This 2.5 hour tour will open the secrets and wonders of one of mankind’s favorite foods: chocolate. Originally from Central America, this plant has an extraordinary history; it was one of the most important products for the Mayan and Aztec cultures, as well as other Central American cultures.
The discovery of America led to the introduction of chocolate in Europe, transforming it into the product we all know today. The cacao plot, which is not in commercial use, was formerly cultivated in the ancient way – mixed with other forest trees. It was used for research purposes several decades ago and is currently used for environmental education, showing the traditional processes. The tour will be led by a trained guide across the suspension bridge and a sector of the Tirimbina forest to a former cacao-growing plot.
During the hike, the natural and cultural history of the cacao tree will be explained. Upon arrival at the plot, the artisanal process by which cacao fruit is transformed into chocolate will be demonstrated (harvest, fermentation, drying, etc.), while the story of pre- and post-colonial chocolate is told. At the site, the visitors can taste different kinds of chocolate, which are prepared on the spot in the traditional way. By showing this processing of cacao to chocolate, the tour aids in the conservation of one of our native plants, the cultivation of which is one of the most friendly to the environment.
Furthermore, in its desire to improve the life of the community, Tirimbina is connected to the Amazilia del Caribe Women’s Association, composed of rural women from Pueblo Nuevo de Guácimo, in Limon Province, which has dedicated itself to the production of hand-made organic chocolates. These may be found in the souvenir shop, and through their purchase visitors can assist in the well-being of the whole community.Requirements: closed shoes or boots at all times. Recommendations: water, insect repellent, poncho or umbrella, binoculars and camera.
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