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What is unique about Braulio Carrillo National Park in Costa Rica is the wide range of elevation. It ranges from just 160 feet above sea level to as high as over 9,500 feet in elevation.

Have you ever imagined yourself as an early explorer discovering a new world of tropical virgin rainforests with luscious emerald green in all its glorious shades? Perhaps it is slightly overcast with a warm mist that is brightened up by rare and beautiful orchids that somehow blend naturally with the fauna and flora of the area.

This is exactly what you will feel as you trek through Braulio Carrillo National Park in Costa Rica with Caravan Tours. This fauna and flora sanctuary was created in 1978 and is easily accessible from San Jose Costa Rica (the capital), which is just over 12 miles away.

Here are some of the park attractions that you can enjoy.

1. Flora & Fauna

It is the extreme variation in elevation that allows Braulio Carrillo National Park to experience such a wide range of flora and fauna. You’ll find everything from wet tropical lowland rainforests to lush high mountain cloud forests. In fact, Braulio Carrillo Park, which is 90% forested, is credited with having Costa Rica’s highest level of biodiversity.

The different species that have been identified within the park include:

  • 135 types of mammals
  • 218 types of reptiles and amphibians
  • Over 600 types of trees
  • Over 6000 plant species
  • Over 530 bird types

2. Barva Volcano

The highest point in Braulio Carrillo is named ‘Volcan Barva’, which is home to three volcanic crater lakes, hence the name, Three Marias Hill. This Barva volcano area is certainly a haven for bird lovers with lovely quetzals, majestic eagles, trogons and toucans flying about in great numbers.

3. Aerial Tram Ride

The canopy aerial tram ride in Braulio Carrillo National Park is a very popular tourist attraction. There are twenty open gondolas (cable cars) that provide visiting tourists with a unique perspective of the forest canopy wildlife and vegetation. The Braulio Carrillo aerial tram ride is a guided canopy tour that glides through both the upper and lower sections of the Costa Rica rainforest canopy. It’s not uncommon to see even the most elusive Costa Rica animals like the three-toed sloth.

The splendor and magnificence of Braulio Carrillo National Park sets it aside from the rest of the tourist attractions in Costa Rica.

4. Braulio Carrillo Waterfalls, Wildlife & More

Braulio Carrillo National Park is an excellent representation of old world Middle America where cascading waterfalls, proliferating orchids, and a myriad of wildlife and geological features remain unchanged for literally hundreds of centuries. This is the area of rare snakes (like the bushmaster snake) plus the ever-elusive ocelot, three-toed sloth, and mysterious jaguar. Those who visit the park leave with a sense of awe and appreciation for this pristine virgin rainforest area.

Visit this Wikipedia page for additional information.

Discover Costa Rica with Caravan Tours

Please note that Braulio Carrillo National Park is not currently included in Caravan’s all inclusive Costa Rica Tours. Please refer to the Caravan Costa Rica tour itinerary for the most up to date information about Caravan’s fully guided vacations to Costa Rica.

See also our Caravan blog post entitled Rainforest Tours of Costa Rica for additional rainforest information.

Visit Caravan’s Costa Rica tours reviews page to read what others have said about Braulio Carrillo National Park and Caravan’s all inclusive, fully guided Costa Rica tours.

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

Guanacaste Costa Rica is one of seven provinces in this tiny central American country.  The provincial borders roughly define certain regions by geography, government, and population.

The province of Guanacaste is located in the northwest part of Costa Rica on the Pacific Ocean. It shares a border with Nicaragua and is the least populated province in the nation.

History of Guanacaste Costa Rica

The recorded history of the Guanacaste province (so named for the national tree – Guanacaste or ear-pod) dates back hundreds of years. People began to settle the Nicoya Peninsula in earnest in the 17th and 18th centuries. The region first existed as an independent territory and was annexed to the larger nation almost 200 years ago.

Guanacaste Costa Rica is a fascinating and beautiful part of the world, with heavy forestation and mountainous rivers. The region is relatively dry compared to the rest of Costa Rica.

