Picture this: strolling through verdant plantations, witnessing the coffee's lifecycle, and tasting the freshest brew right from its source.
Costa Rica is a paradise renowned for its world-class coffee beans and rich volcanic soils. This paradise offers a unique voyage into the world of coffee.
From my experiences travelling this beautiful country, I have reviewed the best coffee tours in Costa Rica, giving you the knowledge to embark on an unforgettable bean-fueled adventure.
8 Best Coffee Tours In Costa Rica
1. Hacienda Alsacia
What You’ll Do
Immerse in a coffee tour in Costa Rica at the Starbucks Coffee Farm. Discover Starbucks' meticulous coffee production process, from bean to a fresh cup, and the significant role of the local community in its success.
This was one of the first tours I went on, and I really enjoyed the unique Starbucks twist. I could see firsthand the blend of modern and traditional aspects that Starbucks showcased.
The modern facilities stood out to me, and the strong influence the Starbucks brand has on the local farms was evident throughout.
The tour was informative, and it offered good value. However, the tour was also quite short, which for me had its pros and cons.
I couldn't help but feel it lacked a bit of authenticity compared to other tours I've been on.
2. Café Britt
What You’ll Do
Embark on a fascinating and educational journey in the heart of Costa Rica with Café Britt. Learn about the traditional Costa Rican way of coffee production while enjoying delightful tastings from one of the most established tours in the country.
Around 2 hours long, or 5 for the private tour.
Prices Starting at $55 for the normal tour from San Jose (2 Hours)
The Cafe Britt tour had been recommended to me by other travelers and seemed to be one of the most established tours in the country.
The tour was the perfect blend of entertainment and education, making it a truly sensory experience.
The guides were both informative and entertaining, offering unique cultural insights that I hadn't encountered before, such as their Costa Rican Folklore exhibit.
This is definitely amongst the best tours I've been on, although it was a bit on the pricier side.
3. Café Monteverde
What You’ll Do
Receive education on Monteverde's coffee journey. Traverse the plantation, learning about sustainable cultivation and the significance of healthy land for the crop, experiencing what farm to cup really means.
Timing: Tours are 2.5 hrs long, available at different hours in French, English, and Spanish.
Monteverde holds a place in my heart for many reasons. The sky forest is simply one of the most stunning places I have ever visited, and I felt obligated to take one of the region's great tours.
During the Cafe Monteverde tour, I was educated on the intricate processing steps. I gained a clearer understanding of terms such as 'aged' and 'roasted'.
The tour ended in the "Coffee Lab," where I got to put my newfound coffee palate to good use, with a great tasting.
If you want a truly comprehensive overview of the process, from roasting to growing, tasting and sustainability, I highly recommend this tour.
It was, however, on the longer side, so it may not be the best option for those who want a quick tour or have kids.
4. Don Juan
What You’ll Do
Examine Costa Rica's coffee and chocolate realms in this combo tour. From coffee fields to making your own chocolate, it's an unforgettable journey.
$35 per person
This tour is a firm favorite amongst families, and for good reason. Coffee for the parents, chocolate for the kids! As a fan of both, I'm not sure which part I enjoyed more!
The Don Juan coffee tour, which can be taken in either Arenal or Monteverde, is full of education and hands-on experiences for adults and kids alike.
It includes coffee tasting and a traditional coffee plantation tour, as well as chocolate making for the kids. This means that although the tour is a little longer, the kids are kept entertained.
If you are looking for a more coffee-orientated tour, you may find the tour a bit rushed, with the focus on both coffee and chocolate.
5. Tío Leo Coffee Tour, Costa Rica
What You’ll Do
A deep-dive coffee tour includes snacks, a cooking class, a chocolate tour, sugarcane juice extraction, and coffee roasting, making it a great all-rounder.
3 hours +
During the 3+ hours I spent with Tio-Lio on his incredible tour in Guanacaste, I fell in love with his passion and the process of making coffee.
This is one of the best value tours on the list and one that I would recommend to anyone in the area.
Learn coffee-making, taste local brew, enjoy raw chocolate, chocolate milk, fresh juices, and grind sugar cane.
Tio Leo himself will show you the techniques used to harvest the coffee, as well as some equipment that has been in use for over a century!
For a more intimate and hands-on experience, consider the Tio Lio Tour.
