Well, today we flew into Costa Rica to begin our Caravan all inclusive Costa Rica tour. It’s a beautiful sunny day with just a little cloud and about 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius). Not bad considering when we left Vancouver Canada to take this all inclusive Costa Rica tour it was about minus 3 Celsius (26 F) and we had about 15 or so centimetres of snow (6 inches) on the ground.

We were greeted at the San Jose airport by Caravan Tours’ friendly representative Sergio, who made sure we found our shuttle bus okay. Then, it was a quick 30-minute ride to the amazing Hotel Intercontinental. The staff here are excellent, and our rooms are perfect. This hotel deserves its 4 star rating. The dinner was really great with lots of choices…and we met with our own personal Costa Rica tour guide, Paul Valverde (pictured here), who gave us a quick orientation on what to expect on this all inclusive Costa Rica tour.

paul-valverde-tour-guidePaul has been a Costa Rican naturalist guide for the past 23 years and has been working with Caravan Tours for the last 12. He’s fun, and very personable, so I’m sure we will learn more than we could ever have imagined about this little Central American country called Costa Rica…really looking forward to it.

Tomorrow, I’ll write a recap of everything we experienced throughout the day. I’ll do the same in this daily blog for each day of the all inclusive Costa Rica tour so I have a running record of this amazing trip…hope you like it as well.

Photo of Caravan tour group for Costa Rica

Jan 2017 Caravan Costa Rica Tour Group

Here’s a photo of our entire Caravan Costa Rica tour group!

Until tomorrow…

~ Lee K.

 

 

 

Heading to Costa Rica for the Holidays! Yeah!!

On Dec 28th we start our family holiday – a Costa Rica tour hosted by Caravan Tours. Some friends of ours did this Costa Rica Natural Paradise tour a couple years ago and just raved about it. So, I’ve decided to write about our daily experiences while on the tour. This is my first time blogging, so hopefully, I get the hang of it and have some great experiences to share from Costa Rica!

~Lee K.

(Editor’s Note – This original post from October 2011 has been updated to reflect current Costa Rica vacation details. Please note that current Costa Rica tours include a Costa Rica coffee plantation tour in place of a banana plantation tour.)

Bananas have been one of the most popular and versatile fruits in history. The banana is actually a native species of Asia that has been transported to other tropical locations around the globe, including Costa Rica.

Costa Rica and indeed, the Central American economy, include an important sector focusing on this fruit, with Costa Rica banana plantations providing a significant part of the export business.

Costa Rica Banana History

For much of Costa Rica’s early history coffee was the leading export. The formation of such massive corporations as United Fruit Company changed that.

Bananas have been a staple of Costa Rica’s economy for well over 100 years. In fact, millions of bananas were being exported from Costa Rica before the turn of the last century (1900). Today, there are approximately 130 banana producing countries and out of the top 20, Costa Rica banana production ranks eighth.

In the early years of the 1900s, banana trees began to appear all over the landscape, with some plantations visible for miles from the few roads that crossed the countryside.

The Growth of the Banana Industry

Early Costa Rica banana plantations were first established in the area near the Sixaola River. Large companies such as Dole and Del Monte soon became established in this region as the demand for fresh bananas grew. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, labor unrest shut the banana industry down for a time, until wages rose to a satisfactory level. The Costa Rica banana industry expanded to other sections of the country through the middle of the 20th century.

Banana Growing Regions

One area that began to attract attention as a banana-growing region was near Golfito, in the southern part of the country. Long viewed as a secluded section of Costa Rica, wild and remote, bananas and other products have changed the characteristics of the area somewhat.

Quepos, on the Pacific coast in the central part of the country, also began life as a banana plantation. In the past 70 or 80 years it has grown into a lively, small city, enjoying its proximity to the ocean.

Labor strikes and plant diseases reduced Costa Rica banana production at various times through the second half of the 20th century. New efforts and growing techniques brought production back to a healthy level of nearly 500 million boxes shipped throughout the world in the mid-1990s. At one point, revenue from the Costa Rica banana industry was larger than all tourism combined.