Guanacaste Weather

Residents and visitors to Guanacaste Costa Rica experience consistently hot temperatures beginning in November. Respite from this heat is found on the wonderful Pacific Ocean beaches. Temperatures are moderate in May and the region receives a bit more rainfall. This pattern usually continues until October.

Guanacaste Agriculture

The open areas of Guanacaste province are often devoted to cattle grazing. The beef industry was a mainstay of the economy for decades, but it has declined in recent years. A massive irrigation program has boosted crop production, with sugar cane, cotton, and rice leading the way, although coffee growing is also quite popular.

Liberia – The Capital of Guanacaste

Liberia is the largest city in Guanacaste province with a population of of over 75,000 people. Liberia is also the capital of Guanacaste and major hub for tourism in Costa Rica.

Tourists have flocked to Guanacaste Costa Rica in ever-greater numbers in the past few decades, taking advantage of the beautiful beaches and the natural beauty of Costa Rica. This has revived the area’s economy to some extent and has contributed to the importance of the capital city, Liberia.

The warm tropical climate and beautiful beaches in Liberia lure travelers wishing to escape the cold months of the Northern Hemisphere. They mostly travel down to Liberia Costa Rica between December and March.

Liberia Costa Rica offers a relatively new international airport and many of the amenities that international visitors seek. Yet Liberia remains a comfortable city with an atmosphere often described as “colonial.”

Liberia’s proximity to Costa Rica beach resorts and beautiful national parks make it a popular destination and base for touring the countryside. In fact, one of Costa Rica’s national parks, Santa Rosa, also includes one of the world’s top surfing locations. Historic landmarks also add to Liberia’s increasing popularity.

If surfing and sun-tanning are not quite your style there are many other Liberia Costa Rica excursions and activities to explore. Aside from the many attractions, the city is a perfect base for horseback riding through the amazing countryside, bird watching, or for a trip to one of the many volcanoes along the eastern border of Guanacaste Costa Rica. It is not unusual for visitors to witness dozens of rare birds in addition to the native tapir (and even the elusive jaguar).

Those who choose to explore Liberia Costa Rica will see many whitewashed houses that have given this city a reputation as “ciudad blanca,” which is Spanish for “white city.” It is also home to a number of annual festivals that celebrate local culture and the heritage of the residents.

Liberia’s government and city leaders have made an effort to attract new visitors with its international airport and easy access to major highways. Take one of the many interesting side trips off the Pan-American Highway and see why Guanacaste Costa Rica and its capital city Liberia have become so popular.

Caravan All Inclusive Tours Includes Guanacaste Costa Rica

The current Natural Paradise Tour by Caravan includes several days in the Guanacaste Costa Rica. Depending on the travel package you select you may experience the Guanacaste J.W. Marriott Resort and Spa, or the San Bada Hotel just outside of Manuel Antonio Park.

Caravan’s fully escorted 9 day tour is exceptionally priced always all inclusive.

Hear what fellow travelers are saying about these Costa Rica trips on the official Costa Rica reviews page.

Call 1-800-CARAVAN (227-2826) today
to inquire about pricing and tour availability.

A Caravan all inclusive Costa Rica tour is the ultimate tropical vacation with all the exotic trappings that you would expect and more.

The name “Costa Rica” means “Rich Coast” and the pure, untamed beauty of Costa Rica’s Pacific and Caribbean coastlines reveal unspoiled eco diversity like nowhere else on earth.

This diversity is possible partly because Costa Rica abolished the military decades ago and used that funding for the preservation of their natural heritage. Today, over 23% of Costa Rica is now protected in National Parks, refuges, and wildlife preserves.

In this article we will answer four of the common questions about our Caravan all inclusive Costa Rica Tour.

What does “Fully Escorted” Mean?

