Thank you so much for putting so much time into our trip. You have been so kind and have made this beautiful experience even better.
LEAF International Expedition Costa Rica
Custom Designed Itinerary
Full Time Interpreter
24 Hour Emergency Contact
Immerse yourself in the cultures, preservation methods, and musical traditions of the First Nations of Costa Rica! LEAF International Culture Keepers and youth feel that it’s important for LEAFers to visit the sites where programs are thriving, but most importantly, where indigenous cultures are illuminated through the art of their heritage.
Why Choose This Program:
LEAF International supports 3 programs in Costa Rica: 1) Bribri First Nation near the Caribbean and southern side of the country in Amubri, 2) Ngabe First Nation in La Casona, and 3) Cabecar First Nation in Ujarras & Chirripo
Meet and build meaningful connections with the First Nations of Costa Rica
Empower local culture keepers to preserve their sacred traditions, customs, land and language in their community
Explore the incredible biodiversity of Costa Rica, from waterfalls to beaches
Contribute to raising global awareness of indigenous communities and witness the importance of cultural preservation
All our tours are individually customized to your interests. While we loved guiding this private tour, it is purely an example of what can be possible and we will tailor your day to day program to your interests. If you would like to go on this tour, or a similar trip, please get in touch.
Min 10 | Max 15 people
How You’ll Travel
Private bus transportation and driver for long drives between San Jose and San Vito and Ujarras.
Number/Type of Staff
Supporting you on your journey will be a LEAF staff member, LEAF Culture Keepers and LEAF International partners. These trips are family-friendly, so bring your kids & their friends! Give them an opportunity to see the world as global citizens.
Please note that this is simply a sample itinerary to give you an idea of what we've done before and what we could create for you.
Day One: Explore Vibrant San Jose
On arrival in San Jose, we’ll make our way to our chosen hotel to recharge after our flight and get settled in. Depending on time of arrival, you may opt to spend the afternoon exploring some of Costa Rica’s gems, such as the Gold Museum which houses the largest collection of Pre-Columbian gold in the Americas, a lot of which dates back to 500 AD. You can even catch a glimpse of Costa Rica’s first coin! Alternatively, wander the vibrant streets at your own pace, and explore to your heart’s content before we reconvene in the evening with the rest of the LEAF Ambassador team for a welcome dinner!
Day Two: Costa Rica Cultural Orientation
After a morning breakfast at your hotel, we’ll make our way to a fair trade craft market, Galeria Namu, to witness the bringing together of local and indigenous artwork. The arts and crafts on display offer a fantastic insight into the cultures and traditions of Costa Rica’s native communities, and most importantly act as a secure source of income. Enjoy lunch at your place of choice, before a busy afternoon soaking up all the main sights, from the National Theater, to Plazas and the Main Cathedral. In the afternoon we’ll embark on a guided tour of the museums of Jade and Gold with Luis Porras, Director of LEAF International’s Costa Rica partner, who will provide an indigenous cultural presentation over dinner. To top off this incredible day of connection through the arts, enjoy a performance with Alexis Rodriguez, LEAF International teaching artist with the Ngabe First Nation. Witness how ancient traditions and elder voices are brought to life through modern music and visual prompts (for those who don’t speak the indigenous languages).
Day Three: Meet with the Ngabe Tribe
Meet with Alexis once again this morning to travel to four schools – San Miguel, San Fran, Majesa, & La Lucha – where he teaches and honors the Ngabe traditions. Located in the tropical rainforests, a visit to this community allows a greater understanding of the traditions, cultures, arts and foods which have been used for centuries here. There is a lot to learn from the tribe’s inherent means of living in harmony with their environment. Visit local coffee farms & local shops in town. Dinner this evening is accompanied by a cultural presentation by Alexis Rodriguez. This is not only a fantastic opportunity to witness an entirely different way of life, but also to cultivate and encourage global citizenship.
