Please consider the sections below while planning your trip. If you have any other questions you don’t see answered here, please feel free to contact us.
Daily Life and Basic Needs
What is daily life like at VerdEnergia?
Daily life is dynamic and largely dependent on the season. A typical day begins at 5:30 am with a light breakfast of fruit and coffee and work begins around 6. Work may include tree planting, farm and gardening activities, cob and natural construction, fermentation, cooking, and/or community chores as needed. We break for breakfast and lunch, with additional work and free time into the afternoon. Quiet hours begin around 8pm. Saturdays are half-days and Sundays are days off. Participants should be adaptable as our needs are seasonal and ever-evolving. We also take turns preparing and cleaning up after meals and all participants are expected to contribute.
During time off you can go for a swim in our river, pool, or waterfall, walk jungle trails, enjoy the views from one of our beautiful vistas, do yoga or dance in our studio, make art, play music, check out a local soccer game, or simply relax in a hammock with a good book from our farm library.
Where will I sleep?
We have shared, open-air dorms as well as private rooms. Depending on the season and how many people are here, you could find yourself in either. It is important to understand that our infrastructure is integrated with the surrounding natural environment; you will be safe and dry, but all rooms are open-air.
Can I have a double bed/private room for my partner and myself?
For participants, it depends on the season, how many people are here and what we have available.
What do I do about my monthly cycle?
For those with a menstrual cycle, we recommend the DIVA/Moon cup or reusable pads. We don’t have a way to dispose of paper/plastic sanitary products like tampons or pads, so please do not bring them. If you do bring tampons or pads, be aware that you will be taking them with you when you leave.
How do I wash my clothes?
We hand-wash our clothes and dry them in the sun. We have laundry detergent available for sale. Our neighbors offer an excellent laundry service for five dollars a load.
What kind of cosmetics/toiletries can I bring to the finca?
We ask that you only bring biodegradable/organic cosmetics/toiletries to VerdEnergia. DO NOT bring regular sunscreen, bug spray with DEET or other poisons here. As a general rule it is never good to put anything ON your body that you wouldn’t put IN your body. Please keep in mind that whatever we put on our bodies washes off directly into our streams and ponds and becomes a part of our land.
Is there hot water at the farm?
We have solar-powered showers and hot water collectors. If you time your day right, it’s possible to have a hot shower.
Will my computer/other device be safe at VerdEnergia?
If you take good care of your valuables, you should not have a problem. Our main concerns are the humid jungle conditions. Things mold easily here. We recommend putting valuables in a sealed bucket with rice to prevent moisture. It is always a good idea to keep anything valuable out of common areas when not in use. Be sure to bring a surge protector to use when charging your device to protect from power surges and outages which happen often. Keep in mind that the humidity of the jungle often takes a toll on electronics. If you want extra protection for your valuables/passport/money, we also have a small safe. We cannot claim responsibility for any lost, stolen, or destroyed items that aren’t in the safe.
What if I’m not that good at Spanish, will I be okay?
Although we are a diverse community and work closely with locals who speak only Spanish, you will be okay if you have no experience with the language. We recommend trying to learn at least a little Spanish before coming and view your time here as a way to connect with a new culture and language.
Neither English nor Spanish is my first language; will I be okay?
We are a community comprised of people from all around the world, plenty of whom speak English as a second language.
What kinds of farm animals live at the finca?
We currently have two dogs that live outside, a cow, a few chickens, some ducks, and Tilapia in our ponds. Our animal family is always evolving.
What kind of wildlife does VerdEnergia have?
We are blessed with a growing variety of birds, mammals, insects, reptiles and amphibians. It is not uncommon to see pairs of Scarlet Macaws or Toucans fly overhead, to see an Armadillo or Kinkachu rooting around at night, or catch a glimpse of colorful poison dart frogs or Jesus Lizards. There are an abundance of butterflies, including the beautiful Blue Morpho and we have recently sighted a few monkeys. We are in a wildlife corridor between two national parks and as the forest grows each year, we welcome more creatures to the area.
Expectations, Community and Participation
What do you grow at VerdEnergia?
When most people think of a “farm,” they think of row after row of identical tomato, carrot or lettuce plants, stretching on for miles. Sadly, this toxic image of a monoculture farm has seeped its way into western culture and created an entirely unrealistic and unsustainable attitude and expectation of what a farm looks like.
