The Real Costa Rica

The Real Costa Rica

8 Days From



The Real Costa Rica

8 Days Starting in San José Province, San José, Costa Rica and ending in Guanacaste Province, Liberia, Costa Rica

Visiting: San José, Naranjo, Lake Arenal, Tamarindo

Tour operator:

Culture Trip

Tour code:


Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 16

Physical rating:


Age range:


Special diets catered:


Tour operated in:
Trip Styles:

Small Group


Sightseeing, Walking

Private Available:

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$2100 Exclusive Tourhub Members Discount: -$99

NB: Prices correct on 20-May-2024 but subject to change.

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

This Central American paradise is home to one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, resulting in extraordinary spots of natural beauty, a rich food scene and a unique array of local communities. You’ll discover the lot across just eight days with us, as we journey from the coffee plantations surrounding the capital to Arenal Volcano, home to spectacular waterfalls, exotic animals and world-renowned chocolate. We’ll wrap things up by kicking back on the white sands of Tamarindo, stepping away from the beach only to learn about the fascinating traditions of the indigenous Chorotega people.


  • Sip the world’s finest brews at a local coffee estate

  • Spot sloths hanging in the rainforests of Arenal Volcano National Park

  • Learn about ancient indigenous traditions in Guaitil

  • Gobble down locally grown chocolate at a plantation in Arenal

  • Marvel at the beauty of Toro Amarillo Waterfall

  • Master the art of Costa Rican cuisine with an authentic cooking class

  • Plenty of free time to spend chilling on the Pacific beaches of Tamarindo

Places You'll See

The Real Costa Rica

The Real Costa Rica

The Real Costa Rica

The Real Costa Rica

The Real Costa Rica

The Real Costa Rica

The Real Costa Rica

The Real Costa Rica


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Day 1 : Welcome To Costa Rica!

Location: San José

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Chayote Lodge

Meals Included: Dinner

Upon your arrival at Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San Jose, you’ll be picked up by a private driver, who’ll whisk you off to our quaint country lodge in the central Costa Rican town of Naranjo. You should have plenty of time to settle in before gathering to meet the group and our Local Insider during a welcome meeting, swiftly followed by our first group dinner.

Activities included:
Private transfer to the hotel
Welcome meeting
Welcome dinner

Day 2 : Sip On The World’S Finest Coffee And Master Costa Rican Cooking

Location: Naranjo

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Chayote Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

If breakfast at the lodge doesn’t wake you up this morning, then our first activity will, as we make our way to a local cooperative’s coffee estate. Costa Rica is home to the finest coffee growing culture on the planet, with perfect climate conditions and a ban on growing any beans that aren’t 100% Arabica. You’ll spend around an hour and a half learning about each phase of the coffee growing process, from seed to cup, amid glorious natural scenery. After a good walk and a cup of world-class Joe, you’ll have developed an appetite, so we’ll head to a local home to take part in an authentic Costa Rican cooking class. You’ll be using traditional equipment, like a wooden stove, and focusing on local produce grown in the region, before gobbling down your creations for lunch. After that we’ll return to the lodge, where you can spend the rest of the day exploring the area at your own pace.

Activities included:
Visit to a private coffee estate
Cooking class and lunch

Day 3 : Road Trip To Scenic Waterfalls And A Famous Volcano

Location: Lake Arenal

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Hotel Lomas del Volcan

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast we’ll head north towards Arenal Volcano National Park but, first, we’ll stop off in Los Bajos del Tor, a small village surrounded by the rainforest slopes of Poas Volcano. This area is home to Toro Amarillo Waterfall, one of the most spectacularly beautiful in all of Costa Rica, which you’ll get to see up close. Our drive will continue past potato and cabbage plantations as well as dense green forests en route to Arenal. The park’s titular volcano is famous for its near perfect cone shape and the splendid natural beauty surrounding it, including countless natural hot springs. We’ll check-in at our hotel in La Fortuna and have some free time before dinner at the hotel.

