Costa Rica: Culture & Community

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Close to home and deliciously eco, Costa Rica is the perfect getaway.  With its lush rainforest reserves, biodiversity, and lovely beaches, Costa Rica is a great green destination for couples, families or maverick adventurers.

As 25% of Costa Rica’s land is set aside in national parks, it is a birder’s and naturalist’s paradise.  As the oldest democracy in Central America, Costa Rica enjoys a reputation of being safe, secure and friendly to visitors.

Day 1
Corteza Amarilla Art Lodge

Upon arrival in Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) you will be met by your guide/driver and transferred to your hotel.

Located just 15 minutes from Juan Santamaria International Airport and 12 minutes from downtown San Jose, the Corteza Amarilla Art Lodge’s unique architecture mixes Art Nouveau, Deco, Baroque and oriental influences.  The Lodge provides a tropical atmosphere, surrounded by Costa Rican trees that bloom through the year, and the magic of well lit and exotic gardens.

Day 2
Hotel Casa Turire

In the morning you will have a walking city tour, seeing some of the most important sites in San José: the National Theater, the Culture Square, the Market, etc.  Then go to the former capital city of Cartago, where you will visit Irazú Volcano National Park and the Orosi valley, one of the most fertile areas of the country.  Late afternoon arrival to your hotel.

Casa Turire is a haven of gracious charm set in the verdant, agricultural region of Turrialba, and it is an ideal base camp for exploring Costa Rica. From Casa Turire, you may easily explore many aspects of Costa Rica: its rich interior, from the Braulio Carrillo to the Irazú Volcano; its many, roaring rapids from the Reventazon to the Pacuare Rivers; and its Caribbean coast from exotic Limón to the mystical, submerged Tortuguero Rainforest. All these diverse areas and attractions are easily reached from the comfortable, inviting luxury of Casa Turire.

Day 3
Hotel Casa Turire

Morning visit to Guayabo, the only archaeological monument in Costa Rica.  Unlike other countries such as Mexico, Central and South America, Costa Rica does not have many archeological sites. Studies and archaeological objects have shown that Costa Rica was the meeting place between the pre-Columbian empires of the North and South that would meet here for trade.  There are also theories that this was a sacred land where people from different empires would meet to learn and pray.

Afternoon return to the hotel.  In the late afternoon you will visit a working coffee plantation and factory (the factory only works at night, when the electricity is less expensive) where you will learn about the history and process of the coffee.  There will be time to sample different kinds of coffee and have a delicious dinner in one of the most well-known and traditional restaurants in Turrialba.

Day 4
Savegre Lodge

Today you will leave the Turrialba valley and head up the mountains to the Cerro de la Muerte (this is Spanish for Mountain of Death).  This mountain cord got its name because of how difficult it was, in other centuries, for people to travel across it on horseback, oxcart or by foot.  Today, it is one of the most scenic drives in the country, and you will be able to see the cloud forest change into Paramus. En route, visit the Basilica of Los Angeles, dedicated to the Virgin of Los Angeles, Costa Rica’s Patron Saint.  There is a lovely story behind the building of this magnificent cathedral, where hundreds of people make the pilgrimage year after year.

The Savegre Mountain Hotel, also known as Cabinas Chacón, is located in San Gerardo de Dota, a small community in the Talamanca mountains in the midst of a precious ecosystem. Here you will find a deep cloud forest filled with massive oaks and other native species. The woods serve as a sanctuary for a large number of mammals and innumerable species of insects, amphibians, amazing plants and colorful birds, a paradise for birdwatchers.

Day 5
La Cusinga Lodge 

Morning walk in the cloud forest trails, where chances are you will be able to spot the beautiful Resplendent Quetzal, one of the sacred birds of the pre-Columbian cultures (remember that the Aztecs took Hernán Cortés for Quetzalcoatl, their quetzal-feathered god).  Mid-morning drive down the mountains to the South Pacific Coast.

La Cusinga Lodge is a coastal rainforest eco lodge dedicated to marine and terrestrial conservation and environmental education. Its location on the southern Pacific coast provides guests with sweeping ocean views and a relaxing beach vacation. In addition La Cusinga is part of a private nature reserve that supplies the visitor with an unparalleled look at Costa Rican wildlife and rainforest. The reserve consists primarily of 250 hectares of virgin rainforest that borders thousands of more acres of privately protected forest. On Costa Rica’s still wild south-western Pacific coast, La Cusinga Lodge borders Ballena Marine National Park which was developed to protect the humpback whales that frequent the coast. La Cusinga Lodge was established in order to share the unique site with Costa Ricans as well as international visitors. Besides getting exposure to rural Costa Rican culture and beautiful vistas, visitors have access to highly prolific areas of primary tropical rainforest and unspoiled coast, all conveniently accessible.

La Cusinga maintains several trails that wind through the pristine protected rainforest and along the beautiful beaches. From three-hour treks through the forest to short walks down to the beach there are trails for all ages and abilities. On each trail the visitor is sure to get a glimpse of the diverse Costa Rican wildlife. Wildlife at La Cusinga is abundant and you will see many species that may include: morpho butterflies, tree frogs, ospreys, parrots, parakeets, toucans, howler monkeys, bottle-nosed dolphins, hawksbill turtles and the great humpback whale.

Day 6
La Cusinga Lodge 

Full day exploring the area.  You can choose one of the following options, at no extra charge: snorkel in Isla del Caño National Park, hike in Corcovado National Park, dolphin and whale-watching boat tour in Marino-Ballena National Park, or sea-kayak.

Day 7
Hotel Capitán Suizo

Morning transfer to the airstrip in Palmar where you will board the local flight to San José, connecting to Tamarindo.  Transfer to the hotel.  Free afternoon, (while you wait for your guide/driver to arrive with the bulk of your luggage).

Hotel Capitan Suizo’s philosophy lays importance on supporting the local communities and the local nature and wildlife. More than 95 percent of the sixty employees are Costa Rican and most of them are from the region of Guanacaste. The hotel does not use any pesticides in the garden and thanks to the protected old trees the hotel is often visited by wildlife such as howler monkeys, squirrels, a wide variety of birds, raccoons, garrobos, iguanas and armadillos.

Day 8
Hotel Capitán Suizo

Morning boat trip on the Tempisque River, which will take you to Palo Verde National Park.  This tour is operated by local people of the Ortega community, who have learned to make a living in a sustainable way, by taking care of the river and its surroundings, instead of hunting or selling the wood.  You will enjoy a delicious local lunch in Doña Dalila's home. Then, visit the artisan village of Guayabo, where you will meet with Willy, who will teach you how to make pottery the way his family has been doing since pre-Columbian times. Afternoon return to the hotel.

Day 9

Transfer to the Daniel Oduber Airport in Liberia (LIR) for your international flight back home.

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