As a participant, you will gain an understanding of what this really means through direct participation in a more sustainable system. Many participants are confused when they first come to VerdEnergia because they are looking for that neat, repetitious monoculture farm. We are not a monoculture farm. We are a permaculture farm 🙂 To be more specific, we are a permaculture farm operating on a restorative food forest model. Meaning, we are essentially replanting the rainforest in a way that creates abundance for human and non-human animals, microorganisms, plants, trees, and mycelia. The gardens that supplement our diets are incredibly important and ever-expanding, but our trees are the most integral part of our food forest system. Trees are the slow, shady giants that take years to produce and so often go unnoticed and unappreciated. But you can’t have a forest without a few trees. 🙂
So what do we grow? We grow fruit and nut-bearing trees and vines. We grow diverse orchards full of nitrogen-fixers, biodiesel and soap-producers. We grow valuable habitat for rainforest wildlife. We grow greens, spices, vegetables and legumes. But most of all, we are focused on growing healthy soil to support biodiversity, a healthy rainforest ecosystem, and a healthy human culture.
What is expected of me as a participant?
As a participant, you will be expected to work at least six hours per day, typically from 6:00 AM until 1:30 PM. We share meal responsibilities throughout the week so sometimes you will be expected to cook and clean up after meals. You are also expected to contribute to community cleaning. We have a lot of projects going on here and always appreciate motivated individuals that are able to plug in, contribute where it’s needed, and help get the job done.
What is a participant? Is it the same thing as a volunteer?
We make a conscious choice to call people who come to work here participants because more is expected than of a typical volunteer. When you spend time at Verde, you are becoming a part of a community and it’s important to recognize what that means. We are actively exploring and creating an alternative way of living that allows for the regeneration of degraded ecosystems while challenging the practices that destroyed them in the first place. This is permaculture in action, experiential education in its true form. We want visitors to engage as much as possible and understand that they are a part of the project, not just working for it.
What is it like to live in a community? Will I fit in?
Our community is diverse and welcomes anyone open-minded, hard-working, and interested in living sustainably while regenerating degraded ecosystems.
Living in community can be an empowering and educational experience. We live and work in close quarters with each other, share meals, living spaces, and responsibilities. It’s important to understand how to work as a team, communicate clearly and maturely, be respectful of differences, and take responsibility for yourself and your role within the community. Respect the personal space of others, clean up after yourself, ask permission first, and talk to people, not about them.
Can I bring my children? Is VerdEnergia family-friendly?
Children are welcome! We are a diverse community and people of all ages spend time here. We currently have two children that live here part time. However, we expect parents/caretakers to be fully present with their children and responsible for their safety. Please keep in mind that this is the rainforest and there are very poisonous snakes and stinging insects around. Do not leave your child unattended. We don’t have things like playpens or high chairs. If you will need something like this, please bring your own. Please specify on your application if you are bringing children with you.
Will my religion/culture/sexual orientation/gender identity be accepted at VerdEnergia?
We welcome and value diversity and people of all backgrounds.
Can I become a shareholder at VerdEnergia?
It is certainly possible. Shares are sold to those who fit cohesively into our diverse community. Come visit for a while and let’s get to know one another!
I am a student. Can my time at VerdEnergia count for school credit?
Students are certainly welcome. You will have to get details from your school to us and we would be happy to oblige if we can. VerdEnergia is Aquor certified for Dutch students, and we are always looking to build partnerships with universities and other educational systems.
What to Bring
What kind of clothes do I need to bring?
Rubber Boots (you can buy these in Puriscal or bring them)
Lightweight long-sleeve shirts for work (Short-sleeves are fine but long-sleeves protect from grass, sun, and insects)
Lightweight long pants (medical scrubs from a second-hand store or just old jeans work great)
Lightweight/summer casual clothes for around the house and trips to town
A sweatshirt for nights or early morning when it gets a little chilly (you do not want to bring a lot of warm clothes here)
Good quality work socks
Please keep in mind that work clothes (and often, casual clothes too) are usually destroyed over time by the moisture of the jungle so it’s a good idea not to bring any irreplaceable or extremely nice clothes. We recommend you bring a few lightweight casual outfits like a dress, sarong, or loose shorts to be comfortable. Cotton or materials like cotton are the best because of the humidity. We do not recommend anything made of nylon.
Do I need to bring my own sheets/pillow/blanket/towel?
We recommend that you at least bring your own pillow as well a lightweight towel and/or sarong. At the moment we are able to provide sheets and a blanket.
What are some other important things I need to bring to VerdEnergia?
Flashlight or headlamp with RECHARGEABLE batteries
Reusable Water Bottle
A notebook and pen for journaling and taking notes
Biodegradable/Organic Soaps/Sunscreen (Absolutely do not bring anything containing DEET here. Keep in mind that everything that goes on our bodies washes into our streams and tilapia ponds)
Travel insurance/an emergency fund in cash (~$300)
Personal first-aid kit
Personal towel/sarong to dry off with (See above)
Pillow (See above)
Women: We recommend the DIVA/Moon cup or reusable sanitary products to make your monthly cycle more comfortable. We don’t have a way to dispose of sanitary products, so please do not bring them. Please understand that if you bring these things, you will be taking them with you when you leave.
