Prepare to discover a true culinary paradise and one of the most beautiful places in the world, Costa Rica! Renowned for its breath-taking nature, exotic beaches, profound jungles and mysterious cloud forests, Costa Rica is also a wealth of gastronomic delights. Join us on this 8-day tour and become a Costa Rican food expert with our hands-on cookery class, food-oriented tours and the opportunity to dine with a local family.
San Jose: Founded in the mid-18th century, San Jose is the capital and largest city of Costa Rica. Visit the European-inspired National Theatre, museums and take your time to stroll through the historic neighbourhoods. Then, for an authentic taste of San Jose, visit the bustling Central Market.
Arenal: One of the most popular and well-recognised volcanoes in Costa Rica, Arenal dominates the landscape of Arenal Volcano National Park. The park is dotted with trails that guide you through its unique ecosystems, home to a variety of exotic plant species wildlife.
Tamarindo: This beautiful and vibrant beach is the perfect spot to relax after busy days sightseeing in Costa Rice. The stunning turquoise water, golden sands and amazing sunsets turn this beach into a tropical paradise.
- Operated with Spanish or English-speaking licensed local guides on a shared basis. Please note you will be accompanied by local guides for the activities only. There is no guarantee that you will be part of a group, or part of the same group during the tour.
- 7 breakfasts,
- 5 lunches on days 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
- 2 dinners on day 1, 4
- Air-conditioned transportation as indicated in the itinerary on a shared basis
- Arrival & Departure transfers
- Tour guides do not accompany guests during transport
ENTRANCE FEES AND ACTIVITIES:
- All monuments and visits as indicated: San José City Markets, Visit to Local Family, Chocolate Tour, Coffee Tour, Finca Sura Farm Tour, Hotsprings in Arenal, Caño Negro Boat Tour, Cooking Class
- Meet and greet on Day 1
- Hotel taxes
- Expenditures of a personal nature, drinks and meals if not stated explicitly in the programme
- Airport taxes
- Airport porterage
- Optional tours
- International flight tickets or visa fees and local taxes
- Gratuities for drivers and guides
- We recommend booking inbound flights that land before 15:00
- We recommend booking outbound flights that depart after 13:00
- Local conditions prevalent at the time of travel may result in modifications to tour contents without prior notice
Day 1, 2, 3; San José:
- Standard Hotel Category = Park Inn or similar 3*
Day 4, 5; Arenal:
- Standard Hotel Category = Los Lagos Spa & Resort or similar 4*
Day 6, 7; Tamarindo:
- Standard Hotel Category = Tamarindo Diria or similar 3*
Once ordered, this tour cannot be cancelled or refund or amended at any circumstances.
Day 1 : ARRIVAL SAN JOSÉ
Arrive at Juan Santamaría International Airport. Upon arrival, a representative will be waiting to greet you at the airport and to direct you to your transport to take you to your hotel in San Jose for your first night in Costa Rica. Spend the rest of the day at your leisure in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rice and its largest city. Rest in your hotel or take a stroll around the neighbourhood to get a feel for San Jose’s flavour. In the evening, enjoy a dinner of authentic Costa Rican cuisine at Silvestre Restaurant. Set within a 1930’s house in one of San José´s finest old neighbourhoods, the food served in the Silvestre Restaurant is only part of the experience. The contemporary cuisine fused with traditional Costa Rican ingredients and techniques are replicated in the sumptuous colonial backdrop, fine art and good music.
Day 2 : SAN JOSÉ: CITY MARKETS & COFFEE TOUR EXPERIENCE
After breakfast at the hotel, give your morning that extra boost with a coffee at the Borbon market. Take some time to explore the market, learn about the agricultural history of the area and even visit a local folk medicine stand where they claim to cure anything from a hangover to a broken heart. Continue to the number one place for authentic local cuisine: the Central Market. Housed within a 120-year old building, this is the perfect place to sample local delicacies, learn about the herbs used in traditional medicines, or simply sip on your second rich and smooth coffee of the day. In the afternoon, enter the world of gourmet coffee on a tour of a farm located in Barva de Heredia. Follow the coffee bean through its whole lifecycle, from the nursery to the selection and harvest of only the finest specimens. You’ll be surrounded by that unmistakable coffee aroma as the farmers reveal the roasting and packing techniques that enable them to deliver the best coffee from plantation to mug. Learn how experts ‘break the cup’ by using techniques to taste, or ‘cup’, coffee in order to identify and grade the characteristics that qualify it as gourmet. At the end of the tour, you will be transferred back to your hotel.