Costa Rica banana plantations can still be found in the Sixaola River area, as well as around Santa Clara and in the Estrella valley. The Matina valley region is also a prime banana growing location. A significant portion of Costa Rica’s banana growth occurs on the Caribbean side of the country.

Today, production and export of Costa Rica bananas are dominated by three huge, well-known companies – Dole, Chiquita and Del Monte, which harvest, package, and export bananas directly to world markets.

Costa Rica All Inclusive Tours – Eat Local Bananas!

A Costa Rica coffee plantation tour is featured as part of the tour package, as well as driving past several other popular Costa Rica plantations including sugar cane, coffee, pineapple, and oranges.

Eat fresh Costa Rica bananas while on your all inclusive Costa Rica package tour with Caravan Tours! 

To book, call Caravan Tours at 1-800-CARAVAN (227-2826) or visit the reviews page to read what others have said about these escorted tours of Costa Rica.

Sufficient rainfall, moderately warm temperatures, and rich soil fed by numerous volcanoes help make Costa Rica sugar cane exceptional. These are also ideal growing conditions for a large number of agricultural products including vegetables, fruits, flowers, and of course, coffee.

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 it is planted and harvested in more than 100 countries, including Costa Rica in Central America.

Costa Rica 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, it remains a vital part of Costa Rica’s economy.

Sugar Cane Replacing Rice Crops

Recent figures indicate that some farmers in Costa Rica have started to use rice-farming land for growing sugar cane, although the number of hectares switching is still rather small. In general, there seems to be fewer problems associated with growing and harvesting 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, 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 is 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 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 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.

Costa Rica All Inclusive Tours

Caravan Tour’s escorted tours of Costa Rica include travel up north past sugar cane plantations along with pineapple plantations, orange plantations, and coffee plantations.

Check out the full details of Caravan Tours’ very affordable all inclusive Costa Rica Tours or visit Caravan’s Costa Rica Tour Reviews page to read what others have to say about their tour experience.

Call 1-800-CARAVAN (227-2826) to reserve your spot today for a Caravan Costa Rica tour.

If you seek spectacular scenery with a panoramic view of Costa Rica’s most active volcano (Arenal Volcano), the city of La Fortuna de San Carlos (La Fortuna Costa Rica) may be the place for you.

Located in the northern part of Costa Rica, La Fortuna is one of only a few sizeable towns and small cities in what is known as Costa Rica’s Northern Lowlands.

But La Fortuna is far from isolated. The city offers all the amenities that a traveler could desire and is easily accessible from San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital.

Things to Do In La Fortuna Costa Rica

There is plenty to do and see in and around La Fortuna Costa Rica. Common tourist attractions include:

  • Arenal Volcano
  • Lake Arenal
  • Cano Negro Wildlife Reserve
  • Tabacan Hot Springs
  • Arenal’s Hanging Bridges
  • Arenal Observatory

In the town of Fortuna a morning shopping trip could include the regular Friday farmers’ market where you can purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, and delicious baked goods plus select from a range of cheeses.

If you plan your La Fortuna trip for the month of February you can catch the annual La Fortuna Civic Festival that lasts for two weeks and includes bull fights, food, karaoke, concerts, dancing, and more.

La Fortuna Arenal Volcano – Costa Rica’s Biggest Attraction!

Arenal Volcano is this country’s biggest tourist attraction and because of its proximity, many travelers stay in La Fortuna Costa Rica.

Arenal is the country’s most active volcano, with ash and smoke visible on a regular basis in recent years. In fact, Arenal volcano makes the top of many lists as Costa Rica’s most popular tourist attraction.

Comfortable hotel and guesthouse accommodations are available; however some travelers prefer the newly established resort/spa services near the volcano. Many visitors have witnessed glowing red-hot lava flows from the Arenal mountainside at night!

La Catarata de la Fortuna Waterfall

Near La Fortuna Costa Rica is La Catarata de la Fortuna, a glorious waterfall that drops more than 200 feet (70 meters) and features a favourite swimming spot for locals and visitors.