Included activities:
Visit to Toro Amarillo Waterfalls

Day 4 : Spot Sloths In The Jungle And Gorge On Locally Grown Chocolate

Location: Lake Arenal

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Hotel Lomas del Volcan

Meals Included: Breakfast

This morning starts with a guided walk through the luscious rainforests surrounding Arenal Volcano, which are a perfect representation of Costa Rica’s remarkable eco-diversity. You’ll traverse through a wide variety of plant life and fungi, spot exotic birds and reptiles, and perhaps even a sloth or two hanging above. We’ll lunch at a local restaurant but hold back on the dessert, since our afternoon will be spent on a sumptuous chocolate tour. Cocoa is another high-class Costa Rican export and you’ll spend around 45 minutes strolling through trails to learn about the process of planting, maintaining and harvesting organic cocoa – you could taste some cocoa fruit if you come during harvest. Back at the ranch you’ll learn about the roasting, grinding and conching of the beans, tasting a series of delicious flavors along the way and even making your own chocolate bonbon. Our chocoholic experience is capped off with “God’s Drink”, a rich concoction thought to have originated from the ancient civilisations of Mesoamerica.

Included activities:
Guided walk at Arenal Volcano National Park
Chocolate tour

Day 5 : Time To Hit The Beach!

Location: Tamarindo

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Diria Beach Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast

Having had a taste of Arenal, we’ll continue our journey west to the beautiful Pacific beaches of Tamarindo. The route we’ll take is spectacular, as we drive around the serene Arenal Lake, before ascending into the Tilaran Mountains and towards the plains of Guanacaste, before finally reaching the coast. After check-in at our beach resort, you’ll have an evening to chill, but just make sure you find a good spot to enjoy the sunset – it is truly special in this part of the world.

Day 6 : Learn About The Indigenous Traditions Of The Chorotega People

Location: Tamarindo

Accommodation: Resort, Resort

Accommodation Name: Diria Beach Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast

Today starts with some cultural learning as we head to Santa Cruz de Guanacaste, where you’ll get to visit the community of Guaitil. This place is the cradle of two important Chorotega (Costa Rica’s largest indigenous culture) traditions, namely the unique traditional methods of pottery and cooking, both connected deeply to the mud of the mountains and the ancestral roots of indigenous people. There really is nowhere better to experience authentic Costa Rica first hand. We’ll return to the coast for the afternoon, where the rest of the day can be spent at your own leisure.

Included activities:
Morning visit to Guaitil indigenous community

Day 7 : Embrace Pura Vida On The Beach

Location: Tamarindo

Accommodation: Resort, ResortResortResort

Accommodation Name: Diria Beach Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

We want to make sure you have plenty of time to bask in the bounties of Costa Rica’s majestic coastline, so our last full day in Tamarindo is a blank page ready to be written by you. You could chill by the pool, book a massage and hit the beach, or you could go exploring the area – popular activities include diving, river tubing and horseback riding. We’ll reconvene in the evening for one final group dinner, where you can reminisce about the adventure of a lifetime and say farewell to your fellow travellers.

Included activities:
Farewell dinner

Day 8 : ¡Hasta Luego, Costa Rica

Location: Tamarindo

Meals Included: Breakfast

Sadly, our time in paradise has come to an end. You’ll have one last breakfast at the resort before we transfer you to Guanacaste International Airport (LIR) in Liberia, unless you’re planning to continue your adventures solo, of course…

Included activities:
Group transfer to Liberia Airport

What's Included

  • Local Insider

  • Accommodation

    7 nights accommodation

  • Meals described in the itinerary

    7 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners

  • Shared Ground Transport

  • Return airport transfers

  • Visit to a private coffee estate

  • Cooking class and lunch

  • Visit to Toro Amarillo Waterfalls

  • Guided walk at Arenal Volcano National Park

  • Chocolate tour

show more

What's Not Included

  • International flights

  • Visas (if required)

  • Optional activities

  • Insurance

  • Resort Taxes (Where applicable)


Chayote Lodge, Naranjo
This dreamy mountain lodge in the cloud forests of central Costa Rica is a boutique haven surrounded by coffee plantations and boasting views of volcanoes, valleys and, on a clear day, a glimpse of the Pacific. The lodge is made up of 12 charming bungalows, each with their own terrace, designed as an homage to the region’s rich coffee culture. You can sample said culture first hand at the onsite cafe, or go for something a little stronger at the bar, before tucking into dinner at the restaurant.

