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9 Bleisure Ideas for Your Costa Rica Business Trip

You’re going to Costa Rica on business?? Thoughts of pristine beaches and lush rainforests cross the minds of your mouth watering colleagues, envy ensues. What they don’t realize is the trip consists of three days of back-to-back meetings within four walls.

In comes bleisure to save the day. Adding a weekend day at the beginning or end of your stay (or what the hey, why not both!!) will make the trip both a more fulfilling and rewarding experience, both personally and for business.


What is Bleisure?

Bleisure is a blending of business-oriented trips with personal time, and according to Fortune Magazine, “Bleisure is not only popular among employees; employers are starting to realize that it is a prime opportunity to endorse work-life balance.”

Most business trips to Costa Rica take place in the capital city of San Jose, and there are plenty of options for an authentic experience without even changing hotels.


Short Day Trips from San Jose

West Side Highlands

bleisure, business travel, costa rica, Fortuna Volcano

By Adrinp87 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

La Fortuna-Arenal Volcano and Thermal Waters

Drive Time:  2 to 2.5 hours

The drive from San Jose to La Fortuna-Arenal winds through mountain towns with great views of the countryside. La Fortuna is ideal for nature lovers and offers canopy tours, cycling, horseback, and ATV tours. The area is also known for its hot springs resorts which include restaurant and bar service. Don’t miss the great views of the on-and-off active Arenal volcano.

Hot Spring Options:

Baldi Hot Springs 

Eco Termales Fortuna 


Volcán Poas

Drive Time: 1 hour

Volcán Poas is an exceptional national park close to the La Paz Waterfalls. With just about a 1 KM walk from the parking, you can be at the crater, a large open space with a water deposit at the bottom. For the more adventurous, there is also a great 3 KM trail across altitude forest to the lagoon.



By Axxis10 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Drive Time: 1 hr

This is a shorter trip on the road to La Fortuna. Sarchi is a town known for manufacturing of the traditional oxcart, once used as the only means of transporting the country’s most important crop, coffee. This trip can be combined with a visit to see a traditional coffee drying plant (Beneficio), and the town church.



Bleisure, Business Trip, Business Travel, Zarcero

Photo: Flickr Mike Baird


Drive Time: 1.5 hours

This small, traditional Costa Rican town is well known for its church and cypress gardens full of shrubbery sculptures in different forms. This is a good stopping point if going to La Fortuna, or a nice side trip from Sarchí.


East Side Highlands

Orosi, bleisure, business travel, business trip, day trip,

Peloy (Allan H.M.) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Drive Time: 1.5 to 2 hours

The valley of Orosi was the first permanent settlement by the Spaniards in the 1500s and is a charming traditional town. The drive is a little longer than others on the list, but the scenery along the way is worth the trip. You will travel through the city of Cartago, the first capital of Costa Rica. Go for lunch at Orosi, where you can visit the church and the ruins of the first formal church built in Costa Rica, in nearby Ujarras. Another alternative would be to combine it with a visit to Volcán Irazú.

This is one of my favorite lunch digs in the area:


bleisure, business travel, business trip, day trips, costa rica

José Astacio [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Volcán Irazú

Drive Time: 1.5 hours

This volcano is known for its 1963 eruption and ash showers, coinciding with President Kennedy’s first, and only, visit to Costa Rica. Nice drive up from San Jose — about 1.5 hours — interesting landscape, good to combine with either Cartago or Orosi.


bleisure, business travel, business trip, day trip, Costa Rica

By Wayne77 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Dota-Santa María and San Gerardo

Drive Time: 2 hours

One of the lesser visited options, this area is about 2200 meters in altitude, and to get there one must travel along the highest mountain range in the country. About 2 hours from San José, but totally worth it. The neighboring towns combine one of the premium coffee producing regions (Santa María) with great cloud forest views and trekking  (San Gerardo).


The Coast

bleisure, business trip, business travel, Costa Rica


Drive Time: 1.5 hours

The coastal town of Jaco has a large array of services, restaurants, and activities — from lounging poolside to surfing lessons with locals. Want to have a beautiful sunset experience? Stop for a drink at Villa Caletas on your way back. If the beach is not really your thing and you want to immerse in nature, you may also consider a stop at Carara National Park and Scarlet Macaw sanctuary.
Day passes are available at several hotels.


Bleisure, Business Trip, Business Travel, Costa Rica, Day Trip

By Haakon S. Krohn (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Puerto Puntarenas

Drive Time: 1.5 hours

This popular port town is home to the largest fishing fleet in Costa Rica and a common day trip for Costa Ricans. The Tioga Hotel and the all-inclusive Doubletree Hotel offer day passes, so you can spend the day enjoying the pool and beach and have a place to shower and change, as well as bar and restaurant service. Enjoy the full experience and have either a late lunch or early dinner in downtown Puntarenas. After dinner stroll down the beachside promenade, Paseo de los Turistas, for a typical “Churchill” — a snow cone-in-a-glass loaded with syrup, ice cream, powdered and condensed milk. Your doctor will definitely frown on this one, but what the hell, you only live once…

Doubletree Hotel

Tioga Hotel

My favorite restaurant in Puntarenas: Casa Almendro




Written by

Alejandro turned his passion for travel, food, and the tropics into the growing site of TropicsGourmet.