“Fully escorted” simply means that from start to finish, your tour in Costa Rica will be conducted by a professional Caravan tour operator. The same tour operator stays with your group the entire time. We use very knowledgeable and experienced local tour operators who take our travelers through Costa Rica’s best attractions. Each tour director is also fluent in English and will work with your bus driver, plus other local tour guides at specific attractions. With a fully escorted tour you can relax and enjoy every minute of your vacation.

Because every detail of our all inclusive Costa Rica tour is taken care of by your tour director, these full escorted Costa Rica vacations have become very popular in recent years. This is especially true for budget travelers and those who want group tours, senior tours, or all-inclusive family vacations.

What is Included on Caravan’s All Inclusive Costa Rica Tour?

Caravan Tours is an all-inclusive Costa Rica tour operator providing affordable, fully guided tours of beautiful central American country.

All inclusive means virtually everything is included for one low price. Tours are fully escorted and all ground transportation is provided. The tour also includes all itinerary meals, accommodations, activities, and activity fees. Caravan will even provide bottled water on their restroom equipped, air conditioned Mercedes motor coaches.

Your Caravan all inclusive Costa Rica tour also includes airport transfers to and from your hotel. As well, your tour price includes all gratuities for local guides, hotel staff, and restaurants.

With Caravan Tours, you know what your costs are up front. There are no add on features or surprise option sales, making Caravan Tours the most convenient and affordable way to enjoy this amazing eco-friendly country.

What Are Some of the Tour Highlights?

For one low all inclusive price, vacationers can enjoy this Natural Paradise all-inclusive Costa Rica tour with visits to some the country’s most popular attractions. You’ll visit tropical rainforests, volcanoes, plantations, Colonial cities, and incredible National Parks.

From the moment you arrive in San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital, you will understand why this quaint little country of just over four million people is so popular. Your Costa Rica all inclusive vacation tour will be accompanied by local naturalist guides who are eager to share the country’s natural beauty and heritage with world travelers.

You will travel north from San Jose through banana, sugar cane, teak, and orange plantations and take a guided coffee plantation tour. Every all inclusive tour includes visits to Manual Antonio National Park and Leatherback Turtles National Park.

You’ll enjoy the splendor of cascading waterfalls, natural hot springs, active volcanoes, lush tropical rainforests, cloud forests, and the country’s many wildlife refuges and reserves. It all adds up to an amazing, unforgettable holiday experience.

Caravan’s all inclusive Costa Rica tour also includes river cruises, a visit to a butterfly garden, a bird sanctuary and a beach hike along the Pacific coast Leatherback turtle nesting beaches. There are also unforgettable aerial tram tours through the virgin rainforest canopy, where you can observe the canopy wildlife up close and in their natural setting.

Why Do Costa Rica Tours Book Up So Fast?

At such a great price point, these tours are filled with all the most popular things to do in Costa Rica. The simply can’t be beat! Caravan’s Costa Rica vacations book so fast because travelers get the best possible value for their money.

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

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

Come travel to Costa Rica with Caravan Tours! You will soon understand why this peaceful and friendly little country (with a thriving democracy) was voted one of the best places in the world to live.

Costa Rica is one of those delightful places where you can truly enjoy your vacation, whatever your preferences may be. This tropical paradise is full of pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and incredible varieties of exotic flora and fauna, plus rare birds and wildlife.

Top Industry – Tourism

So many international visitors travel to Costa Rica each year that tourism is the number one industry…and for good reason. Costa Rica is a safe, eco-conscious country and home to many of Mother Nature’s natural wonders including rainforests, volcanoes and the Pacific coast turtle nesting beaches.

Costa Rica is bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the south, the Caribbean Ocean to the east and the warm Pacific Ocean to the west. In fact, the literal translation for Costa Rica is “Rich Coast.”

Literacy in Costa Rica is very high and Costa Rica’s culture is a pleasing combination of European and Latin American influences.

