Explore Costa Rica’s culinary world and learn along side local home cooks and chefs about the beauty of tropical ingredients. Uncover the endless connections between Costa Rica’s ecology, gastronomy, and society.
Primary Location: Atenas, Costa Rica
Length: 10 days
Highlights: Visits and tastings at organic coffee farm, chocolate/cacao farm, and farmer’s markets; hands-on cooking lessons and discussions with local cooks, chefs, and nutritionist; authentic homestay experience; Spanish lessons; visits to national parks; community service
Due to the customized nature of each program, prices and itineraries are subject to change. For more details please contact Immersion Abroad Costa Rica. Special discounts for groups 10 and larger.
DAY 1 Welcome – ¡Bienvenidos!
Arrive in San Jose and meet your Immersion Abroad Costa Rica (IACR) coordinator at the airport. Travel to the IACR Program Center in Atenas for an authentic Costa Rican meal and important trip orientation. Your host family will pick you up to experience your first night in your new “Tico” home.
DAY 2 Exploring Language and Community
Participate in fun and engaging food-related Spanish lessons followed by guided orientation activity of the quaint, friendly town of Atenas. Enjoy a traditional lunch experience at the colorful central market sodas, small kitchen-like deli’s integral to Costa Rican cuisine.An afternoon lesson and discussion will focus on Costa Rican food production and economic impact.
DAY 3 Central Market and San Jose Tour
Today we will experience the hustle and bustle of Costa Rica’s central food distribution market. We will witness first-hand as culinary professionals negotiate and purchase the best produce and meat for their restaurants and kitchens. The afternoon will include a tour of the capital city of San Jose and a lively discussion on the localization of the fast-food industry in Costa Rica.
DAY 4 Culinary School Collaborations and Dance Workshop
This morning you will engage in a special culinary exchange with Costa Rican culinary arts students. Activities will include a lesson on food preparation standards as well as a chance to prepare local specialties such as gallo pinto. We will wrap up the day with an energizing Latin dance workshop for a better understanding Costa Rica’s rhythmic culture.
DAY 5 Organic Coffee Farm, Cooking Class, and Chef Visit in San Jose
Today offers a one-of-a-kind learning experience at a local organic coffee farm. Learn about sustainable cultivation techniques and discover why coffee is one of Costa Rica’s most important exports. Sample different types of roasted coffee and enjoy a casual family-style lunch beneath the beautiful shade-grown coffee trees. This afternoon also includes a cooking class at a prestigious cooking school and dinner/discussion with a local San Jose restaurant chef.
DAY 6 Discovering Costa Rica Local to Global
Prepare for a colorful morning as we explore the farmer’s market in the heart of Atenas. You will have a chance to purchase and sample some of the most exquisite tropical fruits and vegetables in Costa Rica. You will see just how the people of Atenas shop for the best fruit, vegetables, cheese, plants, and of course prices. After the farmer’s market we will prepare and serve a meal at the local soup kitchen then wrap up the day with a presentation by a local nutritionist.
DAY 7 Volcan Poás and Chilamate
Enjoy an unforgettable visit to Volcano Poás by hiking to the rim of this world’s largest and most accessible volcanic crater. Following our visit we will work our way up to the Caribbean coast for an exciting adventure along the Amarillo River. We will end the day with a lesson on eco-tourism and the green-washing impact on local and global society.
DAY 8 Chocolate Tour and Nature Pavilion
No Costa Rican experience is complete without a chocolate tour in the rainforest. Get to know the country’s ancient chocolate currency, the “cacao fruit”, and its impact on the country’s history and commerce. We will finish the day at the breathtaking Costa Rica Nature Pavilion, a National Geographic destination site and central home to over 225 bird species.
DAY 9 Playa Herradura and Zip Line
We begin today’s adventure with a scenic drive to Herradura Beach where you will have a chance to swim, play beach soccer, or just stroll the warm tropical sands that hug the Pacific waters. Before arriving at the beach we will stop for a unique zip-line tour through the rainforest canopy. Our evening will include a final meal and celebration together.
DAY 10 Departure Home
IACR staff will take you to the San Jose International Airport where we will say our final adiós.