Best La Fortuna Chocolate Tours for Ecoconscious Travelers

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La Fortuna is Costa Rica’s adventure capital, with endless opportunities to go white water rafting, swimming under waterfalls, and hiking on the slopes of a literal volcano. But if you need a break from all that adventure, La Fortuna’s got something else up its sleeve—chocolate and lots of it! But with so many chocolate tours to choose from in La Fortuna, it can be hard to narrow down which ones are worth your time- and money. 

Here are three awesome La Fortuna chocolate tours for eco-conscious travelers, offered by farms that not only produce really good chocolate, but also are doing good for their community.

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Hands holding cocoa beans on a chocolate tour
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Cacao has long been an important crop in Costa Rica. It’s been used by Indigenous people for everything from a special drink for religious rituals and celebrations (did you know that chocolate is Latin for “food of the gods”?) to literally being used as currency by the Chorotega people until the 1930s. 

While both coffee and bananas have eclipsed cacao as Costa Rica’s leading exports, the country still prides itself on its production of premium chocolate, accounting for a total of 5% of the world’s gourmet grade export market- which, given that only 10% of suppliers around the world qualify as gourmet grade, is definitely nothing to sneeze at!

Cocoa pod on tree in Costa Rica

Frequently Asked Questions About La Fortuna Chocolate Tours

What is a chocolate tour?

No matter which chocolate tour you go on in La Fortuna, they’ll all follow approximately the same structure. 

You’ll get a tour of the farm where the cacao beans are grown and along the way, will be told about the history and cultural impact of chocolate. You’ll also learn all about the process of making chocolate, which, in a nutshell, consists of the cacao beans being roasted, cracked, crushed, ground into a paste, conched (essentially mixing it), and then tempered (repeatedly being heated and cooled) multiple times.  

Cocoa beans on a roasting racks in a farm in Costa Rica

After that, each chocolate tour has its own flair- you may also learn about and taste the farm’s coffee or tropical fruits, make your own chocolate confection, or may even be presented with an entire chocolate buffet! I’ve included descriptions of La Fortuna chocolate tours below that I recommend, but if none of them make your heart sing (or your tummy happy!), there’s lots of other options out there.

Is La Fortuna a good place for visiting a chocolate farm in Costa Rica?

Yes, in fact, it’s one of the best things to do in La Fortuna!

And one of the most unique things about Costa Rica is that, unlike some of its Central and South American chocolate-producing brethren, several regions of the country, including Alajuela (where La Fortuna is), Guanacaste, Talamanca, Cartago, and Puntarenas, have flourishing cacao plantations. 

Clouds covering Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Each region offers a slightly different climate, with each region growing distinct beans, with their own cultivations and preparations. This ultimately results in each region having its own flavor profile- and I promise you won’t be disappointed in La Fortuna’s!

Is there a good time of the year to go on a chocolate tour in La Fortuna?

It doesn’t really matter what time of year you go on a chocolate tour- there will always be plenty of cacao growing and chocolate to be tasted! 

Cocoa pods growing on a tree

However, if you’re especially interested in visiting the plantations during the harvest season, there’s yet another quirky thing about Costa Rica’s chocolate production- while most cacao-producing countries harvest the crop in their dry season, you’ll see the most harvesting action on Costa Rican farms during its rainy season (specifically, October and November). There’s also usually a smaller harvest in April and May.

But seriously, unless you’re a real chocolate nerd (in which case, can we be best friends?), you won’t know the difference!

Cocoa seeds, covered with cream, in a broken cocoa pod

What’s the social or environmental impact of chocolate?

It’s not very super well-publicized, but the chocolate trade is incredibly problematic.

It’s estimated that around 70% of chocolate consumed around the world is sourced from the Ivory Coast and Ghana, which overwhelmingly uses children- some as young as five years old- to harvest its cacao. Many of these children are victims of forced labor, kidnapping, human trafficking- all of the very bad and scary things that you and I don’t support.

Cocoa tree with cocoa pod in La Fortuna

So, instead of getting your sweet tooth fix from a Snickers bar or whatever, wouldn’t you rather support a family-owned and operated cacao plantation in Costa Rica, who follow eco-friendly farming practices and have earned a sustainable tourism certification from the Costa Rica Board of Tourism? I know I would!

With that information in mind, let’s talk chocolate!

