10 Days Costa Rica Culinary Vacations

  • Heredia - Alajuela - Punta Islita

Taste of Paradise Culinary Vacation in Costa Rica

This amazing vacation showcases many Costa Rican highlights, taking you from the remarkable central highlands to the tranquility of the Pacific Coast. As you dive into the local culture, you will have the opportunity to stay at an authentic coffee plantation, take a delicious chocolate tour and cooking class, and tour the beautiful local markets. This experience will immerse you into the true Costa Rica so that you can walk away with a greater appreciation for the Pura Vida!

Highlights

  • Tico cooking class
  • Cocktail mixing and cooking classes
  • Course on wine pairing and a tasting session
  • Fascinating Sib chocolate and coffee plantations guided tours
  • Visit a regional mercadito and prepare olla de carne
  • Cultural tour of the towns of Barva and Heredia
  • 9 nights accommodation
  • 8 days with instruction
  • English
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El Silencio Lodge and Spa

This lodge is a planet-friendly sanctuary for soft adventure and inspired wellness. Silencio, Spanish for silence, is befitting of this enchanting place where daily stress is hushed and the sounds of nature bloom. Enjoy a 500-acre private reserve blessed with hiking trails, gently flowing creeks, and hidden waterfalls.

El Silencio Lodge and Spa has sixteen luxury suites with river or cloud forest vistas, each feature a private viewing deck and whirlpool and premium amenities. The suites at El Silencio Lodge and Spa contain a king-size bed plus two twin beds, a viewing deck with rocking chairs, and a private outdoor heated whirlpool. The 16 suites offer unrivaled mountain or river views.

The Two-Bedroom Villas afford visitors both comfort and privacy. This accommodation features a master bedroom with king-sized bed, a second bedroom with two full beds, two full bathrooms and one half bathroom. It also includes a full kitchen, dining room, and lounging area, a private outdoor heated whirlpool, and a viewing deck with gas fireplace.

Hotel Punta Islita

This romantic, luxury hideaway features incredible views from its perch high on a hill above the Pacific, on the secluded northwest side of the Nicoya Peninsula. Punta Islita is completely surrounded by gorgeous tropical forest and looks down on a secluded beach cove, set along Guanacastes coastline. The 300-acre property is ideal to explore a pristine ecosystem. Hotel Punta Islita is a great place for the discerning traveler to explore the cultural authenticity, fun, sustainable luxury, and the signature friendliness and hospitality of Costa Rica.

Hotel Punta Islitas intimate property contains a variety of different room levels. For the affordable luxury that Costa Rica is famous for, the deluxe rooms feature a king-size bed or two queen-size beds, a terrace with a hammock, and partial ocean views. A step up are the suites, with a king-size bed, indoor or outdoor lounge area, private deck, and ocean views. Perfect for romance, they also have a private whirlpool bath outside. The casitas of Hotel Punta Islita have a king-size bed, private balcony a private plunge pool, and a large lounging area.

Last but certainly not least at Punta Islita are the villas. These offer the joy of your own private beach home. Two or three bedroom villas are available for groups or families traveling together. These beautiful accommodations feature a full kitchen, large lounge area, private gardens, and a plunge pool.

Hotel Finca Rosa Blanca

Finca Rosa Blanca is a beautiful family-owned coffee and art hotel outside of San Jose, renowned for its on-site coffee plantation. This boutique hotel is a charmer, especially when you notice its local touches. From the artisan crafts and murals in each suite to the bracelets in the gift shop, this hotel is a comprehensive snapshot of local culture and it is much different than anything you have seen at an all-inclusive resort.

Hotel Finca Rosa Blanca has 14 unique suites including two extraordinary master suites, and eleven elegant yet whimsical junior suites, four of which can be united to form two spacious villas. Each suite is unique and features fine local woods and pieces from the owners extensive modern art collection. All of the luxurious rooms at Finca Rosa Blanca Inn include Jacuzzi baths and mini bars as well as private verandas overlooking the lovely Central Valley and the volcanoes above.

Day 1 - Arrival

Upon your morning or midday arrival in San Jose, you will transfer to Finca Rosa Blanca Country Inn in Heredia for your overnight stay. You may then unwind by the hillside swimming pool and enjoy the stunning view.

