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First, get your boat

First, get your boat

When visitors think about Things to Do in this area they don’t often think of a trip to Gandoca Lagoon. Of course there are loads of different trips and activities on this coast and so this one often remains in the background — but it shouldn’t because an afternoon spent at Gandoca Lagoon could be the highlight of your trip. It is certainly one of my favourites.

Take a couple of beers for your rowers and wildlife spotters: Thanks Junior & Roger!

Take a couple of beers for your rowers and wildlife spotters: Thanks Junior & Roger!

Sit back and enjoy the scenery

Sit back and enjoy the scenery

Easy to arrange, an interesting drive from Puerto Viejo and off the tourist track, this trip can hold all sorts of nature and wildlife surprises such as watching pelicans fishing at the end of the lagoon, egrets in mangrove swamps or even a manatee…

Egrets in the mangroves

Egrets in the mangroves

Fishing families at the end of the lagoon

Fishing families at the end of the lagoon

Pelicans fishing at the beach at the end of Gandoca Lagoon

Pelicans fishing at the beach at the end of Gandoca Lagoon

If you feel like spending a lazy afternoon in gorgeous natural surroundings, spotting wildlife whilst being rowed quietly along this pretty lagoon, then this is the trip for you.

20. Small birds on log: Gandoca Lagoon Trip. Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica13 Bird on log: Gandoca Lagoon Trip. Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica9 Monkey: Gandoca Lagoon Trip. Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica 5 more wildlife: Gandoca Lagoon Trip. Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa RicaGandoca Lagoon is like a miniature Tortuguero, but without the crowds or the travelling. Each time we’ve been to Gandoca Lagoon we’ve been the only people there and have always spotted plenty of wildlife and birds. If you want to photograph wildlife and birds, this is a wonderful place to capture some great shots. It is quiet, serene and as the sun sets, simply magical.

6 Birdlife: Gandoca Lagoon Trip. Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica4.Spot the wildlife: Gandoca Lagoon Trip. Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica 7 Pelican: Gandoca Lagoon Trip. Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa RicaAlthough these photos hardly do it justice, the beauty and tranquillity of Gandoca lagoon is remarkable. If you want to get off the beaten path, this is the trip for you.

Trees silhouetted at Gandoca Lagoon

Trees silhouetted at Gandoca Lagoon

Sun setting on Gandoca Lagoon

Sun setting on Gandoca Lagoon

Chocolate…. Food of the Gods…. and me 🙂
One of the many fun Things to Do in Puerto Viejo is a Chocolate Tour and Caribeans or Chocorart Chocolate tours are not only fascinating but delicious!

The Cacao forest on Chocorart Chocolate Tour

The Cacao forest on Chocorart Chocolate Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This area was previously well known as a cacao growing region, but after a blight wiped out many plantations the making of chocolate went into decline. But happily, (for all us chocoholics) in recent years there has been a resurgence of cacao farmers in the Puerto Viejo area. So now there are now several highly skilled chocolate makers and chocolatiers.

Chocorart Chocolates

Chocorart Chocolates

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both Caribeans and Chocorart are chocolate makers which means that they grow their own cacao, harvest, ferment and dry it to ultimately turn it into some of the most wonderful chocolate you’ve ever had. It’s so pure that it doesn’t melt even in the heat and humidity of the Caribbean — pretty handy when you want to carry some with you to the beach right?

Caribeans Chocolate. Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chocolate tour begins with a walk through the cacao forest as you learn about the history of cacao and where your chocolate bar starts. On your way through the forest you’re bound to see Dart Frogs and maybe monkeys, a sloth or a toucan or two.

Cacao pods waiting for the harvest

Cacao pods waiting for the harvest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll get to taste every stage of the chocolate making process from cacao pod to the finished product which is sold all over the world.

Caribeans Chocolate tour: see each stage of the process

Caribeans Chocolate tour: see each stage of the process

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my favourite moments is watching the final stages of the chocolate making — but actually what I really enjoyed was the SMELL — simply divine.

One of the most heavenly smells on earth!

One of the most heavenly smells on earth!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not going to spoil the surprise element of these tours, but the tasting part is something you will remember.

Tasting tray on Caribeans Chocolate tour

Tasting tray on Caribeans Chocolate tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re talking gourmet chocolate here, made in small batches with locally grown organic and innovative flavourings. Basically this is heaven for chocolate lovers!

Just keep on sniffing!

Just keep on sniffing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re lucky enough to be in Puerto Viejo at the end of October, don’t miss the Chocolate Festival which include a Chocolate Crawl — like a pub crawl but with a different focus! The festival features all the local chocolate makers and chocolatiers (loads of tasting opportunities) and ways of eating or using Chocolate that just may not have occurred to you… Come and be surprised 🙂

So when you’re in Puerto Viejo one of THE Things to Do is a Chocolate Tour: You’ll never look at chocolate quite the same way again.

Take a look at the links below to see which Chocolate tour you fancy or make it a chocolate feast and do both! And if you are a serious chocolate aficionado you should also visit Caribeans and Chocorart’s Chocolate Café’s because, let’s face it chocolate is happiness in your hand.

Caribeans chocolate lounge. Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

 

 

 

http://caribeanscr.com/chocolate-tour.html

http://caribeanscr.com/chocolate-tour.html

http://caribeanscr.com/chocolate-tour.html

http://caribeanscr.com/chocolate-tour.html

https://www.facebook.com/chocorat.cr

A link to the website for The Chocolate Festival in Puerto Viejo:

http://www.pvchocolatefestival.com/index.html

If it’s going to be a little while until you’re in Puerto Viejo and you want to know just how good the chocolate from here is, now you can buy it online here:

https://www.chocolate-craft.com/

Be happy eat chocolate