Playa Blanca, Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

Mar 24, 2018 - National Geographic Quest

The calm waters of the Golfo Dulce are one of the best places on earth to enjoy a warm tropical sunrise. Our second day in Costa Rica unfolds on the Osa Peninsula in Playa Blanca, a small beach town connected by a dirt road to the much bigger town of Puerto Jimenez.

Today is a unique day. We are not just going hiking or kayaking. We will also get the chance to experience the more cultural elements of Costa Rica.

On a visit to Kobo Farm, we learn how owner Alex and his family produce organic chocolate and cultivate crops like pineapple, bananas and vanilla. Farming cacao is very laborious: harvesting the fruit, fermenting the seeds for its later sun drying, and finally grinding it to make a paste, which later will be shaped in molds to be sold as pure cacao paste. After our tour we enjoy a tropical fruits fondue and a flourless chocolate cake.

Another excursion takes place at a hearts of palm plantation, where we learn all about the harvesting and exporting of this product. The last option involves an interesting drive through the countryside to get to the town of Rancho Quemado. There, we stop at the farm of a man named Juan, who grows food for his family while also panning for gold in one of the creeks on his property.

After that, we visit a sugar mill, where Carmen and her daughter and son-in-law Johnny, produce brown sugar. It is very educational to see the process, from the extraction of the juice to the boiling of the juice to make molasses, which is then poured into molds for many uses.

Guests were able to choose from these activities. They could also swim, kayak, paddle board, or just enjoy a quiet siesta, after a delicious picnic lunch at our beach station. So with wonderful memories of all the hard-working and welcoming local families we met, we ended our second day in Costa Rica.

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About the Author

Margrit Ulrich


Affectionately called "Machita" ("Blondie"), Margrit is one of our most cosmopolitan guides with a family that hailed from Switzerland, France, and Germany before settling in Costa Rica's capital city San José where she was born and raised. Hence she blends the well-organized, perfectionist, and detailed personality of a Swiss watch with the easiness and effervescent enthusiasm of a simple tropical girl.

About the Photographer

José Calvo

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Nicknamed “Indio” (Indian) because of his powers of observation and quiet nature, José has almost two decades of experience working as a naturalist and photography guide; as well as being recognized as an expert birder and nature photographer in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is rich in biodiversity — over 893 bird species have been recorded in the country. Since very young José spent all of his free time in the outdoors in the forest, where he soon fell in love with the birds. He particularly enjoys listening to their calls, and watching their behavior. Oddly enough, another one of Jose’s passions is science and technology, and because of this, he was among the first in Costa Rica to experiment with digital photography. As the technology quickly improved so did his love for it.  He truly believes that nature photography is the perfect combination of both of his passions.

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