I’d travelled to Costa Rica twice before, but on my third visit, I had three specific things on my mind: adventure, nature, and coffee. As a lifelong coffee drinker, one of my favourite travel experiences is purchasing local beans to liven up my morning cup when I get back home. The process that brings those little red beans from the distant fields to my mug has always fascinated me, and Costa Rica produces some of the very best in the world.
What’s always troubled me, though, is that most of the world’s coffee beans are farmed, processed, and exported by large – and often foreign-owned – corporations. And while there are plenty of Costa Rican coffee tours that show you the process up-close, few have that genuine, authentic feel I crave. I’m all for supporting the little guy, and the people who work from sunup to sundown to make our sleepy mornings more manageable deserve to have their stories told. Those stories are the real heart of countries like Costa Rica, and I’m thrilled to report that Mi Cafecito – a project supported by Planeterra and the Multilateral Investment Fund and accessed by several G Adventures trips – is the real deal.
The coffee tour takes you from the fields through to the drying and roasting process, and it’s a humbling experience to witness how much work goes into making your morning cup of joe. Included in the tour is a delicious lunch at a community restaurant (that serves, among other things, the freshest tilapia I’ve ever had), and, of course, a coffee-tasting on the balcony overlooking the plantation and the surrounding rainforest. And the project’s shop? Dios mío! I filled my backpack with enough beans to last me several months back home.
But the experience isn’t limited solely to the plantation. In the nearby town, we visited a local women’s cooperative that produces organic soaps where you can watch the women work and ask questions about the process and daily life in the Sarapiquí rainforest. (Needless to say, I had to find more room in my back to load up on homemade soaps and shampoo, too.)
In my ten years with G Adventures, I’ve worked closely with Planeterra to incorporate their projects into the trips I design. These experiences give our travellers a truly authentic experience, allowing them to support local communities through social enterprise, and provide fun that is rewarding to all involved. Want something real? Pick a trip with a Planeterra project visit next time! Nothing gets you closer to what really matters.
G Adventures runs a number of departures to Costa Rica encompassing a wide range of departure dates and activities to cater for different tastes. We’re thrilled at the prospect of showing you Costa Rica as you’ve never seen it — check out our small group trips here.