At Finca Tierra we offer educational programs that promote self-reliant sustainability through the instruction, demonstration and practice of permaculture (permanent agriculture) principles in Central America.  Throughout the year our permaculture education and demonstration center hosts various sustainable living experiences.  We welcome individuals interested in gaining sustainability knowledge through exposure to our working farm, which we’ve strived to develop as a carefully designed permaculture environment. 

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A research station with natural buildings, food forest and organic gardens, where students and interns can learn about sustainable living, regenerative agriculture and ecological design through hands-on experience, so they can share with the world the new techniques for a sustainable global future. 

  • The education center is 100% solar powered, totally off the grid, and harvest both rainwater and natural spring water, with gravity-fed water supply.

  • The infrastructure consists in a beautiful bamboo and leaf thatch kitchen, a dinning area with a mud oven, and a bamboo class area.

  • Our exotic accommodations are both private bamboo cabinas and a bunkhouse with great views.

  • We have biological flush toilets where the black waters go to a biodigester, where waste is processed and sent back into the food forest system, making it a perfect close loop nutrient cycle

  • The showers hot water works with a thermo composting system, providing hot water for students as well as providing high quality compost for the organic vegetable gardens.



A regenerative forest system, which produces fruits, roots, nuts, vegetables, fish and eggs.

The production mimics natural forest secession incorporating annuals foods (tomato) short term perennial foods (papaya) and understory trees (avocado) and canopy food producing trees (Mayan bread nut).

Like any ecosystems, animals like chicken, fish and geese play important role in the management.

The farm production provides the food for students studying agroecology and permaculture and the rest of the produces is sold in local markets. 

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We occasionally host a tour and dinner combination for those curious to experience both the basic concepts underlying permaculture and the spectacular meals that can be fashioned from our exotic and uniquely tropical ingredients. Deep in the jungle, these dinners take place on special Saturday nights.

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Finca Tierra is located near the village of Cócles, a lush Caribbean beach-rimmed jungle community not far from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Limon Province, Costa Rica.  The fabulous tree-lined sand beaches south of Puerto Viejo are a ten minute drive from Finca Tierra.


Finca Tierra welcomes visitors of all ages and nationalities. We readily share the vitally important knowledge of permaculture systems, which can be applied in urban, suburban and rural settings all around the world, in all growing climates and conditions.  We’re a people oriented learning facility, seeking energetic, enthusiastic and committed individuals, dedicated to working with others to accomplish the common vision of self-sufficient sustainability through the practice of permaculture.


Through various modes of learning and to varying degrees of depth, you’ll be exposed to sustainable agroecology and agroforestry; alternative construction and energy resources; and preservation of ethnobotanical plants and wildlife.  Our working farm provides an ideal format for demonstrations, hands-on experiences and workshops.  

Our PDC course field trip includes stops at nearby food forests and at an ecovillage agricommunity with organic farming and animal management.  We'll also visit a Cabecar medicine man to learn about native ethnobotanicals and the cosmovision of indigenous life.  In our internship program, participants will reinforce their PDC learning by applying ecological design through community service. 



First, get up to speed with our two-week, 72-hour, fundamentals of ecological design course, an intensive, hands-on Permaculture Design Course (PDC). Then, gain practical permaculture experience through our 4-week internship program. In a series of workshops that apply the PDC course information. Participants are prepared to implement or lead a permaculture design project.  



The Fundamentals of Ecological Design

A two-week, 72-hour, fundamentals of ecological design course. An intensive permaculture design certificate course (PDC)  taught by experienced instructors. Learn the strategies and techniques that can provide a permanence of human life on earth in harmony with nature. Topics include organic farming, food forestry, water management, renewable energy, viable architecture, beneficial waste systems, local economies and how to transform to an alternative global nation.


