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Costa Rica Culinary Tour – Itinerary

 

DAY 1: Costa Rica Tour Begins As You Fly to San Jose

Welcome to San Jose, where your Costa Rica culinary adventure begins. After passing through immigration and customs, your driver will be waiting to take you to your lovely boutique hotel in the heart of San Jose. Spend the afternoon relaxing in the warmth of this tropical paradise before heading to your welcome dinner. San Jose is an up-and-coming foodie hotspot and tonight’s welcome dinner will be held at one of San Jose’s top new restaurants – locally sourced, contemporary cuisine with an innovative Tico twist!

Included meals: Dinner

DAY 2: San Jose Market Day

Today, we will tour San Jose like locals. Our first stop of the day is, of course, a morning coffee break in the Borbón market. Then we’ll stroll the vibrant market, sampling local fruits while learning about the agricultural history of this area. We will visit a number of stands, including a local folk medicine stall where we’ll learn about curing everything from a hangover to a broken heart. Then we’ll head to the Central Market, which is housed in a historic 120-year old building filled to the brim with typical Costa Rican food and drink – and of course we’ll sample some delicacies!

In the late afternoon, we’ll visit with a charming local family whose mission is to revive the traditional dishes of Costa Rica – some of which have been forgotten over the years. We’ll chat with the family, sample their foods, and explore their organic orchid garden which contains about 500 different species of orchids.

Included meals: Breakfast, dinner

DAY 3: Chocolate & Coffee Decadence

Calling all chocolate lovers – today is for you! After breakfast, we’ll depart San Jose for the countryside, stopping for a rich and delectable chocolate experience along the way. You’ll learn about cocoa’s enchanting 4,500-year history, and enjoy a mouthwatering chocolate lunch including cocoa nib salad and spiced chocolate drinks.

We will then make our way to our favorite organic coffee plantation in the lush central highlands. From origin to harvest, drying to roasting, and finally a delicious tasting, you’ll become an expert in bold Costa Rican coffee. We will stay the night in the beautiful boutique hotel on the plantation grounds and in the late afternoon, we will enjoy coffee and cookies on the deck of the finca amidst stunning views of the Central Valley.

Dinner tonight is on your own. Let us know if you would like for us to arrange an optional 7-course tasting menu that is created specially for you. You are welcome to watch and chat with the chef as he prepares the meal from the organic local bounty.

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch

DAY 4: Farm Lunch & Hot Springs

After enjoying our finca breakfast, we will make our way to the iconic Arenal Volcano. Our first stop of the day will be at a charming and authentic finca known for its walking trails, abundance of tropical creatures, and commitment to the sustainable farming of pineapple, vanilla, and pepper. After we explore the plantation we’ll enjoy a delicious farm lunch prepared by the delightful family.

After lunch we’ll head toward Arenal Volcano. Along the way we’ll stop at our favorite secluded and tranquil volcanic hot springs nestled in the lush jungle. Sink into the warm, mineral-rich waters and melt away any cares you might still have. This is truly the “pura vida.” 

Next we’ll head to our magnificent rainforest resort with view of Arenal Volcano from every room. Explore the grounds, swim in the pool, or simply relax on your deck and enjoy the sounds of the jungle.

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch

DAY 5: Wildlife Refuge & Cooking Class

This morning, we’ll venture to a remote wildlife refuge set amongst marshy jungles and a slow-flowing river that is almost impossible to get to independently. We’ll take an unforgettable river safari, and with the keen eye of our expert guides, we’ll spot reptiles, birds, monkeys, sloths, caimans, and lizards as they wander along the shore. Keep your eyes on the river, too – there’s a chance of spotting the fin of a freshwater shark as it slices above the water’s surface.

In the late afternoon we’ll enjoy a hands-on tropical cooking class at the base of Volcano Arenal. Chef Scott will teach us the art of Costa Rican food as we learn about tropical cooking, grilling, and even cocktails. We’ll prepare and eat our dinner with the magnificent volcano as our backdrop before returning to our luxury jungle lodge this evening.

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

DAY 6: Blue Zone & Beach

Today we’ll make our way from Arenal to the stunning beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula. Along the way, you’ll visit a farm in one of five Blue Zones in the world, set among the wetlands, dry tropical forest, and mangroves of the Tempisque River. A Blue Zone is defined by the longevity of its people and here you will discover the authentic “sabanero” lifestyle that leads to such a long and healthy life. We’ll tour the ranch, with its livestock and locally grown herbs and spices, and enjoy an authentic, locally produced lunch. We’ll then continue on to our lovely beachside eco-lodge in Nosara.

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch

DAY 7: Beach Day & Cocktail Class

This morning and afternoon are at your leisure. Relax by the pool under the warm Costa Rican sunshine, take an optional guided hike to the neighboring biological reserve, or visit the nearby white sand beach to see local Tico fishermen and their colorful boats. Later today, we’ll enjoy a drinks class with tapas in the open-air lounge overlooking the stunning Pacific Ocean. Chef Thomas will teach us how to make delicious cocktails and we’ll enjoy local “bocas” as we revel in the spectacular panoramic view. This farewell happy hour will be at your lodge, set amongst a dramatic sunset, lit gardens and pools, and the emerging starry Costa Rican sky.

Included meals: Breakfast, happy hour & tapas

DAY 8: Costa Rica Culinary Tour Ends

Sadly, our culinary tour of Costa Rica ends today. After breakfast, you’ll transfer to the Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR) for your flight home.

Included meals: Breakfast

Please note: This itinerary is designed to give you an idea of what to expect during our trip but is not set in stone. What we actually do on a given day is flexible and can be tailored to the interests of the group.