COSTA RICA WITH A FOODIE TWIST
Discover a tropical paradise of majestic volcanoes, powder sand beaches, lush rain forests teeming with wildlife, and rich culinary bounty. Embrace the “pura vida” as you are beckoned by a harmonious balance of relaxation and adventure. Step into a world you’ve only dreamed of visiting and explore Costa Rica in a fresh and captivating way. Our 8-day Costa Rica culinary tour brings you right to the heart of this burgeoning foodie hot spot, where local chefs are capitalizing on Costa Rica’s bountiful harvests, abundant natural ingredients, and distinctive geography.
8-day Costa Rica Culinary Tour
Costa Rican cuisine is known for its subtle flavors, abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, and authentically Central-American staples such as seafood and rice. As new culinary trends and innovative chefs gravitate toward this bountiful region, Costa Rica’s cuisine has simultaneously begun to develop an artful edge that’s rivaling foodie hotspots across the globe. Shaped by a unique ecosystem and supported by bounteous ingredients, this undiscovered culinary apex is on the edge of a delicious transformation. This tour offers the unique opportunity to experience Costa Rica’s delectable, up-and-coming cuisine.
Join us for a groundbreaking culinary adventure through some of Costa Rica’s most luscious landscapes, from the highlands to the jungle to the ocean. We’ll travel from historic San Jose, to the stunning Arenal volcano, to the tranquil beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula. You’ll devour a delicious chocolate lunch, learn how local folk medicine can cure everything from a hangover to a broken heart, and cook tropical dishes at the base of the volcano. Along the way, we will admire Costa Rica’s incredibly diverse wildlife, unwind in relaxing hot springs and connect with locals through hand-curated, insider experiences.
- Cooking and cocktail classes in stunning jungle and beach settings
- Stroll San Jose’s vibrant food markets
- Sample traditional Costa Rican food with a local family in their home
- Relish in an all-chocolate lunch
- Explore a coffee plantation and taste some of the world’s best coffee
- Relax in hot springs and enjoy a leisure day at the beach
- Luxury eco-lodge, boutique hotel, & oceanside resort accommodations
DAY 1: Our Costa Rica Food Travel Itinerary Begins in San Jose
Welcome to San Jose, where our Costa Rica food travel 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 hot spot 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!
Drive time: 30 minutes
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.
Drive time: 3.5 hours
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. Our stay at this coffee plantation is certainly one of the highlights of our Costa Rica food tours!
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.
Drive time: 2 hours 15 minutes
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.
Drive time: 5 hours
Included meals: Breakfast, lunch
DAY 5: Wildlife Refuge & Cooking Class
You may be on a Costa Rica food tour, but no trip to Costa Rica would be complete without exploring its magnificent wildlife. 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 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.
Drive time: 3 hours
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.
Drive time: 5 hours
Included meals: Breakfast, lunch
DAY 7: Beach Day & Cocktail Class
Costa Rica’s beautiful, secluded beaches are legendary, and we have built some relaxing beach time into our Costa Rica food tours. 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.
Drive time: none
Included meals: Breakfast, happy hour & tapas
DAY 8: Costa Rica Food Travel Ends
Sadly, our food travel in Costa Rica ends today. After breakfast, you’ll transfer to the Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR) for your flight home.
Drive time: 4.5 hours
Included meals: Breakfast
Please note: This itinerary is designed to give you an idea of what to expect on our Costa Rica food travel experiences 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.
Note: This itinerary and package inclusions might be changed in time, subject to availability.