Lonely Planet Experiences: San Jose Tapas, Traditional Masks and Escazu Visit

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Lonely Planet Experiences: San Jose Tapas, Traditional Masks and Escazu Visit
from USD $88.00
Experience the best travel stories for yourself! Join a local expert and uncover hidden gems on this Lonely Planet Experience powered by Urban Adventures. Unmask the beauty of contemporary Costa Rican life on this walking tour of San Jose and Escazu. Get the low down on some of Costa Rica's local legends, freshest food and rustic restaurants on this San Jose tour that has you walking in holy footsteps and riding public transport for the ultimate insiders experience!
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Due to the impacts of COVID-19, we are currently not taking new bookings for day tours.

In Brief

San José, Costa Rica
Costa Rica
4 hours
Monday to Saturday
Important InfoInfo
Setting off from the beautiful National Theatre Building, you’ll instantly fall in love with San Jose’s beauty. Fortunately, this city has so much more to offer, so you still have loads to look forward to! Together we’ll stroll the ‘route of the churches’ passing historical churches like the Cathedral and La Merced and your guide will fill you in on the history behind the graffiti that you’ll see along the way, giving you a taste of contemporary Costa Rican life.

After our walk through the historical center of San Jose,  we’ll board public transport and make our way to one of the oldest cities in Costa Rica, Escazu, known for its spooky witch-related folklore. On our way to the city of the witches, you’ll spot La Sabana Metropolitan Park, which used to be the San Jose international airport.

Full of knowledge, secrets, and inspiration, we’ll shift gears to delicious, authentic Costa Rican cuisine. We’ll venture to a 100-year-old restaurant that’s known for its traditional fare, and where you’ll get a real taste of Costa Rica, with a choice of over 20 different Costa Rican tapas! After lunch we’ll taste chicha, a traditional local drink that has been enjoyed for hundreds of years. Our beverage will also prepare us for one of the coolest local traditions: Costa Rican masks and masquerade, and we’re taking you straight to the legends. We’ll pay a visit to a legendary local master’s house, where three generations of the same family have been making some of the country’s most beautiful masks for celebrations and special holidays. Here we’ll be privy to his creative genius, and he’ll let us in on the family’s secrets for making Costa Rica’s most famous masks.

By the end of this San Jose tour, you’ll feel so much like a local, we bet you’ll be speaking Costa Rican Spanish and everything!


  • Local English speaking guides
  • Traditional Costa Rican Tapas
  • Local Transportation
  • Masquerade Show
  • Chicha drink
  • Cup of organic coffee


  • Gratuities
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Beverages

Departure Time

11:30 AM

Departure Point

National Theater of Costa Rica, Avenida 2, calle1, Catedral, San José, Costa Rica

Returns To

Central Park Escazu, San José Province, Escazu, Costa Rica

Additional Information

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Please wear comfortable, casual clothing for walking
  • This is a child-friendly tour. Children between the ages of 6 and 11 inclusively are permitted on this tour at the rate listed above. Please select ‘child’ above when booking. Children under the age of 6 are permitted to join this tour free of charge. Please inform us at the time of booking if you’ll be bringing a child under the age of 6. You can do so in the special request box on the checkout page.
  • The temperature drops in the late afternoon, so please bring light jackets and/or long sleeved shirts.
  • For your Urban Adventure you will be in a small group of a maximum of 12 people.
  • Porras Bakery is closed on Sundays
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • In Escazu, you will learn about local folklore and meet with local artisans, giving you a look into local culture that you might not get on your own.
  • You will visit a a legendary masquerade family where three generations have been making some of the country’s most beautiful masks for celebrations and special holidays. By participating in this tour, you are helping to preserve local cultural heritage and traditions.
  • This tour will take you to locally-owned, traditional restaurants, where you will try a range of local produce and organic coffee.
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 12 travelers

Booking Information

You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.

Cancellation Terms

This trip is fully refundable up to 96 hours prior to the commencement of your trip.

Booking Terms and Conditions

When you book this trip, you need to read and accept the terms and conditions for booking our day trips in excursions.

Scoring an average traveller rating of 5 out of 5 based on the last 24 recent reviews

