Vegan work/stay, organic farm, animal sanctuary & rehab in the mountains of central Costa Rica
We are so happy you are considering a farmstay with us! Through the years, we have made friends with people from around the globe that have helped us on the farm. Here you will experience Costa Rica from a perspective far different than that of the tourist. If you are looking to learn about the culture, the vegan or raw food lifestyle, organic farming, animal rescue and care, or simply enhance your conversational Spanish, you are looking at the right place!
Planet Costa Rica is an animal rescue and sanctuary. We care for street dogs, cats, horses, pigs, goats and chickens. We tend to injured wildlife and injured or sick domestic/stray animals as well. We have cared for sloths, toucans, armadillos, possums, snakes and baby rats. We never know what type of animal in need we will encounter!
We are not a commercial farm. We are not a charitable organization. We are not a wildlife or veterinary hospital. We have simply chosen to open our farm and our hearts to creatures in need.
We grow organic fruits and vegetables here as well. We put in gardens when the weather permits. Most of the food is used for our consumption. Sometimes we sell our excess at the market.
On this blog you will find a wealth of information to help you with your upcoming trip. We will cover everything from what to expect to what to bring. If you have questions not covered here, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Our farm is situated in a small mountain valley in the Talamanca range. The farm’s terrain includes flat pastures and gentle to severe inclines. Everything we grow is organic. The farm was originally a coffee farm, but we let much of the coffee areas return to their jungle state, and we experienced the return of the birds (toucans, oropendulas, pecho amarillos) and butterflies!
We have a large slope of organic banana trees in several varieties. A wide grassy road up the farm is lined with mandarin orange trees, water apple trees, laurel and eucalyptus. The road takes you up to a lookout point with views of Volcan Turrialba on clear days, and down to our bordering river with a natural swimming hole.
We grow plantain, cas, lime, guyaba, guyabana, pejivalle (a palm tree cluster fruit), coconut, yucca, malanga (a root vegetable), quequisque (another root vegetable), and naranjillas. In the dry season, we have a hillside garden with cucumber, carrot, cabbage, lettuce, tomato, ayote, green onion, peppers, chayote, cilantro, and beet. Everything on the farm is organic.
Our love of coffee brought us to Costa Rica in 2005. After moving here, our attention quickly turned to the plight of animals in need – the injured, the abused, the abandoned. Our farm has since become a haven for those animals. Many have healed and been adopted out. Others are still und
er care. Others yet have no intention of leaving. Caring for and safeguarding the animals is an important part of what we do every day.
For every week that someone is staying on the farm, we ask that they work five days. For example, for a three week stay, you will work 15 days. For a four week stay, you will work 20 days.
Weekends and holidays are not recognized by the animals on the farm. Your days off will not necessarily be on a weekend, and may not be on the same days every week. In addition, they may not be two days consecutively.
A tiled bathroom with shower is provided. We consider applicants for stays of 3 to 8 weeks. Our work/stay and work/stay/learn programs include shared indoor lodging, breakfast and lunch on working days, with staple items (pasta, rice, corn flour, garbanzos, lentils, red beans, black beans) for you to prepare for dinners. Meals on your days off are your own responsibility. Indoor lodging will be in our casita, cafe bedroom, or in the main house, based on availability. You may not be in the same location your entire stay.
You start working the day after you arrive. If you would like to help on your day of arrival, that is great too! When you arrive, we will give you a TENATIVE schedule of days off. Based on the needs of the farm, the schedule may change. Please do not make travel plans contrary to the schedule. We are not only scheduling you, but other people staying plus the projects on the farm.
There are always on-going projects on the property and duties may include the following: feeding the animals, cleaning of their housing, cleaning of the cafe, walking the dogs up on the farm, harvesting bananas or other fruits and vegetables on the farm, working in the garden (planting, weeding), dog bathing, brushing the horse, basic plumbing, fence repair, coffee processing, jungle clearing, etc. Work will also include moving sacks of grain or vegetables, so you should be able to lift an 80-90 lb. sack, moving it from a stationary location into a wheelbarrow.
There is a fully-equipped kitchen in our private café. Shared meal preparation and clean-up is not included as part of the work duties – everyone takes part. We require all guests to eat plant-based while on the property. Fresh, local, tropical fruits and vegetables are provided with some staple items like rice, beans and oats. Any food items outside of this are to be purchased on your own.There are pulperias (convenience stores) within waking distance from the farm, plus grocery stores in the neighboring towns of Tucurrique or Pejibaye. There you can purchase snacks or other personal items you may need.
The food we harvest from the farm is 100% organic, but is seasonal. We buy organic, when available, but the supply is very limited in our area. You will prepare, or share in preparation of any meals – they will not be served to you. Food is to be kept and consumed only in the cafe – not in the lodging areas. Food in the lodging areas will attract insects. If you are away from the farm for lunch or dinner, it is at your expense. Food purchased for the farm is to be consumed on-site – not to be taken off the farm.
We provide breakfast and lunch on your working days. On working day evenings we provide pasta, corn flour, garbanzos, lentils, red beans, black beans and rice for you to prepare if you wish. You may also purchase groceries and prepare your meals for these times in the cafe. Label your personal groceries with your name so they are not accidentally consumed by others.
A work/stay exchange on the farm is a great opportunity for those interested in learning or practicing a vegan (plant-based) diet. Our guests should be, at a minimum, vegetarian, or be ready and willing to eat vegan while on the farm. If you have no experience with a vegetarian or vegan diet, we recommend you try out a vegan diet on your own for several weeks prior to committing to your stay.
We strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle and seek caretakers and visitors who are like-minded. If you are a smoker, drinker, looking to come to Costa Rica to party, our farm is not the place for you. The foods you may be accustomed to may not be readily available here. Many processed, frozen or packaged foods you are familiar with are not available. In addition, we do not cook with oil on the farm and ask you not to cook with oil either . This may be a change from your regular cooking habit, but we not want ourselves or our guests exposed to the carcinogens created while heating oil.
We encourage hand washing of clothes if you have just a few things. This should be done in the casita sink or in the bathroom behind the cafe (not in the cafe kitchen sink). There are clothes lines for drying your things located behind the cafe, plus inside and outside the casita. You are responsible for your own clothes cleaning solution – we recommend vinegar, salt and baking soda to keep things eco-friendly.
Drying is done on the line (no electric dryer available). It is suggested to bring shorts, sandals, closed-toe comfortable shoes, pants and long sleeve shirt for farm work, light jacket or sweat shirt for cool nights, rubber boots for rainy season (can be purchased locally for about $12, or you can rent them from us for $5 for the duration of your stay, subject to size availability).