Articles From Whole Latte Love

Costa Rica: An Eco-friendly Attraction

Posted: 07/24/07
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Costa Rica and CoffeeKnown world-wide for its beautiful beaches, lush rainforests and bountiful coffee plantations, the Republic of Costa Rica attracts more than 1.7 million tourists a year, many of them searching for the perfect eco-friendly vacation. Ecotourism, according to Costa Rican Minister of Tourism Carlos Ricardo Benavides Jimenez, plays an important role in the country’s economy.

According to Jimenez, “Costa Rica’s long experience with ecotourism and nature travel serves as a model for many countries around the world.” Ecotourism focuses largely on local culture, personal growth and learning ways to responsibly live on the planet.

The Vargas family subscribes to that way of thinking. They have been promoting sustainable communities and providing jobs to the local population for nearly 85 years. They own the 2,000 acre Doka Estate Plantation just north of San Jose. Their traditional coffee growing and roasting methods provide more than 200 full-time jobs in the community. Seasonally, there are more than 3,000 employees at the plantation.

“Everything we do on our coffee plantation stimulates the process of getting better at our business,” Don Norman Vargas said recently. “We work to better the lives of our workers, who in turn better the growing standards of our coffee trees. The system feeds itself and the creation of the process that helps every sector of our family economy and continually enhances the cup quality of our coffee.”

Costa Rican MountainscapeIt must, because for two years in a row Doka Estate was presented with the Sintercafe Best Coffee Farm Award. Sintercafe is the Costa Rican equivalent of the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

Founded in 1987, Sintercafe is a non-profit organization whose objective is the promotion of Costa Rica’s coffee. Promotion is easy since many of the plantations, including Doka Estates, work directly with Sintercafe to provide long-term strategies that help conserve the soil and provide the best growing conditions for coffee. They also work together to provide eco-tourists a country filled with untapped cultural experiences.

For more information about Costa Rica and to start planning your next vacation, visit the Costa Rican Board of Tourism at visitcostarica.com.

The Republic of Costa Rica

President: Oscar AriasCappuccino Capuchin Monkey
Capital: San Jose
Population: 4,328,000
Language: Spanish
Currency: Colón
Manuel Antonio National Park: Although one of the smallest national parks in Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio draws more than 150,000 visitors a year. White-headed Capuchin Monkeys, Spiny-tailed Iguanas, Two-toed Sloths, and a variety of bats and monkeys call the 4,000 acre forest home.

ABOVE: Resourceful Capuchin monkey
examines the froth on his cappuccino.

Costa Rican Coffee is grown throughout the country and not limited to one specific area. A majority of the coffee though, is grown in Tarrazu or the Southern Pacific Region. Tarrazu, known for its rich soil and high altitudes, provides the perfect growing conditions for beans. Coffee grown in Tarrazu often has a hearty flavor, good body and exquisite aroma.