Day 3 : SAN JOSÉ: CHOCOLATE TOUR & VISIT A COSTA RICAN FAMILY
Start the day with breakfast at the hotel, then get ready for your chocolate tasting experience. Meet chocolate maker Alex who will guide you through the history of cacao and chocolate and let you in on the secrets of this exotic fruit. Wander through the cacao tree plantation, feast on its fruits and learn all there is to know about chocolate. At the end of the tour, you will be served a lunch with hints of cacao oil and garnished with cocoa nibs, followed by a cacao-based dessert and a chocolate drink infused with spices such as chili, vanilla, anise, achiote and pepper. Later in the day, visit the Hernandez family and learn about their project that aims to bring back traditional Costa Rican dishes that have been forgotten over the centuries. Sit around the family table and experience the charm of Costa Rican hospitality as you sample a range of different dishes made from ingredients you have probably never heard of before. During your time with the Hernandez, you will also have the opportunity to visit their botanical garden where they have over 500 species of organically grown orchids.
Day 4 : SAN JOSÉ – SARAPIQUÍ FARM TOUR – ARENAL VOLCANO (200 Km – 5 hrs)
Wake up to breakfast at the hotel before checking out and starting your journey to Arenal volcano National Park. We will make a stop en route at Sarapiquí to enjoy a tour of Finca Sura, an organic farm where all crops are grown in symbiosis with nature. Everything here is given the time, space and nutrients required to grow and the attitude towards birds and foxes that eat the crops is that there is enough to go around and that animals need to eat too! Most modern, non-organic, pineapple farms gas the fruits to accelerate the ripening process, but at Finca Sura, everything is left to nature. It may take a year for an organic pineapple to ripen and they may not all be uniform, but they will certainly be the juiciest and sweetest pineapples you have ever tasted. In the afternoon, we will unwind from our journey at the Eco Termales Hot Springs. These natural hot springs, with pools varying in temperature from 32°C to 41°C, are a sanctuary of peace and serenity at the foot of the Arenal Volcano. Round off the day with a buffet dinner before transferring to your hotel in Arenal.
Overnight in Arenal.
Day 5 : ARENAL – CAÑO NEGRO WILDLIFE REFUGE BOAT TOUR (130 Km – 2.5 hrs)
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before heading to the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge. Situated near the border with Nicaragua in a marshy, jungle-like area that is prone to flooding, this is one of the most difficult places to visit independently in Costa Rica. The immense variety of flora and fauna found here make this stunning refuge a nature lovers’ paradise. Caño Negro is also a key migratory route for birds from the north and over 200 different species have been found here. We’ll travel down the slow-flowing Río Frío (‘Cold River’) that winds its way through canyons until it reaches the Caño Negro Lake. As the boat meanders along its journey, you will spot birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians on the banks of the river, or on the branches of the trees that bend over the waters. This area is home to howler, spider and white-faced monkeys, three-toed sloths, caimans, turtles, and the so-called ‘Jesus Christ Lizard’ that can run on water. You may even spot the fin of a freshwater shark slicing through the water’s surface! Lunch is included at the end of the expedition and you will have the rest day to spend at your leisure in Arenal.
Day 6 : ARENAL: COOKING CLASS – TAMARINDO BEACH (200 Km – 4 hrs)
After finishing your breakfast at the hotel, get ready for a hands-on cooking experience at La Casa Rústica at the base of Volcano Arenal. This tropical masterclass, run by chef Scott Alan and other local chefs, is not your run-of-the-mill cookery class! Prepare yourself to have fun and be entertained as you learn all about local, tropical ingredients, grilling techniques and even how to prepare cocktails with freshly picked fruits. The class is suitable for complete beginners as well as old-hand chefs, everyone is welcome! You can actively participate and help chef Scott Alan prepare the dishes, or you can simply watch and take notes; the choice is yours. Whether you choose to cook or observe, there is one thing for certain: the dramatic backdrop of the Arenal Volcano, the good food and good company all combine to give this experience the true Costa Rican ‘pura vida’ atmosphere. With our bellies full, we’ll continue to Tamarindo Beach on the North Pacific Coast and once checked in to the hotel, you have the rest of the day to spend at your leisure.
Day 7 : TAMARINDO
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel this morning, as today has been left free to give you time to relax, unwind and experience this beautiful part of the world in your own way. The stunning turquoise water and golden sands of Tamarindo beach make it the perfect location to sunbathe, read a book or watch the world go by. Sip on fresh coconut water as you watch surfers catching the waves or take a dip in the waters of the Pacific yourself. If you are the more adventurous type, why not use today to take part in one of the many activities this area has to offer: guided snorkelling tours, ATV adventure tours or a sunset catamaran ride, just to mention a few. Whatever your choice for today, head back to the beach in the evening to catch a beautiful sunset over the water. Enjoy this magical experience from the sand or from one of the many beach bars or restaurants, where you can also enjoy an al fresco dinner.
Day 8 : TAMARINDO – SAN JOSÉ
After finishing your breakfast at the hotel, it is time to check out and depart back to San Jose. This is the last day of our tour and time to say goodbye to Costa Rica. You will be transferred to the Juan Santamaria International Airport at the appropriate time to catch your flight back home or to your next destination. We recommend that you book a flight that departs after 13:00 to avoid a very early start!