Our Urban Adventures guide Gladys was very friendly and knowledgeable about the history and culture of San Jose and Escazú. We all had a great time!
• Submitted 02 Jan 2020
My wife and I had the most intimate and enjoyable time with our Guide Catalina. Her English was very good and was pleasant to talk to! We learned a lot about the culture and ate some amazing local food! Would love to come back someday!
• Submitted 11 Jan 2019
Angel did a wonderful job guiding our tour!! We were two Moms with 3 teens from the US and it was a great day. He shared so much about the city, the history, the culture and the sites. He showed local sites that really helped us understand the people and the city. Our tour of the market was fantastic and he allowed us to move at our own pace. Everything he shared was done in a way that both the adults and teens could understand and appreciate. Lunch was GREAT!! Some of the best local food we had on our trip - the girls wanted to return the next day. Finally the trip to the masquerade shop was wonderful and really gave us further insight into the people and the culture. A GREAT tour we would recommend for anyone only made better by our guide Angel!!!
• Submitted 04 Dec 2018
I was the only person on this tour, but that did not diminish the excitement that Claris had. I did not have any concerns about being the only one and in fact felt privileged that I was able to take this tour. Claris was very knowledgeable and friendly.
• Submitted 10 Jul 2018
Wonderful, customized tour. Loved the city and this tour. Tour guide was very friendly.
• Submitted 31 May 2018
Great way to see the city. Our guide, Ernesto, was friendly and knowledgeable. I'm glad I did this tour.
• Submitted 12 May 2018
This was a great way to experience a piece of San Jose that you wouldnt experience on your own. Clariz was very knowledgeable on the history of San Jose. She taught us the history of the central market, allowed us to taste some authentic Costa Rican ice cream and coffee. We had a surprise on our tour where we encountered an oxen festival that also included food. I would highly recommend this tour.
• Submitted 22 Mar 2018
Our guide, Eric, was experienced, educated, and kind. A great day! Highly recommended.
• Submitted 22 Feb 2018
The central market was a highlight for us because we love souvenirs shopping and this place is the place to go for that ! They have everything!!! From clothing to food to little trinkets. The lunch included was delicious and filling! Highly recommend!!
• Submitted 23 Jan 2018
Our guide Eric was very careful in his detailed explanations. Highly recommended!
• Submitted 19 Jan 2018
I am so glad I went on this tour! My guide Gladys took me all around the Central Market and historical buildings in the city center and told me about their stories and trivia. We then took the bus to a suburb overlooking downtown and made a few more stops before returning to the city. I feel like after going on the tour I had a much deeper understanding and appreciation for Costa Rican culture and history. My guide was also very professional, knowledgeable and fun! I definitely recommend this tour to other visitors of San Jose.
• Submitted 07 Jan 2018
amazing trip! I am glad they are keeping an old CR tradition alive with visiting Don Fernando in his residence to see the masks he creates. The food was really good and the guide was excellent. I had a lot of fun, you should check it out if you're in beautiful CR!
• Submitted 04 Jan 2018
This tour was amazing. Such a beautiful way to see the city. I had tour guide Eric, who was so knowledgeable, very informative and flexible. We tasted amazing charcoal roasted coffee, we saw amazing masks used for Halloween celebrations in Costa Rica and we ate amazing tapas... and much more! So fun
• Submitted 14 Dec 2017
Erich was very enthusiastic, knowledgeable and friendly. A lot of walking for these seniors, but well worth the trek. Best of al was the delicious, homemade lunch at a family owned restaurant in Escazu, which was one of the highlights of our trip.
• Submitted 26 Nov 2017
What a wonderful way to see San Jose! Our guide, Vinzio, was knowledgeable and gracious. The San Jose portion of the tour was more than I expected it was great to learn more about the city and its history. We learned a lot about Costa Rica and Tico culture, too. The bus ride to Escazu by public transportation was fun. The lunch was delicious--try the sour guava drink! Then we got into a van to visit the famous mask maker at his home and studio. Finally, a stop at a 100-year old bakery that uses its original brick ovens. Our 4-hour tour lasted 5.5 hours! My only suggestion: this trip could be expanded into a full day. There is so much to see!!
• Submitted 06 Sep 2017
Loved Escazu and the traditional parade masks. Fun trip all around.
• Submitted 06 Aug 2017
Felipe was an excellent guide. The history was great and he is an wonderful story teller!
• Submitted 25 Jun 2017
Highly recommended to get the true backdoor experience of San Jose. Our tour guide Felipe was amazing! We learned about so much history of Costa Rica and the culture. We especially enjoyed being taken into an authentic marketplace, and having lunch at a local spot. On top of that, it was a private tour with just the 3 of us and Felipe. So you don't feel overcrowded with other people and their questions, etc. Truly a personable experience. A
• Submitted 03 Jun 2017
Tour and guide were excellent. The guide even helped my arrive at a museum which was not part of the tour.
• Submitted 04 Apr 2017
Loved this tour ! Friendly small group very efficient and feels like a local strolling in town ! The lunch was perfect and the mask maker home visit is the highlight ! We got much more values that expected ! Thanks Urban adventures !
• Submitted 11 Jul 2016
This was a great way to see the city! Our guide, Carlos was very knowledgeble and fun. The weather was great to visit the city. The lunch at a private home was lovely, although, the tour info said we were to dine in a historical Inn.
• Submitted 06 May 2016
We had a pleasant walking tour with Brenda. After showing us some of the landmarks of San Jose, we had a typical lunch. In the afternoon, we visited a local figure making masks in a traditional way. Brenda's boss drove us while we were supposed to be using public transport for the tour. This was our first contact with Costa Rica and Costa Ricans. The tour constitutes an excellent introduction to the country
• Submitted 17 Apr 2016
We arrived in San Jose on 7th March and had pre-booked this trip for the next day. Our guide Carlos went out of his way to make sure that we really enjoyed the tour. His English was excellent. This Tour gave us a lovely flavor of the sights and sounds of the capital. We had been told by other people that San Jose is dirty and not worth looking around...We definitely did not find this to be true attall. We enjoyed looking around the Central Market stalls and spotting things that are not on sale in the UK in our markets. We saw several beautiful buildings, statues and monuments and Carlos told us a bit about their history as we walked around San Jose. We thought it was a great idea to get onto a local bus to transfer to the suburbs for lunch at a traditional Tico home. We also enjoyed meeting the patriarch of the family who had made traditional masks for festivals for many generations. This tour gives you a great flavour of San Jose with a lovely variety of experiences. We felt it was great value for money.
• Submitted 05 Apr 2016
Eric was an excellent tour guide! He cared deeply about giving us a good experience, and his knowledge about San Jose is very extensive. I'm glad we did this tour the day after we arrived in San Jose so we could get to know the city better and have more confidence exploring on our own. The tour was kept to 6 people, which made it easy to get around and ask more questions.
• Submitted 04 Feb 2016