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Costa Rica Community Fair Trade Adventure
Pristine white sand beaches, wildlife rich nature trails and green tropical rainforest provide the backdrop to this community-based small group tour. Far away from the tourist trails, this trip is filled with unusual experiences – from spending time with indigenous tribes to meeting the country’s Fair Trade farmers and artisans to swimming through crystal-blue waterfalls. You’ll see a richer side to the country on this Costa Rica community Fair Trade adventure.
- Hear the ancient stories of the Bribri indigenous tribe
- Learn how an organic cocoa cooperative on the Caribbean coast produces chocolate
- Hike beautiful nature trails
- Swim in crystal-blue waterfalls
- Learn (and taste) traditional Costa Rican recipes
- Catch lunch on a morning fishing trip
- Walk the Mirador El Pacifico Trail and cross a 127m long, 40m high suspension bridge with a staggering view of the Los Chorros waterfall
- Drink fresh pressed sugar cane and learn about medicinal plants at the Mirador Perla del Pacifico farm
The adventure begins in Palmichal de Acosta on a traditional campesino. This rural farm produces one of the best coffees in Costa Rica. You’ll help milk the cows and then learn how cheese is made. After a stunning drive along the Caribbean coast you’ll stay at an eco-lodge in Cahuita with fantastic views of the forest.
Those dreamed about white sandy beaches are up next as you spend the day in Cahuita National Park. There’s time for a dip in the ocean, a snooze on the beach, and a hike along some lovely nature trails.
In Bambu, an experienced local crew will load you into an indigenous canoe and sail you down the Yorkin River. Deep in the tropical rainforest you’ll find the Bribri tribe who are eager to show you their traditions and tell you their stories. You’ll end in San Jose with plenty of time to explore the Central Market and catch the remarkable views of the central valley on the Xandari Plantation.
Fair Trade is a major focus of this trip. Whether it’s meeting Panama’s Arakupa Kakonu community of women or touring a pineapple plantation in Juanilama Reserve, you’ll have a rare and wonderful opportunity to meet all kinds of artisans and farmers working to produce fair trade chocolate, coffee, and handicrafts. This operator works hard to create a fabulous adventure for you while also having a positive impact on locals and their environment. They emphasize small-scale and low impact which translates to intimate and deeply rewarding.
Day 1: Arrive San Jose. Transfer to your San Pedro homestay. Enjoy a home-cooked meal.
Day 2: Visit to Palmichal de Acosta
Get a glimpse into the traditional campesino way of life on a visit to a rural farm that produces one of Costa Rica’s best coffees. Learn about the production of artisanal cheese, milk a cow and take part in a cooking workshop to make ‘biscocho’, a traditional local snack, before returning to your homestay.
Days 3 – 4: San Jose to Cahuita
Journey along the Caribbean coast to an organic cocoa farm, then on to Cahuita, where you will stay in an eco-lodge with spectacular forest views. Spend a day in Cahuita National Park, relaxing on pristine white sand beaches and hiking nature trails, and help your hosts prepare a traditional dinner.
Days 5 – 6: Yorkin – experience Bribri paradise
Travel to Bambú, where an experienced local crew will sail you down the Yorkin River in an indigenous canoe. Venture deep into the tropical rainforest for a unique opportunity to meet members of the indigenous Bribri tribe, hear their ancient stories and learn about their traditions. The next day, hike into the forest and cross the river to meet Panama’s Arakupa Kakonu community of women, who will share tales of the Talamanca region. Return to Bambú by canoe and continue overland to Sarapiquí, where you will stay overnight at Finca Sura.
Days 7 – 8: Sarapiquí to Juanilama Reserve
Join the Gomez family for a participatory tour of their farm and the pineapple plantation, before catching your own fish for lunch. Continue to the Juanilama Rural Community and Reserve, where you stay overnight with local families. Get hands-on as you harvest tropical fruits and sugar cane, and learn to make cheese. Hike through the Juanilama Reserve and swim in the crystal waters of La Leona waterfall, before a handicraft workshop using petals, leaves and other natural debris.
Day 9: Juanilama Reserve to Quebrada Arroyo
Transfer to Londres de Quepos, then ride through untouched forests in a 4×4 vehicle to reach a remote village where the Quebrada Arroyo community live. Walk the Mirador El Pacifico Trail, swim in
beautiful natural pools, and dare to cross a 40m high, 127m long suspension bridge that offers amazing views of the Los Chorros Waterfall. In the evening, meet local vanilla farmers and enjoy a typical meal prepared on a wood stove. Stay in rustic huts at the Los Campesinos Lodge.
Day 10: Quebrada Arroyo – Los Campesinos
Tour the Mirador Perla del Pacífico farm where you can drink freshly pressed sugar cane juice, learn about the medicinal uses of various plants, and swim in a spectacular waterfall.
Day 11: San Jose
Return to San Jose to explore the city and its Central Market on a guided walking tour. Experience breathtaking views of the central valley from the Xandari Plantation, where you will stay overnight.
Day 12: Depart San Jose. Transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Group size: 4 to 10 travellers
Transport: Private transfers, coach, boat
Accommodation: Private double/twin room. Single supplement £185 per person (this can be waived if you’re happy to share with another solo traveller)
International flights: Prices for return London Gatwick – San Jose flights start from £580 per person with British Airways.
Tortuguero National Park (3 days) Observe an abundance of wildlife including monkeys, brightly-coloured butterflies, exotic flowers, caiman, sea turtles and more, as you journey through the national park by boat and on foot, and unwind at a Caribbean coast eco-lodge.
Manuel Antonio National Park (3 days) Visit Costa Rica’s smallest national park to horseback ride along stunning white sand beaches, kayak through lush mangroves and spot an unequalled array of wildlife – it’s home to more than 300 species.
Corcovado National Park & Caño Island (4 days) Spot monkeys and rare birds on a 7-8 hour hike through primary rainforest in Corcovado NP; explore the biological reserve of Caño Island; and finish with some snorkeling / diving to discover the island’s fascinating marine life and underwater caves, canyons and cliffs.
Dates: 14th – 25th May 2016
Price: From 1,595 GBP per person (excluding international flights)
We chose to offer trips by this innovative operator because we salute their mode and philosophy of travel. They are a social enterprise that puts local communities and the environment at the centre of its model. Profits are reinvested into the business and into community-led, productive projects in Latin America. Their mission is to contribute to the empowerment of local communities in Latin America by running an ethical business that provides rewarding and authentic experiences for discerning travellers. Oh, and because they have some of the most exciting and considered itineraries and trips we’ve ever found in this region!
Travelling with these guys is about travel that is smaller scale, much more human, and therefore much more enjoyable and unique. You will see astonishing landscapes, take part in exhilarating experiences, learn about amazing cultures, and enjoy many magical moments. But you will be doing that with, rather than against the grain of the local people, their communities, and customs. You will in fact be the guest of the locals and that means your whole perspective will be different.
Their name means “good living” in Quechua which for them, and us, embodies the idea of caring for people, cultures and nature – principles that are key to true, sustainable development.
Costa Rica Community Fair Trade Adventure
- Trip Code: AWA337
- Dates: 14th – 25th May 2016
- Price: 1,595 GBP
- Depart: San Jose, Costa Rica
- Arrive: San Jose, Costa Rica
- Length: 12 days
- Adventure: Experience Costa Rica’s incredible natural beauty, from its white beaches to wildlife-filled nature trails, as you meet with cocoa and coffee producers and mingle with indigenous tribes.