If you would like a guide to help spot the quetzal or show you the covered bridge or the best vistas ask us to arrange this for you. Please mention if you speak Spanish or need an English guide. Our accompanying guides are First Aid certified and are very knowledgeable about the area and our destinations. (Half a day. Includes transportation)
Horseback Riding – rentals or guided tour
Costa Rica Holiday Homestays works with local horse owners and guides to arrange rentals and tours. Various destinations in the surrounding area including visits to Los Angeles, Canaan and various attractions along the way. Includes horse and guide for individuals or groups up to 6. Pick up and drop off from your homestay. (Tour of 2 or 3 hours available. Includes horse rental, guide).
Hot Pools (Aguas Termales GEVI)
A visit to the the beautifully tranquil waters of the hot-springs are just what’s needed after a long hike, to unwind, to savor the peace of the place. We can arrange your transportation to the springs, entrance, unlimited time to bathe and your guide. Open daily every day of the year from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m (includes transportation)
Guided visit to the beautiful Jardines Secretos
Klaus Siebert has developed a wonderful garden of fish-stocked pools, tropical plants and overhanging trees full of butterflies and birds. You will see among other varieties: heliconias, bromeliads, orchids, papyrus, lilies, wandering palm and ginger. Costa Rica Holiday Homestays will arrange for a knowledgeable horticultural guide for your visit to the Jardines Secretos. (1-2hours, easy walking. Includes transportation and guide.
Fishing/Lunch at Los Cocolisos Truchero
Fresh trout available to catch yourself at Los Cocolisos! This is a children’s favorite activity and a family dining outing! Normally open only at weekends let Costa Rica Holiday Homestays arrange your visit, delicious lunch and tour of the pools and beautiful gardens. (Includes transportation, fishing, lunch and guided tour.)
Hike to a coffee plantation and picking (in season)
The café cosecha (harvest) runs from late September to February. If you’re in the area at that time it is a wonderful experience to pick your own beans and experience what it’s like for most Ticos at coffee picking time. Don’t worry! We won’t complain if you can’t pick too much but we think you’ll agree the price of coffee is fair. Tour includes a guided visit to a working ‘cafetal’, equipment to harvest coffee, description of the cultivation of coffee and the processing, and a cup of joe and a snack to enjoy after your hard ‘day’s’ work! (approximately 2 hours. Includes guide, coffee-picking equipment, explanation of process and refreshment)
Visit to a historic, working trapiche (sugar mill)
Costa Rica produces sugar from sugar cane and in traditional villages like San Gerardo de Rivas you will still find working trapiches or sugar mills, some still powered by oxen (buyes) or horses. The sugar is extracted and boiled until it reaches an exact point to convert into ‘tapa dulce’ or the pure brown sugar blocks locally used to make agua dulce or in cookery. Tour the trapiche and watch the mill at work as well as taste the sugar at each stage of production – yum!! Hear stories from times gone by and even work the ox yourself! (approximately 3 hours. Includes guide, explanatory information to take away, transportation)
Options: Can be added to a Coffee Plantation tour in season. (5 hours) or visit to the nearby Aguas Termales GEVI.
Photography and bird-watching tours
Local birder David Elizondo can take you to find the birds on your list and assist with photography of birds or scenery. This is one of the hot spots for viewing quetzals, collared trogons, toucans, black turkey, hawks and hearing the beautiful song of the jilguero, and many other unique species (approximately 230) at close range. Tours vary according to distance and hiking ability and location preferred: choose between the National Park limits, Cloudbridge Reserve, El Pelicano Estate and local lanes. (2-3 hours, includes guide with telescopic equipment, transportation)
Swiss Cheese Factory in Canaan
Travelling back out of San Gerardo in the direction of the next village, Canaan you will find the Swiss Cheese Factory. The tour includes a visit to the dairy at milking time, tour and explanation of sustainable agriculture and the biogas converter, watch cheese being hand-made, learn how cheese matures and do a taste test. (3 hours. Includes transportation and guide.
Art is thriving in our region, in many different forms. One of the most notable artists is our neighbor Carmen Monge. Carmen paints in oils and acrylics and uses materials from nature, to achieve her unique folkloric style. Her paintings hang in a gorgeous gallery and Carmen herself will welcome you. Located in the nearby village of Los Angeles the tour is approximately 4 hours (walking) 2 hours by car. (Includes: gallery visit, tour of the garden and aviary, guide, refreshments and transportation.)
Finca El Higuerón:
This is a more challenging hike into the forested slopes surrounding San Gerardo. See some of the most panoramic views of the region, discover how local people tap into the fresh springs (nacientes) for the purest, crystalline water, visit the bat caves and see some of the region’s biggest higueros – massive and ancient oaks covered in strangler vines and epiphytes. Listen to stories of bygone days during your walk and see how agriculture is practiced high up on the hillsides. Located just 50 m from the Aguas Termales GEVI (hot-springs). (Walking tour: 3 hours – Includes: entrance, guided walk, bottled water, traditional refreshment, transportation.)
Galería de Arte y Cultura El Pelicano:
The owner and artist of El Pelicano Gallery, Don Rafael (fondly known as Macho) Elizondo, says that his well-known sculptured work started by chance – because of the inspiration of a grasshopper! He uses many woods, tree roots and stone for his materials – wherever he can see an image, even if you and I cannot! His talent and creativity has given rise to many adventures and experiences in his life. (Tour: approximately 45 minutes – 1 hour Includes entrance, guided tour, transportation.)
Once you’ve enjoyed ‘gallo pinto’ or fresh tortillas or arroz con pollo maybe you’ll want to know how to cook it! Cookery lessons can be arranged with your homestay family or in a group setting at the local Cafe Bambu, and are a great way to practice Spanish and get to know one another! (approximately one hour)