San Antonio de Escazú, Costa Rica

El Encanto Full-Day Enchantment Tour

Full Day | Cultural Activities, Hiking and Wildlife Viewing

Just 15 minutes from the capital of San José, you will find San Antonio de Escazú. You will get to see the other side of the capital —a rural San José— where people maintain their most authentic traditions. Calm and simple life reigns here, and people are willing to share their way of life.

San Antonio is a town of great cultural richness and fine traditions, such as sugar mills, wooden carts, typical meals, masquerades, adobe houses and interesting legends. In addition to learning about the great cultural richness of rural life in San Antonio de Escazú, explore the majestic hills that unfold on the beautiful town of Escazú!

Right for You?


Full Day

Travel Style

Cultural Immersion and Active Adventure


English-speaking guides are available for an extra cost.

Physical Activity

Moderate activity


Wifi: None
Cell: Limited


Locally Owned Community Association
Starts at:


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Speaks: Spanish


  • Historical monuments in San Antonio
  • Visit the farm of “Don” Luis Chacón, founder of CODECE
  • Observe a variety of butterflies and birds
  • An ox driver will take you for a ride in his beautiful typical cart
  • Visit a mask factory
  • Learn how sugar can is processed by visiting “Don Torino’s sugar mill”, which still uses oxen to get the juice of sugarcane
  • Delicious typical lunch with “olla de carne” prepared by excellent cooks of San Antonio de Escazú



Start time is 8 a.m.


Flexible Departure Date
All year


2 travelers minimum

At 8 am, our local guide, who has lived his entire life in San Antonio de Escazú, will join the group in San Rafael. Here, he will begin to tell the history of Escazú. Once in San Antonio, you 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, you 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, you 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 you 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, you will follow a trail to the springs, where it is common to see a host of butterflies, including the Rusty-tipped Page. We may also observe Glasswinged butterflies, or “espejitos” (Ithomia diaria) of the Heliconius genus, as well as Red Postman, or “almendrita”. 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, you 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 you 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 Rican people) 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. You will discover how sugar cane is processed: how it becomes the well known “tapa de dulce”. To finish off, you 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.

What's Included




Farm Visit, Cultural Activities, Community Visit, Class/Workshop, Birdwatching, Getting to Know Locals, Hiking and Wildlife Viewing


Bilingual guide (extra $)


Snacks and lunch.


Hike and Other local transport

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Your Local Host


Locally Owned Community Association

ACTUAR (Costa Rican Association of Rural and Community Tourism) supports a network of over 40 partner communities across Costa Rica. They offer innovative and customized programs for visitors who wish to live authentic experiences of Costa Rican culture and experience the local charm. They combine the great classics of Costa Rica ecotourism and visiting destinations in rural communities, planning fun, educational trips that promote a harmonious relationship between conservation and rural development.

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Getting There

Transport options

Drive, Bus and Get picked up (extra $)
Escazú is located southwest of the capital of Costa Rica. The offices are located 300 meters west and 125 meters south of the Catholic Church of San Antonio de Escazú. Buses are also available from San José.