Costa Rica evokes a patchwork of cultures and styles, and that is celebrated on this custom-tailored 8-day excursion through Costa Rica. Costa Rica’s history is a melting pot of indigenous Indians, rampaging pirates, pre-Columbian civilizations and colonial change. eet two indigenous Indian communities, follow the storyline through plantations and cloud forests, and experience many facets of Costa Rica’s rich culture. Over these eight days, you will discover how culture is not always clear cut.
San Jose – Architectural Highlights
Upon your arrival, you will be greeted at the airport and escorted to your charming accommodation in the heart of old San Jose. After checking into your hotel, you will have the afternoon to explore some of the city’s iconic neighborhoods. Mercado Central is a perfect cultural introduction. While in the area, your guide will lead you to Catedral Metropolitana, which is a grand church that showcases the congruence of Orthodox, Baroque, and Neoclassical styles. From here, you will explore Barrio Amon, which is the area of mansions where your hotel is located. For dinner, you will be transferred to a hilltop restaurant that serves fusion food and has live music.
San Jose – Through Changing Civilizations
This morning will be at your leisure, and with eight days in Costa Rica, you do not need to rush into your vacation. Today, you will take your time to rest after your flight and to enjoy the soothing quality of your hotel. A historical San Jose tour will reflect the country’s changing civilizations, and each culture has left something behind in the capital for you to discover. First, you will be led on a journey through La Sabana Metropolitan Park for a glimpse of the modern city and its people. Teatro Nacional is nearby, and many Costa Ricans regard it as the country’s most beautiful building. After admiring its neoclassical opulence, you will spend time in Museo del Oro Precolombino. This evening, you can choose a local restaurant or decide to dine in old-world colonial style.
La Fortuna – Lounging in Hot Springs
En route to La Fortuna, you will stop at a coffee plantation in Naranjo, which is a small village that evokes traditional, Costa Rican village life. A plantation tour will guide you through coffee growing, harvesting, roasting, and drinking to discover how the locals prefer to enjoy their local product. Your guide will then help you explain how the coffee export business works. Later, some of the area’s hot springs will allow you to rest in therapeutic waters while continuing to enjoy the volcanic spectacle. Lounging in the natural hot springs is all that is planned for this afternoon, but you can choose to add a local activity as well.
La Fortuna – A Tribal Indian Community
Indigenous tribes continue to practice their culture in various corners of Costa Rica. These Indian tribes are very different from each other, and today’s experience with the Maleku people will be a sharp contrast to meeting Boruca people later on in your vacation. The people provide a warm welcome to visitors, and ecotourism is being used to boost the local economy. After your welcoming, you will spend a morning meeting different community members. The interaction will be designed to be comfortable and unobtrusive, so you can think less about taking photos and more about understanding the Maleku way of life. Your visit will culminate with a dance performance and communal lunch, and the food will be quite different from what you will have tried in San Jose.
Manuel Antonio National Park – Flying to a Rainforest Park
By flying to Manuel Antonio National Park, you will save a day of travel time and arrive on the coast for a full afternoon of natural history. Your accommodation will be a charming jungle lodge with sweeping views toward the beach. It will be tranquil up here, but you can still walk to the beach in less than ten minutes. After discussing your preferences, a local guide will plan an afternoon of hiking in the rainforest. There are short and slow hikes across flat terrain with the focus being on birdlife and capuchin monkeys. Usually, the monkeys are the most memorable feature of a rainforest hike, but sometimes, you can see large troops as they scamper around the trails.
Manuel Antonio National Park – Searching for Wildlife
Today will be tailored in a similar way to yesterday afternoon. Your guide will outline different trails, and you can spend many hours in the rainforest, admiring all the flora and fauna. Perhaps, the most spectacular sight will be of a sloth hanging from the tree as it watches you with its peculiar eyes from an upturned position. Searching for all the rare wildlife is an experience that will be complemented by the national park’s four beaches. While the rainforest offers brilliant biodiversity, the beaches reflect quintessential images of a Central American beach vacation. Your guide can direct you to different snorkeling spots, all of which are accessible directly from the shore.
Manuel Antonio National Park – Pirates to Plantations
This morning, you will explore the history of pirates and plantations with visits to various important spots along the coastline. You will witness ruined farmhouses and rustic remains while hearing the phantasmal tales of pirates. Over two to three hours, you can get a good sense of how this area looked 100 to 300 years ago, which will provide you with an excellent backdrop to a culture that has not changed. Through all the invasions and fighting, the indigenous Boruca people somehow managed to stay alive. While spending the afternoon at a Boruca tribal village, you will discover how these people managed to survive along with the culture that they have carried with them into today.
Manuel Antonio National Park – Departure
Late check out will be arranged, so you can enjoy some time on the beach before you leave Costa Rica. After lunch, you will be transferred back to San Jose for your international flight.
- Connect with an indigenous Indian culture during a day with a tribal community near La Fortuna
- Explore Costa Rica’s colonial past before following the storyline back to pre-Columbian times in San Jose
- Immerse yourself with the indigenous Boruca people and learn about a recent history that includes pirates and plantations
- Discover Costa Rica’s natural history, including monkeys and birdlife in Manuel Antonio National Park
- Indulge in a tour of a coffee plantation, where you can witness Costa Rica’s evolving coffee culture
- Bask in therapeutic hot springs and on a Pacific, white sand beach
- Delight in the complete range of Costa Rican landscapes from a revered volcano to cloud forests and coastline
- Sample a variety of traditional cuisines in authentic settings and compare these to upcoming fusion styles
Costa Rican culture often is forgotten in a clamber to experience the country’s natural history. With so many volcanos and capuchin monkeys, it can be easy to forget the culture. However, this country possesses one of the most diverse histories in the Americas. Fortunately, much of that history can still be experienced today. Indigenous Indian communities maintain strongholds in wilderness areas, and colonial legacies paint a picture of past centuries. You can follow the tales of pirates and coffee plantations in addition to pre-Columbian prestige and traditional tribal dance. Moreover, you can do it all in just eight days with this exciting journey.
You will begin in San Jose, which is a capital city that reflects more than a millennium of history. A local guide will lead you around historical neighborhoods and churches, where the architecture combines neoclassical, Baroque, and indigenous ideas. Fusion cuisine complements the cultural highlights, and you will listen to live folk music as part of a tour through Costa Rica’s changing civilizations. You will also visit a coffee plantation en route to La Fortuna, where you will experience a relatively modern side to the country with the nearby Arenal Volcano evoking the unmistakable presence of Mother Nature.
The Maleku tribe continues to practice traditional culture and craftsmanship, including farming cacao and observing antique huacas or tombs. With a day in a Maleku village, you will witness how an Indian community lives in the modern-day, notably the cultural aspects of life that have been preserved in the face of recent change. Part of your tour will include a dance presentation and lunch, where you can experience how the Maleku language is being kept alive. Natural hot springs will also be a highlight during your two nights in La Fortuna and will provide an opportunity to rest your legs and reflect on the cultural encounters.
The rest of your private tour will be spent in Manuel Antonio National Park, which is a rainforest landscape that is perched over white Pacific beaches. Wildlife is a famous highlight here, and you will spend some time exploring the natural history, notably the monkeys and birdlife. There is also a rich human history here as well. This coastline attracted pirates and was the first area to be overrun by colonialists and their plantations. Indigenous Boruca communities lived through all this and continue to survive today. They will be your narrators during a cultural tour on day seven, and like with every day in Manuel Antonio, local encounters will provide you with a lazy hour on the beach before sunset.
$1,435 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.
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