Sarapiqui, Costa Rica
Mi Cafecito is a successful tourism and agriculture co-op which has created many employment opportunities for members of the community as well as connected local farmers and artisans with a market to sell their products, significantly improving the economic development of the community. Mi Cafecito continually develops new touristic experiences for their travellers. Nowadays, they also sell coffee and other artisanal projects online.
In 2009, San Miguel de Sarapiqui, Costa Rica was affected by a massive earthquake. The collapse of the main road left this community with no access to services or customers for several years. As a result, they were unable to access the opportunities that other regions were receiving from the growth of the tourism industry in Costa Rica. In 2011, the CoopeSarapiqui cooperative established the Mi Cafecito Coffee Tour to try to find ways for the coffee producers to earn more money. While it was a good idea, in theory, they did not receive enough visitors to sustain the business and were at the point of shutting down when Planeterra began working with them to develop a sustainable enterprise.
Planeterra worked with a small community coffee cooperative to develop the Mi Cafecito program, which includes a meal experience at their on-site restaurant, and other related tourism services in San Miguel de Sarapiqui, Costa Rica. As the town’s main cooperative, Coopesarapiquí brings together more than 200 small farmers that produce organic coffee from the four regions of San Carlos, Sarapiqui, Heredia and Alajuela. In addition to the coffee tour, they farm fish for fresh lunches for their visitors. Through training and the connection to Planeterra’s tourism partners, the cooperative was able to triple revenues in the first year of operation.