A “Tico” poses with his ox. While this photo only features one of his two hard working friends, the ox were amusingly named “rice” and “beans”.
We love coffee, so we had to go on a coffee tour when we visited the Santa Elena/Monteverde region of Costa Rica. The tour was actually a 3 in 1 deal because not only do you learn about the coffee plantation but you also learn a bit about how chocolate is harvested and the uses of cacoa. Lastly, you get to participate in making sugar cane juice and sampling its sweet, refreshing taste.
We booked the coffee tour through out hotel in Santa Elena. It was $30 per person for the two and a half hour tour. This included the shuttle to and from our hotel. The tourist infrastructure is a well oiled machine here in Costa Rica.
The man in the red shirt is Don Juan, the 70-year old man who owns and runs the “Don Juan Coffee Plantation”.
Row after row coffee grows. Coffee can only be grown within 20 degrees, either direction from the equator. It also requires volcanic soil.
High altitude doesn’t hurt either. In Costa Rica, by law, coffee plantations can only grow Arabica coffee. It is forbidden to grow Robusta coffee. This law is in place to ensure quality control of the coffee exported from Costa Rica. Arabica coffee is more delicate and flavourful.
Chris enjoying the coffee tour.
Costa Rica cofffee tour.
Our tour guide prepares the traditional hot chocolate. Chris and I loved it, but most of the tour found it too bitter. You have to like dark chocolate to appreciate the true taste of cocoa before milk and sugar are added.
It’s hard work squeezing the liquid out of sugar cane, but it’s definitely worth it for the sweet, refreshing juice.