Can I bring any extra things to help out VerdEnergia?
Our needs are always changing so please ask before you come! At the moment we are in need of:
Canning jars, lids, and bottling equipment
TOMS (or other organic brand) flouride-free toothpaste
Dr. Bronners Soap
Assorted organic cooking spices
Feel free to ask before you come if you have extra room in your suitcase!
Food and Allergies
Will I be well-fed at the finca? What kind of food do you eat?
Your payment covers three square meals a day and available seasonal fruits. We eat from our land as much as possible and purchase extra food each week from a produce delivery service. Daily meals are usually mostly vegetarian with plenty of farm-fresh greens, fruits and veggies. We consume local eggs and dairy on a semi-regular basis. Occasionally we have meat to eat.
I’m a vegetarian/vegan/have a food allergy! Will I have acceptable food to eat?
Yes. We try to be as understanding of different food habits as possible. Plenty of vegetarians, vegans and people with food allergies stay here and have acceptable food to eat. Just make sure to communicate your needs and preferences when you arrive.
What do I do about snacks?
Occasionally, VerdEnergia staff will have snacks for sale but you can always use your own money to buy snacks or ingredients to make snacks (nuts, raisins, etc.) from town. Keep in mind that we do not have a trash service and our policy is that if you bring it here, you take it out. Try to keep snacks that produce a lot of waste (wrappers and such) to a minimum.
Why do I have to pay in cash? Why can’t I use Paypal?
The primary reason we take cash as opposed to Paypal is that we can easily and readily use cash (Costa Rican Colones or USD in bills no larger than 20’s) within our local community. It takes time and energy for VerdEnergia staff to go to an ATM or bank to withdraw cash. Another very important reason we do not accept paypal or other forms of digital transfer is because we are consciously removing power and energy from unsustainable and corrupt corporations like banks. However, we do accept BitCoin and silver.
Can I get a discount on my stay?
1-3 weeks = $25/day
4 weeks = $17/day
LONG-TERM PARTICIPATION PROGRAM:
2 months = $800
3 months = $1000
4+ months = $300/month or less
The longer you stay, the less you pay.
Quoted above is the cost of living at VerdEnergia over designated time intervals. The longer you stay here, the more skills you will learn and the more valuable of a participant you will become. We cannot afford to subsidize your stay without meeting you and seeing what you are truly capable of first. Participants as well as students enrolled in workshops/courses are expected to pay their full deposit upon their arrival.
We are always looking for dedicated, long-term interns/potential shareholders and community members. If you are a badass self-starter, please contact us or specify in your application to be eligible for a 6-month reduced stay scholarship. If you are interested in buying a share or living here full time, let us know and come try it out!
What happens to my money if I have to leave early?
We pro-rate based on the time you have spent here. For example: if you were originally planning on staying for three months and paid $1000 but have to leave unexpectedly after 4 weeks, we would keep $530 and refund you the rest.
If I decide not to take a course or workshop I have already paid for, can I get my deposit back?
Unfortunately, we cannot refund course or workshop deposits. Time is valuable for our teachers and instructors and it is absolutely necessary that they receive fair compensation for time taken from their schedules.
How much spending money should I bring?
It depends on your habits and what you want to buy. It is possible to bring barely any extra money at all and live comfortably. But if you want to buy snacks, alcohol, rides to town, and/or bus fare (as well as the recommended ~$300 cash for emergencies) you will want to bring extra to allow for that. There are banks and ATMs in town that you can withdraw from in case you need more.
Your personal health choices are your own business, but we do not require or recommend any vaccines for your stay.
I have a medical condition, will I be okay?
This is something that you will have to gauge for yourself as only you know your own body. Please let us know if you have any health concerns, allergies, dietary needs or use medication that we should know about. Please be conscious that you will be in a humid climate and that cuts heal slowly so there is a greater risk of infection. It takes about 1.5-2 hours to get to a pharmacy or hospital from here, so take that in to consideration, especially if you have a severe medical condition.
Will I be safe at VerdEnergia? What do I need to know about staying safe in the jungle?
We try our best to create a safe atmosphere at VerdEnergia but participants should be mindful that we living with the jungle. Ultimately, you are responsible for your own well-being. Act with common sense, listen to your body, and be respectful of wildlife and you should be fine.
Remember to always carry drinking water, wear sun-protective clothing and lotion, and be aware of your body. You should wear lightweight long pants and rubber boots while working in the fields.
Please let us know if you have any health concerns, allergies, dietary needs or use medication that we should know about. It’s a good idea to bring a small First Aid kit. We have medicinal plants and a medicine cabinet here, but you should always be prepared and maintain responsibility for your own health. Please be conscious that you will be in a humid climate and that cuts heal slowly so there is a greater risk of infection. It takes about 1.5-2 hours to get to a pharmacy or hospital from here, so take that in to consideration, especially if you have a severe medical condition.
