CariBeans: Totally Organic Chocolate and Coffee

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

A Tribute to Mothers

June 1st, 2009
Bri Bri Waterfall

Denise, JJ, Keisha and Brendan at Bri Bri Waterfall

May is the month when leatherback turtles come to the shores of the Carribean coast and lay their eggs. The neighboring wildlife refuge (Manzanillo-Gandoca) is home to the leatherbacks and serious efforts are being made to protect these incredible reptiles. According to the Leatherback Trust, in 1980 there were more than 115,000 female leatherback turtles and now less than 25,000, even becoming close to extinction in the Pacific. Unfortunately, the turtles have a rather beautiful shell perfect for making costly jewelry and the eggs taste pretty good as well so we humans have had made our impact and only in recent years have regulations been made. These impressive creatures out date humans by a million years and know what the earth looked like with dinosaurs running around. Needless to say, we were all excited with the possibility of seeing one of these beasts.

We decided to make a day out of it and piled our friend Denise, her 4 year old twins, boyfriend Matias and Adam Harr who was visiting from DC into the rumbling Galloper for a rainforest adventure. For a pretty penny you can take a 30 minute boat ride from the town of Manzanillo to Gandoca beach, but we decided to drive up around and down on bumpy roads to get there.
Next time we’ll take the boat. We stopped along the way at the BriBri water falls. The twins had never been to this rather large waterfall and after much excitement and anticipation when we finally reached the massive falls (you have to hike for about 30 minutes in the jungle) the girls started screaming and crying not wanting to go near it. With a little coaxing we got them to get in with us and the screams of fear turned into screams of laughter. It was adorable.

Back in the car we continued to the border of Panama where we dipped back in towards the sea. The viewing of the turtles is all very official since this is a preservation project and so we hired our guide, put on our black clothing and walked into onto the dark beach to begin our search. The turtles come in at night so it is best to go out after 8pm. Our guide was a cool young guy who had a lot of information about the turtles and the area and told us about how they are collecting the eggs after the female comes and lays them to put them in protected incubators (buckets) in a sectioned-off part of the beach that has 24-hour surveillance.

Puerto Viejo Activities

Puerto Viejo day trip

He took us down to show us the project and there were about 10 young teens with “staff” shirts on hanging out. They were all local volunteers which was nice to see since those where the same kids eating the eggs last year. Some of the buckets were placed under the shade and others in the sun. Apparently sun or shade, in other words temperature, decides the sex of the turtle. A volunteer came around saying there was a turtle a ways down the beach and so we trudged down and lo and behold there it was! A 6 foot long, 4 foot wide turtle digging a large hole in the sand in preparation. We crept up behind her trying not to get in her field of vision and watched in awe as the ancient reptile worked. The guide told us that she still had some time before actually laying eggs and that there was another turtle further down that we should go check out.

Down the beach another massive turtle was flapping those powerful flippers, heaving her 1500 pound body across the sand in search of a good spot to lay her eggs. The guide explained to us that the tide had been weird that week and the water level was different than usual so the turtle kept finding water as she dug and she would not lay her eggs in water. She began to painstakingly head towards the sea when at the last minute, she started back towards the sand. Our guide thought this turtle was crazy. “Tortuga Loca!” It was clear she did not want to give up that night.

It is hard to describe how enormous these turtles are and the struggle it can be for the females to perpetuate life. And still after years of traveling far distances in the sea they come back to the very same spot they themselves hatched, an intuition nobody fully understands, and continue the life cycle that has been going on for a million years. We were on the Gandoca beach with the great leatherbacks on Mother’s Day, a spectacular tribute to motherhood indeed.

Sorry, no photos are allowed to be taken of the turtles so you will have to come experience the wonder for yourselves.

Manzanillo

April 6th, 2009

No visitor can leave Tierra de Suenos without experiencing the Manzanillo Wildlife refuge. This is one of our favorite places on the Caribbean coast. With its sweeping views, secluded beaches, and lush jungle paths you feel like a real pioneer stumbling upon something incredible. The three mile bike ride getting to Manzanillo is an adventure in itself, toucans and butterflies lead the way. The town outside the refuge is about as slow moving as a place can be with friendly locals and not many tourists. Maxi’s, the restaurant/center of Manzanillo happenings, is not only a fun local hangout but happens to have the very best Caribbean food on the planet (I suggest the grilled whole red snapper!) Thousands of acres of protected rain forest and glorious Caribbean sand at just a quick ride away. Come see for yourself……

Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge

Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge

Manzanillo - 12km from Puerto Viejo

View from Miss May Point in Manzanillo

Hiking trail- Gandoca Manzanillo

Brendan hiking in Manzanillo

Puerto Viejo day trip

20 minute bike ride from Tierra de Sueños

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