Raw cacao — Photo courtesy of solamo
On the Caribbean coast, cacao has a rich history: until a monilia blight devastated most of the region’s crops in the 1970s, the area thrived from the trade of cacao. These days, it’s the folks behind Caribbeans, Puerto Viejo’s first fair trade organic coffee shop and producer of coffee beans, who are enthusiastically at the helm of the Chocolate Forest Experience. The tour includes a guided hike through several zones of cacao, a professional chocolate tasting of some of Puerto Viejo's delicious single-origin cacao and a visit to the "chocolate creation lab," where Caribbeans is creating its own premium organic chocolate bars; souvenirs to savor later on.
Raw Cacao — Photo courtesy of solamo
The Chocolate Forest Experience is $26 per person and includes all the chocolate you can eat (wine is optional, and extra). No reservations are required and there is no minimum guest limit. Regular excursions are Tuesday and Thursday at 10:30am and 3:00pm. To embark upon the Chocolate Forest Experience from Puerto Viejo, continue south along the main road to Cocles Beach and find your guide at the orange and black flag on the right side.