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Exciting Culinary Adventure in Costa Rica

This retreat includes two days of instruction and hands-on culinary experience culminating in a luncheon buffet. Three alternate days are full days for excursions. Pick from the selection of culinary topics, or let Casa Bella Vista design your Costa Rica culinary retreat, in advance, with you for your group. Talk, laugh, stretch-out, and cook with professional chefs, David and Justine Smythe, and let Monica-Jean do art, even edible art, with the children.

Meet the instructors

David, Justine, & Monica-Jean
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  • 2 days' culinary experience
  • Hands-on culinary experience
  • Culinary equipment and supplies for instructional sessions
  • Ground transportation to and from Tambor Airport (TMU)
  • 1 dinner, 6 breakfasts, and 6 lunches
  • Non-alcoholic beverages with meals
  • Instruction day break snacks
  • 6 nights' accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate


2 days with instruction
Group size: 2-10 participants
Airport transfer included: Tambor Airport
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  • Shopping
  • Swimming pool (outdoor)
  • Air-conditioned rooms
  • Barbeque facilities
  • Dining area
  • Kitchen
  • Laundry
  • Wireless internet

Casa Bella Vista offers five private, rustic cabinas which include AC, Wi-Fi, queen beds, hot water private tiled showers and bathrooms, fully equipped kitchenettes, large community pool with whirlpool massage, trampoline, covered picnic tables, barbecues, outdoor sinks, housekeeping, and laundry available. This property also has dogs, cats, Arabian horses, and Lucy the Macaw parrot. Each cabina has one queen bed and one double bed with luxury bedding.


  • Wi-Fi
  • Air conditioning
  • Private indoor and outdoor dining areas
  • Hot water private showers and bathrooms
  • Fully equipped kitchenettes
  • Large inlaid tile community swimming pool with whirlpool massage
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry


Basic level sessions (novice)

Topic discussion deals with basic techniques of food selection and preparation, food identification, the safe and sanitary use of typical culinary tools. Enjoy one-hour discussion followed by two-hour cooking sessions with explanations, demonstration and some hands-on. You’ll prepare a buffet, then eat it!

Intermediate level sessions

Intermediate level sessions are intended for competent cooks with basic kitchen skills capability. Theme menus, culinary philosophies, hands-on instruction, and participation lead to a luncheon buffet with flavor development and plating presentation focus.

Team building corporate retreat: Culinary exercises in critical thinking, timing and strategy.

Bring your team here for a memorable reward and a productive exercise. Build into the session.

  • Mediterranean Cuisine, the Many Small Plates
  • Blue Zone Foods for Health, Happiness and Longevity
  • Meso-American Heritage Foods

Option 1: Select two of these for the two days of instruction

Examples of single day sessions

Brunch Cookery (basic and intermediate)

Learn 101, how to make pancakes, waffles, French toast, omelets, poached eggs, breakfast sausage, properly cooked bacon, home-fries, fruit sauces, and syrups. Participate in the production of a hot and cold brunch buffet that you will enjoy!

Looks good enough to eat (intermediate)

Ever notice how some plates of food do not look very appetizing even though they may be made from fresh and delicious ingredients? Learn the Master Chef’s secrets of how to make the simplest meals look as good as they taste and find out how making food look more appetizing makes it more appealing and even better for you. Prepare a spa cuisine menu based on the Meso-American harvest of the Southern Nicoya Peninsula Blue Zone famous for longevity.

Hors D’Oeuvre workshop (basic)

Learn how to prepare these conversation stimulating items with an international flair so that you are available to party with your guests and not be stuck in the kitchen. Tiny tidbits, each a flavor journey, each a work of art, fun to eat, and easy to prepare. How do these outside the main meal food bites play into the bigger culinary meal experience? What are the basic concepts that make your guests want to reach out and enjoy?

The feast is the fun: Hands-on party foods (intermediate)

Just about everybody has some interest in food and food preparation. Invite your friends over for the feast they help prepare. Let the secrets of a successful fun with food home party that will keep your friends talking.

The structure of the meal (basic)

Not all dining experiences have structure. Some are just a blur! Learn how to create and connect courses within the meal, then try them and see for yourself.

Royale (basic)

Eggs and milk are the lacto-ovo start for a world of delicious preparation, both savory and sweet. Explore this world from crepes to flan, quickbreads to ice cream, and much more.

The secret of soufflés (intermediate)

Learn to make the classic cheese souffle served with salad and dressing and the delicious chocolate souffle with crème anglaise. It’s fun!

