CATIE Tropical Agriculture Center

Orchid at CATIE Tropical Agriculture Center in Turrialba
Orchid at CATIE Tropical Agriculture Center in Turrialba

For travelers looking to participate in eco-tourism in Costa Rica, a visit to CATIE Tropical Agriculture Center and its impressive collection of plant species from around the world should definitely be a priority.

Where is It

Visitors are welcome to tour the grounds of this important research center, which is located just over a mile southeast of Turrialba and miles from the capital city of San Jose. In all, CATIE Tropical Agriculture Center spans 2,500 acres and features thousands of plant species from all over, including multiple varieties of cacao, palms and coffee.

The grounds of the research center include a botanical garden, which boasts more than 4,400 genetic samples from 280 different plants as part of the Finca Cabiria experimental farm. The plants that make up this collection come from a number of different countries including Brazil, Tanzania, Mexico and Kenya.

Fruit Tasting

One of the most popular aspects of the botanical garden that visitors can participate in at the CATIE Tropical Agriculture Center is the tropical fruit tasting. Tourists can enjoy fruits from Costa Rica and many other tropical countries by taking advantage of this unique opportunity.

In total, the CATIE Tropical Agriculture Center offers three separate tour packages. The first tour lasts two hours and takes visitors through the botanical garden, allowing them to view the exotic birds among the abundance of trees. This tour serves as an introduction to plant life in the tropical climate.

In addition to the stop at the botanical garden, the second tour takes travelers to the extensive collections located at the CATIE Tropical Agriculture Center. During this tour, tourists will see some 95 species of exotic tree and plant spread out across 25 acres of land. This tour lasts three hours.

Botanical Gardens

The final tour option includes the visits to the botanical garden and the collections, as well as a look at the entire CATIE Tropical Agriculture Center campus. At the small lake located on site, more than 200 bird species can be found in their natural habitats, giving travelers a terrific opportunity to enjoy a relaxing birdwatching experience. The CATIE Tropical Agriculture Center is located about 2 km south of Turrialba in the province of Cartago.

Open Monday through Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., the guided tours of CATIE Tropical Agriculture Center cost between $15 and $25 and are well worth the admission price.