6. Doka Estate
What You’ll Do
Embark on the Doka Estate Combo Tour, immerse yourself in a comprehensive coffee journey, visit the butterfly garden, delight in an orchid exhibition, and participate in coffee tastings.
Tailored to guests' schedules.
Around $100 per adult; and $195 for two adults.
Found close to the capital, San Jose, The Doka Estate Coffee tour was one of the more expensive tours I went on during my travels.
And while the tour was about on par with some of the other tours, touring around the estate, which included a bonsai greenhouse, orchid exhibition, butterfly garden, and locally sourced restaurant, made up for the cost.
This tour felt premium from start to finish. Still, I felt it was more suited to those who were on holiday or traveling with family and less to that of a backpacker.
Nevertheless, they were very accommodating and did everything they could to help.
7. El Toledo Organic Coffee Farm
What You’ll Do
Authentic Costa Rican coffee at a family-owned business. Organic coffee discussions and tasting.
Around 2 hours - 2.5 hours.
$25 per person.
The El Toledo Coffee Tour in the scenic Altos de Alajuela Province offers a truly in-depth experience from a family-owned coffee producer.
As someone deeply interested in coffee, I found the richness of information and the organic focus of the tour to be immensely enlightening.
The charm of a family-run business was evident throughout, and I loved the authenticity and warmth that was injected into the two-hour tour.
What sets this tour apart is its thorough discussions on organic coffee production and the chance to indulge in authentic Costa Rican coffee tasting.
However, for casual tourists, the wealth of information might feel slightly overwhelming.
8. Mi Cafecito
What You’ll Do
Wander around beautiful coffee fields in Costa Rica while learning about the life of coffee farmers and the seed-to-cup process.
This tour was structured well, guiding you through some picturesque coffee fields in Alajuela. Along the way, you get insights into the life of coffee farmers and a detailed 'seed to cup' process.
For me, one of the standout features of this tour was the fluency and clarity of the English-speaking tour guides, which made the experience smooth and understandable.
It was great being able to have a full-blown conversation and ask any questions I needed to ask.
However, a couple of points are worth noting. There isn't a discount for children, and some might find the souvenir-selling approach a bit forward.
Where Are The Coffee Plantations In Costa Rica?
The coffee plantations in Costa Rica are spread out over eight regions. The five most visited ones are:
San Jose - The Coffee Capital
San José, the country's bustling capital, is at the heart of Costa Rica.
When you look further, out beyond the urban hustle of this thriving city, you will find that the outskirts are home to some of the country's most prestigious coffee plantations.
It's here, on the fertile slopes, bathed in just the right amount of sunlight and rainfall, that some of the country's top-quality coffee beans are grown.
Many tourists will begin their Costa Rica trip in San Jose, which is great because some of the best tours, like the Doka Estate and Cafe Britt tours, will pick you up from the city.
With its fertile volcanic soils and ideal climate, this region produces some of the finest coffee beans in the world, known for their full-bodied flavor and aromatic richness.
Travelers to Heredia can embark on the famous Cafe Britt coffee tour, where they immerse themselves in the entire bean-to-cup process, gaining insights into the deep-rooted traditions and meticulous cultivation methods of Costa Rican coffee.
Beyond the beans, the province offers a serene ambiance, charming towns, and warm hospitality, making it a must-visit for anyone looking to savor the authentic essence of Costa Rica.
La Fortuna / Arenal Volcano Region
Another notable coffee-growing area, located to the northwest, past La Fortuna, is the Arenal region, where the imposing Arenal Volcano rises on the horizon.
At its base lie some of the more famous coffee fields. The volcanic soil here imparts a unique richness to the beans, making it a sought-after location for coffee cultivation.
One of the Don Juan coffee tours is in this area.
North Fields Region
The North Fields area is less well-known but still an incredible region. Tucked away from the mainstream tourist trails, this region is a coffee connoisseur's dream.
The blend of its natural environment and traditional farming techniques ensures a cuppa that's as authentic as it gets.
Monteverde - The Cloud Forest
Perched high in the Tilarán Mountain Range, Monteverde is a haven for both nature enthusiasts and coffee aficionados.
Often enveloped in a soft, ethereal mist, this cloud forest region boasts a cooler climate, making it ideal for coffee cultivation.