The waterfall is surrounded by lush green vegetation and orchids. In addition, tourists can also enjoy nearby Tabacon Hot Springs, a quiet, relaxing naturally fed volcanic hot-springs.

Other La Fortuna Activities

Costa Rica is well known for its nature preserves, parks and protected areas. In fact, one-quarter of Costa Rica’s land mass is now within protected reserves, refuges and parks.

The La Fortuna area is considered by many to be the most visually spectacular location in all of Costa Rica. Travelers with a taste for outdoor activity regularly come to the La Fortuna region to enjoy many of the other outdoor attractions in the area.

Tourists visiting Fortuna can enjoy horseback riding, hiking, boat tours, fishing, white water rafting, and much, much more.

For example, the magnificent Lake Arenal is a perfect place for windsurfing and is also frequented by avid fishermen.

Another popular destination is Cano Negro, a nature reserve north of the Arenal and La Fortuna where tourists can get close to the abundant wildlife. Among the sites will be dozens of bird and animal species, including monkeys and toucans. You may even see an alligator or two!

Costa Rica All Inclusive Tours Includes 2 Nights at Fortuna

La Fortuna Costa Rica is part of the Natural Paradise all inclusive Costa Rica vacation.

You’ll enjoy these fully escorted 9-day tour packages at one low price which includes all accommodations, meals, activities, ground transportation, gratuities, and more!

Visit Caravan’s Costa Rica tour reviews page to read what others have said about Caravan’s tour of Costa Rica or call 1-800-CARAVAN (227-2826) to reserve your spot today.

Like most of Costa Rica’s tourist destinations and natural wonders Arenal volcano (Volcan Arenal) is a sight to behold. It is perhaps the country’s most well-know attraction.

Arenal is a very active cone shaped volcano in the northwest portion of Costa Rica, within an hour drive of San Jose, the capital. The volcano is located in the district of La Fortuna and included on Caravan’s all inclusive tour.

With a height of more than 5,000 feet above sea level, Arenal was formed a mere 7,000 years ago and is considered to be a relatively young volcano.

Volcano Eruptions

Although Arenal volcano remained silent for centuries, the volcano suddenly erupted in 1968 and remains by far the most active among several Costa Rican volcanos. The glowing soft light of the volcano’s lava flow is visible at night if the weather cooperates.

Major eruptions include the 1968 event, another eruption in 1975 that destroyed large areas of vegetation and a third major eruption in 1984 that featured mostly steam and super-heated water. Smaller volcano eruptions also occurred in 1993, 1996 and 1998. Significant changes occurred in the crater walls during these latter eruptions. One event included 23 separate eruptions in one day.

Arenal Volcano National Park

The area around the volcano is officially designated as Arenal Volcano National Park. The mountain and high ground of the area form a watershed with a reservoir nearby. The lake near the volcano is used to produce electric power, much of which is devoted to agricultural irrigation. Some of the electricity is also sent on to the nation’s electrical grid.

Lake Arenal Costa Rica

Lake Arenal probably rivals the nearby volcano as a sight to see and a place to experience. The lake is bordered by both tropical forests and pasture land and is Costa Rica’s largest lake.

Lake Arenal is well-known for its sport fishing, especially for the Rainbow bass, a popular local food dish. Avid fishermen look forward to a trip to these waters to take on the lake’s aggressive fish. Many visitors take advantage of the organized fishing trips from local hotels in the area.

Bass fishing isn’t the only drawing card at Lake Arenal however. Visitors also enjoy windsurfing and escorted boat tours around the lake. Many visitors also enjoy horseback riding and hiking through this rugged yet incredibly beautiful landscape.

Arenal Volcano Hot Springs

Many visitors come to the region for the Arenal Volcano hot springs.

