See chocolate in its purest form

Cacao (chocolate) growing at a farm in Sarapiqui
Cacao (chocolate) growing at a farm in Sarapiqui

Did you know that approximately one billion people eat chocolate each day? Have you ever wondered where your chocolate is coming from? You can learn about the origins of chocolate in Costa Rica. Costa Rica chocolate tours aren’t just for tourists with a sweet tooth. Whether you’re a chocolate connoisseur or you’re simply interested in the country’s culture and history, a chocolate tour in Costa Rica is perfect for you.

A one day tour of Costa Rica’s chocolate industry will immerse you in the history and production of the world’s favorite dessert. You’ll learn how the Costa Rica cacao bean becomes the luscious dessert you know and love–and you’ll even get to taste some!

The Sacred Cacao Bean

Chocolate starts out as a humble cacao bean. These beans were actually considered sacred by the indigenous people of Costa Rica. It was known as the food of the gods and was actually used as currency by certain tribes. Cacao beans were commonly turned into a chocolate drink for special rituals and celebrations. If these facts pique your interest, Costa Rica chocolate tours will tell you even more about how highly prized the cacao bean has been throughout the nation’s history.

Costa Rica’s Cash Crop

Believe it or not, cacao was Costa Rica’s leading export before bananas and coffee took over. It’s still a thriving industry within the Central American nation today. Unlike other countries that grow and export the cacao bean, Costa Rica has multiple thriving plantations across different provinces.

How It’s Made

You may be surprised at how your chocolate bars start out. Cacao beans are actually bitter! The manufacturing process involves roasting, cracking, crushing, mashing, heating, and cooling. Other ingredients may be added during the process, such as sugar, milk, cocoa butter, nuts, vanilla, or coconut. Dark chocolate consists mostly of cacao, while milk chocolate has more sugar and milk in it.

Health Benefits

When you’re on a chocolate tour in Costa Rica, you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging. Contrary to what you may think, cacao is considered a healthy superfood. Raw cacao is antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory. It can improve brain health, lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, and even prevent cancer. While you’re busy treating yourself like a god or goddess on a tour of delicious Costa Rican cacao, you can feel great about these benefits.

Where to Tour

There are chocolate tours all around Costa Rica so you can go on one no matter where you’re staying. You should definitely consider checking out the south Caribbean and Puerto Viejo areas, as this is the region that produces the largest amount of cacao. You can tour multiple farms and even hike through cacao forests. Consider checking out the Bri Bri Reservation north of Playa Chiquita. During a tour on the reservation, you’ll learn more about how cacao has been considered sacred by the Bri Bri people for generations. There are also tours near Puerto Jimenez, Mastatal de Puriscal, La Fortuna, and Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui. No matter what tour you choose, you’ll have a great time learning about the rich culture of Costa Rica’s chocolate.

Meet the Farmers

One of the most enriching aspects of taking a chocolate tour is getting to meet the people who do all the hard work. Cacao farmers serve as the backbone of Costa Rica’s economy by creating the most delicious chocolate. These farmers will teach you about the traditional methods of making chocolate. This will give you a special insight into the local culture while getting to sample delicious treats. Explore the different tours and make a reservation to secure your spot. These chocolate tours are popular and fill up fast.