Travel to Costa Rica for an Eco Tour

In recent years, Costa Rica eco tours have flourished thanks to Costa Rica’s continued commitment towards the preservation and conservation of its natural habitats, birds and wildlife. Over 23% of Costa Rica is now protected through:

  • Wildlife refuges
  • Reserves
  • And national parks

Caravan Tours has made every effort to keep your travel to Costa Rica as eco-friendly as possible. You will have the rare opportunity to see the natural wonders of this amazingly beautiful country in a very eco-friendly way.

Family, Senior & Group Tours

Costa Rica tour companies like Caravan Tours are all inclusive Costa Rica tour operators. Caravan Costa Rica tours are fully escorted and everything is included for one low affordable price.

When you travel to Costa Rica for a Caravan tour, even your ground transportation is taken care of. Tours are accompanied by knowledgeable local guides and the tour itinerary also includes all meals, activities, activity fees and Costa Rica hotel accommodations.

Caravan’s  Costa Rica tours make ideal tour packages for senior holiday travel or for families that want all inclusive family vacations.

Call 1-800-CARAVAN (227-2826) to ask about a Costa Rica tour for a large group.

Tour Highlights & Attractions

When you travel to Costa Rica, San Jose is where each Caravan tour starts. San Jose is situated in central Costa Rica and is the capital of this beautiful eco-friendly country.

From San Jose, Caravan’s all inclusive Costa Rica tour will guide you on many unique excursions to see Costa Rica attractions like Arenal Volcano, Cloud Forests, Manuel Antonio National Park, and Leatherback Turtles National Park.

Other attractions you’ll see when you travel to Costa Rica include:

  • Virgin rainforest hikes
  • A bird watching cruise on the Tarcoles River adjacent to the Carara Biological Reserve
  • A wildlife crocodile cruise down Rio Frio in the Cano Negro wildlife reserve
  • And a cloud forest hike near Poás Volcano
  • There’s even a fully escorted coffee plantation tour!

Affordable Costa Rica Tours

Caravan’s fully escorted 9 day Costa Rica tours are exceptionally priced and a great way to visit this top rated eco-friendly country in Central America!

Visit Caravan’s Costa Rica tour reviews page to read what others have said about this tour or check out the FAQ page for answers questions you may have.

Call 1-800-CARAVAN (227-2826) to reserve a spot
and travel to Costa Rica for your next vacation!

Taking a Costa Rica coffee plantation tour is at the top of the list for most coffee loving tourists when visiting this small Central American country. Even those who don’t drink coffee find the guided coffee tour to be very informative and interesting.

Along with bananas, oranges, and pineapple plantations, Coffee is one of the most important sectors in the Costa Rican economy, rivaled only by tourism and various other agricultural products.

Did you know that Costa Rica coffee production now accounts for more than 10% of the country’s export business and Costa Rica ranks number fifteen out of the Top 20 coffee producing countries?

In fact, hundreds of thousands of Costa Ricans are employed in the Costa Rica coffee industry; from planting, growing and harvesting to processing and exporting Costa Rica coffee.

Enjoy a Costa Rica Coffee Plantation Tour

When researching where to take a Costa Rica coffee plantation tour you will likely notice how the rapid growth in Costa Rica coffee production has also benefited the Costa Rica tourism industry.

In fact Costa Ricans take great pride in sharing their knowledge of coffee. Costa Rican coffee is generally described as “brightly acidic” and “full-bodied,” and tourists get to enjoy firsthand the tasting and sampling of the finest of Costa Rica coffees.

Government regulations in Costa Rica restrict coffee production to only Arabica coffees (Arabica coffee beans are superior, are better quality, and taste better than lower grown Robusta beans). A Costa Rica coffee plantation tour is now available at many of these Arabica coffee producers.

While on your Caravan Costa Rica tour, you’ll enjoy a coffee plantation tour conducted by expert guides who offer a brief overview of the history behind the Costa Rica coffee industry.

Learn About the History of Coffee Cooperatives in Costa Rica

Not only does the Costa Rica coffee industry help drive the current economy, but it also holds a significant place in the nation’s history, dating back to 1779.

