Costa Rica’s culture is rooted in a peaceful, Catholic, agrarian society, and many of Costa Rica's most interesting cultural experiences are on the coffee farm, visiting the pineapple plantation, or eating a delicious helping of gallo pinto at the local soda (Costa Rican restaurant.) The country’s few museums and performing arts are mostly centered in the capital city of San Jose. Yet, for what Costa Rica may lack in high culture, it makes up for in human culture. As reflected in the popular phrase “pura vida” (pure life,) the easy-going nature of Ticos (Costa Ricans) is a shared cultural value that takes life “poco a poco” (little by little.) Friendly Tico guides lead many of the tours below with stories about the history and culture of their country.
26 Things to Do
This coffee plantation doesn’t just produce an incredible cup of coffee, it’s also a vitally important part of the community. Learn how family, sustainability, and attention to detail all combine to nurture coffee from cherry, to bean, to brew on this educational tour that’s part local history and part culture. Yes, you will enjoy samples!
3 hrsFrom $42
To learn about how far Costa Rica has come, you need to understand the nation's history. The Palo Verde Boat Expedition and Cultural Tour will teach you about the country's cowboy and agrarian history, as well as how this tradition influenced the emphasis Costa Rica now places on sustainability.
Enjoy the fruits of the sustainability movement when you explore protected wetlands. See a variety of animals in their native habitat. Don't worry, you'll have the opportunity to enjoy refreshments before your tour and after.
6 hrsFrom $90
Always wanted to be a cowboy or cowgirl? This vacation, fulfill a dream with Hacienda Arío's 'Cowboy Experience,' where you and at least three other adventurers will roam the Guanacaste Province's hamlet of Playa Manzanillo and participate in a real cattle round up.
5 hrsFrom $133
The history and development of Costa Rica has been tied to coffee plantations, and no trip to Costa Rica would be complete without the cultural experience of a coffee tour. Espiritu Santo’s 640 acre high-quality Arabica coffee plantation sits in the picturesque rolling mountains of Naranjo, conveniently located near the handcraft center of Sarchi. From San Jose, it lies in route to many northern destinations including Arenal, Monteverde, and Guanacaste.
2 hrsFrom $25
The Cinco Ceibas’ full day tour includes a walk along the elevated rainforest boardwalk and your choice of horseback riding, river kayaking or an educational oxen wagon tour. Transportation to and from hotels in San José area is also included.
12 hrsFrom $128
Take this tour to see some of the wildlife and agriculture that thrives around the Arenal Volcano. You’ll get to follow a nature guide to see some sloths in their natural habitat, and then visit a local farm to see more animals and have a homemade lunch.
7 hrsFrom $108
Who says you can't learn something new during your vacation? The Maleku Indigenous Reserve Tour is your chance to immerse yourself in history and culture of the Maleku. Listen to them speak their native dialect, and discover how they continue to uphold their customs in the wake of a changing world.
This tour is an excellent choice for families who want their children to become educated citizens of the world. Adults with a penchant for anthropology, history, and do it yourself movements will enjoy learning about life outside of the rat race. This vacation, think outside the box and participate in an authentic cultural exchange.
6 hrsFrom $88
The Watsi Bribri people lived in Costa Rica long before the Spanish arrived. On a visit to the foothills of the Talamanca Mountains, you’ll have the chance to meet the modern-day Bribri and learn about their pre-Columbian culture.
6 hrsFrom $82
Even the transportation is sustainable on this tour! Enjoy horseback riding across beautiful Monteverde, Costa Rica on a fun and educational sustainability tour. Discover up-close how the Hotel Belmar sources some of its most delicious offerings, and try your hand at farming. Let nature and your trusty steed show you a great time on this unique getaway.
5 hrsFrom $94
See San José at night on this double-decker bus tour that concludes with a Costa Rican dinner. You’ll come away from this tour having had an entertaining look at Costa Rica’s culture and history. This tour takes 4.5 hours and covers nearly all of the major city landmarks. Your guides will offer information about the surroundings, and there are breaks for guided, informative walks.
4 hrsFrom $72
Take this tour to experience traditional Costa Rican food and to help create a three-course meal. The kitchen has a view of the Arenal Volcano, and the evening comes with all-you-can-drink cocktails. Everyone is welcome — from experienced home chefs to visitors who are really only interested in the tasty final product.
4 hrsFrom $129
Do you know where your food comes from? You do when you stay at Hotel Belmar. The hotel sources their eggs, cheese, coffee, and sugar can from their farm. Learn what goes into sustainable farming on this exciting tour of Costa Rica's first carbon-neutral farm — Finca Madre Tierra. This tour will give you the opportunity to explore the farm up-close, and learn what it really means to operate a sustainable business.
3 hrsFrom $61
- Elliot H.
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