• El Encanto de la Piedra Blanca. CODECE. Rural Tourism in Escazu Costa Rica.
  • El Encanto de la Piedra Blanca. CODECE. Rural Tourism in Escazu Costa Rica.
  • El Encanto de la Piedra Blanca. CODECE. Rural Tourism in Escazu Costa Rica.

Tours

Magic Nights!

CODECEAt 7 p.m., the local guide from the Encanto de la Piedra Blanca will join the group at the Church of San Antonio de Escazú. Then, we will go to Barrio El Carmen. Once there, we will enjoy the panoramic view of San José. In the meantime, we will drink a delicious glass of homemade eggnog or wine, and one member of CODECE will give us a talk about their organization.

Enjoy a great variety of typical dinner, prepared by cooks from San Antonio de Escazú who partner in the project. In the outside area, a marimba player from the area will delight us with cheerful music. Undoubtedly this will be a magical night!

Duration: 2 hours
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Includes: local guide, folkloric dance group, typical dinner.

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The Full-Day Enchatment Tour!

In addition to learning about the great cultural richness of rural life in San Antonio de Escazu, explore the majestic hills that unfold on the beautiful town of Escazu!

CODECEAt 8 a.m., our local guide, who has lived his entire life in San Antonio de Escazu, will join the group in San Rafael. Here, he will begin to tell the history of Escazu. Once in San Antonio, we will visit the Catholic Church, which is a cultural heritage site and the Monument to Ox Drivers, sculpted by Mario Parra, who is National Award Sculpture – Aquileo Echeverría.

Then, we will go to the Encanto-Piedra Blanca/CODECE Offices, where one of the founders of CODECE will offer an interesting talk about the Association’s conservation efforts.

On this tour, we will visit the farm of ―Don‖ Luis Chacón, founder of CODECE. The farm is a roughly seven hectare family legacy, with four intermitant fresh-water springs. Two of these we will be able to see during our tour. Secondary forest is also part of Don Luis’ farm, which his family considers important to conserve—particularly because it is the only such section of forest in the surrounding area. Giant trees such as the Cedar, Yos, Taruá and Papaya can be seen, the later of which is reported to be a favorite for sloths, aroids (philodendron), begonias, milkweed and other plants, and is famous for housing monarch butterflies.

Here, we will follow a trail to the springs, where it is common to see a host of butterflies, including the Rusty-tipped Page (Siproeta epaphus). We may also observe Glasswinged butterflies, or ―espejitos‖ (Ithomia diaria) of the Heliconius genus, as well as Red Postman, or ―almendrita‖ (Heliconius erato). Surrounding this all are the calls of birds such as wrens, clay-colored robins, tropical screech owls, and others.

Following a path at was previously used by ox-cart drivers for hauling corn, beans and sugarcane to nearby cities, we will see two different landscapes—the Protected Zone, and the town of Bebedero.

The tour will also make a stop beside the imposing Yos tree, whose story of local hunters, otherwise known as ―pajareros‖, or birders, is reflected in the scars along its trunk… a story you’ll not want to miss!

At the end of the walk, an ox driver and his beautiful typical cart will be awaiting visitors to finish up with a ride. The next visit is to the masques factory, where we will learn more about the tradition of the masques and open-air festivals or ―turnos‖ in Costa Rica, and observe how these colorful masques (an important attraction in the festivities of Costa Ricanpeople) are manufactured. Visitors will participate in a masque-making contest and the winner will receive a nice surprise.

After the talk, the local guide will lead visitors to the "Don Torino’s sugar mill", which still uses oxen to get the juice of sugarcane. We will know how sugar cane is processed: how cane juice becomes the well known "tapa de dulce". To finish, we will enjoy, at the Cuevita de Zárate, a delicious typical lunch with ―olla de carne‖ prepared by excellent cooks of San Antonio de Escazú who partner in the project.

Approximated time: 6 to 7 hours
Schedule: from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
What is included? Local guide, hike, fruits and water, sugar mill visit, mask maker’s workshop, traditional lunch.
Difficulty level: medium. We recommend this tour for hikers lovers.
Recommendation: bring an extra pair of shoes and socks because during the hike we have to cross a river.

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A half-day Enchantment!

CODECEIn this visit, we will share the great cultural richness of rural life in San Antonio de Escazu.

The local guide at the Encanto, who has lived his entire life in San Antonio de Escazu, will join the group in San Rafael. Here, he will start to tell the history of Escazu. Once in San Antonio, we will visit the Catholic Church, which is a cultural heritage site and the Monument to Ox Drivers, sculpted by Mario Parra, who is National Award Sculpture -Aquileo Echeverría.

