Costa Rica Offers Coffee & Culture

written by | Posted on August 1st, 2012

 

The Central Highlands of Costa Rica is a place for nature lovers, culture seekers, and above all, coffee connoisseurs. Here, where coffee farming has been the main agricultural resource for generations, guests will not only find Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn, they’ll also find tico (Costa Rican) culture as it has always been.

History
Husband and wife duo Glenn and Teri Osman Jampol opened Finca Rosa Blanca as an inn back in 1989 with just five rooms, before purchasing the surrounding 30-acre organic coffee farm in 2002. “[We] didn’t actually incorporate it as an integral part of the inn until 2007, when we realized how lovely it would be to share our passion for organic coffee with our guests,” says Teri.

Finca Rosa Blanca became the first boutique hotel in Costa Rica to incorporate sustainable hospitality into its mission, with careful attentions paid to water management and agricultural standards. “The result,” Teri says, “is deeply personalized, high-quality lodging combined with eco-agro tourism of our sustainable estate coffee.” In fact, the property holds a 5 Green Leaf certificate—Costa Rica’s highest rating for sustainable tourism. Though the couple holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Costa Rica, they’ve lived at the plantation for more than 20 years. “We love operating the inn, adding our own personal touch that so many destinations lack, and sharing the Central Highlands Costa Rican coffee culture with our guests.”

Culture
Glenn and Teri make easy work of a big mission—to offer a luxurious and sustainable boutique hotel experience, that is—by taking advantage of the resources around them. “We’ve created an exciting destination where the adventurous and curious traveler will experience the history and cultivation of coffee in Costa Rica, and the healthy and high-quality cuisine, music, arts and culture of the local communities while being cared for with personalized attention and world-class service.”

Finca Rosa Blanca

 

Of course, the first step would be to introduce visitors to the local star of the show. “Coffee farming is the main agricultural activity in the Central Highlands, and most of our employees, neighbors and community either grew up picking coffee or had farms of their own,” says Teri. So it’s only natural that Finca Rosa Blanca would want to put its plantation on display, with tours of the organic coffee farm. “The guest is treated to a complete history of coffee while hiking through the tree-shaded plantation to the ‘beneficio’ where we process the ‘cherries’ (beans) and dry them on their way to the roasting, grinding and packaging in our Casa de Cafe.”

For a bit of culinary exposure, the property welcomes guests into its organic greenhouse, orchards and gardens during cooking classes with chef Oscar Picado. Groups also travel to the local market for a hands-on lesson in local produce and spices. On their way, guests can visit a mill that grinds corn for tortillas and masa for tamales. When they return to the inn, guests work with chef Picado to create and indulge in traditional recipes or, during the holidays, seasonal dishes. “We believe that the cuisine is integral to the culture of the country, and share that with our guests.”

If coffee or cooking don’t appeal to your clients, the staff at Finca Rosa Blanca is happy to help guests get involved in the wide array of additional activities and places of interest in the surrounding area, including bird watching, white-water rafting, volcano treks and tours, and excursions to the capital city of San Jose or the local town of Sarchi, where the area’s famed oxcarts are produced.

Community
It’s not just agricultural traditions that the property aims to preserve—they highly value local traditions, too. For instance, at the on-property Tiendita gift shop, only local handicrafts are sold. Guests can purchase jewelry made from local seeds and stones, paper products made from banana and coffee, or rugs woven by the senior citizens at the local senior center. Of course, guests can also pick up a bag of the plantation’s home-grown organic coffee, perhaps along with some artisan chocolates made by chocolatiers who use organic Costa Rican chocolate.

But Teri and Glenn both realize that a truly immersive stay can’t happen if their guests hole-up at the hotel, so they make an effort to get visitors out into the local community, too. “We invite our guests to meet the children and members of the community at work and play, with visits to the Barrio Jesus and Santa Barbara Elementary Schools, and to the Senior Citizen’s Center and Children’s Food Bank, which provides a daily lunch for over 75 children with our help. We post a daily notice of festivals, parades, fairs and markets on our bulletin board, and encourage and assist our guests to participate in any and all of these events.”

Finca Rosa Blanca

 

With its surroundings comprising tropical gardens, cloud forests, volcanoes and—you guessed it—coffee plantations, Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn offers a variety of natural outlets, in addition to its on-property restaurant, bar, pool, gift shop, and El Targua Spa. The property’s 11 Junior Suites and two Master Suites all feature jacuzzi baths, minibars and either private verandah overlooking the Central Valley or secluded patio surrounded by tropical plants.

Rates start at $250 per night, valid through Oct. 31. For more information, call (305) 395-3042 or visit fincarosablanca.com.

Learn more about Costa Rica by taking part in Recommend’s Costa Rica Specialist Program I and Costa Rica Specialist Program II.