Tourists enjoy taking in the beauty of surrounding rainforest while relaxing in the natural springs heated by the thermal activity of nearby volcano. Several hot-springs locations are open to visitors, including;

  • Eco Thermales – featuring privacy and beautiful surroundings
  • Titoku Hot Springs – featuring eight pools that connect in a cascade of water
  • Los Perdidos Hot Spring – offering a range of temperatures in the middle of lush vegetation
  • Arenal Paraiso Resort & Spa – featuring a restaurant and many modern amenities

Travelers may also want to visit Baldi Hot Springs, Los Laures Hot Springs, Los Lagos Resort and Spa or Hotel Silencio del Campo.

Whether you travel to the Arenal Volcano National Park area to experience one of the country’s most active volcanoes or come to enjoy some great fishing on its volcanic lake, you will love it. Many come here just to relax in one of the many great hot springs settings. This region of Costa Rica is definitely not to be missed.

Arenal – Part of Caravan Costa Rica Tour

Current escorted Costa Rica tours by Caravan include Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano and surrounding La Fortuna area. Enjoy Costa Rica’s famous volcano, the lake, and the volcanic hot springs while spending two nights at Magic Mountain, a popular Arenal Hotel.

Caravan’s extremely affordable 9-day Costa Rica Natural Paradise vacations include all accommodations, meals, activities, ground transportation, gratuities, and more.

For more information check out what previous travelers have to say on the official Costa Rica tour reviews page.

Call 1-800-CARAVAN (227-2826) to book your spot today.

(Editor’s Note – This original post from February 2010 has been updated to reflect current Costa Rica vacation details.)

Loosely translated, the name Tortuguero means, “turtle region“.

Located in Limon Province just north of Tortuguero National Park on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast is the small village of Tortuguero Costa Rica.

Tortuguero Village relies mainly on tourism and since it is isolated on a strip of land within the Tortuguero canals the village can only be accessed by air or water. There are no cars so the atmosphere is very relaxed and quite pleasing.

Tortuguero Village is surrounded by a series of natural and man-made waterways; in fact, the Tortuguero canals are the primary means of local transportation.

Tortuguero Conservation Area

The Tortuguero Conservation Area covers a great part of northeastern Costa Rica (on the Caribbean side) and was created to help preserve this part of the country’s natural resources, reserves, parks, and wildlife refuges.

Within the Tortuguero Conservation Area are three wildlife refuges including Cariari National Wetlands, which is a protected nature reserve, and of course Tortuguero National Park.

Tortuguero National Park

Not unlike Tortuguero Village, Tortuguero National Park is also isolated and only accessible by boat or plane. Yet, Tortuguero National Park is one of Costa Rica’s biggest tourist draws.

Tortuguero Park has eleven different natural habitats with exceptional biodiversity in terms of wildlife, flora and fauna, but it is also home to the world famous Tortuguero turtle nesting beaches.

Tortuguero Turtle Nesting Beaches

Costa Rica established the Green Turtle Research Station to study the nesting habits, migration, and behaviour of Atlantic green sea turtles and other turtle species. Some of the more fascinating and endangered turtle species that visit the turtle nesting beaches of Tortuguero Costa Rica each year include:

  • Atlantic green sea turtles
  • Loggerhead turtles
  • Hawksbill turtles
  • Giant leatherback turtles

Believe it or not, many of the giant leatherback turtles that come to the Tortuguero nesting beaches to lay their eggs can reach up to 2000+ pounds!

Tortuguero National Park is also home to over 2,200 plant species, over 375 bird species, and a great variety of Costa Rican wildlife. The dense tropical forests and fresh waterways of the Caribbean coastline are home to many unique mammal species including manatees, jaguars, howler monkeys, caimans, and Costa Rica’s famous three-toed sloths.

Visiting Tortuguero Costa Rica

Costa Rica is world-famous for its amazing biodiversity, glorious landscapes and eco-conscious, sustainable tourism. Costa Rica’s wildlife refuges, biological reserves and national parks like Tortuguero, were established to preserve the country’s natural resources, not only for Costa Ricans but also for international tourists. Tourism in Costa Rica is vitally important to the economy.

