Costa Rica:

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Costa Rica: Culture!

Highlights Include:

  • See San Jose with the guidance of a local expert
  • Visit the beautiful Basilica de Los Angeles, Costa Rica’s most important church
  • Learn about Costa Rica’s ancient history at an archaeological site 
  • Paint a handmade souvenir in the artisan village of Sarchi and cook a traditional lunch
Tour Details

From: $3675 per person

Price is based on 2 people sharing a room and does not include airfare.

7 days/6 nights

This itinerary is designed to showcase some of the many highlights of Costa Rica’s cultural heritage. It includes a mix of natural and historical sites –from volcanoes to ancient buildings– along with the opportunities to learn about the culture and share with the locals, whether it’s sampling fruit, cooking a traditional meal or dancing the night away! You’ll  see why Costa Rica is famous for its biodiversity and the warmth of its people. Return home with a better understanding of the country’s pura vida culture and some wonderful memories!


This is a private, guided tour. Our Destination Specialists will work with you to customize any pre- or post-departure arrangements to your travel preferences.

Day 1Arrive San Jose

On arrival at San Jose’s international airport, you will be met by a local representative for Borton Overseas and transferred to your hotel. Welcome to Costa Rica!

Overnight at Hotel Presidente in San Jose
Located in San Jose on Central Avenue Pedestrian Boulevard, the city’s vibrant core and the chance to experience the neighborhood like a local. Many of the city’s best museums and galleries are within easy walking distance, as well as parks, shops, restaurants, and bars.

Day 2San Jose | B

This morning,  explore the city of San José with the guidance of a local expert.  

Once oriented, the afternoon is free for you to walk the city on your own.  Considering visiting some local museums, such as the Gold Museum located beneath the Plaza de la Cultura, a museum focused on the social and cultural development of the pre-Columbian indigenous tribes and featuring a collection of hundreds of pieces of gold created by those tribes. Or the Museum of Jade and Pre-Colombian Culture by the Plaza de la Democracia. The museum building itself has an architectural component that simulates the concept of a block of jade divided in half. It holds a collection of around 7,000 objects from the pre-Columbian era, including those made of jade, ceramic, and stone, in addition to a collection of art and ethnography.

The Central Market is also worth a visit.  Try to find  Lolo Mora’s ice cream shop for some delicious, traditionally-made ice cream.

Overnight at Hotel Presidente

Day 3Irazu Volcano and Basilica de los Angeles | Meals: B

Begin the day with an invigorating hike up a volcano!

You’ll be driven to Irazu Volcano National Park, home to the tallest volcano in Costa Rica (just over 2 miles high).  The active volcano has a long history of eruptions. Many geological features are protected within the park’s boundaries, including Hermosa Beach, the Principal and Diego de la Haya craters, and the Sapper formation — the highest point in the massif, from which both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts may be seen.

Your hike takes you up to the rim of the volcano for a peak down into Irazu and views of its lunar landscape, swept by chilly winds. It’s a memorable experience not to be missed!

For a unique experience of the cultural kind, this afternoon you’ll visit the Basilica de los Angeles,  Costa Rica’s most important church.

The basilica was built in honor of the Virgen de los Angeles –the patron saint of Costa Rica– in 1635. The current building is Byzantine style and was constructed between 1912-1930. It was declared an historic architectural heritage site of Costa Rica in 1999. Each year on August 2, the feast day of Virgen de los Angeles, hundreds of thousands of Costa Ricans make a pilgrimage to this site to profess their faith; this is one of the country’s most important religious events.

Overnight at Casa Turire Hotel

Casa Turire Hotel is located in the agricultural region of Turrialba and features stunning views of the Turrialba volcano. Accommodation is available in standard guest rooms, suites, and master suites which include modern amenities. These include satellite TV, ceiling fans, safety box, and a telephone. All guest rooms feature a private bathroom and balcony with beautiful views of Angostura Lake. The hotel features a gourmet restaurant which serves traditional Costa Rican and international dishes. Guests may enjoy a relaxing massage at the in-house spa which offers a variety of treatments including a volcanic rock body wrap.

Day 4Guayabo National Monument| Meals: B

The plans for today include a visit to our largest archaeological site, the Guayabo Monument, and a walk in CATIE with it’s hundreds of plants from around the world.  Make sure you taste all the exotic fruits at the end of the tour!

