The cacao bean is one of Costa Rica’s most delightful, natural treats; take a chocolate tour in Costa Rica and discover the bounty
When Costa Rica comes to mind, chocolate isn’t usually among thoughts of monkeys, sloths, waterfalls, beaches and zipline tours. Nevertheless, cacao (from which chocolate is made) is among Costa Rica’s most delicious agricultural crops and a tour of a cacao facility can be every bit as fun as hiking through a rainforest!
In fact, before bananas and coffee became the leading exports from Costa Rica, Cacao was number one. Unlike other Latin American countries that grow and export cacao, Costa Rica is able to grow the cacao bean in multiple regions throughout the country, with bountiful plantations in Guanacaste, Alajuela, Talamanca, Cartago, and Puntarenas.
Unfortunately, Costa Rica nearly lost its cacao trees altogether in the late 1970s when a fungus destroyed more than 80% of the country’s cacao trees. It’s been a long road to recovery, but the industry has recovered, albeit not to the extent that it was back in the day, and today visitors can enjoy the taste of locally produced chocolate goods and even visit plantations to see how the bean is harvested and processed.
Costa Rican Cacao- Did you know?
Long ago, the Cacao bean was considered sacred and was highly prized by the indigenous Chorotega and Bribri people of Cost Rica. In fact, up until the 1930s the cacao bean was used as currency.
Theobroma Cacao, the Latin name for the tree, means “food of the gods.” Considered a superfood, the bean is full of health benefits with anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, and is an anti-carcinogenic. Shown to lower blood pressure, increase cardiovascular health, and lift the mood naturally, cacao is a scrumptious addition to a healthy diet.
There are dozens of chocolate tours around the country; so many, that in fact you could make your entire vacation about discovering the cacao bean, as well as making and tasting chocolate! Check out these great chocolate tours to enjoy while staying at one of our Distinctive Hotels of Costa Rica properties.
San Jose Valley Sibu Chocolate in Heredia
A great day trip for either the beginning or the end of your Costa Rica travels, the Sibu Chocolate tour is just 20 minutes North of downtown San Jose; Sibu also has a number of locations where connoisseurs can buy and/or taste chocolate, including a cottage workshop where visitors can relax with hot chocolate in the afternoon and enjoy decadent desserts.
Talemanca — Caribeans Chocolate and Coffee
Caribeans is the original bean-to-bar chocolate factory in Puerto Viejo. Chocolate is made right in the cacao forest. Tours of our factory include: all-you-can-eat gourmet chocolate, the chocolate forest hike, and the “see how we do it” factory tour. There is also a full service coffee and chocolate shop and the chocolate is all handmade and organic.
Monteverde: The Coffee, Chocolate & Sugar Cane Tour
Get some insight into the traditional methods that ancestors used to roast the beans, separate the husks and grind the beans. At the end of the tour you can enjoy the taste of the chocolate you’ve made in a variety of forms; liquid chocolate, plain chocolate, spiced chocolate and of course, coffee chocolate. Not just about chocolate (cacao), this tour includes educational and often entertaining information about cacao, coffee and sugar cane.
- Choice of several departures throughout the day
- Free hotel pickup and drop-off included
- Led by a local guide
Rainforests, waterfalls, monkeys and chocolate- what more could you ask for? The Costa Rica chocolate tour; don’t miss out on this one while in the country!