Day 2 - Cultural highlands tour

On the second day, you can experience the Costa Rican culture and history with knowledgeable guides who will take you on a journey through the colonial towns of Barva and Heredia. You will visit the iglesia of San Bartolome completed in 1575 and then move on to Heredia, the provincial capital founded in 1706, and explore the Spanish colonial style landmarks arranged around the Parque Central, the main cathedral, El Fortin, the guard tower, as well as the Casa de la Cultura, a historic colonial residence.

Day 3 - SIBU Chocolate tour

On a private tour and tasting at SIBÚ Chocolate, you will embark on a fascinating journey through the history of cacao. On this tour, you will be able to savor gourmet truffles, caramel and pure dark chocolate tasting squares. Visitors will learn about how cacao is grown and the social and environmental importance of the cacao crop to the region. Join local artisans tempering chocolate on a marble slab and decorating bonbons by hand at a small workshop set just on the edge of the cloud forest of the Braulio Carrillo National Park. Enjoy a delicious lunch prepared with fresh ingredients and inspired by local cuisine. The night will be spent at Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn.

Day 4 - Finca Rosa Blanca coffee tour; transfer to Bajos del Toro Cloud Forest

On the fourth day, you will enjoy a tour of a coffee plantation and learn, step by step, just what goes into creating delicious coffee. Learn how the experts discern and rate gourmet coffee by participating in a coffee cupping. In the afternoon, you will transfer by ground to the El Silencio Lodge and Spa for your overnight stay.

Day 5 - Tasty Tico traditions tour

On this day, you will team up with other guests as you pick organic veggies and herbs from the in-property garden. You will then join the chef for a cooking lesson to prepare tasty Tico cuisine. The afternoon is free to relax in your suite or explore. This evening you will enjoy a wine tasting experience, as you let sommelier Carlos take you on a fantastic wine lovers journey, that includes a crash course on wine-pairing, highlighted by a fun tasting session stacking up two red wines and two white wines to illustrate the fine art of selecting the perfect wine to complement the flavor of a delicious dish. The night will be spent at El Silencio Lodge and Spa.

Day 6 - Mercadito and Olla de Carne tour

On the sixth day, you will learn a little Spanish as you visit a regional mercadito and prepare the best olla de carne on record. A photo guide will help you undertake your mission of finding, selecting, and purchasing the freshest produce at the community market. In the process, you will have the chance to interact with local farmers as you learn about their daily lives and culture. Back at El Silencio, participants will make a hearty stew to be enjoyed at dinner. The rest of the day is free to relax in your suite or explore the natural reserve. The night will be spent at El Silencio Lodge and Spa.

Day 7 - Transfer to Punta Islita, evening cocktail mixing

On the seventh day, you will transfer to San Jose Airport (SJC) for the flight to Punta Islita. Once there, you will be taken to Hotel Punta Islita, perched high on a hill on the North Pacific Coast, for your overnight stay. In the evening, you may enjoy cocktail mixing with Miguel, as you learn to bartend with tropical flare.

Day 8 - Tico cooking with Chef Leanneth

On this day, you will learn the secrets behind Costa Ricas favorite dishes including the healthy, citrus ceviche, the versatile picadillo, or the deliciously sweet tres leches dessert. Led by chef Leanneth Viales, this fun session will help you understand the flavors behind local traditions so that you can make them at home. The remainder of the day is free to relax at the beach or pool. The night will be spent at Hotel Punta Islita.

Day 9 - Punta Islita free day

On the ninth day you are free soar over the canopy on a zip line, or head to the nearby beach to explore fascinating tidal pools or horseback ride. Visitors between July and November can even plan a tour to watch sea-turtles come ashore and lay eggs. The night will be spent at Hotel Punta Islita.

Day 10 - Departure

In the afternoon, you will transfer to the Liberia Airport (LIR) for departure.

  • Discover Braulio Carrillo National Park
  • Explore Punta Islita
  • Go on a tour of a coffee plantation
  • Visit a regional mercadito
  • Visit Barva and Heredia
  • Visit Sib Chocolate

Costa Rica is lined with picture-perfect beaches of yellow sand and swaying palm trees. The clear, turquoise water welcomes swimmers, sunbathers, surfers and snorkelers. The Southern Caribbean has missed the boom of tourist development that has happened elsewhere and continues to remain a pristine, off-the-beaten-path destination with a unique culture of its own. The idyllic Caribbean beaches are a huge draw here.

