Prepare for an early morning pickup at your San Jose hotel to make the most of this jam-packed day. Stop for breakfast en rout to the nearby city of Cartago, home to interesting ruins of a destroyed church and other remnants of a 16th-century colonial settlement. Hear the legends that surround the crumbling chapel before continuing north to Irazú Volcano National Park. Peer down into the active volcano’s lagoon-filled crater, and enjoy commanding views from the top of the peak. On a clear day, you may be able to catch sight of both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans from the 11,260-foot (3,432-meter) summit.
Next, travel to the riverside town of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí and board a covered river boat for a leisurely 2-hour cruise down the Sarapiquí River. Keep a sharp eye out for sightings of local wildlife that inhabits the surrounding jungle, such as crocodiles, monkeys, sloths, and toucans. The voyage concludes at a private farm, where you can stretch your legs on hiking trails and enjoy a homestyle Costa Rican lunch.
Pass through the beautiful Braulio Carrillo National Park on the return drive to San Jose, where the 12-hour tour concludes with hotel drop-off in the evening.