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! Meet & Greet, and Costa Rica Orientation with Luis Porras, LEAF International Costa Rica partner & founder of Proyecto Jirondai.
Morning breakfast & intention setting.
Travel South to San Vito (roughly 5 hours) to meet Ngäbe-Buglé Culture Keeper, Alexis Rodriguez. Guided tour of San Vito with Alexis. En Route, see the famous crocodiles on the Rio Tarcoles. Dinner and Ngäbe-Buglé Culture presentation with Alexis & Luis Porras Mora.
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. Meet Alexis’s students and witness demonstrations of what their learning to preserve their culture and traditions. Visit local coffee farms & local shops in town. Dinner this evening is accompanied by a language 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.
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. Luis’s home base in the Chirripo River valley is 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. At the more accessible Ujarras, enjoy an evening dinner and shaman presentation with this devoted culture keeper and discover the beauty and pride behind the Cabecar way of life.
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, such as the traditional conical house (The conical house is a symbolic representation of the universe in many indigenous First Nations.), 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!
Morning meditation ceremony with Luis S. In the afternoon, we travel to the Pacific Coast! Prepare yourself for an exotic paradise as we explore the tropical beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park. 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.
Embrace a day of fun in the sun. Relax on the beach, visit the national park, tour the biological forest reserve, or seek out your own fun adventure as this region is a treasure for biodiversity.
Morning travel to San Jose. Evening exploration on your own. Final group dinner at Sikwa Restaurant (This restaurant specializes in ancestral-inspired dishes.) Storytime – Highlights, thoughts, & gratitude.
Unfortunately, this morning marks the end of our trip. Enjoy a final breakfast before departing for the airport, depending the time of your flight. 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!