Chocolate Cacao Farm and Traditional Flavors with Dona Mara

Approx. 5 hours

North Zone


Let your expert local guide immerse you in a fantastic all -senses experience exploring the food and culture of the Arenal Volcano area. Start the day with local cacao farmers as they take visitors on a delicious journey in the chocolate-making process from bean to bar (chocolate bar!). Next learn how to cook like a Costa Rican with a hands-on cooking experience with tortillas, gallos (small bites), and local hot sauce in the kitchen of Dona Mara

Start the day with a visit to a local cacao farm at the base of the Arenal Volcano. From farm to bar, your guide will walk you through the chocolate process, complete with a chocolate tasting and mixing. This interactive tour introduces you to cacao trees, and fruit harvesting, and finishes with a hands-on journey through roasting, processing, and mixing allowing guests to make their own chocolate products. At the end of the farm visit, guests will enjoy a culinary journey to celebrate the delicious and traditional foods of Costa Rica. A visit to the kitchen of Dona Mara will be the highlight of your visit to the Arenal Volcano area. Our private authentic cooking experience, set in the kitchen of Dona Mara in the heart of the Chachagua rainforest, is the perfect place to learn about Costa Rican food and get a taste of the flavors of local traditions.

Dona Mara, a local woman from the Chachagua region near the Arenal Volcano,  will welcome you into her kitchen and present the day’s menu. Dona Mara is well known in the area for her delicious local cuisine. Learn alongside her how to prepare delicious “Tortillas Caseras” (Tortillas made by hand) from grinding the corn to hand patting the tortillas to toasting them on her wood-burning stove.

Guests will also see what it takes to prepare local Chilera from scratch. “Chileras” are a local homemade hot sauce blend of vegetables, spices and peppers and found on every Costa Rican table. Learn the blends and secrets to create your own chilera. After the tortillas come off the wood burning stove, guests will enjoy the fruits of the work and enjoy a lunch of hearty tortillas served with a a mix of “gallos”- small traditional dishes of picadillos ( vegetable and meat hash) made with potatoes, arracacha and green papayas, meats in sauce, local cheeses and sometimes smokey chorizo. Come to the table and savor  all of authentic local specialties on Dona Maras open-air terrace .

Tour Duration: Approx. 5 hours

Other Details

  • Price may vary depending on the size of the group, please contact us.

What’s included

  • Bilingual certified guides
  • Transportation from/to La Fortuna Hotels
  • Safety equipment
  • Drinks
  • Delicious Costarican lunch
  • Make your own hot sauce
  • Hands-on tortilla making

What to bring

  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Repellent
  • Extra Clothes
  • Comfortable clothes



Some may think us crazy or irresponsible but we journeyed to Costa Rica for Christmas! We used Find My Costa Rica services over a four week period from Dec 11 2020 to Jan 10 2021 for ground transfers (one being to a Pacific coast beach house in Playa Grande) and a local Chocolate Tour, due to Covid-19 we were of course limiting our public activities. We used this service for 7 different transfers. we always found the drivers and guides attentive to Covid protocols on top of just being as friendly as all Costa Rica people are. This being our third trip to the La Fortuna area we have met some of these people before but in better circumstances. The most important issue I want to write about here is from Dec 30 when we heard the Canadian government was putting in place the requirement of having a NEGATIVE PCR test before we could return home. In a panic we contacted FMCR on the 31st and over the next few days they made full arrangements for tests for my wife and I. FMCR provided transfer to and from Ciudad de Quesada where the lab was from El Bosque where we were staying during this portion of our trip. Given a time frame requirement of within 72 hrs before flight (on the Jan 10), the New Year holiday/weekend closure of the nearest lab and that lab being an hour drive away into the mountains we were very anxious and worried. However as with any previous interactions we have had with FMCR or associated companies our worry was unnecessary, all went flawless. Of course FMCR could not guarantee us the NEGATIVE result we needed but they were a large part of our both results being that way through their professional and clean services in our transfers. Thank you Find My Costa Rica and we will see you once again soon.
Hank Bartlett
Hank Bartlett
Such an incredible experience with Find My Costa Rica! My partner and I gave a rough timeline, and a budget, and in return had a completely custom 2 week vacation planned for us with an ideal balance of guided adventure, self adventure, and complete relaxation. Costa Rica literally has it ALL & Find My Costa Rica will help ensure you experience all the best parts! They seamlessly organized airport transfers even when flying in and out of different airports, and all the hotel transfers. They booked our excursions and guided tours of wildlife reserves, volcano hikes, hot springs, etc all with clear and concise communication and also within our budget. All tours booked with FMC were phenomenal; the guides were professional and so very knowledgeable. Thank you for making our experience in Costa Rica so memorable!
Ashley Holmes
Ashley Holmes
Ginger’s Yoga Adventures has used Find My Costa Rica for four years. Everyone is very knowledgeable, easy to work with and responsible. They are responsive before and during the trip and help coordinate every detail. We have had much success with our retreats and it is due to the expertise of Find My Costa Rica. We highly recommend them for any of your travel needs or group events. Thanks to Find My Costa Rica we are planning our next retreat in beautiful Costa Rica.
Ginger Rogers
Ginger Rogers
We had a large group with ages from 4 up to 85. Find My Costa Rica helped us plan and book all of our hotels and tours. The kids learned to surf and we all did the zip-line. Our favorite part was the Sloth Tour -- Marcos made it so much fun, it was amazing. It is so much easier to have them book it all than getting all the hotels and tours on your own, and the price was a little less than if I had done all the work. One stop shopping is definitely the way to go!
Scuba Nadine
Scuba Nadine