Agritourism: An Authentic Way to Travel
Terra Caribea offers travelers authentic experiences in Costa Rica that are Eco-friendly and developed by local people. Costa Rica is a front leader in Ecotourism and Agritourism. We organize trips throughout the country, offering you the unique opportunity to discover the rural Costa Rican culture and to participate in agricultural activities that contribute too the preservation of centuries-old traditions and environmental protection.
Here are some examples of trips to Costa Rica that highlight Eco-friendly activities. Please contact us for more details.
VISIT A COFFEE FINCA
Coffee plantations in Costa Rica are known worldwide for the quality of the coffee they produce. The country is now a major producer and exporter of coffee…but, this hasn’t always been the case!
In the early seventeenth century, trade between the East and the West accelerated, and coffee consumption was slowly popularized worldwide. Two centuries later, coffee is grown in almost all Latin American countries. The English brought the Arabica coffee to Costa Rica in 1779, and the government has strongly encouraged it’s production.
Nowadays there are many coffee fincas based mainly in the central highlands, where the conditions for growing coffee are favorable (warm temperatures, alternating wet and dry seasons, fertile and well irrigated slopes). From 1830 and for over a century, coffee was the main source of income for the country, financing the construction of many important monuments.
Costa Rica seized the opportunity to produce coffee. This opportunity has paid off. Today the coffee industry is the 4th biggest economic income in the country. The “Grano de Oro” (Golden Grain) represents about 20% of gross national product (over 73 million metric tons of green coffee that is exported annually).
If you’re a coffee lover, don’t miss the opportunity to discover a finca (plantation) where you’ll see the coffee production process from grain to cup! Walk among the coffee plants, take a delicious tasting trip to sample different flavors or visit a “beneficio” (mill).
Terra Caribea’s Preferred Finca: Monte Claro
Located in Turrialba, the Finca Monte Claro is an agricultural and eco-friendly family farm that’s worth a visit! The environment is beautiful and home to many activities: coffee tours, hiking, horseback riding, visits to local animal farms, mountain biking and canyoning. A several day stay at Monte Claro is possible, as food and lodging is provided.
In addition, the Finca Monte Claro is part of Naturalba, a group of small producers in the region who have not had access to individual conventional circuits of distribution. Everything is done so that the coffee bean is used and not resold as raw material to other farmers as commercial intermediaries. 100% pure Arabica coffee produced there is either organic or from environmentally friendly crops!
DISCOVER CACAO AND CHOCOLATE MANUFACTURING
Costa Rica is one of the first countries in Central America where cocoa was grown. The culture was highly developed at the beginning of the century, but has gradually cleared to make way for coffee, pineapple and palmito (heart of palm).
Considered “a gift from Gods”, cocoa was not only used as a drink during major holidays, but also used as currency during the pre-colonial period. You’ll notice that cocoa beans are still present on the nation’s coins (Colones)!
It was Native American tribes who first cultivated cocoa beans in the lowlands of the Pacific coast and southern Caribbean (Bribri and Cabécar indigenous communities). Costa Rica has the ideal conditions for cultivating the cocoa bean: latitude, humid and mild climate, mild temperatures and trees that protect plants from the wind. These parameters are extremely important, because the climate and soil quality have great influence on the quality of cocoa produced.
But the production of pods (fruits of the cacao) is becoming increasingly rare, due to the appearance of a fungus (“moniliasis”). Due to the emergence of this disease Costa Rica has lost almost 75% of their production! Cocoa trees affected by this disease produce fewer pods, but luckily it does not affect the quality of the Cocoa beans produced.
Discover the secrets and wonders of one of man’s favorite foods… chocolate. On one of Costa Rica’s many plantation, learn the process by which cocoa is turned into chocolate and taste it for yourself!
Terra Caribea’s favorite chocolate producer: The Bribi Indigenous People themselves!
A Bribri woman cooking beans still follows the steps for making chocolate according to the ancestral traditions of the Bribri people. Passed from generation to generation for over 300 years, they will help you unravel the secrets of chocolate manufacturing. In the Bribi culture, cocoa is used to cure many diseases. Attend a demonstration, then enjoy a local chocolate drink or a chocolate bar prepared from organic cocoa.
VISIT A PALM HEART PLANTATION
On your trip to Costa Rica, why not visit a palm heart finca? You’ll have the chance to walk through the heart of a plantation, then observe as your guide cuts the trunk of a palm tree and opens it up for you to taste! Enjoy the freshness and crispness of a fresh palmito! We also recommend staying for lunch: try a traditional “casado”…it’s delicious! Enjoy a full menu (appetizer, main course and dessert) entirely based on palm hearts: an original meal we believe is one of the best in Costa Rica!
Terra Caribea’s prefered palm tree visit:
Palmitour at Sarapiqui!
Long considered rare and precious, the pineapple is an exotic fruit appreciated worldwide for its sweet and tangy taste… and for its richness in vitamins!
The cultivation of pineapple is extremely important in Costa Rica. The country began exporting fresh pineapple in 1983. Known as the world’s largest exporter of pineapples, Costa Rica alone represents 55% of world market of this fruit.
Visit a pineapple farm where you’ll learn the history, the organic farming and all stages of growth of the pineapple from seed and harvest! At the end of the visit, you will be invited to enjoy tasty Piña Colada!
Banana plantations in Costa Rica can be found in different regions of Costa Rica. Here, you can discover the traditional banana culture that is now the trademark throughout the country.
CATIE (Center for Tropical Agriculture)
Pejibayes in Costa Rica is the center of research and learning on tropical agriculture located in the Turrialba valley. Agronomists around the world consider this place one of the most important agricultural research sites of the tropics. Visit one of the numerous agricultural projects, laboratories, greenhouses, seed banks and experimental crops. You will be introduced to a variety of crops, as well as their use (medicinal, insecticide, ornamental…).