Hotel Lomas del Volcan, Arenal
This luscious resort, set amid the stunning backdrop of Arenal Volcano and its surrounding rainforest, is made of a series of spread-out wooden cabins, as cosy as they are cute. There is an onsite pool and Jacuzzi area, as well as a restaurant, a bar and a spa. There is even a small walking trail exclusive to guests, while our location in the heart of Arenal places us perfectly to explore the region.

Diria Beach Resort, Tamrarindo
This gorgeous beachfront hotel is just steps away from Playa Tamarindo, one of the most famous stretches of white sand in all of Costa Rica. As well as Pacific Ocean views and quick access to the beach, you’ll be treated to comfy rooms, a glamorous pool and garden area, plus a selection of six cafes and restaurants. It’s the perfect place to wind down our Costa Rican retreat.

Please note that, while unlikely, the accommodation indicated may be subject to change (see T&C’s). On a rare occasion, alternative arrangements may be necessary – this may be due to a lack of availability at our preferred accommodation, or other reasons outside our control. We’ll do everything we can to prevent this from happening; however, in cases where it is unavoidable, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Check out our Q&As

  • Do I need any vaccinations?

    As a tour operator we are unable to give medical advice, however we suggest you contact your doctor, a professional medical travel clinic or check out the World Health Organisation website for more details.

  • Can I travel in my own private group?

    Yes you can. Our team of Travel Experts can put together a bespoke trip to suit all group sizes in most destinations around the world. Please contact us for more details.

  • How fit do I need to be to take one of your trips?

    We offer a variety of different trips, most of which do not require a specific level of fitness. Some of our trips are more active, but we include details on each specific trip information page. If you are unsure please don’t hesitate to ask one of our Travel Experts.

  • What visas do I need?

    Depending on your passport and your destination, you may need a visa to travel on one of our trips. It is up to you to ensure you have any and all necessary visas before you travel. We recommend you check with a specialist visa agency at least 6 weeks before you travel.

  • What kind of transport do you use on your trips?

    We use a mix of public and private transport on our trips, but usually a small and comfortable minibus, so we can access more remote destinations that larger groups can’t get to.

  • What happens if I am travelling on my own?

    Most accommodations on our trips are reserved on a twin share basis. Therefore, if you are travelling on your own you will be sharing a room with another Culture Trip traveller of the same sex. However, most of the time it is possible to pay a supplement for your own room. Please ask your Travel Expert for more information.

  • Is there any age limit on the Trips?

    You must be 25 or over to travel on our trips, however there is no upper age limit. You just need a sense of adventure.

  • How much money should I bring?

    This will depend on how long your trip is, your destination and how much you intend to spend on personal expenses and any meals that aren’t included. It is a good idea to check out the cost of a local lunch and dinner in your destination before you travel.

  • Are airport transfers included?

    Some of our trips do not include airport transfers, so we recommend customers either take public transport or a taxi. However, if you would like us to arrange a private transfer please ask one of our travel experts who can arrange this for you.

  • What kind of luggage should I bring?

    It depends on the type of trip you have booked, but we usually recommend a soft sided bag or case as they are easier to handle on a trip.

  • Do I need to buy travel insurance?

    Yes - all travellers must have travel insurance before they join one of our trips. You are strongly advised to take out your policy at the time of booking to protect your holiday payments in the event of cancellation.

  • Are flights / transport to the destination included?

    No - our travellers come from all over the world so flights and / or transport to the start destination are not included.

  • What is the group size?

    Our maximum group size is 18, although our average group size is 10-12 people. Group travel is a great way to meet other people, and you will have the safety of travelling with a group, but you can also decide how much time you want to spend by yourself.

  • Will there always be a guide on the trip?

    Absolutely yes. We pride ourselves on our expert Local Insiders - they are an integral part of what makes our trips so special. Your Local Insider will accompany you throughout the trip and is there to help and assist in any way possible as well as ensure everything works to time.

  • How many meals are included?

    Breakfast is included daily and then depending on your itinerary, some lunches and dinners. This is clearly indicated in the trip details or ask your Travel Expert to confirm.

  • Can I book extra nights accommodation before or after my trip?

    Yes, call or email one of our Travel Experts who will be able to add accommodation to your booking.

