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As a family project, we planted 10 000 trees on an abandoned farmland to bring back some life and grow exotic precious wood. Eight years later, animals are coming back.We grow 60 different species of endemic trees. We are part of a costarican program called Fonafifo.
We live in Quebec, Canada and go down to Canaza, 18 km before Puerto Jimenez, every winter for 2-3 months. Meanwhile, our project managers, Maria and Sabino, needs help with taking care of the trees, garden and farm work. They only speak Spanish. We have a couple of cows, a horse (that you can ride), 12 sheep, 2 dogs and 2 cats.
On the farm you can easily observe 3 species of monkeys, coatis, birds, caimans, anteaters, sloths, river otter, toucans and scarlet macaws.
We also have a garden that produce in small scale salad, grapefruit, mandarins and jackfruit that we sell to Puerto Jimenez.
The quebrada Sabala, a small river crosses the property, it is a great place to spend the really hot afternoons.
We are 500 m away from the Golfo Dulce, one of the 4 tropical fjords in the word. Dolphins, whales and whale sharks ( in March) can be observed with time and patience.
Work starts at 6 am and is over at 11 am, Monday to Friday. You have to be an early bird to come to the farm. You have to be ready at 5h55 so we can have a nice strong costarican coffee, organize work and tools and get started by 6am. It is nice and cool, then it gets hot and nice to go to the beach or river. You could also do some of your hours between 3pm and 5pm.
We ask a minimal stay of 4 weeks but reserve ourselves the right to shorten your stay if we don't have a good fit. On the other side if you want to leave earlier, tell us at least 2 days ahead so we can plan work and food. We also ask you to be respectful of the space you live in, clean up and respect and take care of the tools. If you loose or brake a tool we will ask you to pay for it.
We ask the workawayers to cook and provide their own food or contribute OPTIONAL 70$/week and do dishes once a day. Also, food is not cheap in Costa Rica so it is not cost efficient for us to feed workawayer with the cost and the quality of costarican farm workers.
At the farm you can pick arugula, basil, ginger, turmeric, cilantro, mangos (may to July), starfruits, mandarines, grapefruits, lemons, coconut, sugar cane, yucca and bananas (organic and fresh, so delicious).
It is a wonderful place 10 km away from the Corcovado national park, one of the 10 biodiversity hotspots of the world, says National Geographic. We would like you to use the farm to learn and discover tropical agriculture, forestry and ecosystem and discover a little piece of the Osa Peninsula.
We would like to put together farm tour for local hotels and grow more spices.
No drug use is tolerated on the farm and you can only drink alcohol after 5 pm. You cannot smoke in the house or near the dining table. We are also expecting you take at least 2 showers a day and change clothes as when you work in the tropics you do sweat a lot and we do not appreciate gringo body odors!
We do ask you to provide references or at least workaway feedbacks to consider your offer.
Babysitting / child care
Learn about gardening/ forestry
Tree maintenance and pruning
Selective tree cutting
Home schooling (Dec-March)
Spanish. French and English in Jan/Feb/March
Typical costarican wood house. Simple but confortable. You can also camp on the farm, there are beautiful spots.
We ask the workawayers to provide and cook their own food or OPTIONAL contribute 80$/week and do dishes once a day.
Important: No drugs allowed on the farm.
We are located in Canaza, 18 km away from Puerto Jimenez.
You can't smoke in the house of near the dining table. Please dispose of your butches properly.
We ask you to take 2 showers a day and change CLOTHES like a costarican farm worker.
Help us fight with foreigner body odors bad reputation!
We ask for a minimum stay of 4 weeks and to advice us 2 days ahead if you are going to leave earlier then planned.
Little tips for volonteers
No weed or any other type or drugs are allowed on the farm.
If we are aware you do consume any type of drug, we will ask you to leave immediately.
Alcohol is fine after the sun is down (nothing religious!). They sell wine (tetra pack) and beer at the pulperia. Bring the beer bottles back to the pulperia because they are reused.
Work starts at 6am in punto with a good cup of coffee at 5h55. We have breakfast at 8. It is important to be on time even if you are in Costa Rica or on a holiday. It is recommended that you bring a snack to eat during the morning. Otherwise you might faint due to the heat! Fruits, raisins and peanuts are a good option! Bring a liter of water.
Everybody has to do to their share of weeding, (30 min a day) unless you can do something nobody else can do. Go to the shade, get all the roots out, take your time and do it well. Put the weeds in a plastic box that you will find around the garage and dump them in the hole by the chicken coop. Gloves are recommended, as you will have a better grip and avoid blisters.
The bus Leaves SJ at both 8am & 12pm from Calle 12 Avenida 9-11 (Terminal Transportes Blancos) Tel: 22 57 41 21. PJ to SJ leaves at both 5h30am & 9ham. It cost 15$ and takes 8hrs. Ask the driver to drop you off in front of the Pulperia Daniel. From there, take the Calle Juanito Mora down to the beach. Walk about 12-15 minutes and your destination will be on the right hand side (about 300 meters past the futbol field, total a km). You can ask where lives Celine.
