A Sweet Treat that Can Also Heal! Coca is Costa Rica’s Treasure

Cocoa Pods and Cocoa Beans

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Chocolate is the world’s first love and one of the most valuable cash crops on the international market, and not only is it great to eat but it is also a wonderful ingredient to include in your skincare regimen. Few people would think that so many uses could be gained from chocolate. Cocoa is an important crop for Costa Rica. It is a sustainable crop because it grows in tropical areas under heavy rainforest canopy and does not require clearing large areas to grow; it is a crop that fits in with Costa Rica’s micro farming. It was known as the “food of the gods” in ancient cultures.

Cocoa Tree

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Farmers can grow this crop, which sells for a great price on the market without harming the environment.  It is also estimated that Africa’s Cocoa crops will continue to suffer and weaken due to the rapidly increasing climate instability of the continent due to rising CO2 levels. As a result, Costa Rica is poised to become a chocolate capital for the world’s supply. It is also estimated that chocolate will become a rare crop fetching a higher price. It could become even more important to Costa Rica’s economy in the coming years.

Cocoa Powder

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When we hear the word chocolate most of us probably think of candy, a delicious sweet treat that we are suppose to eat in moderation, But chocolate in its original form, cocoa, has many health benefits including skincare. Cocoa is a rich anti-oxidant. The antioxidants prevent aging and fight various skin problems that result from aging.  Flavonoids protect and maintain collagen levels, improve skin texture and hydrates. Many spas include a chocolate treatment on their menu now because of the many benefits of applying it directly to the the skin. From scrubs to facials chocolate has more uses than we ever thought possible.

Chocolate Spa Facial

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The medicinal use of Cocoa dates back some 2000 years ago to the Aztecs and Mayans in South America, Central America and Mexico. It was not discovered by Europe until the Middle Ages.  Cocoa is loaded with flavonoids which are a powerful antioxidant. They have been used throughout history for many purposes including fatigue, emaciation, anxiety, and cardiovascular disease. Chocolate’s rising popularity in spas around the world is due to the growing awareness of how it can also benefit the skin when applied topically. In fact, there are many foods that we once thought to be good for cooking alone and we are now beginning to rediscover their medicinal qualities and apply them. Olive oil also has medicinal properties, and it is a great example of another food that is now being used for healing. With the boom in super foods and health consciousness many people are becoming aware that food is medicine.

There is something very indulgent about the idea of being smothered in chocolate to revive tired skin. This exotic crop is not only a treat to eat, it is also a nurturing spa remedy. Crocodile Bay offers eco-tours of the local Cocoa farms, as well as chocolate treatments on its spa menus.