NOTE: The content on this page was last updated on June 16th, 2017.
I am a horticulturist, interested in tropical plants, flowers, palm trees, rain forests, jungle hikes, etc. I would think Costa Rica would be an ideal place for that. Do you have any information devoted to this subject?
We agree! Costa Rica would be (and likely is) an ideal place for you given your interests. Although our blog (Costa Rica Travel Blog) and portfolio project (DIY Costa Rica) have yet to touch on this topic in great detail, throughout our travels and work in the industry we have come across some locations and activities that may be of specific interest to you. In an attempt to help you research the country, we have comprised a brief list of points we feel are worth mentioning. Hopefully some, if not all, of our tips can be of use to you throughout the planning of your trip.
If you plan to participate in tours/activities:
- Consider visiting the Lankester Botanical Gardens in Cartago
- Consider visiting the Orchid Garden in Monteverde
- Consider participating in the Rainforest Mysteries Tour to Finca Luna Nueva run from La Fortuna/Arenal
- Consider participating in the Rainforest Spices Tour at Villa Vanilla in Manuel Antonio
- Consider visiting a Fruit Plantation
- Consider visiting a Coffee Plantation
- Consider visiting a Trapiche Sugar Cane Mill
- Consider taking a National Park Tour, Hanging Bridge Tour, or other Light Hiking Tour to explore the rainforest and natural Costa Rica environment
If you wish to get involved in research efforts or volunteer:
- Get in touch with OTS, the Organization for Tropical Studies; they are based out of Sarapiqui but have biological stations in the Sarapiqui (La Selva), Nicoya (Palo Verde), and Southern (Las Cruces) regions of the country
- Get in touch with CATIE, the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center; they are based out of Turrialba
As for where to go, we would recommend spreading out across the country (as much as possible, given time and budget constraints). Different areas of the country offer advantages and a variety of things worth seeing. Even the palms on the Caribbean coast are different from those that line the Central Pacific. The Guanacaste tree (after which the typically dry Guanacaste province is named) is a pretty sight, and the giant Ceiba tree (which can be spotted in a number of places throughout the country, including inside the Arenal Volcano National Park and Carara National Park) is not to be missed. For a multitude of ecosystems, visit the elevated cloud forests in Monteverde and the series of mangroves found outside of Manuel Antonio (or Tamarindo). The canal system that leads visitors into and out of Costa Rica’s most unique area–Tortuguero–is, much like the entire Tortuguero experience, a diverse treat.
As a horticulturist, this point may be an obvious one to you, but give special consideration to the time of year you plan to visit. Certain areas of the country are wetter or drier than others at particular times of the year. Depending on the items included on your “must-see” list and how they are impacted by weather conditions, the time of year during which you plan to travel to Costa Rica may help or hinder your success.