Enjoy a day - or more - with Otilia and her extensive and friendly family in the isolated indigenous community of Yorkin.
Yorkin can be reached only by motorized canoe or by a 1.5 hour hike. On the way you will see numerous waterfalls, rock walls and diverse birds and wildlife. Upon arrival to Yorkin, Otilia's eco-tourism association "Aventuras Naturales de Yorkin" offers various activities. Their property lies on a hilltop where you will receive a tour of their traditional medicinal plant garden and enjoy the views of the jungles and hilltops of both Costa Rica and Panama from their traditional "ranchos" with thatched-leaf roofs. A demonstration of traditional cacao processing into baking chocolate and hot chocolate is also offered, including a tasting with homegrown organic bananas of course. In addition, the family is currently in the process of building a chocolate processing plant for sale of the finished product outside of the community. The goal of the chocolate processing plant is to offer producers a better price for their product than outside processing companies.
This experience is a beautiful blend of traditional indigenous lifestyle with a chance to get to know humble and hard-working farmers who love nothing more than telling their story.
"We have struggled a lot and seen a lot of changes in the community, it is important for us to work hard and keep fighting!"
Otilia is a native of the remote Bribri community, Boca Uren, Talamanca. As a respected elder she has in depth knowledge about the history of this area. Her late husband, Guillermo grew up in a family of subsistence farmers here in Yorkin. He used to brag that he was often allowed to spend days fishing instead of working on the farm since he was the only son who was guaranteed to catch enough fish to feed the family. Otilia's family is currently in the process of building a cacao processing plant in order to shorten the supply chain from the producer to the shelves. They are driven and determined to create a system in which the farmers can benefit from selling their products at fair prices.
Otilia vividly remembers when the industry in this part of Talamanca changed from subsistence farming to the prosperous cacao trade. In the late 1970s with the arrival of the monilia fungus, the economy changed again completely, this time to the sale of bananas. The family currently cultivates cacao, bananas and plantains. As an ambitious businessman, Otilia's husband also began to work in crop transportation by motorized canoe in the 1990s. In the early 2000s the family began working with various NGOs and tourism agencies to found what is now the successful eco-tourism company "Aventuras Naturales de Yorkin." In addition, with the aid of various agricultural organizations, the family's artisinal chocolate processing plant will bring additional value to their production.