Fair Trade Coffee Initiative – San Marcos de Tarrazu

Place: San Marcos de Tarrazu
Zona los Santos Mountainous Region
Fair Trade Coffee Initiative

Sample Itinerary – Average cost for this 8 day Project – $849 per person

  • Day 1: Arrive at SJO International Airport; city tour of San Jose (Capital)
  • Day 2: Transfer to coffee community, orientation with speaker from Fair Trade Coop.
  • Day 3: Meeting the growers, working on the coffee plantations.
  • Day 4: Coffee community social project.
  • Day 5: Coffee community social project.
  • Day 6: Finish Coffee community social project / Costa Rican Cooking Class
  • Day 7: Recreation activity – Manuel Antonio National Park & Beach
  • Day 8: Transfer to international airport for departure.

– The city was founded in the 1820s by agricultural migrants from the Central Valley. The region’s earliest residents were dedicated to growing basic foodstuffs, namely beans, corn, and sugar cane. Local farmers started growing coffee in the highland valley in the 1890s. Tarrazu is now best known around the world for its high quality coffee. The city lies at an elevation of 1,429 meters above sea level in a mountainous area known as Los Santos, 70 kilometers south of the national capital city of San Jose. Its geography is suited to growing coffee, mostly because the slopes of the mountains face the morning light and the cloud cover protects the coffee trees in the afternoon. The red soil found in the valley is of volcanic origin. All this plus the altitude make ideal conditions to grow the coffees harvested by locals.

Project Overview – Your time in San Marcos will give you a first-hand look at the inner workings of the fair trade coffee initiatives in Costa Rica. In general, fair trade coffee is purchased directly from the growers with the purpose being to promote healthier and better working conditions for the collectors and educate farmers on best practices for soil conservation and sustainable harvesting. You will get immersed in the coffee culture; visiting several local coffee farms and experiencing all aspects of the growing, harvesting, and milling process. You will work side by side actual workers in all phases of the coffee manufacturing process – out in the fields, taste testing, on the treatment and harvesting lines, and finally, quality control, distribution and marketing. We will visit the largest co-op in the region, Coopetarrazu and also a smaller micro co-op to decipher the benefits of both. Other potential activities include a local cooking class with community farmers, helping the recycling center, working with local schools on community service projects, or participating in projects with the developments association of Tarrazu. Lastly, we will spend some quality recreation time at one of Costa Rica’s pristine national parks, Manuel Antonio.

Fair Trade Coffee Project / San Guillermo School – Video Preview

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