Costa Rica began exporting coffee as early as 1821. Information from the Consortium of Coffee Cooperatives of Guanacaste & Montes de Oro (COOCAFE) indicates that Costa Rica was the “first country in Central America to register coffee exports.”

COOCAFE was formed just over two decades ago, beginning as an organization made up of small grower/producer cooperatives. Almost half of today’s coffee production in Costa Rica comes from farmers who manage five hectares or less. Of the 72,000+ Costa Rica coffee growers more than 60% belong to cooperatives.

One of the primary benefits of COOCAFE, as a grouping of smaller cooperatives, is the ability to pool funds. A loan fund has been established that provides operation loans to member cooperatives at a low interest rate.

See Coffee Production as it Happens

Visitors on a Costa Rica coffee plantation tour find the historical details of coffee fascinating.

Well-trained guides and coffee experts are also able to paint a picture of how the coffee plant grows from a small seed to the full-grown plant. They explain that coffee beans are the fruit of the plant, and emphasize that the beans must be handpicked and processed carefully to produce the best coffee possible.

Individual workers drop the ripe coffee “berries” into a basket carried at their waist. The bean is then removed from a protective coating called a “husk” before being washed, dried, and hand sorted.

With some larger coffee operations, visitors can see newer machinery that was introduced to handle much of the work of coffee processing, but most Costa Rica coffee plantations still pick and process coffee by hand.

The Most Popular Coffee Plantations in Costa Rica

Although the number of large Costa Rica coffee growers is very small, they still produce one-third of Costa Rican coffee due to the size of their operations.

The largest producer of Costa Rican coffee is Café Britt, a company near San Jose and Heredia where you can take a guided Costa Rica coffee plantation tour. A number of other brands are produced here as well, including Doka and Café Volio.

Some plantations have established organic processes in recent years, eliminating the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

About Caravan Tours

Currently, a guided Costa Rica coffee plantation tour is included in all of Caravan’s Natural Paradise Tours. See growing Costa Rican coffee plants, taste freshly brewed Costa Rican coffee, and buy your Costa Rica coffee beans directly from the grower!

For just one low Caravan tour price you’ll enjoy 9 full days of great Costa Rica activities and attractions throughout the country.

Read more Costa Rica tour reviews to see what others have said about this fully escorted tour of Costa Rica.

Read our Caravan Costa Rica FAQ page and call 1-800-CARAVAN (227-2826) to book your Costa Rican holiday today.

In this Caravan Tours post explore Poas Volcano facts and sustainable tourism in Costa Rica.

Surrounded by lush tropical rainforests, Poás Volcano in Costa Rica is not only one of this country’s most important protected areas but historically, it has also been one of the country’s most visited tourist attractions.

Poás Volcano actually has two craters and has also become a very popular attraction for international visitors and tourists. Poás Volcano National Park is also just a short scenic drive (within an hour) of the capital, San Jose. Its close proximity attracts a lot of locals as well, who visit the area to escape the city on weekends.

Quick Poás Volcano Facts

  • The peak of Poás volcano rises to more than 8,000 feet above sea level.
  • Its two craters are bordered by lush tropical rainforests.
  • The large crater has a large very acidic lake called Laguna Caliente.
  • The larger crater is almost a mile across and over 900 feet deep with continuous geyser-like eruptions of sulphuric gas and steam. This has earned it the reputation as the largest geyser in the world.
  • The second Poás Volcano crater is called Botos Lagoon and is much smaller.
  • The smaller crater is inactive and holds a body of cold fresh water that feeds into two Costa Rica rivers.
  • Poás Volcano is believed to be about 11 million years old.
  • Poás had about a half a dozen eruptions over the past one hundred years including 1910, several between 1952 and 1954, 1989, 2009 and 2017.

Biodiversity of Poás Volcano National Park

The mountain, volcano activity and lagoons may be enough to draw many visitors, but Poás National Park offers travelers much more to see and enjoy.

