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Voluntourism Spotlight: Learn to Make Chocolate in Costa Rica

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This week’s voluntourism spotlight comes to you from Costa Rica – more specifically, a region called Mastatal just outside of San Jose. La Iguana Chocolate gives you the opportunity to live with a Costa Rican family and learn about the culture – all while making chocolate! Check back every Wednesday for more voluntourism opportunities and tune into Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio on Saturday for more information.

At La Iguana Chocolate, volunteers can stay for weeks or even months learning all about sustainable living – everything that comes out of the ground goes back in. It’s all about giving back to the environment. In addition to participating in sustainable eco-tourism, you get a greater sense of Costa Rican culture and language. Staying with a native family allows you to truly participate, while enjoying a slower pace of life.

The farm is located high up in the mountains, which is the perfect setting for producing chocolate. The chocolate-making program brings you through the entire process. You start out in the field picking the cocoa beans off the trees, guide them through the fermentation and drying process, and mold the chocolate, infusing different natural flavors – mint, coconut, and even peanut butter.

In addition to the chocolate-making program, some of the tasks volunteers assist with include, maintaining the gardens, assisting the family with projects, assisting with tours and helping in the field.

Volunteers are asked to work for 5 hours each morning from Monday to Saturday, but afternoons are free to explore the area. It’s also a pretty good deal – for less than a week, it costs $15 to stay in dorms on the farm and the price goes down the longer you stay.

For more information, check out La Iguana Chocolate’s website.