Costa Rica has a reputation for its nature and conservation efforts, but, once you´re walking in the San Jose streets, at the beginning is difficult to understand where did all of this fame came from. It’s not a city with the highest environmental standards. But if you raise your head and set your view beyond the buildings and traffic, you’ll discover handsome green mountains inviting to explore them.
To the north, four volcanoes rise energetically towards the sky. All of them are national parks, perfect for a one day trip. From east to west these National Parks are:
- Turrialba Volcano National Park, currently closed to visitors due to its violent activity.
- Irazú National Park the highest volcano in the country with more than 11 000 feet above the sea level.
- The Barva volcano, nestled in the Braulio Carrillo National park which covers an area that goes all the way to Limón and Sarapiqui.
- The Poas Volcano National Park also closed to the public for its intense eruptions in the last few months.
The nearby areas of all of this volcanoes are also wonderful to visit. Dairy farms and croplands plus the intricate landscape offer unique views. If you look for the right spot, the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans can be seen simultaneously, an experience that few places in the world can be enjoyed.
But this is are not the only protected areas to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, within a few miles you can Reach the Tapanti national park. The most pristine rivers and mountains can take away the stress in this corner of Costa Rica, and if you´re a birding fan, this place is a must.
Other areas, south of Cartago are the beginning of the majestic Talamanca mountain range. They are not protected but offer interesting places to hike, cycle or even fishing trout!
Getting back to San Jose, the Cerros the Escazu not only offer a refreshing view to anyone dealing with the traffic jams. The best properties are hanging in the slopes of this impressive peak, don’t hesitate to ask here about them.
At the very top of this Cerro, another protected area starts and extend all the way down to El Rodeo, nearby Ciudad Colon, and Santa Ana. Chances to spot monkeys, toucans and Coatis are very good in this areas. A horseback ride could be an interesting activity to have here.
So if you´re a nature lover but can’t get away from the city that often, there are good places to let the steam out and enjoy outdoors.