My Costa Rican Wish List

We’ve got an amazing itinerary lined up for February, 2020, small group tour to Costa Rica. But I’ve got a special wish list I hope will happen while we’re there, to help us gain a better understanding of Costa Rican culture.

  1. Get up close and personal with a sloth.

It just so happens that sloths like to hang out in cacao forests. And as we will be in amongst the cacao trees during our visit, I’m truly hoping that I’ll get pretty close to a sloth. Thanks to the folks at Caribeans Chocolate for sharing this photo with us as well as the next two photos below.

2. Talk to a Shaman. We’ll be visiting the Watsi Reservation and will meeting with the BriBri community–Costa Rica’s largest indigenous group. I’m told we’ll have the opportunity to speak with their shaman, and hope that he/she will will share some insight into the BriBri’s connection with cacao and its mystical powers.


As a chocolate lover, there is something quite magical about seeing a cacao pod cut open and watching the beans/seeds being scooped out of the pod, as we know that is the beginning of their journey to becoming chocolate.

3. Gain a great understanding of Costa Rican culture. In addition to meeting members of the BriBri community, we will visit a cacao farm in Guatuso, where we will have lunch with a local family. I am hoping that we will have an opportunity to learn more about Costa Rican culture in our interactions with farm families and members of the BriBri community.


Cacao is all hand harvested, meaning the Costa Rican farmers and their help have to climb the trees and use hand-held tools to prune the trees and harvest the cacao pods.

4. Participate in a Costa Rican cacao ceremony. Those who understand cacao culture will know that cacao has had and continues to have a spiritual and somewhat mystical impact on cultures where it is grown. I’ve participated in ceremonies that honour the spirituality of cacao in several places, and even had a glimpse of an expat version of one in Costa Rica when visiting the chocolate festival back in 2014. But it would be super cool to have that opportunity during our tour in February.


It would be great to taste ceremonial cacao while in Costa Rica. The ceremonial cacao drink is made by simmering cacao nibs mixed with water and spices over a wood fire.

5. Experience the vastness of nature’s beauty. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve has a rare ecosystem that is home to many inhabitants such as howler and capuchin monkeys, keel-billed toucans, and the elusive quetzal. It is also home to the world’s highest concentration of orchids. We will visit the Cloud Forest Reserve.


Have you been to Costa Rica? Have you experienced authentic Costa Rican culture? Have you experienced anything on my wish list? I hope you will consider joining us for the small-group tour to Costa Rica. Please call my partner GoAhead Tours at 1-800-742-1731 to book your spot as part of our group on this incredible journey or contact me via this site. I will be pleased to join you on this tour.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

34 Responses

  1. I really enjoyed my time in Costa Rica. Sustainable living seems to be a part of their DNA. The tour you’ve put together sounds amazing. We touched on the chocolate grown there, but I’d love to learn more.

  2. This sounds like so much fun and what a great place to experience it! I wish you all the luck with your trip. I’m not a chocolate fan at all so other than the gorgeous scenery and stellar company, it wouldn’t be for me.

  3. Sounds like a wonderfully exciting trip with a great insight into the culture. I have visited a coffee plantation on Costa Rica, but never chocolate. Looks like I really missed out.
    Rhonda Albom recently posted…7 Must-See Museums in Auckland New ZealandMy Profile

  4. Erin says:

    To see a sloth up close in the Costa Rica cacao forest would be amazing! I hope you spot one. When I went to Costa Rica a few years ago, I really wanted to see a Toucan. One flew above us while my friend and I were soaking in a hot spring. Keep your camera handy!
    Erin recently posted…Why GPS-Guided Travel Articles Make Sightseeing Easier + Giveaway!My Profile

    • Hi Erin and thx for your comment. We got nice & close to Toucans while in Belize and that was great. But Iโ€™d truly love to get equally close to the sloths of Costa Rica. Wish me luck!

  5. Tazim says:

    A chocolate tour sounds right up my ally! I’ve never been to Costa Rica, but I bet I would enjoy all the beauty there is there and all these chocolate-focused activities!

