• Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Duration: 5 hours (approx.)
From USD $ 62.00 View price calendar

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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.


  • 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

Karin R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2017

Amazing is right - wonderful day spent with an excellent tour guide, Vinicio! Did a train ride, bicycle ride around Cartago, then a local bus ride back to San Jose. Got to visit the local market in Cartago, as well as the wonderful cathedral there. Vinicio is a wealth of knowledge and information about the area, history and culture, and his love for his country is extremely evident throughout the tour. What a lovely experience for my first time to Costa Rica! A special bonus was sampling thebest empanadas in Cartago made fresh by Rolando and Angelina in the market!

Jillian Y

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2017

Natalie my tour guide was exceptional. She took me around to a few sites in San Jose before our very scenic train ride through the country side to Cartago. She shared with my a local desert on the way and we talked about the culture of Costa Rica. Once in Cartago, we had a brief visit to a local art gallery and then went on our way on a beautiful bike ride through the city center. Afterwards, we visited the local market and we visited various stalls.. the best being the most delicious bean empanadas I've ever had. Natalie was knowledgeable, funny, engaging, helpful and an excellent tour guide and host.

Ravi V

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2016

My wife and I had a great time on this trip. Juergen,our guide was well informed and shared all his knowledge about Costa Rica. We loved his enthusiasm and love for his country. When we arrived in Cartago, our bikes were waiting for us. We also met Eric the owner of Urban adventures who dropped us back in our hotel in Eskazu. I would highly recommend this trip as well as other trips organized by Urban. The trip lasted just under 5 hours and we had rest of the day to check out San Jose and other points of interest. Pura Vida!


5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

Bring water!!! Our tour guy was excellent! He had so much knowledge and was so proud about his country it was great. The ride was a little intense but worth it, views were incredible.

Ian W G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

This was an amazing tour that allowed me to learn about and see many parts of Costa Rican culture e.g., commerce, religion, transportation, food, education, social structure, political climate, history, and language. The guide Jurgen and his assistant were tremendously helpful and communicated well in English. They were even curious to learn about the U.S. After a little while, I honestly felt like I was hanging out with my buddies. This trip is for anyone who is not dissuaded by a small amount of physical activity. Thanks for making this a great adventure guys!

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.


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.


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.

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