Planeterra and G Adventures worked with the MIF in San Miguel de Sarapiqui with a small community coffee cooperative to develop their coffee tour program and provide access to the market for their small restaurant and other small associated businesses. Since an earthquake left this community with no access to many services and customers for several years, they have lacked opportunity to benefit from any growth in tourism. The 2nd phase of the project, training for the coffee cooperative and other microenterprises such as natural beauty products, handicrafts, and chocolate made in the community, was completed in 2014. The Mi Cafecito Coffee Tour is included on several G Adventures Itineraries, and they saw their visitor numbers and income triple just this first year in 2014. G Adventures also purchases the coffee for its administrative offices worldwide and for its ship, the M/S Expedition.
A partnership with Ekono, a chain of shops in Costa Rica, was launched October 28th, 2013 to sell Mi Cafecito coffee produced by CoopeSarapiqui in order to help support over 200 small coffee producers with increased sales and income.
There are opportunities to be involved through funding initiatives within this project. Donations or grants made to Planeterra for this project will supplement the funds provided by MIF and G Adventures to provide additional seed funding for the small business initiatives in Sarapiqui.
This project is part of Planeterra and G Adventures' technical cooperation agreement with the Multilateral Investment fund of the Inter-American Development Bank called Tour Operator's Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development, a three-year project spanned over 2012-2015 in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Peru. The expected impact of this project is to increase the competitiveness of medium and small enterprises (MSEs) by capitalizing on regional assets and by incorporating local value added to their businesses. The principal result is a replicable model that optimizes market access and efficiency in the tourism value chain by connecting MSEs with a large adventure tour operator from the point of product development, providing them access to a ready market, capabilities and the tools to serve the market demand.