With a view of the majestic Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna of San Carlos, the Rainforest Chocolate Tour offers the sweetest rainforest experience, in a region aptly named 'The Fortune' because of its extremely fertile lands. The 2-hour hands on program, offers participants the opportunity to take part in all parts of the production process, from the harvesting of the fruit, drying and grinding of the seed, developing the traditional chocolate drink of Mesoamerica and of course tasting the highest quality organic chocolate.
Sibu's Chocolate, set in the mountains 20 minutes north of downtown San Jose, weaves culture and history through their tasting tours with a sampling of fresh cacao fruit and roasted cocoa beans and samples of an indigenous hot chocolate recipe from the 1500s. Topped off with dark chocolate squares and classic European-style bonbons made on the premises.
For true chocolate connoisseurs, the family-run Caribeans Coffee & Chocolate in Puerto Viejo, on the country's Caribbean coast, hosts a week-long chocolate dream vacation that offers a fully immersive bean-to-bar experience. Nearby Chocorart is another must-stop. The Swiss couple that runs this farm uses traditional Maya methods to cultivate their cacao and offers two-hour tours and tastings, including a sampling of their vanilla, mint, orange and coconut flavored signature chocolate stick.
Photo credits: Elfinancierocr, Carlos Chavarria