(Editor’s Note – This original post from December 2009 has been updated to reflect current Costa Rica vacation details.)
Sufficient rainfall, moderately warm temperatures, and rich soil fed by numerous volcanoes help make Costa Rica ideal for growing a large number of agricultural products including vegetables, fruits, flowers, coffee, and sugar cane.
Sugar cane has, in some minds, a history and reputation similar to that of coffee, gold, and a few other natural resources.
As was the case with many other indigenous crops, sugar cane was transported to dozens of locations around the globe from its native region of south Asia and India. Today sugar cane is planted and harvested in more than 100 countries, including Costa Rica in Central America.
Sugar Cane Production
There are almost three-dozen types of “sugar” cane, all of which are of the tall perennial grass variety. Many have been inter-bred.
According to the most recent statistics, Brazil is the world’s leading producer of sugar cane, with India following in a close second place. Although the production of Costa Rica sugar cane pales in comparison, sugar cane remains a vital part of Costa Rica’s economy.
Sugar Cane Replacing Rice Crops
Recent figures indicate that some sugar cane farmers in Costa Rica have started to use rice-farming land for growing sugar cane, although the number of hectares switching to sugar cane is still rather small. In general, there seems to be fewer problems associated with growing and harvesting Costa Rica sugar cane, as compared to rice, which has been subject to insect infestation and climate problems.
Costa Rica Agriculture
Numerous commercial real estate professionals offer development land and agricultural land for sale in addition to hailing Costa Rica’s strong reputation as a vacation dreamland.
In the last couple of decades, Costa Rica has become a prime destination for individuals relocating from northern climates. Advertisements tout the country as having plenty of excellent agricultural land for cocoa, bananas, citrus fruits, melons and of course, Costa Rica sugar cane. Food-processing plants are among the successful movers within the economy. Processed sugar is exported along with coffee, bananas, pineapple, and beef.
Diversity of Sugar Cane Crops
There are many uses for Costa Rica sugar cane crops. The majority of sugar cane produced in Costa Rica is used for granulated sugars and sweet cooking ingredients. Rum and other alcoholic beverages like Guaro (the national liquor/ drink of Costa Rica) are also made from sugar cane. People of all ages can enjoy the popular sugar cane based beverage Agua Dulce (which means sweet water). This sweet water is made by boiling sugar cane juice.
Sugar cane also has practical uses such as being burned for heat. The versatile and sturdy sugar can stalk can be used in cardboards and rough paper.
Another primary use for Costa Rica sugar cane is ethanol production. Many other countries rely on burning corn as their primary ethanol ingredient; ethanol produced in Costa Rica comes from burning sugar cane. The sugar fermentation process produces ethanol, a fuel that is later blended with refined gasoline to provide better combustion and a higher octane. The process of adding ethanol to gasoline has many benefits including conserving gasoline and being better for the environment.
Sandy beaches, tropical rainforests, unique wildlife, and even Costa Rica’s fine coffee often come to mind when we think of this Caribbean country. However, as you’ll soon discover, Costa Rica sugar cane farms are very common.
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