Then, we will go to the Cuevita de Zárate at the Encanto-Piedra Blanca/CODECE Offices, where we will all enjoy a delicious typical lunch with "olla de carne" prepared by excellent cooks of San Antonio de Escazu who partner in the project. A marimba player from the area will delight us with cheerful music. While we enjoy a delicious coffee, one of the founders of CODECE will give an interesting talk about the Association’s conservation efforts.

After the talk, the local guide will lead visitors to the "Don Torino’s sugar mill", which still uses oxen to process sugarcane juice. We will learn how sugarcane is processed, and how cane juice becomes the well known "tapa de dulce".

Then, we will visit a masquerade factory. Here, we will learn more about the tradition of the masques and open-air festivals or "turnos" in Costa Rica, and observe how these colorful masques (an important attraction in Costa Rican festivities) are manufactured. Visitors will participate in a masque-making contest and the winner will receive a nice surprise. This isan enriching experience in the picturesque "village of the witches"...San Antonio de Escazu!

Duration: about 3 hours
Schedule: from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Includes: local guide, entrance fee to the Sugar Mill, visit to the papier maché masks, lunch.
Dificulty level: none. We recommend this tour for any type of visitor.

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Traditional fruit harvest

CODECE

On this tour, we will visit "Don" Torino Alvaro, who has dedicated his life to the tasks of a typical rural farmer. His farm has two acres of crops such as sugarcane, coffee, lettuce, spinach, carrots and cilantro.

Don Torino’s concern for the environment has inspired him to protect the fresh-water springs and dense forest on his property.

Duration: about 2 hours and a half
Schedule: from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Includes: local guide, entrance fee to farm and a season snack.

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Cooking Lessons!

CODECE

San Antonio de Escazú has a great culinary tradition, and the partners at Encanto-Piedra Blanca have been able to take advantage of it! Learn withdoña Gladys and doña Maritza how to prepare long-time traditional dishes! "Bizcochos", "picadillo de arracache", tamales, coconut "cajeta", typical lunch in plantain leaves, fritters, "tamal asado" and many more delights!

This activity can be offered for lunch or dinner time.

Duration: 5 hours
Time: for lunch or dinner time.
Includes: the preparation of 5 recipes, natural drink, recipes copies, lunch or dinner.

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Reforesting Codecita – Volunteer for a day!

CODECEThis tour consists of a full day of volunteer work. We will visit the Codecita farm, located in the Escazu Hills Protected Zone. The farm— which aims to protect water resources, soil, flora and fauna—has been purchased by the local community, which organized and pooled its resources to buy the land. The site was previously used for pasture, which did not allow for forest regeneration, and includes a fresh-water spring, which reduces its flow significantly during the dry season.

Volunteers can walk along the trails and participate in the reforestation effort. Native trees and all the necessary tools for planting will be provided. After work, volunteers can snap a photo next to the tree that they planted, and CODECE will provide them with a copy. Follow-up is available on Facebook or via email, so that volunteers can see their tree’s progress in its new environment. Certificates are also provided, which include the species of tree that was planted. Lunch is included.

Duration: 5 hours
Time: we recommend starting this activity at 8:00 a.m.
Includes: trees, tools, certificate, lunch and local guide.

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Green Adventure educational tour: “Enjoy, learn, protect”

CODECE

This tour is directed toward educators who wish to transport the knowledge that they have acquired in the classroom into the field, although the general public is also welcome to participate. The main objective of this activity is to offer a variety of cultural and environmental topics such as water resources, man-made disasters, natural disasters, organic agriculture, flora and fauna and a visit to the snake and butterfly observatories. Each of these tours is accompanied by an educator, who is in charge of leading various activities and interpreting the different elements found along the way, according to each group’s individual interests.

As part of the educational tour, groups can visit the following places:

Herpetological Refuge: This site seeks to decrease the need for rescue centers in San José. The refuge promotes Costa Rica’s rich biodiversity by helping injured jungle animals so that they can be returned to their natural habitat. Enjoy a walk through the site, where you will find bird species such as parrots or macaws, as well as monkeys, snakes and crocodiles. Learn about the work that is going on at the refuge and be amazed by the survival stories of these unique animals.

CODECEButterfly Pavilion: This project is led by three women from the Belo Horizonte community in Escazu, who run a butterfly exhibit that also promotes the economic, touristic and social development of the country and the local community.

The ladies will first provide an introductory chat about the importance of butterflies. The tour will then move into the laboratory, where you can watch the metamorphosis close-up—from cocoon to an insect full of color, life and flight. Once in the butterfly garden, you can admire the variety of host plants, whose flowers provide nectar to the butterflies sothat they can feed, lay eggs and begin a new cycle of life.

Duration: 3 hours (it does not included the visit time in the butterfly garden or in the herpetological refuge)
Time: we recommend starting this activity at 8:00 a.m.
Includes: environment teacher and visit to the different areas.

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