Yes. A Costa Rican farm playground. That’s what I’m going to tell you about.
With an endless supply of sunshine and a year-round growing season, Costa Rica has some amazing farms and permaculture volunteer programs. It’s common for people from all over the world to travel to Costa Rica and Central America to learn a life skill by working on farms.
Enter Rancho Delicioso.
Attached to the Anamaya “family” is an organic permaculture farm called Rancho Delicioso. It’s about a 15-minute dirt road drive from Anamaya and provides the majority of greens and veggies for our meals. Yet another reason why I am so in love with this training program and resort.
Adventure to Rancho Delicioso
Strategically placed halfway through our training, Anamaya schedules a Yogi Karma Day to give us a break from the how-to-be-a-yoga-teacher information overload. At this point in the training, we’re feeling overwhelmed and wondering if we have what it takes to be yoga teachers. The Yogi Karmi Day is meant to provide a small break and change of scenery while giving back to the local community.
After a morning of meditation, asana practice, and class, we spent the afternoon touring Rancho Delicioso and picking up trash on a neighboring beach.
Both Rancho Delicioso and Anamaya are the brainchildren of owner Geoff McCabe. He created the farm after turning his home into what is now Anamaya – a year-round yoga resort and teacher training center. The farm is a 60-acre property with multiple open-air, organic vegetable gardens, orchards, goats, sheep, chickens, peacocks, a yoga deck with silks, and volunteer housing.
The farm is a 60-acre property with multiple open-air, organic vegetable gardens, orchards, goats, sheep, chickens, peacocks, a yoga deck with silks, and volunteer housing.
As we toured with Geoff that afternoon, one person described him perfectly: we were watching Willy Wonka give a tour of his chocolate factory. Except it’s not a chocolate factory. It’s a magical, fully sustainable, Costa Rican farm playground that’s full of love and has delicious veggies and animals oozing out it.
The River Palace
One of the coolest parts and newest additions to this farm is the River Palace. This eco-lodge palace is made from local, reclaimed materials, and is housing for volunteers and guests. In addition to providing volunteer opportunities, the farm also hosts yoga retreats and various other special events.
Walking into the River Palace, my jaw dropped as I said to myself, ” Ok. I live here now.” The beautiful palace-temple has three open-air levels with hanging beds, two bathrooms, a bar made out of a fallen tree, and sits above a river. This thing is SO cool and we were the lucky first group to see it.
Volunteering at Rancho Delicioso
As mentioned, Rancho Delicioso welcomes volunteers to the farm regularly to help with any and all tasks. If you’re interested in farming or permaculture, this is the way to learn it. And this is the place to be, in my opinion. I’ll admit, I haven’t been to many Costa Rican farms, but I know people that have and they told me this is the best place they’ve seen. Not only is it amazing, it has great people, and it’s in a jungle. Added bonus. It’s also the best way to learn or perfect your Spanish.
The downside: With little or no farming experience, you have to pay to stay at Rancho Delicioso. If you’re a WOOFing member, there’s no cost. For anyone else, it costs between $130-$400 depending on your experience level and length of stay. I talked to multiple people about this “paying to volunteer” thing, (seems counterintuitive to me) and I don’t have a straight answer.
Basically, I hear that this is the way volunteering works in Costa Rica. Maybe in Central America, too. From what I understand, Rancho Delicioso is the norm, not the exception, and it’s common to pay similar prices to volunteer on farms that aren’t nearly as cool.
That said, I think the farm can work something out with you depending on the availability and the time of year. If I had the budget/farming experience, I’d be here in a heartbeat. I guess I need to add “can farm” to my list of skills.
Also, if you don’t want to work but want to experience this epically cool farm playground, it’s possible to stay without volunteering. Geoff said that many people stay there through Airbnb and that The Treehouse is rented regularly.
So, who’s up for a farming adventure at Rancho Delicioso?