Learn about organic permaculture in the cool foothills Costa Rica


Costa Rica

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 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    Before telling about our nitty-gritty selves, I need to announce we're taking reservations for volunteers for coffee season from October through February. Really we've got a tiny coffee growing operation, only producing enough for us and for visitors. If you're interested in a minimum two week stay to learn the in's and out's of small scale coffee processing - let me know and I'll save you a spot.

    Ok, now for the story:
    Five years ago my husband and I (Jeff and Starr) bought a 26 acre overgrown conventional (think agro-chemical) coffee plantation in a pleasant climate, with an awesome view and endless possibilities. Since then we've been avidly running wild - trying to do all the fun little organic, permaculture projects that we've dreamed of all our lives. Now the time has come to include volunteers - people interested in remote, rustic living and that have a liking for bananas.

    We selected a few hundred of the original 27,000 coffee plants to nurture. We've been working on reviving the fertility of the soil and reforesting. We have planted about 65 different species of tropical fruit trees (which are now beginning to produce fruit), 30 different species of bananas and plantains and several thousand timber trees!! Plus last year we planted 150 additional bamboo plants to help reduce soil erosion and serve as a renewable building resource. About half the property has grown wild naturally, with trails lacing through the vigorous forest regrowth.

    And we keep on planting. Every year hundreds more tropical timber trees, flowering trees, fruit trees, bananas, plantains, bamboo, and medicinal plants. Re-invigorating the land has become our life. And thankfully, gradually the wildlife is returning to take its natural place.

    Volunteers stay in the 80 year old original regional homestead cabin which has 3 private rooms.

    In the overall finca operation we're working on a variety of projects this year. We're finishing up the last of the new kitchen, dining room and restroom. We're also in the middle of building the new raised house/platform for the sheep - probably to be followed by putting together a barn, open tropical style. Those are in addition to the normal tropical garden, fruit tree, banana plants, bamboo and property and animal management issues.

    We are located about 2 km from public bus service with an hourly schedule into San Isidro, the regional supply depot 15 km away. We provide a stable 4MB wifi internet connection. Our friendly dogs, cats, and sheep will be happy to keep you company.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Help with Eco project
    Animal care
    Help with Computers / internet

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Living here is an opportunity to engage in dynamic organic permaculture - tropical style. You can learn how we manage to survive on a rural property in a foreign country: how to grow, harvest and process coffee; how to care for many types of bananas; how to make MM5 (a homemade version of EM) and how we use it and many other biological amendments. You can learn how to reinvigorate land after many generations of chemical use. Plus you can enjoy the fruits of the land: the bananas, the coffee, the tropical fruits, and the garden.

    My husband and I are native English speakers though speak Spanish fluently. We mix with neighbors, locals and other expats to some extent, though really prefer working on our own projects. Since we've been here for over 5 years, we are fairly versed in the local culture and traditions and are happy to share what we know.

    Just an FYI, this is a remote property.

  • Help


    From October through February we'll be harvesting and processing our own coffee. If you're interested in learning about it, this could be a good time for you to enjoy the hills of Costa Rica.

    Also we've got to complete the sheep raised platform to better utilize the manure production for organic fertilizer.

    On an ongoing basis we need assistance overseeing our tropical fruit orchards, bananas and plantains, bamboo and timber trees. We're especially interested in people with an eye for and fascination with tropical plants. Of course the sheep would also enjoy some personal attention.

    We prefer volunteers that would be interested in being here for at least a couple of weeks. If you are attracted to our mission of creating an integrated, organic, sustainable "farm" and have skills and energy to contribute, please get in touch. Let's talk about possibilities.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, Spanish

  • Accommodation


    Guests share the rustic original homestead cabin, with one room to each person or couple. Outside the cabin is an outhouse. A minute's walk takes you to a nice bathroom and shower facility. Wifi reaches the living areas though phone reception is more sketchy.

    Basic meal ingredients are available for Workawayers to do their own cooking in the new kitchen/dining room. Frankly, we are so occupied on the property that we barely have time to prepare ourselves a quick bite, so cooking for others makes me dizzy to think about.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    We never miss the large regional farmer's market on Thursdays In San Isidro del General, 15 km away - however we tend to stay in town all day on Thursdays in order to get our town business done. Public buses are clean, respectable and generally on time. Our property is located 3 km from the bus that goes into San Isidro del General. Going to the BIG city, San Jose, is more than a 3 hour bus ride.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

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Host ref number: 318862919114