A few years ago I went on the Espiritu Santo Coffee Tour with some friends, and I have been wanting to write about it ever since.
I fell in love with the tour and the location and wanted to write about it because it’s an easy day trip from San Jose, a great stop on the way to the Arenal/La Fortuna area, and because it’s just kilometers from our hometown of San Ramon.
Add in that it’s locally owned and operated, and geared towards kids- there really isn’t much not to like! Here are all the details of my visit to Espritu Santo Coffee Farm/Tours.
Espritu Santo Location
The farm is located just outside of the small town of Naranjo, Costa Rica. The cool thing is that Naranjo is right on the way to La Fortuna so you can make a quick stop and then keep driving.
Just take highway 1 north out of San Jose, and turn right where the Naranjo sign is. This is highway 141.
Once you arrive in Naranjo, I’d use Google Maps or Waze on a cell phone to navigate to the actual entrance to Espiritu Santo, but it’s only a couple of kilometers from the city center. You are also only about 10 minutes from the town of Sarchi, where the painted Costa Rican ox carts originate.
When you arrive at Espiritu Santo, expect sweeping views of both the coffee farm and the town of Naranjo.
You’ll arrive at a traditional little blue and white Costa Rican “casita” where your bilingual guide will meet you.
A short walk down to the wooden house will take you back one hundred years in Costa Rican history, and your guide will talk you through a bit of the history of coffee.
The next part is the best- your guide will prepare you traditional Costa Rican coffee through what we call a “chorreador.” You’ll get to try the coffee before you learn how it’s made.
Next, you’ll chop some wood with an ax- not totally sure why except it’s fun and historical. I’m sure kids would love it.
From there, you’ll walk to the coffee plants and learn to pick coffee in the traditional Costa Rican way. This means first putting a large basket around your waist, and then pulling the red coffee beans off of the plant.
The tour guide was super fun here- he made us do a coffee-picking competition and he managed to scare us by running through the coffee plants when we didn’t realize he was there. This experience is super geared toward kids.
Most Costa Rican kids from the Central Valley grew up picking coffee, and this part of the tour recreates that experience. They do this section at the Hacienda Alsacia Starbucks tour as well, but this was way more fun.
From there you will go to the area where the coffee is processed. This part has pristine views of the coffee plantation and of the town of Naranjo.
Finally, you’ll go to the area where the coffee is packaged. The coffee made at Espiritu Santo is called Cafe Naranjo, and it’s one of the most popular coffees in the area due to the dark roasting process and the rich flavor. I love that this coffee farm is actually working to produce local coffee.
Of course, at the end there is a gift shop- the coffee prices are competitive with the grocery stores so it’s more than fine to stock up here instead of making another stop.
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit any coffee farm is the end of November and the beginning of December as that’s when the coffee-picking season begins. However, at any time of the year here you can pick the beans from the sample plants on the tour, and the farm offers tours year-round.
I would try to book your visit in the morning though, as it tends to rain in the afternoon. Almost all of the tour is outside, so I would not go if it’s raining.
How To Book
You’ll need to either call or send an email to the farm to get their current rates and availability for guided tours.
That’s the official way to book. However, this farm does not tend to be very busy and if you just showed up I honestly think you would be able to get a tour really easily. I’m not positive about that, but pretty sure.
Please consider this locally owned and operated coffee tour- it’s only of the sweetest coffee tours I have been on in Costa Rica.