Permaculture Design Certification Course

This course is packed with learning, from group design projects to local activities (including chocolate making and visiting a heritage banana reserve) to hands-on practice in established tropical food forests—all in conjunction with the life changing Permaculture Design Course curriculum with renowned Permaculture Institute instructorship.

Participants stay with a host family in the majority Salvadoran and Nicaraguan refugee village of Longo Mai, located within a rainforest preserve. A welcoming, authentic, cross-cultural encounter, visitors are not a peripheral spectator here, but valued guests immersed in the friendly life of the village. There are additional options for private lodging for those who prefer. Please take time to learn about the village of Longo Mai. It is a very embracing community, full of inspiring stories, tropical fruits, and friendly people. We are graciously hosted by staff of Escuela de la Tierra located in the village.

Ample opportunities to experience Permaculture in action are offered as part of this course:

Production gardens, tropical food forests, silvo-pastures, biogas generation, greywater systems, and truly legendary people offer opportunities for learning land and community-based living skills. Course material is universal to every ecosystem, and the knowledge acquired in this class is easily applied in other locations and settings. Worldwide participants of a wide range of ages, abilities and backgrounds have been attracted to this class.

Participants receive an internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certificate from Permaculture Institute. The course syllabus can be found here.

Course Information


TBD 2019


Scott Pittman, Jason Gerhardt, and Durga (Natalia Vega Araya), and local guests. Read about the instructors here.


Permaculture classes are held for six hours every day. There will be abundant time for the paradigm-changing Permaculture Design Course curriculum, hands-on village improvement projects, and a design project for Escuela de la Tierra. Experiential tours of the Longo Mai craft shops, chocolate workshop, tropical food forests, waterfalls, and other attractions are available on breaks and days off. There are also inspirational films and hang out time in the evenings and at lunch. This course attracts adult participants of all ages.

There are two days off in the middle of the class when participants are free to explore local attractions, including pacific coast beach towns of Dominical and Uvita, some of the most biodiverse rainforest preserves on earth at Osa Peninsula, local towns in all directions, or hanging out in the Longo Mai village and relaxing.


Due to travel distances and timing, please arrive to San Jose, Costa Rica two days before the class. We suggest you spend a night at the reasonable and lovely Hotel Aranjuez,($35/55 per night, reservations required, this is high season!) or at Margarita’s Guest House ($35/night).  We arrange a chartered van service from either location to the course location. The fee is an additional $35-40 one way, paid directly to the driver – participants may also travel by public bus ($6 plus about $30 taxi to the bus station).


Costa Rica is a wonderful place to visit in the winter. The weather at Longo Mai is sunny and pleasant. Beautiful settings offer ample spaces for indoor and outdoor learning. We recommend simple attire for your stay, with a layer for cooler nights, work clothing, swimwear and sun protection for afternoon swims in the river. Midday temperatures can warm to the low 80’s F, and cool off to the low 60’s F at night (mid 20’s during the day and mid teens at night Celsius). Much of Costa Rica has two seasons, wet and dry, and this class will be held during the dry season, which can still experience an afternoon rain here and there.


Campesino style meals with tropical foods are offered by the host families. Lunches are held as a class. Course participants are welcome to help with food prep and/or garden work when feasible. Reasonable accommodation for food allergies can be made, but please contact us in advance so we can plan for you.


Contact us for help planning your attendance.

Erika HaranoLongo Mai PDC