Activities
  • Boating nearby
  • Cooking classes
  • Diving nearby
  • Fishing
  • Golf nearby
  • Hiking trail nearby
  • Horse riding / rental
  • Hot tub / Jacuzzi
  • Kayaking
  • Massage
  • Shopping
  • Snorkeling
  • Spa
  • Surfing
  • Swimming pool
  • Wine tasting / tour
  • Whale watching
  • Yoga
  • Zip lining
General
  • Balcony
  • Bar
  • Beach nearby
  • Caf nearby
  • Dining area
  • Garden
  • Hammock
  • Kitchen
  • Lobby
  • Lounge
  • Poolside bar
  • Restaurant nearby
  • River nearby
  • Terrace
Services
  • ATM / banking nearby
  • Currency exchange nearby
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Internet access
  • Local market
  • Room cleaning

Costa Rican food is simple, but simple is not bland. With Latin and Caribbean influences, a wide range of sensory experiences come with a typical Costa Rican meal. While on your trip, do not miss the chance to try some of these signature dishes:

Gallo pinto

Rice and beans is the most basic element of the Costa Rican diet and gallo pinto is the king. It is usually made of black beans and white rice, cooked together until the rice soaks up all of the flavorful juices. Gallo pinto is served with many dishes, even breakfast.

Casado

The casado, which translates to marriage, is the ultimate Costa Rican meal. These full meals include a large portion of meat, usually steak or pork, sauted onions, rice and beans, a light cabbage or palm salad, and fried plantains. It sounds too simple to be impressive, but this hearty dish always leaves an impression. Natives often accompany this with Costa Ricas favorite condiment, Lizano sauce.

Sopa de pejibaye

Pejibaye is the fruit of a peach palm tree, and is often consumed on its own or with a bit of mayonnaise. Alternatively, the thick fruit can be blended into a soup that offers a vast profile of nuanced Costa Rican flavors. The pejibayes are blended with a savory broth to make a creamy, delicious Tico dish that will awaken your palate and give you something to talk about back home.

Chifrijo

Considered Costa Rican bar food, chifrijo is not decadent but it is delicious. Combine rice, beans, meat, and chimichurri with a tomato and lime juice and you have a hearty Tico snack. The meat used in chifrijo is usually chicharrones, crispy fried pork chunks or pork skins. You can even scoop it up with chips or a tortilla.

Tiradito

Costa Rica enjoys the benefits of two abundant coasts, including the freshest seafood. Much like sashimi and carpaccio, a tiradito consists of thinly sliced pieces of seafood dressed in a light sauce. The combinations are endless but you should start with a salmon or sea bass selection. These spreads are often accompanied by lightly-fried cassava chips and other garnishes.

  • Bird watching
  • Canyoning
  • Discover the local fauna
  • Enjoy a hiking trip
  • Explore the rainforest and jungle
  • Fishing
  • Go rafting or kayaking
  • Go surfing or diving
  • Paddle boarding
  • Relax at the spa or hot springs
  • Relax on the beach
  • Yoga practice
  • Zip line and canopy
  • 9 nights accommodation
  • Airport transfers
  • Cooking lessons
  • Cultural Highlands tour
  • Daily breakfast
  • Domestic flight from San Jose to Punta Islita
  • Drink mixing lesson
  • Ground transportation
  • Guide for all tours
  • Guided coffee tour
  • Hotel taxes
  • Market visit
  • Sibu Chocolate tour
  • Wine tasting and pairing workshop
  • Additional meals
  • Airfare
  • Gratuities
  • Insurance

Arrival by airplane

Arrive at San Jose Airport (SJC). Costa Rica Experts will pick you up from the airport. The pick-up is included in the price.

Testimonials

  • Review by Barb O

    "We’ve been back from Costa Rica for a month now but just wanted to tell you what an awesome adventure you planned for us. Your service in helping us plan it was terrific. Everything went really well. We actually felt like royals with everyone waiting for us when we were being chauffeured about. Rafting on the Pacuare was totally amazing and hiking in Corcovado with monkeys so close to us were the highlights. Thanks again. I look forward to you planning another trip for us."