To get to Canaza, you can also fly, with Sansa (flysansa.com) or Skyways 140$ one way. A 45 minutes breathtaking flight.
You will need a good flashlight and maybe some after bite cream with Diphenhydramine (benadryl) or get some if you need at the local pharmacy called allergel.
Rubber boots are useful to work on our farm. You can get some at the local store. At dawn and by crossing the river, shoes get wet and take a long time to dry. You have to have closed-toed shoes to work in. There are snaked, scorpions, and other little critters here, so it’s in your best interest to have close-toes shoes. Any cut or bite can significantly hinder your trip due to the face that every wound gets infected much quicker in the tropics.
If possible, bring gardening gloves. Get some in a local garden center. Here we can only get the heavy leather ones that are the best to work with. Some plants have thorns and you’ll get a better grip. It can also prevent spider bites, rashes, blisters, and cuts.
We have a bite and sting venenom extractor in the toilet. It is in a yellow box.
You need to push on the piston, don’t draw it like you would for a syringe.
Bring your own sheets. You don't need a blanket. You can bring mosquito net although there are no mosquitoes here. (Only cockroaches and ants!).
Check your shoes for scorpions if you don’t wear you shoes for a couple They also like to sleep in piles of clothes. Shake them before putting them on.
Bring some sandals or crocs that you can go into the water with.
Take off your shoes in the house.
Sweep once in a while, the broom is by the door on the right hand side.
You can drink the water in the house, it’s fresh and comes from the Corcovado Park.
If there is no water in the garden you need to go turn on the water pump. It is located near the orchard. Turn it on (green) for about 15 minutes. The cement block will down the tank’s bottom when it is full.
There is a hidden key on the freezer ‘s right hand side if you are stuck outside.
The female brown dog is Madonna, the tabby cat is Daisy French and the black cat is Hilary !
We do sell postcards and CR stickers for 250 colones each. We also sell pepper from the farm at 3000colones a pack.
Enjoy the numerous paths on the farm, don’t always stick around to the house.
Take a shower and CHANGE CLOTHES after work both in the morning and before dinner.
Please help fight the bad reputation foreigners have in Costa Rica for being stinky!
We can wash clothes for you for 500 colones a kg.
If you break a tool, lose it, forget it somewhere or it gets stolen under your watch, we will ask you to pay for a replacement.
Do not sit on the couch with sweaty or humid clothes. Keep your feet of the couch.
Always bring back the machetes and take care of them.
Bring back any tool you take.
Never leave machetes or tools of any kind on the ground.
Somebody might get hurt and/or the tool can get damaged or lost.
We love our tools and get aggressive if you mess with them!
Banana sap stains everything forever; clothes, skin, wood etc. Be careful.
We try to buy local as much as possible and with the least amount of wrapping as possible.
Buy milk in little plastic bag instead of the tetra pack, it is better for the environment as well as cheaper.
You can order farm milk from Gabriel (86606952). He delivers on his motorcycle and sells it for about 500colones a liter. It’s fresh and delicious. You can also get fresh local cheese for 3000colones a kg with Felicia (88465991).
In La Palma they recycle soda bottles, glass bottles and iron.
Keep all food in containers that might attract animals. If not, you will share your food with ants and cockroaches. There are some plastic bins under the counter. In the fridge there are also containers to put leftovers.
Organic waste goes in the green bucket. Empty it every morning in the chicken coop. Wash it well with soap before putting it back in where it goes.
The garbage truck collects on Thursday at 4am. There is a garbage bin by the house. Every trash has to be in a bag. Don’t put anything loose in the bin please.
To make coffee, fill up the stainless coffee container with water, boil the water in a BIG cooking pot (boils faster) WITH the TOP ON (save gas). Put 6 full coffee spoons in the coffee sock.
You can find plastic bags on the other side of the main door by the refrigerator.
Don’t keep vegetables in plastic bags. They will spoil quicker and get forgotten in a corner.
Open the refrigerator door as little as possible! Be quick…power is precious and expensive in Costa Rica.
Don’t leave the fan running if you don’t need it.
If you use the iron cast skillets, don’t wash them with soap. Wait for them to cool down and (season) wipe them with a napkin and oil the entire surface and walls with oil. These are precious pots and need to be taken care of accordingly. We don’ want rusty cast iron pans that have years of flavor on them!
Clean your dishes after you use them. Don’t just pile up your washed dishes on top of what is there. Dry and put away what is there before you put yours.
Clean up the table with a clean cloth after every meal so it is ready to be used by other after.
Clean up the counter with a clean cloth after you are done cooking.
We pay for water per cubic meter, so please be aware of the amount of water you use. For example, when showering, please turn off the water while scrubbing. You’d be surprised how much water is saved when you do this.
You must go the ocean at night to look at the phosphorescent plankton.
Go swim at the beach for sunrise… it’s incredibly beautiful.