Option 2: Select one of these for the two days of instruction

Example of three-day sessions

Mediterranean cuisine: The small plates (intermediate)

Melting pot of North African, Middle Eastern, and European cuisines renowned for its health benefits. Many small plates of Spanish tapas, Greek mezze, Italian antipasti, French amuse can make an entire meal of many courses or a buffet. Includes grilling, roasting, sauté, marinades, dressings, grain, bean and vegetable cooking. Mediterranean cuisine typically includes meat, fish and poultry, but a vegetarian version of this course is available.

Meso-American cuisine (intermediate)

Casa Bellavista is in Costa Rica, right in the middle of Meso-America. A look at the basis of the cuisine reveals why the Nicoya Peninsula is one of the few “Blue Zones” in the world where long life has been documented by the National Geographic. Explore the ingredients, cooking methods and traditions that lead to long and happy life. Make your own tortillas, casado, pinto, ceviche and many other traditional preparations. Make creative preparations using the ingredients and cooking methods of the region. Learn the legends and lore.

Stocks, soups, and stews (basic)

Foundation to good cooking is to fill the house with aroma. Traditional and modern approach: long and deep or quick and easy. Borrows from global cuisines. Inspired by tradition and imagination.

Grilling and griddling (basic)

Learn to make marinades and flavored oils for basting while cooking fruit, vegetables, fish, chicken and pork. Prepare kebabs, cutlets, croquettes, so many things.

Family adventures: Light culinary instruction with easy and delicious recipes (basic)

Mom, dad, and kids make lots of yummy stuff and eat it for lunch.

  • Simple soups, salads, fun sandwiches and pasta dishes
  • Cookie and cupcake making and decorating
  • Exercise time with trampoline, swimming, and horseback rides
  • Art fun with rock painting, coloring, LEGOs, and edible slime time

Couples adventures: Easy and fun culinary (basic)

Bring your lover or your friends. Spend some casual time learning, cooking, tasting, listening, sipping, and relaxing.

  • Aphrodisiacs and sensual foods, wake up your senses
  • Food as art: Presentation, eating with your eyes
  • Gourmet quickies, on the table in a hurry


David Smythe

Justine Smythe



Casa Bella Vista is located in Las Delicias, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica and is central to beaches and nature preserves right in between the villages of Montezuma and Santa Teresa. With ocean and mountain views, Casa Bella Vista is on the edge of the rainforest teaming with deer, birds, hummingbirds, blue morpho butterflies, and monkeys. This accommodation is fifteen minutes by car to the nearest of twelve beautiful swimming and surfing beaches.


  • The nearest of twelve beautiful swimming and surfing beaches - 15 minutes by car



  • Hiking
  • Horse riding
  • Shopping
  • Surfing
  • Swimming pool (outdoor)


  • Air-conditioned rooms
  • Dining area
  • Kitchen


  • Laundry
  • Tour assistance


This vacation includes one dinner (day 1 reception), six breakfasts, five lunches, instruction day break snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages with meals and with three instruction day breaks. Except for the day-one reception dinner at Casa Bellavista, dinners are not included in the package but a tour of the great local restaurants and brew pubs is delicious fun. The accommodations have full kitchenettes to allow for dinner at home.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

Additional activities can be purchased separately for three excursion days including site visits to many exquisite beaches, farms, markets, zip-lining, horseback riding, island trips, waterfalls, nature hikes, snorkeling, surf lessons, birdwatching, yoga, Reiki, massagem ATV rental, and much more. Contact Casa Bella Vista to explore these options.

Note: Taxis are available and can be shared to and from town for restaurants and personal shopping or Saturday morning farmers market.

What's included

  • 2 days of instruction and hands-on culinary experience
  • Culinary equipment and supplies for instructional sessions
  • Recipes
  • Ground transportation to and from Tambor Airport (TMU)
  • 6 nights’ accommodation
  • 1 dinner (day 1 reception)
  • 6 breakfasts
  • 6 lunches
  • Instruction day break snacks
  • Non-alcoholic beverages with meals

What's not included

  • Taxes

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Airport: Tambor Airport Airport transfer included: Tambor Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 100% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
7 days / 6 nights
from --
Pricing information

A registered family consisting of two adults may bring up to two children to stay in their cabin. Children under the age infant to seven need no additional charge. Children between age 8 - 11 need an additional charge of 50 USD per day. Children between 12 - 17 will be charged at 100 USD per day. Anyone 18 and older will be considered as a full paying adult and needs to be registered as such.

Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 2 participants

Select your package:

For this organizer you can guarantee your booking through BookCulinaryVacations.com. All major credit cards supported.

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