  6. Kemkem says:

    I am usually pretty terrified of animals but for some reason, a sloth doesn’t frighten me, probably because l think l can outrun it. This tour sounds amazing. I love reading your chocolate adventures and l’m sure all lucky attendees will enjoy it too.

  7. Doreen, you have done such a wonderful job of showing us a glimpse inside of Costa Rican culture. We enjoy seeing all of the images of the places you visited and exploring. Thanks for sharing this adventure with us.

  8. A visit to another country is always enhanced by a focused interest tour. And what could be better than a chocolate tour of Costa Rica with a chocolate expert like yourself?

  9. Lori says:

    We have always loved our trips to beautiful Costa Rica although finding what would be authentic Costa Rican culture is a challenge. Love your itinerary and don’t miss a visit to the Jaguar Rescue Center if you’re near Puerto Viejo. Looking forward to your trip report!

    • Thanks for your comment, Lori. I understand there is also a sloth sanctuary. I’d be quite interested in seeing that if we had time. This is my 3rd trip to Costa Rica, so I’m quite intent on getting some immersion into authentic travel and that is why we’re meeting indigenous farm families and visiting the Watsi Reserve where we will meet the BriBri people. Really looking forward to it!

  10. What an opportunity to learn and see so much! It sounds like you have set up a wonderful tour and put a lot of thought into it from shamans to sloths!

    • I love that title, Cindy: “From Shamans to Sloths!” We really are taking in a wide variety of incredible experiences, giving the tour a much broader focus than just chocolate and cacao. I think that visiting the indigenous people and some farm families will make it really memorable and meaningful. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Those sloths! What a creature! So happy to share this upcoming trip across my social media. I’m sure your spaces will fill up quickly with grand adventurers!

    • Thanks so much for your support, RoseMary. I, too, hope we get the perfect blend of chocolate adventurists on our small group Chocolatour to Costa Rica. I wish you could come. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I look forward to hearing more about your adventures in Costa Rica, and I hope you achieve everything on your wish list!

  13. Tina says:

    This sounds like a wonderful tour. I was in Costa Rica last year and the highlight was visiting a rescue center. I know there are groups in Costa Rica trying to eliminate overhead power lines which are dangerous to many of the rainforest animals especially the sloths. Wish we could join you in January, hate to miss the chocolate!

  14. Sue Reddel says:

    Sounds like an amazing opportunity Dorreen. So many things to see and do and or course, chocolate!
    Sue Reddel recently posted…Unique Things To Do in Portland, MaineMy Profile

    • Thanks, Sue. I don’t know too much about Costa Rican cuisine, so it will be interesting to see what we are offered. But I do know that the chocolate is great, and that the scenery and natural wonders are even better. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope we get our merry band of chocolate lovers confirmed soon, so that I know the trip is a go. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…My Costa Rican Wish ListMy Profile

  15. This sounds like a great tour. Many draws: sloths, shamans, orchids, cacao, quetzals, and more! Wish I could go.

  16. I’m happy to share the information about your Costa Rican Chocolatour with my FB followers and on Pinterest. Costa Rica is such an interesting example of a country in a volatile area of the world that has made it’s own way, partly by deciding to forego a standing army and by honoring its natural patrimony. It sounds like a great tour.

    • Thanks so much, Suzanne. I appreciate your help in spreading the word about the tour. And, yes. costa Rica is an amazing destination that is well worth exploring on so many levels. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Frances Petrowski says:

    I was in Costa Rica in January of 2018. It was one of my favourite trips. I was impressed in their concern for their environment and their ways to protect it.
    This trip you have planned sounds even better (than my touristy trip) in that you are showing some of culture and meeting the people from there. Best of all is the showcasing of my favourite food – CHOCOLATE!

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Frances, and welcome to Chocolatour! Indeed, the carefully curated itinerary that I have created in collaboration with EF Go Ahead Tours will give us an in-depth look at how the Costa Rican people live–their challenges and their pleasures (which of course includes the majestic pleasures of chocolate and cacao.) I think you would find it to be moving. ๐Ÿ™‚

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