Tortuguero Costa Rica tours are always very popular. When you vacation in Tortuguero be sure to hike along the amazing beach trail. To experience the wonders of Tortuguero National Park at its best, however, we recommend one of the many guided Tortuguero boat tours.

The best time to witness nesting turtles in Tortuguero Costa Rica is between April and October, during turtle nesting season. Keep in mind however, that turtles generally like to lay their eggs and nest under the cover of darkness. Guided walks may be available after dark but individuals are not allowed on the beaches at night without an official guide.

All Inclusive Costa Rica Tours by Caravan

Caravan Tours is an all inclusive tour operator offering Costa Rica vacation packages like the Costa Rica Paradise Tour. Please refer to the Costa Rica itinerary for each for the most up to date tour details.

Caravan’s fully escorted 9-day Costa Rica tours are affordably priced and ideal for singles, couples, groups, and families. Check out the Costa Rica Tour reviews page to read what others have said about Costa Rica tour or visit our FAQ page for more general travel information.

Call 1-800-CARAVAN (227-2826) today to reserve space one of our amazing Costa Rica tours!

(Editor’s Note – This original post from March 2010 has been updated to reflect current Costa Rica vacation details.)

There are many beautiful white sand Costa Rica beaches to explore, many surrounded by verdant valleys, undulating mountains and nearby pristine lakes and rivers. Hacienda Pinilla Costa Rica is surely one of the best beaches you can vacation on and it is home to the JW Marriott resort and spa.

Hacienda Pinilla boasts over three miles of pristine sandy shoreline with no less than six incredible beaches along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Hidden away in the province of Guanacaste in the Canton of Santa Cruz area, Hacienda Pinilla Costa Rica is an area of incredible beauty that has been developed in harmony with nature.

Hacienda Pinilla Resort & Community

Hacienda Pinilla Resort in Costa Rica is a stunning luxury beach resort developed in conjunction with a local residential community and encompassed by a large protected wildlife refuge.

Hacienda Pinilla Costa Rica includes a gated community with accommodations ranging from cottages and condos to houses and hotels set amid the luxurious tropical greenery. It is one of those places that epitomize all that is fun and fantastic about Costa Rica.

Hacienda Pinilla is a prime Guanacaste location and many visitors become residents or purchase vacation properties here, including beach houses and villas. This is an ideal location for nature lovers offering the opportunity to live amidst dry tropical forest in a naturally abundant environment groomed by year round exceptional weather.

Home to the JW Marriott Resort & Spa

The brand new J.W. Marriott Resort in Costa Rica is a stunning luxury beach resort situated right on Mansita Beach Costa Rica in Hacienda Panilla.  This Pacific Coast Costa Rica Marriott resort and spa is rated as one of the Top 5 in Latin America and its 25,000 square foot pool is the largest in all of Costa Rica. Each of the 316 rooms at this Costa Rica resort feature luxury bathrooms and a private balcony or terrace.

Nature Trail of Hacienda Pinilla

The wildlife refuge surrounding Hacienda Pinilla is full of exotic tropical animals, birds and reptiles, which thrive here among the many rivers and lakes that dot the area.

Be sure to explore the 10 mile Nature Trail of Hacienda Pinilla as it meanders through the wildlife refuge. Tourists can observe up close the many varieties of amphibians, insects, butterflies, iguanas, frogs, turtles and monkeys that populate the area.

The Nature Trail at Hacienda Pinilla is best experienced in the company of a naturalist guide who can direct your attention to the many natural wonders of this wildlife refuge and offer much insight into the area’s flora, fauna and wildlife.

Hacienda Pinilla Flora & Fauna

The flora and fauna of Hacienda Pinilla has been added to on a regular basis over the last decade as part of an ongoing effort to implement a reforestation program. The entire Hacienda Pinilla area is extremely peaceful, bathed in a serenity that blends with nature, making this one of the most “must-see” destinations in Costa Rica.