Go to the pond at night to observe the caimans with a flashlight/headlamp. They are easy to spot at night because of their red eyes.
Go kayaking. You can go to Mario’s house, (a good friend of ours) which is the last one before the beach on the right hand side. Ask to use his kayaks. Give him 2500c for the day. He will say no, but insist and say es para la nina (their baby).
Go along the river. You can reach the ocean at low tide or start by the mangrove at the beach and reach the farm by the river. You can see river otters, monkeys and so many beautiful birds (kingfisher, ibises, toucans).
Look at the pepper plant in the mango tree by the house. Find the vanilla by the cabin.
You can go hike in the park by the local entrance to the Corcovado National Park.
Give the horse and cows some fruit (bananas, plantains, mangos, papaya, pina).
Ride the horse on the farm’s paths or at the beach. Try to ride her bareback or get a saddle, wash it and oil it before using it. Carambola is only 10 years old and you have to be a rider to be able to ride her on your own.
Taste agua de pipa (coconut water), coconut and sugar cane.
Harvest ginger and turmeric.
Visit the Santuario Silvestre de Osa. It’s on the other side of the gulf, and you can only get there by boat. It’s definitely worth it! $25pp for a 2 hour tour, usually starting at 9h. It’s really a fantastic trip, and you will get to see monkeys and other critters up close and personal. The pictures you take will be stunning.
Visit Matapalo and have lunch at Bosque del Cabo (good food and beautiful place). A bus leaves PJ going to Caraté everyday at 6am and 1pm. There is a farmers market and a little party on Friday night. You can have a delicious dinner there for about 6000-7000 colones. Go up the carbonera river up until the waterfalls.
When you go to PJ, you can go to playa Platanares that is about 5 km away. You can take a taxi, it will cost you about 8$. You could also walk on the beach from PJ. The beach has nice sand and the waves are nice to swim in. There is a nice restaurant on the beach and you can have good food at a reasonable price. Bring some bug repellent.
You can go up the Rio Tigre and watch the gold miners.
Go up the Agujas river to the waterfalls.
Go up the Tigrillo river via kayak.
Go to San Miguel up the road that passes in front of Canaza’s school. From the farm the whole tour would be about 4 hours up the moutain and down the river back home. You get to see a bit of forest and a lot of farms.
You can get farm eggs from Maria for around 1200c/dozen.
At the farm you can pick salad, basil, turmeric, ginger, lemons, cilantro, mangos (may to July), star fruit, coconut, mandarins, spinach, sugar cane and bananas (organic and fresh ☺️).
You can find almost everything at the pulperia (local store at the corner). The owner, Dickson, is very nice and has reasonable prices. There is a lack of fresh greens at the store, but don’t fret, you have them at the farm. They take both colones and US dollars.
You can buy tapa dulce instead of sugar. It is a healthier option that is non-refined and has loads of vitamins in it!
Workawayers also often enjoy natilla, local sour cream.
Here are some ideas of food you can cook here:
Arroz y frijoles con juevos (rice, beans, and eggs). It is a great breakfast which provides heaps of energy for the type of work you will do. It will keep you going until 11am. You can make a superb green hot sauce with sour cream (natilla) and cilantro.
Hot sauce: In the blender, put 5 hot peppers (remove the seeds, but be aware to not touch your eyes with your fingers after), 5 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon of salt, cilantro, turmeric, ginger, & the juice of 3 lemons. Taste and add as much water as you want to make it as strong as you like.
Guacamole: 2 lemons mixed with half an onion so it cooks it like a ceviche, 2 avocados, cilantro, salt, hot pepper.
Mashed black beans with garlic and lemon on a tortilla with cream.
Green papaya salad (lemon, peanuts, sesame seed oil and coriander)
Salade nicoise (urugula, tomatoes, boiled eggs, peppers, tuna)
Lentil salad (lentils, tomato, basil, oil, lemon)
Urugula for mustard lettuce fried in butter, very similar to spinach!
Tropical salad (urugula, avocado, mango, grated coconut, sugar cane juice)
Mango chicken (chicken cooked with mangos, delicious!!)
Mexican soup (tomato-onion broth, avocado and fried tortillas on top)
Chilled coffee (milk, coffee and sugar in the magic bullet)
Tortas de yucca (ask Maria to show you. Grate some yucca, add an egg and fry in oil)
Mashed yucca (boil the yucca and mash with cream and butter)
Tomatoes with basil and Turrialba cheese (they have it at the pulperia)
Pesto pasta (we have a lot of basil)
Hot pepper pastas!
Hummus (chick peas, lemon, sesame seeds (fridge), salt, olive oil)
There is a bank in PJ and internet access. There is no wifi at the farm.
You can buy a SIM card and some credit at a reasonable price at the pulperia to connect to internet from the farm with your phone/lap top.
Some buses go to PJ several times a day. We go to town once a week with our truck, typically Wednesdays. It is only used for farm work and transportation to PJ and La Palma to get materials and deliver products from the farm.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
15 hours/week- no food, 25 hours/week- food