EcotourismCosta Rica has become synonymous with ecotourism and remains world famous as an ecotourism destination.  There are various definitions of this vibrant movement that is often defined by its lack of definition.  Ecotourism is typically defined as travel to destinations where the flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions. Costa Rica is an international leader on green issues protecting over 25% of its national territory within national parks and biological reserves and possessing the greatest density of species in the world. Government programs have helped Costa Rica reforest. Trees now cover 51 percent of the country, a 10 percent increase over the last decade. The country generates 78 percent of its energy with hydroelectric power and another 18 percent by wind or geothermal power. And on June 7, 2007, President Oscar Arias announced his intention to make Costa Rica carbon neutral by 2021, the year of its 200th anniversary.

Costa Rica now draws over 1.9 million foreign visitors a year (2007) and tourism has surpassed bananas and coffee fueling much of the Costa Rican economy.  Tourists enjoy a  variety of activities including horseback riding, hiking mountainous paths in the cloud forests, guided bird-watching tours, canopy tours, river rafting and surfing. While these activities bring you closer to Costa Rica’s natural world, the people and culture are it’s true and unique natural resource.

The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) defines ecotourism as “Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” Good ecotourists patronize local businesses and buy local products whenever possible.

Living among the culture in San Ramon is the ultimate expression of eco-tourism. We offer you an easy and secure way to integrate into the local culture in a community that is known by other Costa Ricans as the cultural heart of the nation. While many areas of Costa Rica have been overly developed for tourists, San Ramon remains relatively untouched. It has retained its laid-back Pura Vida life style and affordability.

We have spent over eight years in San Ramon, walking the streets and living in the community. We want to share with you all the people and services that make our life in San Ramon so special. Among the things we enjoy are shopping at the Farmers Market, twice-weekly massages, trips to the local hot springs, evenings at our favorite restaurant, and more.


“Rural community tourism is a very interesting alternative that enables us to improve our competitive edge in Central America and the world.”
By Alberto López/ CANATUR



MARCH 25th, 2015- MARCH 31st,  2015: $1,495.00 USD


Day 1 – Fly into Juan Santa Maria Airport (SJO)  where your driver will be awaiting your arrival with sign in-hand. Begin your journey driving up to San Ramon de Alajuela, a scenic 45 minute drive up into the mountains at an elevation of approximately 3,600 feet.  Settle in and enjoy some refreshments on an ocean-view terrace, where a delicious and healthy dinner will be served at sunset!! Massages can be scheduled in advance of your arrival if you want to work out some of the travel kinks. 

Day 2 – Wake up to the smell of freshly brewed Costa Rican coffee and fuel yourself for the day ahead with a typical and hearty breakfast. Today we will take you back in time. Enter a town where the primary mode of transport is still the oxcart.  Take a magical horseback ride through the rain forest  as your guide points out the colorful species of birds, exotic flora, and fauna.  Relax at a sacred waterfall as you enjoy some freshly picked fruit.  Eat lunch at a local trout farm where you have the option of catching your own fish!!  After lunch head into the center of the bustling town of San Ramon to explore its historic and beautiful church across the road from the central park. Go to the  museum to learn more about the town of poets and presidents and then rest a little while you “people watch” from a sun-warmed, concrete park bench.  Dinner will be served at sunset.

Day 3 – Your driver will pick you up bright and early after and after you have enjoyed your Costa Rican breakfast. Today is a beach day! Take a boat ride to Tortuga Island to enjoy some snorkeling, sunshine, swimming and a healthy lunch! After your big dose of Vitamin D from all that sunshine, your driver will bring you back up into the mountains of San Ramon for dinner and a good night’s rest.

Day 4 – Breakfast Costa Rican style. Then, journey up to an even higher elevation to visit the VERY active Poas Volcano. Weather and volcanic activity permitting , you will get a bird’s eye view of its blue crater.  Hike through the enchanted trails on your way out of this national park. Eat lunch at a local soda (diner). Get an afternoon “pick-me-up” as you tour a local coffee plantation. Head back to San Ramon for dinner and a good night’s rest.

Day 5 – Rise and shine! Fuel your body and awaken your senses. You’re going zip-lining through the lush canopy today! Afterwards, eat a well deserved lunch before heading up to the town of La Fortuna to soak your muscles in some natural, volcanic hot-springs. Dine at a local restaurant. Spend the night at a nice hotel in La Fortuna, situated at the foot of the Arenal Volcano. Rest.

Day 6 – Spend the day in La Fortuna. This is a free day. Do as you choose. Many possibilities here. Some options include shopping, kayaking, swimming, or more soaking in the mineral rich hot-springs.  You can do as much or as little as you want today. In the late afternoon we head back to San Ramon for a tasty dinner and your last night of rest in one of the best year-round climates in the world.

Day 7 – Spend the morning eating breakfast, taking a walk, getting a massage or just relaxing.  We will gladly bring you to a souvenir shop on your way to the airport. You will be sent off with unforgettable, dream-like memories of your visit to the land of PURA VIDA!


Friends in the Trees Hot Springs***This tour includes all meals and beverages (limit one drink per meal, alcohol OK) , transportation, excursions, park entry fees and tips. 

***What is not included in tour price? Prices do not include air travel, country entry or departure fees, airport porters, visas, phone calls, valet, laundry, personal items, massages, extra food, additional drinks or alcohol.





What to bring? Passport, bathing suit, sunblock, sweater, raincoat or poncho, comfortable walking or hiking shoes, bug repellent, and an attitude of adventurism. Please contact Anna Maria Gillespie at to reserve your spot. Space is limited. PURA VIDA!!!


Volcan Poas


Ecotourism Resources

Conservation International – Sustainable agriculture resources:
Galeria Namu – Indigenous art gallery:
Intercultura & Samara Language School:
CONSERVacations – tourism benefiting rural communities-
Rough Guide to Costa Rica – Ecotourism resource:
Sustainable Tourism Certification: turismosostenible
Habitat for Humanity Costa Rica:
Earth Universtiy – A private University dedicated to education on sustainable agriculture and resources with strong Internationa exhange programs: earth university
Eco-Index of Sustainable Tourism – Rainforest Alliance list of environmentally and socially Responsible tourism businesses:
Go Eco-homes Costa Rica – Re-cycled shipping container homes:
Global Exchange – social, economic and environmental justice
Rustic Pathways – A volunteer program for high school students:
Vita al Bosque in La Paz, San Ramon offers rural tours of La Paz and the forest reserve: Vista al Bosque
Arenal Observatory Lodge – former research station: arenalobservatory