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The ultimate day in Costa Rica for coffee lovers

Costa Rica

One of the largest coffee producer in the world, tiny Costa Rica has long been a draw for anyone looking to understand how coffee is transformed from a cherry-like fruit into a magical elixir. For true aficionados, a stay at Finca Rosa Blanca, an organic coffee plantation resort on the outskirts of San Jose, is the ultimate immersion.

The resort is just 30 minutes from San Jose's bustling downtown, close enough to drive over for dinner, the bucolic setting feels far the big city. Perched high over the lush Central Valley and down the road from the Barva Volcano, dawn at Finca Rosa Blanca is greeted by an exuberant chorus of summer tanagers and blue-crowned motmots. Each guest room includes coffee grown, roasted, and ground onsite, with a French press, so guests can enjoy their first cup in privacy, overlooking the jungle.

Recently named to the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World Collection, each room at Finca Rosa Blanca is different, with high ceilings and curing walls full of local tile work and crafts as well as art — painted by owner Glenn Jampol — depicting the surrounding landscapes and coffee plants.

But the real star is the coffee

The property boasts 30 acres of Arabica coffee plants. It's a hilly hike through more than 50 species of trees — including mango, avocado, and citrus — to learn about Finca Rosa Blanca's organic practices. The diverse foliage cuts the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air and promotes healthier, richer soil without the need for fertilizer, while also attracting more than 130 species of birds, further boosting natural plant growth. The shade means the fruit ripens more slowly, with more concentrated flavors.

The harvest happens between the months of November and January. If you're not lucky enough to visit then, the tour still encompasses the full experience, from plant to grind. Post-tour, it's time for a cupping session, where guests learn how to sniff, slurp, and taste coffee like a professional, to discern its unique aromas and flavors. What smells on first blush like any other cup at first may reveal something far more nuanced, with undertones of honey, orange, hazelnuts, and even tobacco or rubber, depending on the quality of the beans and how they are roasted.

Fly to Costa Rica for only 25,000 Aventura Points±!

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Campobaja's Oyster Workshop, Taste of the Sea in the Heart of Mexico City

Campobaja

Mexico City's restaurant scene feeds the obsession of culinary travelers by celebrating a wealth of native delicacies. For the elite chefs of the capital, one alarming trend is seeing the best of their locally produced ingredients shipped off to higher paying markets. Campobaja's chef-owner, Ezequiel Hernández shares his passion for the country's best with guests at his exclusive oyster workshop chef table events.

“The people forget what real food taste like, they forget their heritage if we don't save some for ourselves," says Hernández of his beloved treasures of the sea.

Hernández grew up in a small fishing village on the Baja coast, following his father as he toiled in the family seafood business. His interest in restaurants grew as he did, trying every position from front of house to cook to manager. After college, he explored his heritage, and the culinary scene, of his father's native Oaxaca before finding his true home in Mexico City as the chef-owner of the restaurant, Campobaja.

Missing the briny, buttery goodness of the fresh oysters from the West Coast, Hernández enlisted his family and friends to bring a taste of the coast to his hip eatery. One cousin dives for shellfish inside Baja's protected bays. Another harvests oysters via seeded ropes accessed by boat.

"I personally love a flour tortilla, but with the altitude [in Mexico City] they could not rise," lamented Hernández. Soon neighborhood women from home were rolling and flattening endless stacks of fresh tortillas to join the crates of seafood. The family business now focuses on providing the best of Baja, to the best kitchens in Mexico City.

Hernández also educates visitors at his trendy Campobaja eatery through oyster tasting workshops. Guests belly up to a U-shaped communal table facing the open kitchen. The table, made with recycled wooden planks from fishing boats, is an homage to the sea.

Fly to Mexico City for only 25,000 Aventura Points±!

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Speakeasies of Mexico City: Five Hotspots You Can't Miss (but Might)

Mexico city

Mexico City's speakeasies are having a momento. With creative subterfuge rivaling the days of the actual prohibition, experiencing these cocktail-forward clubs lends an insider flavor to any visit to this lively capital. Share the daily password to slip into a walk-in freezer in the back of a rotisserie joint, stumble out of a soda machine to a taqueria crowd yelling and pointing at the newcomer, or become a member to slip through the doors of a historic mansion.

A night out in Mexico City's speakeasies will leave the adventure travel buff some serious stories to tell (or not). These hidden hideaways feature beats from top DJs and the talents of leather apron'd mixologists. Chemistry, fire, clouds of smoke, even the occasional vial of tarantula venom, are part of the art of the finely-crafted cocktails on offer.

