Beautiful exotic flowers, medicinal plants, tropical fruit and nut trees on over 45 acres of botanical gardens comprise the wonders you’ll see on this fun and informative tour. The acronym CATIE refers to a multi-national effort to responsibly manage the future of food production through education, science, and technology. These botanical gardens, located near the town of Turrialba, showcase over 4,000 plants native to the area and emphasize their specialized contributions to human life. On this approximate 3-hour guided walking tour, you’ll also visit a coffee plantation and a cacao plantation to discover the latest methods of creating sustainable crops, such as coffee and chocolate, in their native regions where they are known to grow best.
Transportation will be provided from your hotel in Turrialba to one of the world famous CATIE education and research centers. A professional guide will acquaint you with the center and tell you a little history about how it was formed in order to create world leaders in responsible agriculture through post graduate educational programs and research using the latest technological advancements. You might meet some of the scientists as well.
Your guide will follow your interests to determine where you might want to go first. At the Botanical Gardens, you’ll be introduced to the names and uses of important plants, such as orchids, and what they contribute to the health and well-being of the planet. You’ll also hear about how a system of inter-dependence of different species was created throughout their natural history. Brilliant flowering plants may catch your eye with rich colors as unique aromas waft through the air.
You’ll tour the coffee and cacao plantations, crops native to Central America, and find out how improvement programs have been implemented earning the cocoa grown in this region major acclaim at the Paris Chocolate Salon. These international prize-winning Costa Rican coffee varieties have increased in value worldwide adding to the country’s financial security through sustainable agriculture.
Fruit crops found on the property include pineapple, avocado, banana, mangoes and many tropical fruits you may have never heard of before. Seasonal fruits and vegetables will be displayed and your guide will describe the unique benefits each brings to the table.
The great diversity of plants, flowers, orchards, crops, and indigenous forest trees found at the Center attracts an abundance of tropical birds and other forms of native wildlife. Your guide will spot and identify any interesting creatures that may be foraging and visible on the day of your visit.
The tour includes entrance fee, professional bilingual guide, and transportation from Turrialba. Transport to the Center can take up to 30 minutes one-way depending on where your hotel is located. Total time of tour and round trip transportation is typically less than 4 hours.
You’ll want to wear comfortable walking shoes, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen plus bring a rain coat just in case, and maybe a bottle of water to keep hydrated.