Some of the best-kept secrets of Costa Rica are located within a short distance of its capital city. While many think of San José as a necessary stopover, the central highlands that surround the city—where Finca Rosa Blanca is located—are home to cloud forest-covered volcanoes, rushing rivers, and colonial towns that capture the culture of Costa Rica. The lodge is well-located to explore it all, from artist workshops and hiking trails to its own coffee farm.
The following experiences are included in the cost of your stay.
Take a stroll on the trails throughout the property, examining the diverse flora and fauna—and the ubiquitous artwork—at your own pace. Stop at the spring-fed pool for a swim and a splash in its waterfall, and have a soak in the hot tub, taking in the forest views.
Put on your dancing shoes to join a dancer teacher and some local dancers for adult group lessons in salsa and merengue. You don’t need experience—or a partner—to participate.
Discover how Finca Rosa Blanca keeps its footprint light on a behind-the-scenes tour of the grounds. Peek into the organic greenhouse and garden, visit the recycling center, and see the red worms at work in the compost bins. Stop by the chicken coop—where eggs are gathered daily and find out how a silver/copper ionization filtration system keeps the pool clean without chemicals.
The following experiences are offered at an additional cost.
Follow a naturalist on a walk through the organic coffee farm, learning about innovative techniques that allow shade-grown coffee trees to flourish without the use of chemicals. Trace the life of a bean from harvest to mug, visiting the “beneficio” where the bean is processed, and then sit down for a “cupping” session to identify the nuanced flavors and aromas of freshly brewed coffee. If your visit coincides with the coffee harvest, you may have the chance to join in, picking beans alongside local families that come to help, and then enjoying a picnic together. *This activity is complimentary for guests who book through National Geographic.
Join the lodge’s bird expert for a walk through the grounds and the coffee farm, where some 130 species have been seen. Look for motmots, tanagers, parakeets, and much more, and learn how to distinguish their songs.
Head into the colonial towns of Barva and Heredia with a knowledgeable guide for a glimpse of everyday life in the Valle Central. Meander past stacks of tropical fruits and spices at the local market, and pay a visit to artisan workshops to see sculptors and mask-makers at work. Or travel to Sarchí to visit one of the oldest oxcart factories in Costa Rica, and learn about the critical role these decorated wooden wagons have played for centuries, transporting goods across Central America.
Set out on a volcano tour to the nearby peaks of Irazú and Barva, encountering rivers, waterfalls, crater lakes, and wildlife. Or hit the trail to explore a number of ecosystems on foot, hiking in the rain forests of Braulio Carillo National Park or to Bijagual Waterfall, or taking an easier path in Carara National Park or Tirimbina Reserve.
Some of the country’s top white-water destinations can be reached on a day trip from Finca Rosa Blanca, including the Pacuare, the Sarapiqui and the Tárcoles Rivers. A zip-lining adventure in the cloud forest canopy is also available, and will have you swinging over rivers and waterfalls on lines that reach up to 600 feet.
Delve into the agricultural roots of the Sarapiqui Area on a visit to a family-owned pineapple farm. Learn about the native plant species on a walk to the pineapple fields, and see how vanilla, peppercorn, and cacao are grown. Then enjoy a sampling of a luscious pineapple cut right from the plant. Or get a firsthand view of artisanal chocolate production, hearing the story of the post-colonial chocolate industry and watching cacao seeds be roasted, ground, and turned into chocolate. Samples included, of course.
Back at the lodge, try your hand at creating some Costa Rican dishes—with a gourmet twist, during an afternoon cooking class with the lodge’s chef de cuisine, Rubén Villegas.
The lodge’s restaurant, El Tigre Vestido and Bar Búho, is a destination unto itself, where excellent cuisine is complemented by spectacular, sweeping views of the valley below. Choose a table on the open-air deck or within the owners’ former home, cozy with fireplaces and couches, and enjoy the acclaimed creations of Le Cordon Bleu-trained Costa Rican chef Rubén Villegas. He uses ingredients from the greenhouse, garden, and coffee plantation—as well as others procured from local farmers—to craft local dishes fused with an international flair.
Breakfast and a coffee and cookie break every afternoon are included in your stay, and both feature homemade goodies and coffee produced at the farm. Guests can opt to take part in the popular Chef’s Table, a seven-course meal with wine pairings that features locally inspired dishes concocted on the spot at the open kitchen counter.
The elegant El Targuá Wellness Retreat provides a variety of spa services and therapies, including hot stone aromatherapy massage, a coffee and chocolate body scrub, and personalized yoga classes.
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