook up and chat about the "Pura Vida" of Costa Rica. Make sure you have brought your dancing shoes to Costa Rica, because next up you will head to the dance floor to learn how to dance to latin beats. There is no better way to spend an evening in La Fortuna than cooking, eating, and dancing like a local.

San Jose: Animal Rescue Center and Indigenous Tribe Day Trip

9. San Jose: Animal Rescue Center and Indigenous Tribe Day Trip

Learn about sloths, rainforest animals, and Costa Rican native culture on this half-day van trip from San Jose. Journey to the mountains of San Jose and see the Quitirrisi Indigenous tribe. Meet injured rainforests animals that are being rehabilitated at the Animal Rescue Center.  Enjoy the convenience of being picked up from selected hotels in San Jose. Sit back and relax in an air-conditioned van on the scenic ride to the mountains of San Jose. Learn about the Indigenous Culture of Costa Rica with the chief (or his son) of the “Huetar” ethnic group. Uncover history of the chief's ancestors and find out about the challenges that the tribe currently faces. Walk around the reservation and observe the multiple sites for rituals and see an indigenous cemetery. Listen as natives explain the different ceremonies that they practice. Participate in workshop where you will learn how to shoot an arrow with an arch. Continue through the countryside to the Costa Rican Animal Rescue Center, where many sloths are rehabilitated, as well as other wild injured animals that have been brought to this wildlife sanctuary. Admire sloths in the different sloth garden enclosures. Watch as professionals and volunteers dedicate their time at this rescue center to help the animals recover, so they can be released back into the wild once their treatment is completed. Have the chance to see other rescued animals like monkeys, scarlet macaws, toucans, agoutis, kinkajous, and coatis. Return to your accommodation in San Jose at the end of your tour.

La Fortuna: Small Group Half–Day Campesino Farm Experience

10. La Fortuna: Small Group Half–Day Campesino Farm Experience

A short 10-minute drive from La Fortuna, head to the Agro-ecological Farm in the small town of Agua Azul. As you arrive, enjoy a fresh fruit juice and an informative explanation of the farm’s main objectives, including promoting the sustainable use of natural resources and preserving Costa Rican traditions. After this warm welcome, learn to milk the cows. Have the opportunity to give it a try, especially any children will enjoy this experience. Next, taste-test homemade liquor, chocolate, and fresh milk while you observe the alambique, the artisanal liquor distillation process. Afterwards, participate in the sugar cane extraction to obtain a delicious juice and then try it alone, with spearmint, liquor, or other of the farm’s organic products. Visit a small archeological ranch to observe some ancient indigenous pieces and put them to work in the artisanal process of making chocolate from the cocoa fruit to delicious chocolate. Finally, walk through and admire the orchid and medicinal plant gardens. After the journey, enjoy farm-fresh favorites like coffee, cheese, tortillas, and more. 

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What people are saying about Alajuela Province

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 56 reviews

Did you ever wonder how you would feel the day after winning the lottery? Well, this adventure left us feeling exactly that—that we’d hit the traveling lotto with Lava Tours. As die-hard travelers, we look for new experiences that deliver adventure, fun, knowledge, and show us a different perspective on life. It’s rare then when one checks all these boxes plus leaves you feeling a sense of belonging and ownership for the new places and people you just met. Costa Rica, in all its natural and preserved beauty, is truly one of the last living lungs on this planet. And the crew on this adventure let us breath what it was like to live it for one day through theirs. For that, we are eternally grateful to them and to CR for the unforgettable hospitality and beauty they gifted us with this tour.

This is the best activity I have done in Costa rica ! Carlos & Julian were amazing and so knowledgeable. the overall day started with pick up (5 minutes late which is okay) and going to the local indigenous tribe, learning about their culture, seeing sloths in trees, waterfall, lunch was great, we saw a butterfly garden nearby, then continued to the hike on the volcano before finishing in the hot springs. it was a magical and perfect day ! I'd love to do it again !!!

This tour is run by Red Lava. It was a full day tour and the guides were really nice! There was a decent about of hiking but that was fine. The waterfall area was beautiful and we got to swim there for an hour. The lunch was the typical Costa Rican meal and it was really good as well. I am glad that we did this tour!

This was the best tour I've ever been on. Erick and Isaac were such great tour guides. Erick was so knowledgable about the different plants, animals, history about Costa Rica. This tour was the highlight of my trip! :)

Très belle journée bien remplie et guide très sympathique!