Permaculture Design Certification Course (PDC)

Join our diverse team of permaculture instructors led by Scott Gallant and Hugo Soto for this 2-week experience. DECOLONIZING THE PDC We recognize the need to decolonize the permaculture framework and educational system. This course is an effort to increase diversity in our enrolled students by making the course more affordable and accessible. We are doing this by maximizing the optionality of the course by allowing students to use their own lodging and manage their own food, by subsidizing instructor fees with our other design work, and by working with a host organization, Valle Escondido, that is not charging for the use of their space, services and teaching.

This unique course is offered through submitting an application. The course fee is $400; this does not include lodging or food. This price covers instruction, materials, and facilities. Students are encouraged to find their own lodging in the Monteverde area and provide their own meals. Depending on enrollment, scholarships will be available for native-born Costa Ricans. All course participants will receive discounted farm produce and eggs, discounted onsite restaurant menu items, use of a communal kitchen for dinner, high speed internet and access to Valle Escondido’s nature reserve trails, waterfalls and platforms.

THE COURSE The course covers the core Permaculture Design curriculum and emphasizes creating diverse multi-functional human landscapes based on ecological patterns. Utilizing Valle Escondido: Hidden Valley Farm as a living classroom, the class will mix lectures and hands-on work, exploring design solutions for the challenges that face our communities today. Putting Permaculture into practice, the course concludes with students working in teams to create their own permaculture site design. This course is applicable to anyone with an interest in designing resilient and regenerative futures as well as professionals in the fields of architecture, planning, ecology, education, farming and community development. The whole-systems design thinking outlined in the course will give participants the tools to re-design and improve their surroundings; from gardens, farms and homes, to livelihoods, relationships and communities.


  • History of Permaculture

  • Principles and Ethics of Permaculture Design

  • Design Methodologies and Site Analysis & Assessment

  • Pattern Languages in Culture and the Landscape

  • Reading the Landscape and Pattern Recognition

  • Simple Mapping and Surveying Techniques

  • Client Interviews and Goal Setting

  • Master Planning and Design Presentations

  • Climate and Microclimate Design

  • Water: Cycles, Catchment, Ecology, Conservation, Treatment

  • Greywater and Blackwater Systems

  • Earthworks, Pond Construction, & Water Storage

  • Soils: Biology, Ecology, Fertility Strategies

  • Biochar, Biofertilizers, Mulching, Biomass Production, Microorganisms Cultivation, Compost Making

  • Gardening from the Tropics to the Temperate Regions

  • Orchard Management and Agroforestry

  • Plant Propagation and Nursery Management

  • Silvopasture and Aquaculture Systems

  • Fermentation, Post Harvest Handling, and Harvest Strategies

  • Shelter and Siting

  • Urban and Suburban Permaculture Applications and Case Studies

  • Designing for Climate Change

  • Energy and Appropriate Technology: Photovoltaics, Biodigestor Design, Alternative Cooking Models

  • Regenerative Economic Models

  • Social Structures, Decision Making, and Community Organizing

  • Professional Designer Project Case Studies


Our goal as instructors is to support all of our students post-course. This has taken many forms in the past, including helping sourcing materials, introductions to specific organizations/people, sharing available job opportunities, and such. One of the great advantages of taking a course with Porvenir Design is that you become part of our larger community. We pride ourselves on being connected with the permaculture community, while acting as a bridge between the immigrant and Costa Rican permaculture world here in Costa Rica. The opportunity to plug into that is an invaluable part of our PDC.


There are many permaculture

design courses offered around the world but you are good fit for our PDC if:

  • You want to learn from instructors who have many years experience teaching and put permaculture into practice daily through their own gardens, kitchens, communities and habits..

  • You want to experience an establishing permaculture site, largely designed to connect permaculture and food systems with hospitality and tourism.

  • You want to be inspired by seeing many working examples of highly functional systems that were guided by permaculture principles and ethics.

  • You want to be immersed in the famous cloud forest of Monteverde, with access to kilometers of hiking trails and a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean.

  • You are prepared for an intensive learning experience. As a theory/survey course there is a significant amount of lecture and discussion daily.

  • You want to be part of a diverse group of students, in a course that is focused on connecting with Costa Rica an

d its culture.


The course will be taught in English and simultaneously translated in Spanish. All of the instructor team are able to facilitate in both languages as needed.


Valle Escondido is a living playground of sustainable design and natural experience. Offering different examples of regenerative systems and techniques that reduce human impact and support natural environments, visitors leave Valle Escondido inspired to support a healthier world.

On-site projects include land stewardship (15-hectare Valle Escondido nature reserve), agroforestry, aquaculture, animal husbandry, greywater management, soil building, biofertilizers, microorganism cultivation, and more. Valle Escondido presents these projects in a simple accessible way to reach the broad international audience of guests that visit. Recognized as a family-friendly hotel, providing these examples to raise awareness for both children and adults is part of the mission.