Hacienda Pinilla Activities

Hacienda Pinilla Costa Rica is a little bit of paradise on earth. Residents, tourists and guests can enjoy adventurous recreational activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, fishing, and hiking, plus world class golfing and kayaking. Horseback riding is also available for those who would like to observe nature while taking an invigorating ride along the nature trails.

Tours of the Nature Trail at Hacienda Pinilla are very popular and offered by Hacienda Pinilla Resort and many other hotels. To truly experience Hacienda Pinilla Costa Rica and the surrounding fauna and flora, many visitors forego staying in the hotels and opt for one of the many small cottages tucked away in the nature park.

Marriott Hacienda Pinilla Included on Caravan Tour

Two nights at the JW Marriott Resort and Spa in Hacienda Pinilla are currently included with the Natural Paradise Costa Rica Tours by Caravan. These are very affordably priced, fully escorted tours considering the cost to stay just one night at the Marriott!

Visit Caravan’s Costa Rica Tours reviews page to read what others have said about this fully escorted, all inclusive Costa Rica tour or check out our FAQ page.

Call 1-800-CARAVAN (227-2826) to reserve your space today!

(Editor’s Note – This original post from December 2011 has been updated to reflect current Costa Rica tour activities.)

Costa Rica in Central America is home to over 10,000 species of different plants and trees making it one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world. The forestation consists of unique flora and fauna in luscious virgin rainforests, mysterious cloud forests, and unique tropical dry forests.

Costa Rica vacationers can enjoy the exceptional natural beauty of Costa Rica thanks to excellent rainforest eco tours by Caravan including:

1. Rio Frio Cruise and Rainforest Tour

On this Costa Rica rainforest cruise, tour guests drift through Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge on a fully guided river cruise along Rio Frio. As you pass through virgin Costa Rica rainforests your naturalist guides will help you watch for all kinds of rainforest wildlife including elusive jaguars, caimans, howler monkeys, black turtles, and even water walking lizards.

2. Tarcoles River Cruise and Rainforest Tour

Also known as the “river of crocodiles”, the Tarcoles River winds through Guanacaste’s protected Carara Biological Reserve, home to the rare and endangered Scarlet Macaw. A fully guided Costa Rica rainforest cruise is the best way to view this protected sanctuary and makes an ideal bird watching cruise.

3. Aerial Tram Rainforest Canopy Tours in Costa Rica

Eco conscious aerial tram tours through the rainforest canopies of Braulio Carrillo Park and Manuel Antonio National Park are definitely the ultimate way to see rainforest canopy wildlife, plus flora and fauna up close, with minimal human impact on the natural environment. Braulio Carrillo Park boasts virgin rainforests and outstanding cascading waterfalls. Manuel Antonio National Park was recently named one of the world’s Top 12 most beautiful parks and includes a number of outstanding accessible Pacific coast Costa Rica beaches.

4. Escallonia Cloud Forest Trail Tour

Cloud Forests (or Fog forests) have a higher humidity and less rain than the typical rainforest. The unique ecosystem is found in less than 50 tropical and sub-tropical countries around the world, including Costa Rica.

The Escallonia Cloud Forest Trail is situated near Poás Volcano National Park in central Costa Rica, less than an hour’s drive from the capital city of San Jose. This Costa Rica rainforest features lower woody plants with an abundance of small cypress and myrtle growth. Escallonia Cloud Forest is also home to dozens of hummingbirds and large stunning orchids.

Plants along the trail flower at various points throughout the year but the best time to visit is in the summer and autumn when primary colors emerge. Because of this, the Escallonia Cloud Forest Trail is a popular destination for North Americans on winter vacations in Costa Rica.

5. Guanacaste Tropical Dry Forest Tour

Guanacaste National Park is situated on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. It was originally created as a biological corridor for the migration of birds and insects between the dry forests, cloud forests, and rainforests. The founder of Guanacaste Park also had the vision of encouraging locals to become involved in Costa Rica environmental programs.

Caravan’s Guanacaste tropical dry forest park tour features hiking, nature walks and bird watching. If visiting in the afternoon, guests should be ready for a short rainfall (especially during the rainy season that lasts May through November).

