This trip happened long ago. Please check out our 2014 Jewish trips!
Friday, May 24
Early arrival option:
Arrive a day early today and visit San Jose and spend Shabbat with the local Jewish Community.
Saturday, May 25
Welcome to Costa Rica!
Sunday, May 26
Monday, May 27
Tuesday, May 28
Today we will be heading south to the coast, and on the way go on a rafting adventure on the nearby Pacuare River, known as one of the top five rafting rivers in the world for its scenery and rapids (Class III-IV).
Late afternoon: we will arrive at Puerto Viejo on the southern Caribbean coast - one of the most happening places in Costa Rica - a place the international crowd blend with the local Latino, Afro-Caribbean and Bribri indigenous cultures, with its pristine coastline acting as a backdrop!
After dinner, enjoy live Reggae music with moijtos, daiquiris or fresh Pina Colada!
Wednesday, May 29
Morning: we will be participating in a service project with one of the indigenous communities living in the area: this could be helping to build a local school, working in a vegetable garden or tree nursery, or working with the folks from the Ara Project, the Great Green Macaw reintroduction team with the school kids. We are working with the Talamancan Association of Ecotourism and Conservation (ATEC) on the service project, and will have specifics as we get closer to the date of travel. During our time volunteering, we will learn about the Indigenous BriBri Tribal Area and the history of the native people of Costa Rica, the medicinal plants they use. We will end the day learning about the history and production of chocolate in the area– including tasting!
Afternoon: Free time on the amazing Caribbean beach. Options include:
Late afternoon: Time permitting, we will enjoy a sunset swim along the magnificent Punta Uva beach, thought by many as the most beautiful beach in Costa Rica!
Later, we will participate in a Koshe style Caribbean cooking lesson: using fish, fruits and veggies typical to Coastal Talamanca, you’ll learn to cook in the traditional Caribbean way from some of the local matriarchs - and enjoy a great meal afterwords.
Night : explore the town– all while taking in the special and laid back ambiance of Puerto Viejo. We may hit one of the bars, clubs, or live music venues that dot the town…
Thursday, May 30
Friday, May 31
This morning, we will visit the local Jaguar Rescue Center, a unique animal rescue center, where you will learn about (and hold!) some of the amazing animals (including monkeys) that call this area home.
After our visit, it is time to head up to Finca Rio Perla, A Jewish owned eco-farm up in the Caribbean Highlands. This is where we will spend Shabbat, and our last two nights in Costa Rica. After eating a delicious vegetarian lunch, today’s activities will include:
- Farm tour and orientation
- Horseback ride , followed by macadamia picking, fresh sugarcane tasting, a view of the big waterfall (over 100 ft!), and a hike to another waterfall where we will take a swim in the cool water and enjoy the rainforest around us.
- Tilapia fishing (tonight’s dinner- depending on fish availability)
- Festive Shabbat meal
- After dinner: Social activity and games - or just feel the serenity while lounging on the hammocks!
Saturday, June 1
Good morning Finca Rio Perla!
Today is our chill say – and depending on what you are up to, you can chill during the day, explore the area and/or partake in some farm activities:
Sunday, June 2
Time to say goodbye! We will leave Finca Rio Perla by 7:30 am, in time to make our flights back home.
**Please note that the time and location of an activity might change due to unexpected circumstances, such as inclement weather and hazardous road conditions.
The Caribbean Experience trip will take place from Saturday, May 25 to Sunday June 2, 2013 (8 nights in total; 9 nights for those wishing to arrive on Friday). We will be meeting at and leaving the San Jose (the capital) international airport (SJO).
We ask that you plan to be on a flight that will land in San Jose by 4 pm on May 24. If you decide to arrive a day earlier, please arrive by 3 pm on Friday so we can prepare for Shabbat. Your flight home should be no earlier than 12:30 pm on Sunday, June 2.
If you observe the Sabbath you have an option of arriving on Friday and spending the weekend in San Jose, attending services in the Jewish community – or arriving Sunday and joining the group in Puerto Viejo.
If you want to arrive a day or two earlier, or choose to leave later, please let us know how we can help you experience more of this magnificent country. We can arrange for a pick-up or drop-off in another part of San Jose at the beginning or end of the trip. Day trips from San Jose include the nearby volcanoes of Poas and Irazu. If you are interested in this option, please let us know!
- In San Jose, you will stay in a comfortable hotel which is walking distance from the Synagogue and a short ride from downtown, such as the La Sabana.
- On the Finca Rio Perla farm, guests will stay in rustic but comfortable rooms, with shared bathrooms and toilets.
- In Arenal, we will be staying Monte Real hotel, boasting magnificent views of the volcano and a tropical backyard with resident sloths.
- On the southern Caribbean coast we will be staying in a comfortable mid-level hotel, such as the elegant Namuwoki, or the Shawandha. We will be pairing up to share the rooms, though you might choose to be in a single room for an extra fee.
For your Costa Rica Experience, Greener Travel will provide you with an experienced group leader that will escort you for the length of your trip. In various activities, we use the best local specialty guides with years of expertise in introducing tourists to the natural beauty of Costa Rica. We work mostly with local guides as well as with tourism non-profit organizations such as ATEC, which make sure that the local indigenous communities benefit from tourism revenues while protecting the environment and the traditional way of life.
We provide all transfers during the week using an air conditioned van or minibus, driven by a bilingual driver / guide.
Before departing, you will receive a comprehensive list of suggested things to bring on the Costa Rica Experience.
A valid passport is required for all visitors to Costa Rica. Airlines traveling to Costa Rica require a passport valid for at least 6 months after the initial flight date in order to board the flight. US and Canadian citizens do not need a tourist visa to enter the country. Visitors from all other nationalities should check with the Costa Rican Embassy.
Weather on the tripshould be warm and comfortable. On the farm it will be 75 -85 f, though it cools off a bit at night, and on the coast should be a bit hotter. It is Costa Rica, and it can rain, so please bring a poncho or a light and breathable rain coat.
No immunizations, shots, inoculations or vaccinations are required to enter Costa Rica.
Costa Rica has the same electric system as the United States. Electric outlets are 120 volts / 60 Hz.
Drinking tap water is safe in Costa Rica, though the water on the coast (Caribbean) has an aftertaste and visitors tend to buy bottled water. We suggest you purchase a big water jug when you reach the coast (1 gallon) and use it to refill a smaller bottle – it saves money and is better for the environment. The hotel where we will be staying has a fridge where you will be able to chill your water and store food.
The Costa Rican currency is the colón (cólones in plural), and the exchange rate is about 500 to one USD. You can change dollars at the airport, or just use a bank/credit card and withdraw money at the airport. ATMs can be found all over Costa Rica. Keep in mind that there is a few dollars fee for international withdrawals, though from experience it could be safer to travel with a bank card then with a large sum of cash that can get lost/stolen. The hotels you will be staying in will have safes where we can leave valuables and passports during the day.