Guayabo National Archeological Monument comprises a group of pre-Hispanic architectural structures made of river stones, which were built of a period ranging from 1000 BC to 1400 AD.  There is also a wildlife area within the monument that protects a remnant of evergreen premontane rainforest.

CATIE — Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center– is located in the shadow of the active Turrialba Volcano and is dedicated to research and education in agriculture and the management, conservation, and sustainable use of natural resources. It’s home to hundreds of different plant species, with  more than 4,000 plants. On a guided tour, you’ll walk through the colorful gardens and learn about various flora species, ranging from  exotic flowers and medicinal plants to tropical nut and fruit trees, accompanied by the sounds of birds.  The tour concludes with the chance to sample some of the seasonal fruits grown on the grounds.

Overnight at Casa Turire Hotel

Day 5Sarchi Arts and Crafts| Meals: B

Today you will drive to the village of Sarchi, the arts and crafts capital of the country. Of particular interest here is the painted ox cart.

Originally used for hauling coffee beans, the ox cart was simple and practical in design, and functioned as the only form of transportation for many families. Nowadays, the ox cart is a famous symbol of Costa Rica’s traditional past, and the carts sport bright colors and fancy painted designs. Sarchi is the only place left in the country that still makes the carts, thanks to a local community of woodworking craftsmen.

You will have the opportunity to try your hand at recreating the intricate designs on a miniature version of the ox cart, which you’ll get to take home as a keepsake!

Afterwards, continue on to the nearby village of Naranjo to learn about the history and importance of coffee in Costa Rica, as you follow the process from plant to table.  Coffee production is an important industry for Naranjo, which produces most of the coffee for the entire province of Alajuela. Learn how the beans are grown, harvested, and roasted by locals whose families have grown coffee for generations, and taste the fruits of their labor (yes, coffee is a fruit!).

Overnight at Chayote Lodge

Chayote Lodge is located high in the mountains near Llano Bonito on the outskirts of the Central Valley. Accommodation is available in recibidor suites which resemble the old coffee receiving stations of the past. All suites feature modern amenities which include Wi-Fi, safety box, telephone, and a private suspended balcony. The in-house restaurant is situated at the highest point of the property and features breathtaking views of the Gulf of Nicoya in the Pacific Ocean. The restaurant menu is seasonal and focuses on authentic Costa Rican cuisine.

Day 6Naranjo Cooking Experience | Meals: BL

Food is an important component in culture, and sampling local foods is a delicious way to learn about Costa Rican culture!

You’ll visit the Central Market of Naranjo to purchase the ingredients that you will the use to make lunch at Doña  Elida’s home.  She will teach you, step-by-step, how to prepare a typical Tico dish, using local products and the herbs from her garden.

If you happen to visit during the weekend, we suggest joining the party!  Visit Viejillos, a discoteque dance club, and dance to Latin music with the locals!

Overnight at Chayote Lodge

Day 7Departure | Meals: B

Time to go home!

A private transfer takes you to the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose in time for your departure flight. Or extend your time in Costa Rica!

Buen viaje!

  • Meet & greet at the San Jose airport
  • Private transfer from airport to your hotel
  • Services of a private bilingual naturalist guide-driver from day 02 to day 06
  • Private transfer to San Jose airport on day 7
  • Accommodation as mentioned
    • 2 nights at Hotel Presidente (Superior room)
    • 2 nights at Casa Turire (Deluxe room)
    • 2 nights at Chayote Lodge (Recibidor Suite)
  • Meals as mentioned 
    • 6 Breakfasts
    • 1 Lunch
  • Activities and entrances as mentioned
    • Private Walking city tour (access to the National Teather and two Museums)
    • Entrance to Irazu Volcano National Park
    • Visit to Basilica de los Angeles
    • Entrance to Guayabo National Monument
    • Botanical garden (and tasting of fruits) at CATIE
    • Visit to the oxcart factory in Sarchi with painting workshop included.
    • Espiritu Santo Coffee Tour
    • Experience CR through its food
    • Vamos a Viejillos, The Dancing Experience!
  • Local taxes on accommodation and meals
  • Services of a local representative throughout your stay
Not Included
  • International flights to/from Costa Rica
  • Fees for passports and health vaccinations, COVID testing
  • Travel insurance (recommended)
  • Gratuities & porterage
  • Beverages and additional meals not mentioned as included
  • Additional or optional sightseeing activities
  • Items of a personal nature (e.g. laundry, spa services, WiFi, etc.)
  • Any other item not mentioned as included
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