In the collective imaginary of ticos and foreigners there is this idea of promenading around in Costa Rica while “mingling” with animals, walking through the jungle and enjoying idyllic beaches. Well, it is possible to do all this! We start this expedition discovering San José the alternative way, we will navigate the Pacuare River, cross Turrialba and all its cultural and scenic diversity: home to country’s the most active volcanos. We will climb Turrialba’s mountains to see the elusive Quetzal, we will visit indigenous communities that still preserve their traditions, we will also visit an archeological site and its stunning stone spheres (declared World Heritage by the UN), and we will end our trip going to a deserted beach in the Osa Peninsula. Pack your repellent and your hiking boots to explore this hidden paradise!

Day 1: San José

Welcome to San José!  We will be waiting for you at the airport to transfer you to your lodging, a beautiful casita in an old San José neighborhood.


Day 2: san josé

We’ll start the day on a morning stroll towards our favorite breakfast bistro. Located right next to the historic center, we then proceed on our Localista city walk, where we will discover important Costarrican institutions and learn about our idiosincracy.  We will end up at our very own palace of all kitsch: the Central Market, where you will walk with us on its labyrinthic aisles discovering fruits, vegetables, roots, medicinal / magic plants, and great snacks!

Day 3: Turrialba

We’ll take you both your breakfast and your rental car so you can start a relaxed road trip towards Turrialba. We will direct you through interesting historical spots, sugar cane and coffee fields and beautiful scenery until you arrive to your hotel, a colonial style hacienda in the caribbean plains.

Day 4 Pacuare river.

It’s an early morning start for today we are spending the day at the world famous Pacuare River. Touted as one of the ten most beautiful river rapid experiences worldwide, the 29 km rafting trip will take you on class III and IV rapids, pristine rainforest and stunning gorges. A not to be missed adventure


Day 5: turrialba

Thanks to its enviable location, Turrialba region offers a diversity in adventure, culture, agriculture, ecosystems and the most active volcano in the country.  That is why it houses one of the most important Tropical Studies Center: the CATIE. Today you will explore the coffee and sugar fields that surrounds the campus on a bike, and take a guided tour of its famous botanical tropical gardens.

Day 6: san gerardo de dota

The road today takes you up the foggy “Death Mountain” where you are going to a secluded small enclave called San Gerardo. Your eyes will not believe the lushness of it, and it hides a treasure: the mytical Quetzal, a bird that was sacred for the indigenous tribes of Central America. This afternoon you will be able to hike or go on horseback ride along the pristine Savegre River towards its falls.

Day 7: san gerardo

Take a note: temperatures in early morning “tropical” San Gerardo can go down to 5 degrees Celsius! So put on a jacket and join the guide to go in search of the iridiscent quetzal. Chances are you will encounter it feeding of the trees of Aguacatillo that dot the San Gerardo Valley. Afternoon at leisure among the gardens and hummingbirds of your hotel.



There are still 8 different ethnic indigenous groups living in 24 settlements across the country. We strive to help at least some of them get their message out in order to draw attention to their costumes and traditions.  To visit the BriBris of Salitre will help you put in perspective what it means to be “developed”. Their stories, traditions and knowledge of the land will strike you as both unique and as an ubiquitous humanity trait of good simple living.  You will stay the night and have dinner at their cultural enclave, as well as learn about their language, religion and music.

Day 9: osa peninsula

The morning will breeze by learning about BriBris medicinal plants, visiting their sacred places and taking in their cosmology and beliefs. From there you will head out to the Osa Peninsula, with a stop at one of the newest UNESCO World Heritage Site: the Stone Spheres. Ornaments? Markers? you will join in the debate. Afterwards, you will be driven from Puerto Jiménez to your coastal lodge at the southernmost tip of the biodiversity sanctuary of Osa Peninsula.



To wake up on a bungalow in the midst of primary forest is difficult to describe, just the cacophony of insects, birds, foliage, monkeys makes you feel it’s worth to have come from far away.

After breakfast you will take a horseback ride on the jungle and the beach. Miguel, a good neighbor of the hotel , will guide and make the ride an unforgettable one because of the memories he will share of living here since he was a child.


If you want you may have your breakfast today on a tree top!  The tree canopies, 40 mts above the ground, make for a great ziplining adventure, and so it’s also easier to spot life in the jungle.  Remember, Osa Peninsula is regarded as having 5% of all the biodiversity on the planet!


It is your last day in wilderness paradise! So what better way to seize the day than to go on a birdspotting hike in the jungle.  Osa is the “last frontier” and it is habitat to more than 400 bird species. Later on you’ll have the whole day for relaxation and beachcombing.



From your hotel you will be taken to Puerto Jiménez, where you will board a flight to San José!

Day 14: farewell

Transfer out to the airport for your return flight home. We hope to see you again!

Want to know more?

Need more days soaking in El Arenal thermal waters? Do you want a private specialty coffee tour on San José? Let us know!