Hanky Panky

Somewhere in Londres, Juárez, 06600

The only way to snag the address to the exclusive Hanky Panky is to make a phone reservation or apply for membership. Even with the address, it would be understandable to take pause at the entrance, hidden behind a flat, seemingly solid black wall that opens via a keypad. The keypad code changes nightly. Inside, a polished crowd enjoys the luxe red velvet, brass-mirrored club. The namesake cocktail of Italian vermouth, Fernet-Branca and gin was first served at The Savoy in London. But The Savoy never asked patrons to exit through a busy taqueria's soda cooler.

Taberna Luciferina

Calle Lucerna 34, Juárez, 06600 Colonia Juárez

Set inside a 1900's mansion, this urban tavern revels in an atmosphere of industrial-meets-mystical. Mixologists uses techniques and ingredients inspired by medieval alchemy to concoct a menu of “elixirs" said to offer virtues such as love and fortune. The brave can try the"Aragog," a martini with tarantula venom-infused grenadine that numbs the lips. Weathered skull candleholders and torches on the walls add to the vibe, which draws a glam crowd and occasional liquor hawkers that storm the place dressed as Ghostbusters, doctors, or secret agents.

Fly to Mexico City for only 25,000 Aventura Points±!

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Sayulita, Puerta Vallarta's Surf Town Oasis

Puerta Vallarta

Puerta Vallarta is the gateway to Mexico's West Coast playground of Riviera Nayarit. This land of luxury hotels and inclusive resorts is bordered by golden shores, manicured golf courses and peaks of verdant Sierra Madre rainforest. The average traveler can simply settle in to soak up some rays and a few poolside margaritas.

But for a real taste of creative Mexico, travelers should set their sights on Sayulita, a hip and laid back town of adventure on Banderas Bay where surfers, locals and wealthy tourists stroll cobblestone streets under fluttering banderas. Activities abound in this quirky town where festivals, parades, fresh food, live music and barefoot nonchalance reign, waiting for the traveler who appreciates LUXURY, but craves adventure.

Set Sail for a Good Time

Sayulita offers well-paced, consistent swells for surfers, with plentiful dolphin and humpback whale spotting opportunities for those wanting a lazy day of boating. Amp up the adrenaline with Sinfonia Nautica learning to performance sail on a racing yacht. Banderas Bay, highly regarded among world sailors for its steady and strong breezes, hosts the Bahia de Banderas International Regatta sailing race each year.

Visitors can get a taste of the action learning on a J105 yacht. On the water, the front spinnaker sail maneuvers that lead to a sense of flying. The experienced yachtsman challenges crew from newbies to pros to push the yacht to her limits on the famous sailing bay.

The Amor Boutique Hotel overlooks the picturesque bay, with 22 oceanfront luxury villas offering one to seven bedrooms, featuring private pools and expansive balconies for sunset toasts. Complimentary al fresco yoga classes, stand up paddleboarding launching from the beach below, and a wide selection of loaner surfboards are a few perks. The hotel's surf concierge can offer insider tips to find secret spots based on experience and weather and water conditions.

Fly to Puerta Vallarta for only 30,000 Aventura Points±!

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Take flight! Which sunny destination will you choose?

Guadalajara
GUADALAJARA
25,000 pts
Costa Rica
COSTA RICA
25,000 pts
Panama
PANAMA
25,000 pts
El Salvador
EL SALVADOR
25,000 pts
Bogota
BOGOTA
25,000 pts
Colombia
COLOMBIA
25,000 pts
Mexico
MEXICO CITY
25,000 pts
Queretaro
QUERETARO
25,000 pts
Leon
LEON
25,000 pts
San Luis Potosi
SAN LUIS POTOSI
25,000 pts
Zacatecas
ZACATECAS
25,000 pts
Nicaragua
NICARAGUA
30,000 pts
Honduras
HONDURAS
30,000 pts
La Habana Cuba
LA HABANA
30,000 pts
Puerto Vallarta
PUERTO VALLARTA
30,000 pts
Los Cabos
LOS CABOS
30,000 pts
Cancun
CANCUN
30,000 pts
Quito Ecuador
QUITO
35,000 pts
Santo Domingo
SANTO DOMINGO
35,000 pts
Lima Peru
LIMA
35,000 pts
Acapulco
ACAPULCO
40,000 pts
Ixtapa Zihuatanejo
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO
40,000 pts
Huatulco
HUATULCO
40,000 pts
Manzanillo
MANZANILLO
40,000 pts
Santiago Chile
SANTIAGO
60,000 pts
SÃO PAULO
SÃO PAULO
60,000 pts
Buenos Aires Argentina
BUENOS AIRES
60,000 pts
La Paz
LA PAZ
55,000 pts
Mazatlan
MAZATLAN
55,000 pts