Escape the ordinary on this immersive bike-riding day trip to the charming town of Cartago. Experience the Costa Rican rail system with a short train ride, and then hop on your bike for a two-wheeled tour around Cartago’s historic streets. Learn about the town’s colonial history with your expert guide, and visit a local market to sample delicious produce and traditional treats before heading back to San Jose by bus. A small group limit of 12 people provides a personalized experience on this half-day tour.

Highlights

  • 5-hour Cartago day trip by train from San Jose
  • Travel by rail through the mountains past coffee plantations outside the capital
  • Bicycle through the historical streets of Cartago with an informative local guide
  • Discover Costa Rica’s colonial history and learn about daily life in town
  • Sample local cuisine at Cartago’s Central Market
  • Small-group tour with a maximum of 12 people ensures a personalized experience

What You Can Expect

Cartago Day Trip by Rail from San Jose: Bike Ride and Market Tour

Explore Cartago's market on a day trip from San Jose!

Take a break from the urban hum of San Jose with a visit to the charming neighboring town of Cartago. Connect with your knowledgeable guide at the beautiful Parque de Español (Spain Park) in central San Jose, and then kick off the day with a walking tour of some of the capital’s lesser-known attractions. You’ll pass by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Liquor Factory while learning historical trivia along the way.

A short hike into the hills above San Jose leads to an Atlantic Railroad station. Here you’ll board a train for the 45-minute ride to Cartago. Rolling into the mountains, you’ll pass verdant coffee plantations and other beautiful scenery of the Costa Rican countryside.

Once you arrive in Cartago, join many of the locals who navigate the historic city streets by bicycle. Your guide will lead you past architectural and cultural highlights and share interesting background on the town’s colonial history.

Immerse yourself in the sights and smells of the Central Market — an important focal point of daily life for many of Cartago’s residents. Wander among the market stalls, and sample fresh produce and local specialties for an authentic taste of regional cuisine. Join local commuters on a bus ride for the return trip to San Jose. Your guide can provide tips on other urban sites to explore or direct you back to your city hotel.

Customer Reviews

Zuriel R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

This tour was great!!! You will feel like a local, first the train ride and then the bus ride! The bike riding was awesome!!! We had a lot of fun!! The church at Cartago is beautiful!

Jan-Sheri M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the history and culture of San Jose and Cartago. He was an excellent guide and made sure that we took full advantage of the rich history of the people of Costa Rica and explored all of the wonderful sights. I would recommend this tour to anyone who is visiting San Jose, Costa Rica.

Rochelle M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2015

This is an awesome immersion experience. I learned a lot about Costa Rica's history, heritage, exports and imports. The train ride to Cartago was very nice. I didn't feel so much like a tourist on one of those buses with the yellow stickers on the side, front and back. The Básilica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles was very beautiful and it was great to be given the chance to drink some of the Holy water that flows beneath the Basillica. Hearing the history of the Black Madonna and of the yearly pilgrimage that is made by people from all over to this Basillica was just awesome.The bike ride to me was very manageable, just make sure you are used to the altitude. I slept like a baby later that night after the bike ride.The Market was very cool. Eric recommended an Empanada from a vendor who's family has been making them in that very market for many many years. It was delicious. The hand made cheese quesadillia and the Dulce de leche I think that's what it was drink from the same vendor was also very tasty and inexpensive. I recommend this to anyone who is staying in the area. Eric is a great and knowledgeable tour guide. While I'm still here I plan to take another day trip with them.

steve

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

We found this half day trip very relaxing after three conseciative full day tours. The train trip was a nice experience to Cartago. The guide did a great job showing us points of interest on the trip to Cartago. Bikeing through the city gave us an appreciation of what the locals experience on their daily routine. We enjoyed the stops at the historical points of interest along the way.

Looking for a real local experience this is it.

skymusic

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

This was a wonderful tour that starts early in the morning at Espania Park. After a short walk to the station we rode a train to Cartaga, where we walked through various locations in central Cartaga, including the market place. We then picked up bicycles, that were provided, and rode to other interesting locations around the city. After that we had a wonderful lunch at one of the Sodas in the Market. The tour ended with a comfortable ride back to San Jose on a public bus. I was fortunate to be the only one on the tour that day, but later found out that they prefer to keep the groups small. The guide, Myanna, was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic... a real people person. She made the tour both enjoyable, and educational. I highly recommend this tour.

Darrell W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

What an incredible adventure to top off our week in Costa Rica! Our tour guide, Eric, is an incredible guide. He is knowledgeable of the area and took great pride showing us a part of Costa Rica that most tourists don't visit. Cartago is a beautiful town and is easy to navigate on a bicycle. Don't miss this tour!

KIERAN M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2014

An enjoyable cycling tour around an interesting and pretty city just a train ride away from san jose. a well run tour with lots of information and set at an easy pace with many local sights explained so you get to see another side to life in costa rica. The major attraction is the beautifully decorated church wth an interesting story of its founding and an equally interesting local tradition associated with pilgrims seeking divine intervention for sickness or ailments. highly recommend this easy tour for those who enjoy cycling and want to see another aspect to life in costa rica.

Dread

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2014

The tour guide Eric was phenomenal and very informative. We have learned so much that we may consider being future residents of Cartago. The combination of the train and bike tour was much fun! Awesome tour!

dbrrodriguez

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2014

Our guide was punctual, courteous and extremely informative. The train ride was great as the scenery was viewed from a different perspective other than car or bus. Cartago is a beautiful city and well worth the trip of exploration as it was the original capitol of the county. The market was as authentic as it gets and the bike ride challenging as we rode up and down the hills. A good workout with a good guide. Thanks for the experience! Joe and Donna from Florida.

Ashley K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2014

This tour was great! Biking around the scenic town of Cartago with Eric was not only a work out but very informative and fun. We stopped at the local feria for lunch and bought exotic fruits and veggies. I highly recommend this tour if you are looking to explore the beautiful Central Valley!

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Tour code: 5207CARTAGO

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