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Upcoming Courses

Enrollment open - Summer A: Sunday, June 3 – Sunday, June 17, 2018

Enrollment open -  Summer B: Sunday, July 29 – Sunday, August 12, 2018

Enrollment open - Fall: Sunday, October 28 – Sunday, November 11, 2018

Enrollment open - Winter: Sunday, January 6 – Sunday, January 20, 2019

Enrollment open - Spring: Sunday, March 10 – Sunday, March 24, 2019

Enrollment open -Summer A: Sunday, June 2 – Sunday, June 16, 2019




Practical Permaculture Experience

Twice a year, following the Permaculture Design Course (PDC), a 4-week Permaculture Internship Program is offered, with the only requirement of having a PDC certificate, from Finca Tierra or other permaculture center. This hands-on experience includes a series of workshops designed to prepare participants to implement or lead permaculture projects. Some of this projects have been bamboo building, solar dehydrator, creation of an aquaculture system and raised beds. The internship program uses lectures, followed by practical applications, to thoroughly cover the techniques of project development and maintenance.  

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Upcoming Courses

Enrollment open - Winter: Monday, January 21 – Saturday, February 16, 2019

Enrollment open - Spring: Monday, March 25 – Saturday, April 20, 2019




Fundamentals & Practical Experience

Save $250 when registering for both the course and internship


Combo Dates:

Enrollment open - Winter: Sunday, January 6– Saturday, February 16, 2019

Enrollment open - Spring: Sunday, March 10 – Saturday, April 20, 2019




Words from past students can be found here https://www.facebook.com/FincaTierra/reviews/


We are Ian Macaulay and Ana Gaspar Aguerri, a husband and wife team who share a passion for environmental sustainability, permaculture design and community organizing.  We are both certified to teach permaculture design and have studied and practiced permaculture since 2006.  Through the years we have been developing the beautiful and efficient food forests, organic gardens and natural buildings that make up the Finca Tierra farm and eco-lodge.

"We live sustainably, with nature in the rainforest. First we built our home at Finca Tierra and then began developing the surrounding 3.5 hectare (~9-acre) site into a regional center for permaculture education and community development. The ever-evolving programs at Finca Tierra are intended to serve both our regional community and the greater international community. We are promoting ways to locally live sustainably while simultaneously spreading the principles of permaculture worldwide."

Visual artist, and gardener, Ian is a native of Ohio in the United States.  He holds a BFA Magna Cum Laude in visual art from Wright State University, and is experienced in geographic information systems (GIS), urban planning, sustainable community design and natural structures.  Growing up, Ian spent the summers visiting Native American archeological sites in the United States.  He's also traveled in Asia and Europe.

Ian enjoys exposing students from around the world to Finca Tierra's permaculture design science approach, which integrates biological systems with human structure.  He's also a consultant for ecological design, tropical food, organic farms and home gardens,  and is active in the local community promoting practical and sustainable garden design solutions. 

Ian has taught dozens of PDCs and certified hundreds students from North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.  He received his formal permaculture education from Geoff Lawton of the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia.

Ana is a , social entrepreneur,  human rights lawyer of Costa Rican and Spanish heritage.  She holds a degree in Law from Universidad Latina de Costa Rica and a Notary Masters from Universidad Santo Tomas.  She specialized in indigenous rights as a lawyer and political activist. Ana has worked with the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, and served as legal advisor for policy making to the president of the Human Rights Commission of the Costa Rican Congress.  She is certified as a trainer on Non Violent Communication by the United Nations' University of Peace. And also certified as a permaculture designer. 

Widely traveled, Ana has lived and worked in Spain, China and the United States.  As both an activist and attorney she's long been a community organizer in local development projects focusing on excluded communities, autonomous development and social organization. Ana is passionate about Finca Tierra’s ability to contribute to the food security of the local community by supporting nutritional and medicinal uses of plants in the region.  She is currently working on her vision of Talamanca region to become a sustainably manage county, where the infrastructure, urban  and developing planning will become directed in a sustainable way becoming the "green face" of Costa Rica, and hopefully an example for the rest of the world. 




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Finca Tierra Permacultre in Costa rica