Costa Rica is not just an action and adventure destination, you can also find great culture. From coffee tours to train rides and artisan crafts, there is something to excite and interest the culture vulture in you.
Heart-pounding adventures and sun-dappled leisures are a traveler’s usual go-to activities for a Costa Rican vacation, but this tiny Central American nation can also serve up a healthy dose of culture. Do you fancy a glimpse into modern, Costa Rican life? Or, perhaps you’d like to travel back to the time of coffee barons and fanciful architecture? Or learn to ride like a cowboy and make sugar-cane juice with just oxen to help you? Costa Rica can do that.
Costa Rica’s cultural tours are not your average outings: They don’t take you to the fringes of local culture, but instead wrap you up in the sights, sounds and experiences of the nation’s past and present. The most iconic of these tours is a Costa Rican coffee tour: climb into the Central Valley mountains – the heart of coffee country, thanks to rich volcanic soils and cool temperatures. Observe coffee’s evolution from seed to cup – and taste a few roasts along the way – while your guide tells you of coffee’s long and storied history in Costa Rica.
In the waving grasses of sunny Guanacaste, another cultural icon awaits: the Costa Rican sabanero, or cowboy. Saddle up and ride over the fields with your sabanero guide and harvest sugarcane with a traditional trapiche, or manual mill (powered by oxen, not you!). And when your day in Costa Rica’s wild west is done, wind down the way Costa Rican cowboys have for decades: with festive dancing, traditional eats and a cool brew.
If you don’t have time for a dedicated culture tour, don’t worry: many of Costa Rica’s activities incorporate elements of the nation’s history, politics, and people. Swing by the National Theater, where marble and gold-leaf combine in a building worthy of any European city. A turtle nesting tour shares myriad local initiatives, both by law and people-powered, to protect these gentle marine giants. Hike the slopes of Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, and you’ll be hard-pressed not to spot a Costa Rican cowboy, riding his horse against the horizon’s backdrop. And stop into any restaurant, and order up a café chorreado: Costa Rican coffee, brewed through a traditional coffee “sock” – and the tastiest java you’ve ever sampled!