    Costa Rica Experts, edited

  • Review by Tom V

    "We booked our honeymoon vacation to Costa Rica through your company. I’m just writing to let you know how happy we were with the travel plans you put together for us. Every reservation, transfer, in-country flight, car rental etc went according to the itinerary you provided – without a hitch. It made our vacation very stress free. Thank you for a job well done. I will definitely recommend you to others."

    Costa Rica Experts, edited

  • Review by Michael Walsh

    "We just returned from our trip booked through Costa Rica Experts and I can say that they did an excellent job planning for me and my family. The hotels we stayed in were top-notch, the tours and activities were fantastic, and all the transportation was timely. My family had the best time on this vacation, saw a lot of the country and flora and fauna, and had everything taken care of by Costa Rica Experts. I would recommend them very highly if you are planning a trip to any part of this beautiful country. Pura Vida!"

    Costa Rica Experts Facebook, edited

  • Review by Jack N.

    "I highly recommend using Costa Rica Experts for any trip to Costa Rica. I used them to plan a customized 13-day self-drive trip to the Pacific side that worked for my budget. The whole process was seamless and we were able to navigate from location to location very easily. The amenities were great and met all expectations."

    Costa Rica Experts website, edited

  • Review by Peterson P.

    "I want to thank you for all your help in planning my trip. It was outstanding! I would definitely refer anyone thinking about travel to Costa Rica to you. Everything was well organized, the activities were perfect, the resorts were excellent, the domestic flights efficient, and the transfers were seamless. We are already thinking about when we can go back."

    Costa Rica Experts website, edited

  • Review by Judith S.

    "My family enjoyed every moment of the trip that you planned for us. Everything went smoothly and we experienced all there was to offer, which meant a lot of interactions with water, fauna, flora and lovely people as well as food and places. One great thing is that we did not bring any electronic devices with us, so nothing got in the way of all that was around us to experience. We will all recommend Costa Rica Experts to others."

    Costa Rica Experts website, edited

  • Review by Bill L.

    "Wow! We had a magnificent vacation in Costa Rica. Thank you, Costa Rica Experts, for all of your excellent planning. Everything was planned perfectly. Our drivers were always prompt and courteous and they also liked telling us about their home. The tours that you arranged for us were all very professional. Not only did we learn new things, but we also just had fun with our guides. Again, thank you so much for the great suggestions and assistance. We will be calling you again in the future for another round."

    Costa Rica Experts website, edited

  • Review by Brendan W.

    "We had a great time. Your recommendations, service and follow through were unsurpassed. My wife Karen and I were extremely impressed with your service. Thanks again, this was a trip we will never forget."

    Costa Rica Experts website, edited

  • Review by Tom V.

    "We booked our honeymoon vacation to Costa Rica through your company. I am just writing to let you know how happy we were with the travel plans you put together for us. Every reservation, transfer, in-country flight and car rental went according to the itinerary you provided, without a hitch. It made our vacation stress free. Thank you for a job well done. I will definitely recommend you to others."

    Costa Rica Experts website, edited

  • Review by Travelers from United States
    9 out of 10

    "Costa Rica Experts is the ONLY way to go if you're planning a trip to Costa Rica. My husband and I typically plan our trips on our own but we used Costa Rica Experts at the recommendation of a friend. They are outstanding resources. You can look at some possible itineraries on their website and then work with one of their people to customize it based on your budget and desires. "

    "The accommodations they booked were great, the local drivers prompt and courteous, and the excursions very informative and fun. Costa Rica Experts truly do know their stuff!"

    "While you're in Costa Rica, if any question or issue surfaces, you can contact an on-the-ground organization connected with Costa Rica Experts to assist you. "

    "We highly recommend Costa Rica Experts for your travel to this amazing country!"

    Yelp website, edited

Illinois, United States

Costa Rica Experts is the leading authority on Costa Rica vacations, crafting unique vacations, authentic experiences, and lifetime memories since 1987.

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10 days / 9 nights

Availability

This vacation is available all year round except in August and November, please select an arrival date below.

 

Low season
  • May - June
  • September - October

 

High season
  • December - April
  • June - July

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