July 5th, 2011
Organic Coffee and Chocolate by Caribeans
The cacao bean is fermented, dried, and ground to produce delicious chocolate. This Central American indigenous fruit has been traded along the Talamanca coast for decades meeting the world’s demand, drastic change in prices per kilo and fighting the threat of a fungus rotting the pods.
Part of CariBean’s dream is to educate local farmers in production techniques by teaching the concept of value-added to the raw fruit. This investment is especially important to the farmers that have given up on their cacoa trees. Caribeans is creating an educational opportunity to work their land more effectively and earn more of the profits. Caribeans is not focused on maximizing production and money by trading all over the world. They are apart of the Puerto Viejo community with interests of staying locally grown and distributed, and producing the finest chocolate totally organic.
Melts in your mouth, not in your hand? A blue and yellow M&M has been telling us this for years and it’s true! This affordable mass-produced candy is just that, a candy coated yummy fix to junk food munchers checking-out at the market. Real organic chocolate is what people are talking about when consuming healthy portions in a well balanced diet. CariBeans and a few others have brought chocolate back to Costa Rica recently, an image native to the area. Caribeans is one arganization going above and beyond to invest awareness on potential cacoa farming rather than working as an export and import industrial trader. Caribeans enables the struggling farmer of Costa Rica to be more involved from bean to bar. Come to the southern Caribean coast of Costa Rica and visit a jungle of people producing real organic chocolate.
Chocolate tasting at CariBeans HQ
The story of chocolate in Puerto Viejo is being reborn as abondoned farms are rediscovered to harvest the cacoa fruit organically! The chocolate trade can jolt you to be an addict as you try all the world’s finest beans. Italian, German, Swiss, etc. are the land of well known chocolates producers. When I think of the story of Willy Wonka and his chocolate factory, the oompa-loompas came from a place similar to an environment in tropical climates where they produce raw sugarcane, cacao beans and exotic fruits and vegatables and worked for cacao beans. Willy Wonka explored the world for new chocolate ideas and creations, inspired by the authors childhood near the Cadbury factory in England. Caribeans, is an established contender producing totally organic chocolate in all different flavors all in ONE place! Their natural chocolate should be a staple in your daily consumption so try a piece and do not hesitate to ask for seconds.
The NEW Chocolate Tour starts in July 2011 in Cocles. Visit the CariBeans website for more information: www.caribeanscoffee.com
February 18th, 2009
Tierra de Suenos just organized our first charity effort. The flooding in November ended up displacing approximately 4,000 people and destroyed one of the largest banana plantations in the country which means loss of many jobs and security for a lot of people. This area is already one of the poorest in the country so damage like this is incredibly difficult to bounce back from. A few months ago we joined a group called AHCR (Adventure Hotels of Costa Rica). The goal of the organization is to work together to create more business for everybody in the group by recommending other AHCR hotels to people traveling to other places in the country. We have received 2 different couples sent by another member hotel so the membership has already paid for itself. This is a fairly new association which is nice because we are all, well the hotels interested, participating in how it’s going to work. Brendan and I signed up for the “charity committee” as each hotel was asked to join one of the 10 committees designed to help organize the members.
The damage done to our Talamancan neighbors deemed a perfect cause so we tried to inspire AHCR members to donate money, food, clothing and other supplies to the area. The awesome local association, ATEC (Talamanca Ecotourism and Conservation Association) was quite helpful in giving us a direct place to send these items. It took some teeth pulling but eventually we managed to raise quite a bit of money as well as food and clothing from the other member hotels. I spoke with Alaine, co-founder of ATEC, the other day and she says that the majority of the money donations send to her by AHCR members is being used to purchase school supplies that were lost in the flood. I can’t imagine better spent money. Although this is just a start of the kind of work we would like to be doing, with and without the AHCR group, it’s a good start and we are excited about all the possibilities for community building and service. I do encourage any of you interested in traveling to CR to check out the AHCR website, www.adventurehotelsofcostarica.com, and look into staying at one of the hotels listed. You get 10% off if you tell them we sent you!
On a side note, much to our disappointment and horror, our laptop was stolen recently which is a major setback for us. It really couldn’t be worse timing since we have entered the busy season and are getting consistent reservation requests via email every day. Not to mention the fact that ALL my photos of our first year down here are gone. Anyway, lesson learned. On the up-side, we are super busy and everybody loves the place. This month will be our best by far.
March 21st, 2008
The transition from backpacker with no responsibilities to bungalow lodge proprietor has been nothing short of surreal. Wake up every morning at 6:30 to the loud sounds of the jungle (we probably couldn’t sleep in if we wanted to) and get to work. Put on a pot of coffe, organic, free trade produced by a local indiginous group from the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, by the way, and prepare to make breakfast for our guests. We put on some good tunes with our sophisticated music system, an ipod with mini travel speakers, and start cutting pinapples and mangos. When breakfast is through and the guests have had enough chatting, we are left with a messy kitchen and a list of things that need to get done so long it is almost laughable. Trying not to allow ourselves to feel overwhelmed we just dig in. Chosing a task is never very difficult because inevitably something crucial to the functioning of the business malfunctions, breaks, or doesn’t show up.
Our first day on the job, the very sweet couple from VT with thier UVM attending daughter came to us after breakfast wondering why there was no water in their bungalow. Our responce? “Hmmm, we don’t know.” So we all traipsed through the jungle to the shed/washroom and examined the two water pumps. Playing with the pumps and electrical boxes proved to be useless and we all looked blankly at eachother. We couldn’t help but chuckle at the situaiton and thankfully the good ol’ Vermont gang found it quite amuzing as well. The water kicked back on shortly after so it ended up being pretty harmless. We have had this issue a few times and not until three days ago did we actually get a knowledgable person over here to explain how our water system works. Few, that one’s in the bag!
Rule number one for running a business in Costa Rica is- Laugh! If you don’t find it somewhat humorous that the government decided to change all of the phone numbers in the entire country during Easter week, hands down the busiest travel week of the year, you’re probably not gonna make it. Water problems on the first day, HA.