  • Why should I travel with Culture Trip?

    We know the world's best bits – our award-winning content proves it. Now we’re using that expertise to bring you curated trips that combine thoughtful planning with authentic experiences and hand-picked accommodation. Led by Local Insiders, our trips bring together small groups of curious travellers who embrace the value of shared experiences, cultural immersion and travel that never feels rushed.

  • What is not included in the trip?

    We don’t include the following in our trips: insurance (however you must have insurance to travel on one of our trips), flights, tips for local guides, optional activities and other meals and services not mentioned in your itinerary.

  • What happens if I need to amend or cancel my booking?

    You can change the date of your tour up to 60 days prior to departure and cancel at any time, although cancellation conditions may apply.

  • Do I need to tip?

    Tips are not included in the price of your trip but are entirely optional and at your discretion.

  • When will I know if my trip is guaranteed?

    We usually wait until we have a few travellers booked on a trip before we guarantee it will run. The latest we will guarantee a trip is 60 days ahead of departure, often it will be long before.

  • I booked but cannot travel anymore. What are the amendments and cancellation options?

    We understand plans can change and that’s why we offer flexible booking conditions. You can change or cancel your booking at any time up to 56 days prior to departure and receive a full refund of any funds you have already paid towards your trip.

  • Do I have to make full payment at the time of booking?

    You do not have to make full payment at the time of booking. We only require a small, fully refundable deposit of $100 to secure your spot on the trip. Full payment is due at the latest 56 days prior to departure.

  • Do I have to take part in all the activities? Will there be free time on my trip?

    The amount of free time varies per trip. Please enquire with our travel experts to get a proper understanding on the amount of free time on the trips you are interested in. You do not have to take part in all activities but we strongly encourage you to do so! We have carefully crafted each trip to show you the best of every destination, so you’d be missing out! Also taking part in activities is a great way to get to know your travel companions and make new friends. Nothing like a positive and supportive group environment to venture outside of your comfort zone and surprise yourself!

  • What is a Local Insider?

    We believe there’s no better way to discover a new place and a new culture than by experiencing it through the eyes and experience of a local. That’s why we only work with local guides - whom we name our Local Insiders. They know their region inside out and have a passion for sharing it with travellers. All our Local Insiders have years of experience guiding and speak English. Importantly, they like to travel the way we like it too: away from crowds, tourist traps and queues. Focussing on the true essence of a destination, teaching you all about the local culture and profusely sharing local hidden gems and insights.

Reviews of this operator


My experience with Culture Trips was outstanding!


My experience with Culture Trips was outstanding! I went on the trip to Iceland in 2021, my very first international trip, and it was absolutely incredible! I felt like it exceeded beyond all expectations. Culture Trips made the whole process of signing up for the trip very easy and understandable, and I always had great customer service whenever I reached out with a question. With the help of Culture Trips and our local insider, I felt like our travel group was well taken care of during the entire experience. Our itinerary was pack full of adventure and we learned so much about the Icelandic culture and nature by our incredible local insider guide. A truly unforgettable experience! Thank you all again for making this dream come true!

Ruby and Leslie  

Culture Trip didn’t miss a thing and I had stress free travel!


Culture Trip staff were so responsive and the insiders and local guides, even the drivers, were all excellent and professional and knowledgeable! They had every T crossed and I dotted and every single detail managed so I would have stress free travel. My group was friendly and the activities planned were aligned with the areas culture and history, and FOOD! I will use Culture Trip again and have referred them to many already. This overall experience was awesome!


My trip to Egypt with Culture Trip was one of the best trips I've ever done!


My trip to Egypt with Culture Trip was one of the best trips I've ever done! The accommodations, the activities, and especially the "local insider" guide were superb. Traveling in a small group (5 total on the tour) was so nice, I felt a bit sorry for other tourists being herded around in a big group on a big bus. We went on activities that you just couldn't do with a big group. Our local guide was more like a friend we all knew who lived there and was showing us his favorite places!

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Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Culture Trip allows you to make 5 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 55 days before the start of the tour.

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Culture Trip allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform culture trip, 55 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Culture Trip requires a minimum deposit of 100 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 55 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of culture trip charges.

    At 54 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 29 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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