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South Caribbean Adventures: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca & The Organic Feria

Posted Feb 01 2010 12:00am

This is the beginning of many posts to come about our adventures in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca located on the southern part of the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. The drive down there was beautiful and a whole different world from the Pacific side of Costa Rica. We drove through a breathtaking rainforest reserve, over many rivers , past large banana & pineapple plantations and miles of coconut trees along the coast. Can you tell that I've fallen in love with the Caribbean?!

Hmmmmm (daydreaming)...

Anyway, I want to tell you all about our time in Puerto Viejo. I didn’t know what to expect, but I had heard that it was a hippie’s paradise… natural, organic and artistic… my kinda place and... I wasn’t disappointed :o)

We arrived Friday night and checked into our small cabin located about a mile outside of Puerto Viejo. I had heard through some people that the Puerto Viejo farmer’s market is open early on Saturdays and almost everything is organic… of course, we had to check it out and explore the town to get a feel of what we wanted to do during our time there. So, the next morning we got our bikes (instead of renting a van for all of us, we hired someone to drive us to our cabin and we rented bikes for our entire stay… much cheaper, great exercise & way FUN!) and took off to check out the market.

The market was very small, but there was much to choose from. You can find fresh chicken, eggs, raw milk, raw cheese, organic fruits & veggies, baked goods and artisan breads. We met and talked with some wonderful people and I actually met a fellow blogger! First I want to introduce you all to Peter & Ancel

They run a beautiful permaculture farm just outside of Puerto Viejo called Finca la Isla’s Botanical Garden. Their primary focus is growing exotic fruits and chocolate. Unfortunely, we weren’t able to visit and explore the farm as they were close during the times we could’ve gone. I was heartbroken… Nevertheless, I am still thrilled that we had the chance to chat with them at the market and hear how they started their farm. 

At the market they sell dried exotic fruits, homemade chocolates & cookies, homemade dog treats (they gave me the recipe! I will share when I whip them up for our dogs), exotic fruit jams & preserves, fruit roll-ups and some fresh fruits & veggies. We bought a couple bags of their dried fruits and some fruit leathers. Of course, I wished we had bought more… they were delicious! I loved the dried fruits because there were chunks of mangosteen in the midst. SO GOOD! Check out their amazing selections... mangosteen jam?! That sounds fantastic!

When I checked out their website, I was super excited (and super bummed because I would've LOVED to be there!) to find that they are passionate about lacto-fermenting, sprouting & making homemade vinegars from fruits. They described their kitchen as a very active place of working with certain yeasts, fungi & bacteria to produce several fermented products such as tempeh, kimchi, kombucha and fruit vinegars. Please visit their site and if you are in the area… let them know how you heard about them!

We came across another table displaying raw honey, organic cacao, organic chocolates, peanut butter, raw banana vinegars, organic coffee and coconut oil. While chatting with the man, Paul, I discovered that he runs the ice cream & coffee shop on the other side of town. We were actually looking for that very place because we had to deliver a box to them from Mighty Rivers (will tell you all about that place). Another thing we discovered was he and his wife are Christians and have been involved with the community for several years now.

That's one thing we found about the town of Puerto Viejo... there is a large community of Christians and it is very family-friendly for a beach town. Yeah, it has the usual party life, but it is not know for that while Jaco (where we lived for a while) is known for its drugs, prostitutes and party life. Comparing the two towns, Jaco (pacific side) & Puerto Viejo (caribbean side).... If anybody asked me where I recommend them to go for vacation in Costa Rica... I will tell them the Caribbean or La Fortuna.

Anyway, while we were hanging out and meeting people at the market, I saw a mama wearing an Ergo and wanted to meet her. Trish is the first mama I’ve met wearing an Ergo in Costa Rica. We started chatting and sharing each other’s stories of why we are in Costa Rica. She then suddenly asked me if I was a blogger and what the name of my blog was. I told her and she couldn't believe that our paths crossed each other in Puerto Viejo of all places! She said she took one look at my girls and thought they looked very familiar. Obviously, from their pictures on my blog! She blogs on Tiny Grass and had her baby here in Costa Rica. It was great meeting you and your family, Trish!

Now, this is not the end of our trip… I am just getting started! I have so much to share with you all about the delicious food we ate, an amazing organic chocolate tour that spoiled us for life & our time at Mighty Rivers Farm. So, don’t miss any of the posts!

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