In Monteverde where the weather can be very extreme, Valle Escondido creates and experiments with low technology design systems to identify pathways of food security and sustainable design now necessary in facing global climate change. To date, Valle Escondido has, in-person, introduced over 40,000 travelers to the method of permaculture and regenerative systems in its ongoing effort to use tourism to broadcast for a better world.


Scott Gallant

Scott Gallant is an agroforestor and food system designer with nearly a decade of experience working in Central America. He is the co-founder of Porvenir Design, a landscape design firm specializing in productive landscapes. He graduated from Wabash College in 2008 with a degree in Economics. He was the farm manager at Rancho Mastatal for nine years, and has worked with diverse projects such as VersaLand, Open Source Ecology, Project Bonafide, Finca Luna Nueva; and many more as he has developed his skill-set in permaculture design. Passionate about regenerative agriculture, holistic thinking, ethnobotany, community development, and re-skilling, he still makes time to hike and bike, read exhaustively, and work on his basketball jump shot and frisbee throw. He has traveled extensively in Latin America, leading to a love of the culture, food, and language, which he attempts to speak. Scott writes for the Permaculture Research Institute and has been featured on the Permaculture Voices , Abundant Edge, and Making Permaculture Stronger podcasts. You can find him on instagram here.

Hugo Soto Hugo started down the permaculture path in 2012; Hugo’s study of organic agriculture led him to continue to deepen his ways of relating to people and the place. A native of San Jose, Costa Rica, Hugo began by promoting urban permaculture through projects such as community gardens and creating edible spaces featuring native plants. While developing communal gardening projects Hugo also focuses on leading workshops and courses within communities to shift to better soil management and production strategies. Hugo compliments his passion for design by tying communal design for living well into his approach to planning; he has been trained in working with several forms of design for invisible social structures. Hugo is a member of the Red Permanezca, which seeks to creatively promote permaculture in Costa Rica with the end goal of inspiring deep societal change. Hugo’s goals include promoting permaculture through education and site visits, having time to swim and hike in the mountains while living in a collaborative eco-community.

Additional Instructors Jonah Chaffee: Founder of Valle Escondido Jonah is ecological educator, nurse, and landscape designer. He has worked for years in community health education, as Waldorf Kindergarten teacher, and in alternative medicine. He currently manages Valle Escondido in Monteverde Costa Rica. Introduced to the permaculture design method 12 years ago, he has studied with the Permaculture Institute and participated in different courses in North and Central America. Jonah guides Valle Escondido, as a tourist destination, to promote conservation of natural environments and sustainable practices to support a regenerative future. Valle Escondido offers classes and provides examples for visitors to better understand regenerative land use, organic farming and permaculture. When Jonah is not playing in the garden with his two daughters or talking to visitors you may find him surfing or exploring elsewhere in Costa Rica.

Jorge Salazar: Founder of La Iguana Chocolate and course translator. Jorge is a practicing agroforester and the founder and owner of La Iguana Chocolate in Mastatal, Costa Rica. His wife Vicky Chandler and the whole Salazar family have been perfecting some of the most desired chocolate recipes in all of Costa Rica. Jorge has translated over a dozen Permaculture Design Courses. The course may include additional instructors or local site visits depending on enrollment and up-to-date COVID restrictions.


The course cost is $400. This price does NOT include food or lodging, with the exception of two dinners, at the start and end of the course. Additional scholarships are available for Central American students to reduce this cost further.

The course is limited to 25 students and is offered through an application process.

Accepted applicants will need to deposit 50% of the course fee to reserve space. By June 11th, two weeks before the course start, the remaining 50% will need to be paid. Cancellations will be completely refunded if made before May 25th. After May 25th refunds will depend on course reservations.


Monteverde has many different lodging and food options, including hotels, Airbnb, and local 2-week rentals and camping. Course participants are encouraged to work together to collaborate in finding affordable lodging and meal options. All course participants receive discounted farm produce, eggs and onsite restaurant menu options.

Valle Escondido’s lodging packages include 16-night dormitory accommodation with breakfast for $30 per person per night. Double or triple room occupancy for $50 per person per night or single room occupancy for 30% off standard hotel rate. Meal options include pre-planned lunch menu for 10$ per person per meal and discounted restaurant menu. A shared student kitchen will be available for daily use from 5pm to 8 pm, including cooked rice and beans for a one time fee of $30.


For more information contact: WhatsApp (+506 8570 3668) or e-mail

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Fundamentally people enjoy experiencing the beauty of natural environments; in fact we are nature.  We believe that people, if given the opportunity, will protect natural environments and engage in regenerative practices to support life on earth. As a tourist destination, Valle Escondido inspires visitors to remember we are nature.

Click below links to discover
more about Valle Escondido

50 meters south of the Monteverde Butterfly Garden

+506 2645 5156

+506 2645 6601

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Valle Escondido Preserve

Designed by

Karen Aiyana Birch