There are deadly poisonous snakes and stinging insects in the jungle; a good flashlight/headlamp with rechargeable batteries is essential at night. Please stick to the main roads and do not walk through the forest after dark. When leaving the main house area, always wear boots and take a full water bottle. Check and shake your boots for scorpions and spiders before putting them on. Be extra careful in the long grass. If you see a snake, DO NOT try to kill it. Slowly back away and notify a staff member. As a general rule, don’t work alone in long grass or go walking in the jungle without telling someone where you are.
Does VerdEnergia recommend that I purchase travel insurance?
We recommend that you bring ~$300 to set aside in case of emergencies. You may purchase travel insurance if you wish. Please be aware that we are not legally responsible for you while you are here.
What is the trash policy at the farm?
Our policy is that if you bring it here, you have to take it with you when you leave. There is no trash service at the farm. We provide participants with a bag for personal trash and expect everyone to take it with them.
As a general rule, we try to reuse our waste as much as possible, but we simply cannot use a huge volume of trash. Try not to bring any plastic or other garbage to the farm. Bring food in cardboard boxes if you don’t have a cloth bag for it. Use rechargeable batteries! This is a precious and sensitive ecosystem; we don’t want toxic waste here.
What is the alcohol/substance policy at the farm?
We like to have fun but we work hard and wake up early. We encourage individuals to stay within the legal substance use limits of Costa Rica. We do not allow the use of hard drugs. We do not encourage drinking on work nights and expect our interns and staff to keep up with the daily work regimen and respect quiet hours. If substance abuse becomes a problem for individuals while at VerdEnergia, they will be asked to leave.
What is the smoking policy at the farm?
We have designated smoking areas. Please be mindful of others. We ask you to collect your butts and take them with you when you leave. Remember, pack it in, pack it out!
What is the cleaning policy at the farm?
Everyone is expected to contribute to maintaining a clean and comfortable communal environment. Please don’t leave personal items in common areas. Take care of everything you use and put items back where you found them. If you make a mess, clean it up. We have regular “cleaning parties” where everyone picks a chore and deep cleans the common areas. We emphasize personal as well as collective accountability and ask that everyone pitch in.
You are also responsible for keeping your private living space clean and tidy. Be especially mindful of leaving food out; we don’t want to attract insects or rodents.
What is the electricity policy at VerdEnergia?
We ask everyone to be mindful and conserve electricity as much as possible. We are currently connected to the grid with long term goals of generating our own power through various sources including micro-hydro and a biodigester. We currently have solar showers, a rocket stove, passive solar construction, and manual appliances. Never leave lights or fans on and unplug things when not in use. We are always open to new ways to reduce and conserve our energy use.
Is there internet access at VerdEnergia?
There is semi-(un)reliable internet access. Do not count on more than a few minutes a day and bring your own device if you want to use it.
Are there quiet hours at VerdEnergia?
Quiet hours are from 8 pm to 5 am.
How are conflicts resolved at VerdEnergia?
Because we live and work together as a community, conflicts occasionally arise. Individuals should try to resolve any conflicts between themselves. Always remember that radical patience, empathy, compassion and communication are key. If a serious conflict arises, a staff member can mediate.
Transportation and Surrounding Area
Does VerdEnergia recommend any places to stay in San Jose?
We are proud to recommend Aldea Hostel for anyone travelling to the country and looking for a place to spend the night in San Jose before travelling to the finca.
What is there to do in the surrounding area near VerdEnergia?
We are lucky to be so far removed from the harms of civilization and blessed to have so much beautiful rainforest surrounding us. We have a river on our property with a few small waterfalls as well as peaceful jungle trails to explore.
There is another Permaculture farm relatively nearby as well as a Cacao farm that are wonderful to visit. In the center of Lanas there is a small restaurant/pulperia. There is also a small town (Santiago de Puriscal) about two hours away with restaurants and bars that you can arrange transportation to and from.
Are the surrounding towns safe for tourists?
Generally, the surrounding towns are safe. But one should be mindful in any foreign place.
How long can I legally stay in Costa Rica?
It depends on your passport. Costa Rica typically allows tourists to stay up to 90 days. We recommend giving yourself at least a three-day buffer to get your passport stamped.
Is it easy to get on and off the farm?
We are remotely located and transportation on and off the farm is possible but must be arranged in advance. We are two hours from the nearest large town (Puriscal). You can get an early ride to the nearest bus stop and take a bus into Puriscal, but any travels beyond Puriscal will typically require an overnight stay.
How do I get to VerdEnergia?
We have directions available on the directions page of our website. Please do not show up without prior communication and confirmation. We cannot guarantee accommodations. Please be in close communication with a staff member in the days before your arrival.