When in Monteverde, a coffee tour is as essential as a walk amidst its famous suspension bridges and incredible wildlife.
If you find yourself in the beautiful area of Monteverde, you can choose from the Cafe Montverde or the Don Juan tours.
Alajuela - The City of Mangoes
Finally, we have Alajuela, known as the “City of Mangos,” this region is steeped in history and vibrant culture.
However, beyond its urban confines, Alajuela extends into serene coffee plantations, many of which have been operational for generations.
The volcanic soils from nearby Poás Volcano enrich the lands, bestowing the coffee beans with a deep, bold flavor that's unmistakably Costa Rican.
Alajuela's coffee farms, often family-run affairs, blend traditional techniques with modern sustainability practices.
For those looking for tours in Alajeula, you are spoilt for choice, with the Starbucks Hacienda, Doka Estates, Mi Cafecito, and El Toledo tours all being found here.
How To Choose Your Ideal Costa Rican Coffee Tour
Having explored the picturesque landscapes of Costa Rica and delved deep into its coffee culture, I've learned a thing or two about selecting the perfect coffee tour.
Dive into the History:
One of the most captivating parts of my journey was understanding the rich history behind Costa Rican coffee.
When browsing tours, look for those offering insights into the past.
It's one thing to sip a delicious coffee, but it's a wholly different experience to learn the centuries-old stories behind that brew.
In terms of education on the rich history of Coffee in Costa Rica, my favorite tour was given at the Doka Estate.
Savor the Flavors:
For me, perhaps the most important part of any coffee tour is the tasting.
For this reason, I recommend that you ensure the tour provides ample opportunities to sample various brews.
My recommendation would be the Cafe Monteverde tour, with its incredible Coffee Lab tasting.
On my adventure, I loved comparing the subtle notes and flavors from different regions, from the robust beans of San José to the aromatic delights near Arenal Volcano.
As interesting as the history, learning the roasting process was an eye-opener for me. I realized that roasting transforms the humble coffee bean into the gourmet coffee we adore.
I recommend choosing a tour that dives deep into the roasting process.
It's fascinating to witness beans turning into that perfect shade of brown, ready to be brewed, and no tour does this better than the Tio Lio tour (given by the man himself).
This is an incredibly informative tour where you can gain knowledge on the intricacies of the roasting process as it happens.
Touring the Plantations:
Information and history are all well and good, but there is something special about walking amidst the coffee bushes in the north fields, watching the ripe coffee berries, and feeling the fertile slopes beneath my feet was surreal.
Ensure your chosen tour allows you to roam the plantations, immersing yourself in the very environment where the beans thrive.
The Doka Estate tour is the best tour for those who want to wander an exotic plantation, with the added benefit of a butterfly farm and beautiful exhibits of rare flowers.
Look for Sustainable Tours:
In today's world, being environmentally conscious is not just a buzzword; it's a responsibility.
Costa Rica has one of the world's most diverse ecosystems.
On my journey, I always try to find tours that practice sustainable coffee production, like the El Toledo coffee tour.
These tours provided an unforgettable experience and ensured I was contributing to the environment positively when exploring a coffee plantation that was eco-friendly.
Commonly Asked Questions
Costa Rican coffee has become synonymous with gourmet coffee production because the country’s volcanic terrains enhance the soil with minerals, creating a haven for growing coffee that is both robust and aromatic.
Costa Rica predominantly grows the Arabica species, renowned for its delicious coffee berries.
While many regions in Costa Rica are famed for their coffee cultivation, San José stands out for its interesting coffee history and exceptional beans.
In Costa Rica, the local term for coffee is "café". This is often coffee, accompanied by delightful local treats and many fun stories.
Yes, Starbucks has often sourced coffee from Costa Rica, recognizing the nation’s capability to produce beans of exceptional quality. Beans sourced from regions around San José and other prominent coffee-growing areas are found in Starbucks worldwide.
Summary - My Recommendations for Your Coffee Tour Adventure
Having journeyed through Costa Rica's coffee regions, I've been fortunate to experience several tours firsthand.
No matter your preference, each tour offers a unique window into the world of Costa Rican coffee, ensuring memories that linger long after the last sip.
If you love coffee like I do, put Costa Rica on your travel bucket list for your next trip. Book a tour and taste coffee the way it is meant to be tasted.