Day Four: Immerse Yourself in Cabecar Culture
Arise this morning for a trip to La Casona, the place of origin of the LEAF program! Located inside the impressive Santa Rosa National Park, which is renowned for its dry tropical forest, this is a fantastic opportunity to discover a traditional region remote from the pristine beaches Costa Rica is often known for. Next we’ll head to the rural village of Ujarras. Surrounded by the lush tropical foliage of the Orosi Valley in the province of Cartago, Ujarras is both a site of historical importance and in close proximity to many of Costa Rica’s natural gems. Here we will meet Cabecar Culture Keeper & Shaman Luis Salazar who dedicates his life to preserving the Cabecar culture. In a distant region, accessible only from the nearest road by a 22 mile hike, Luis teaches approximately 55 students traditional song & dance, and healing medicine. Enjoy an evening dinner and shaman presentation with this devoted culture keeper and discover the beauty and pride behind the Cabecar way of life.
Day Five: Take Part in Traditional Ceremonies
This morning offers a fantastic opportunity to explore the untouched and often wild nature in this remote region of Costa Rica. After breakfast we will set off on a morning hike with Luis Salazar, ultimately making our way to Namasku, to visit the spiritual medicinal school that he built. You won’t regret the hike to reach this isolated region! Take the opportunity to participate in traditional Cabecar ceremonies. There is no better way to explore and understand the complexities of this persevering tribe than to take part in the rituals which form a large part of daily life. A rewarding evening will be spent helping the community rebuild structures, providing a fantastic opportunity to speak to the locals and gain a greater insight into their traditional way of life. Today promises to be a rewarding and informative trip!
Day Six: An Exotic Retreat in Paradise
Awaken early this morning as we travel to the Pacific Coast! Prepare yourself for an exotic paradise as we explore the tropical beaches of Dominical. With deep blue seas, long sandy beaches and lush, green foliage, this region is a playground for wildlife and hiking enthusiasts. Choose to adventure in the surrounding nature or lounge on a deserted beach and unwind from modern life’s stresses. We’ll conclude the day with a group dinner to share highlights, thoughts, and gratitude.
Day Seven: Final Day
Unfortunately, this morning marks the end of our trip. Enjoy a final breakfast before departing for the airport. We hope you have enjoyed this cultural immersion in the ancient and persevering first nations of Costa Rica. Our LEAF trip is designed to inform and promote the importance of celebrating and protecting the indigenous communities of Costa Rica which are so often overlooked, and exploited, in this modern age. We hope you will return home with incredible memories of this remote and exotic region and with new friendships made!
Frequently Asked Questions
- Professional General Liability and Errors and Omissions Insurance Policy ($10,000,000)
- Private bus transportation and driver for long drives between San Jose and San Vito and Ujarras
- Accommodations in shared facilities or homestays on site (6 nights total) – San Jose Casa del Parque (2 nights), San Vito (2 nights), Ujarras (3 nights)
- Custom designed itinerary
- Entrance fees to all program sites and activities listed on the itinerary
- Demonstrations from LEAF International teaching artists and students
- Site visits to LEAF International programs
- Opportunities for free time on the beach (Dominical) and city exploration (San Jose)
- Full time local interpreter and cultural guide (Member of Proyecto Jirondai)
- Breakfast and dinner each day (lunches are on own)
- All taxes
- Complete tour participant accounting including an option to pay by credit card
- “Cancel for Any Reason Insurance” (CFAR) – Cancel up to 48 hours prior to departure and receive a 75% refund minus the insurance premiums. This applies to all travelers (except New York residents) and is included in the trip price
What's Not Included?
- Airfare and baggage fees (to be purchased at the discretion and responsibility of each participant)
- Customs and immigration fees at airports or border crossings
- Airport transfer to first night hotel (we will try to collect flight information from each traveler in an effort to help you share taxis with similar arrival times
- Various meals or drinks listed as “on own” in the itinerary when the group is dispersed for self-exploration
- Additional nights lodging or any additional days if one chooses to remain in country longer
What Should I Bring?
Refillable water bottle, good walking shoes. You must have a valid U.S. passport (not expiring in the next 6 months)
Good to Know Before You Go
• A full time local interpreter and cultural guide will accompany this trip.
• Remember to bring some cash/credit cards for lunches and additional food/drinks.
• Dietary requirements can be catered for – just let us know when booking.
• This itinerary is entirely flexible and customizable. Simply get in touch with a member of our staff to craft your ideal trip.
You made it look easy and handled all the unexpected events with calm professionalism. It was a “fantabulous” trip!
It’s been a pleasure seeing you almost every year, and witnessing your leadership & kindness. Thanks for making this a memorable tour for the girls.