Best La Fortuna Chocolate Tours

Okay, one last note before we dive in (now I’m dreaming of diving into a big vat of chocolate…)- most chocolate tours around La Fortuna, including all of the ones recommended below, do not include transportation to the farm itself. All of them are within 15 minutes of downtown La Fortuna, so if you don’t have a car, you should be able to either bike or take an inexpensive taxi there.

Man riding a scooter in front of Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

1. Don Olivo Farm

Located here, a 10 minute drive east from downtown La Fortuna

This farm has been family-owned and operated for 90 years(!!!), meaning you may get the granddaughter as your tour guide and the grandfather passing out your samples. 

It’s renowned for growing the highest quality cacao bean, called Criollo. You’ll get the opportunity to get up close and personal with these beans as you’re taken around the lush farm on a flat, one kilometer walk, with groves of cacao trees, in addition to an eye-popping 37 other species of fruit trees and medicinal plants!

Banana tree in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Accordingly, you’ll not only get to taste chocolate along the Don Olivo Farm tour, but also a variety of tropical fruits (think papayas, starfruit and pineapples), sugarcane juice, and coffee. At the very end, you’ll get to sample freshly ground chocolate and homemade hot chocolate- in other words, come hungry and don’t forget to include some stretchy pants on your Costa Rica packing list.

Gloved hands holding coffee beans over large vat of beans in Costa Rica

Why you should visit: Beyond being a locally-owned farm, everything produced on the Don Olivo Farm is organic, without using harmful chemicals. 

Additionally, visiting this plantation comes with an added perk- it’s an AWESOME place to see sloths (there’s a resident sloth named Maria!), without having to pay extra for another tour or visiting one of the dubious “sloth sanctuaries” around Costa Rica.

Check out the prices below:

2. Rainforest Chocolate Tours

Located here, a 5 minute drive (or 35 minute walk!) south of downtown La Fortuna

This two-hour tour kicks off with a brief history lesson of chocolate and you’ll eventually be led through the plantation, full of cacao trees and other luscious greenery. Keep your eyes peeled here- it’s a great place to spot tropical birds, like the great curassow. 

Great Curassow in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

You’ll then get to taste chocolate at each stage of the production process. Try the raw bean with the very slimy and not appealing-looking white exterior- it’s surprisingly good! Additionally, you may just get the opportunity to mash and grind your own chocolate.

If you’ve noticed I haven’t yet mentioned sampling any of the chocolate, fear not- most of the actual chocolate tasting is saved for the end of the Rainforest Chocolate Tour. You’ll get to try the “drink of the gods”, a heavenly concoction (see what I did there?) created from cacao, chili, vanilla, and cornstarch, as well as fresh melted chocolate, which you can mix and match with the dozens of toppings provided to you.

Hands splitting a cocoa pod, with cocoa beans showing inside

Why you should visit: Much like Don Olivo, Rainforest is an organic farm and does not rely on pesticides or fertilizers to grow its cacao. 

Additionally, Rainforest has earned the Certification for Sustainable Tourism from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute, which provides stringent guidelines for hotels and tour providers to model their businesses on sustainable tourism practices. This certification is based on criteria like environmental, economic, and social management. Only 31 tour providers in the entire country have received this designation, including, of course, our friends, Rainforest Chocolate Tours!

Check out the prices below:

3. Eden Chocolate Tour

Located here, a 15 minute drive northeast of downtown La Fortuna

Along this hour and 45 minute tour, your guide will take you and the rest of your group (no more than 15 folks!) to walk around the beautiful cacao plantation.

If you’re looking to add a tour to your Costa Rica itinerary that packs a lot of punch, you’ll not only get to see the chocolate-making process here, but it’s also one of the best options to see Costa Rica’s incredible wildlife, like sloths, frogs, and lots of tropical birds.

Sloth hanging in a rainforest in Costa Rica

Along the way, the enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides will provide interesting tidbits about the historical and cultural influences that chocolate has had on Latin America, as well as some of the day-to-day struggles faced by the plantation (like, apparently the squirrels in Costa Rica are real jerks to organic farmers). 

The rest of the Eden Chocolate Tour is more of a hands-on tasting extravaganza- adding the toppings of your choosing to fresh melted chocolate and making (and, of course, eating) your own bonbons and the Drink of the Gods! 

Why you should visit: If you’re a trend-spotter, you may have guessed it, but yes, Eden is a fully organic cacao farm.  Additionally, did I mention there are sloths here?!

Check out the prices below:

I hope you—and your tummy—enjoy one of these La Fortuna chocolate tours. Do you have any questions about them that I can answer? Do you want chocolate as much as I do right now?

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