Here are some Poas Volcano facts regarding the area’s biodiversity, which can be witnessed within the park’s four distinct natural habitats including:

  1. An area of little plant growth.
  2. The world famous “stunted” (or dwarf) forest – a result of acid rain caused by the volcano.
  3. An area dominated by Arrayans, a type of shrub or small tree similar to evergreens.
  4. Escalonia Cloud Forest region, which is a lush tropical rainforest area that receives very little rain but experiences very high humidity because of the low lying clouds, fog, and mists.

The best time to experience Poás Volcano and Poás Volcano National Park is early in the day before the clouds roll in and obscure the amazing views of this world famous tourist attraction.

Due to recent volcanic activity, Caravan’s visit to Poás Volcano tours has been temporarily discontinued until further notice. It is not currently part of our Costa Rica itinerary.

Sustainable Tourism for Poás Volcano

Costa Rica is renowned for its biodiversity and for its commitment to sustainable Costa Rica Tourism. Poás Volcano National Park is an excellent example of how Costa Rica has embraced tourism with minimal intrusion of its many natural parks, wildlife refuges and biological reserves.

Costa Rica All Inclusive Tours – Includes Poás Volcano Tour

Thank you for exploring our Poas Volcano facts page.

Our all inclusive Natural Paradise Costa Rica Package Tours are fully escorted 9-day packages. The tour is exceptionally priced, considering all hotels, meals, activities, land transportation, and gratuities are included.

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

Costa Rica Rio Frio River Cruise and Hot Springs

Today we get to enjoy a guided Rio Frio river cruise up near the Nicaraguan border. Unfortunately, however, when we got up today, Arenal volcano was still covered in cloud, with no view of the volcano possible. This area of Costa Rica is still beautiful none-the-less.

White-faced monkey in Costa Rica

One of Costa Rica’s Many Bird SpeciesAfter breakfast, we boarded the tour bus to head north towards the Nicaragua border to enjoy a guided wildlife Rio Frio river cruise. For the river cruise, our tour guide Gary, and his riverboat driver were both exceptionally good at spotting hidden wildlife and birds that we would have otherwise missed. We saw a wide variety of birds on the Rio Frio cruise including cormorants, toucans, a perfectly camouflaged stick hawk, and the piano hawk, but we also saw howler monkeys and white-faced monkeys up close (pictured here). We even got to see a white-faced monkey with a baby clinging to her back. The weather was good (just a little rain) but unfortunately the river was quite high, too high for us to see any caimans or water walking lizards that rely on dry riverbanks for sunbathing.

Nicaragua River Border Sign

What was most unique about this Rio Frio river cruise was that we actually got to cross into Nicaragua … at least for a moment. For several hundred feet on either side of the river border, the waters are considered “neutral” territory, so our Rio Frio cruise was able to actually glide by the Nicaraguan border sign.

Enjoying Rio Frio River Cruise Costa Rica

Following the Rio Frio river cruise, we headed back to La Fortuna to enjoy some leisure time at the Baldi Hot Springs Resort, which is also at the foot of Arenal volcano and boasts the “Largest Thermal Waters of the World.” Baldi hot springs has 25 thermal pools, many with crystalline waterfalls to create an oasis of healing. The thermal pools are located right in the heart of the tropical rainforest of La Fortuna Costa Rica. Some of the thermal pools even feature swim-up bars. The water temperatures between the thermal pools varied a lot so no matter how hot or cool you like your hot springs, there was something for everyone. This is the ideal way to unwind and relax after enjoying our Rio Frio cruise.

Finally, we headed back to the Magic Mountain hotel for dinner and to bring in the New Year! The Magic bar had a DJ and dancing, and just before midnight, they opened the terrace so we could all go outside and watch the hotel staff set off their amazing display of fireworks.

So far this has been an incredible Costa Rica tour! What a way to bring in 2017! Happy New Years everyone!

~Lee K.

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.

 

 

 

(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.

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.