Tours along Guanacaste National Park trails interweave through several ecosystems as the elevation increases from the Pacific Ocean up to Orosi and Cacao volcanoes. For Cost Rica vacationers with more time to spend in Guanacaste, a hike up and across the Continental Divide will lead to a typical Costa Rica rainforest.

The most popular Costa Rica wildlife visitors see in the dry forest include howler monkeys, white-tailed deer, long-tongued bats and capuchin monkeys. Birds such as the Orange-Fronted Parakeet and Crested Caracara are common and easy to spot up in the trees as well.

Caravan Costa Rica Vacations Include Rainforest Tours

All of Caravan’s Costa Rica vacations include glimpses into the country’s amazing rainforests, cloud forests and dry forests. Very affordably priced for a 9-day tour, these are fully guided, all inclusive Costa Rica vacations and they book up fast!

Read more about Caravan Tours’ current Costa Rica Paradise vacation or take a look at a few Caravan Costa Rica reviews to see what others are saying.

Call 1-800-CARAVAN (227-2826) to reserve your space today!

(Editor’s Note – This original post from December 2009 has been updated to reflect current Costa Rica vacation details. Please note that current Costa Rica tours include Costa Rica coffee plantation tour instead of a pineapple plantation.)

Pineapples are grown in many parts of the world including Costa Rica, Brazil and the Philippines. Temperatures and other conditions necessary to produce pineapples, limit their growth to tropical and sub-tropical regions.

Costa Rica Pineapple Production

Costa Rica pineapple plantations have experienced tremendous growth in the past decade. In 2001 Costa Rica pineapple exports exceeded 300,000 tons and now this small Central American country leads the world in pineapple production and exports.

In 2007 and 2008, companies who grow and export Costa Rica pineapples began to take steps to address the issues associated with the rapid growth of the Costa Rica pineapple industry.

Even though over 23% of Costa Rica is now protected within wildlife nature refuges, National Parks and reserves, thankfully, Costa Rica pineapple plantations do not encroach upon these protected lands.

Pineapples and the Costa Rica Economy

The Costa Rica pineapple industry has had a positive affect on the local Costa Rica economy contributing more than $500 million dollars. The success of the pineapple industry in Costa Rica continues to attract international investors and farmers.

The industry has grown to such an extent that agents for commercial real estate companies currently offer many listings for pineapple plantations for sale.

These Costa Rica pineapple plantations range from 99 hectares to 2000 hectares in size (one acre equals about .4 hectare) with some in full production and others in the pre-production stage. Prices for each Costa Rica pineapple plantation seem to vary widely, depending on location and whether the site is producing or non-producing.

Costa Rica Pineapple Export

Did you know that Costa Rica is the largest supplier of pineapples to the US?

Currently, about 75 percent of the pineapples sold in the United States are Costa Rica pineapples. As early as 1996 there was more land used for pineapple plantations in Costa Rica than for coffee or banana plantations. Pineapples are now Costa Rica’s premier export crop.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is actively involved in pineapple production in Costa Rica, helping poor populations reap benefits from their native products.

Pineapple Plantation Tours in Costa Rica

Pineapple plantations in Costa Rica have since become a fascinating tourist attraction, in addition to being a major factor in the commercial economy.

Costa Rica pineapple plantation tours allow tourists to witness firsthand the handling and packing of this fruit for the world markets. Some Costa Rica pineapple plantation tours offer fruit salads and milk shakes in addition to samples of freshly picked pineapple. Whole pineapples are also available for purchase in some locations.

All Inclusive Costa Rica Tours

You’re bound to enjoy eating fresh Costa Pineapple during Caravan’s all inclusive Costa Rica tour package.

Currently, Caravan’s Costa Rica vacations include a coffee plantation tour, as well as driving past Costa Rica pineapple plantations plus other local crops like sugar cane, teak, and oranges.

Visit Caravan’s Costa Rica tour reviews page to read what others have said about Caravan’s all inclusive, fully escorted Costa Rica tours.