Costa Rica offers an abundance of adventure related excursions. Most visitors will gravitate to these head-on encounters with nature. When planning their Costa Rica excursions, travelers seeking a more balanced trip should add a couple of educational tours to their itinerary.
Yawn…Yawn… While no one can guarantee that you won’t be stuck with a dull speaker, the content can be fascinating and add to your understanding of Costa Rican culture. There are plenty of lively and entertaining speakers that will deliver informative presentations.
If you find yourself traveling to Costa Rica, consider visiting a pineapple farm, exploring the source of chocolate—the cacao bean, observing the stages of coffee production at a plantation, and/or learning about bats.
Location: Organic Paradise Tour (La Virgen de Sarapiqui)
Most will agree that pineapple, the Fruit of Kings, is a delicious fruit. However, few feel inclined to visit a family-owned organic pineapple farm. There’s much to be learned from a brief farm visit. One of the guides at this plantation skillfully engages his audience by pointing out many misconceptions about pineapples.
If you thought you knew how to pick a pineapple, there’s a good chance that you’re wrong. Stopping in the middle of a field to carve open a freshly harvested pineapple is a novel experience. Nothing compares to the freshness of this farm to mouth event. At the end of the tour, the group will be treated to delightful pina coladas, pineapple cookies, and pineapple cake.
The Source of Chocolate
Location: Rainforest Chocolate Tour (La Fortuna)
If you crave chocolate, add this one to your list. The talk about the centuries of chocolate history might make you a bit sleepy, but the ins and outs of the growing and harvesting techniques might intrigue you.
Tasting the cacao at various stages is a unique treat. Chocolate lovers will leave with their chocolate fix satisfied along with a deeper understanding of the process of making quality chocolate.
Location: Doka Estate (Near the slopes of the Poas Volcano)
Coffee mavens as well as others, will gain a new appreciation for the growing, harvesting, processing, and packaging stages of production. Few will look at a coffee bean the same way after hearing about the labor-intensive steps and the different types of coffee.
The taste testing will program one’s tastebuds to identify the varieties. Consider purchasing the dark chocolate covered coffee beans as a snack. Surprisingly, they withstood the intense heat for several days.
Location: Tirimbina Biological Reserve (Sarapiqui)
Hmm… let’s see. Does it appear odd that this bat class occurs at night? Not really. That’s when the staff at the Tirimbina Biological Reserve captures a new group of bats.
Yep, they even have specially designed nets. These flying mammals comprise more than 50% of Costa Rica’s mammal population. During the presentation, a bat handler carefully shows off these feared creatures.
Are you up to stroking a bat’s body? Yikes—even the most squeamish participated.
If you’re a lifelong learner, consider incorporating pieces of Costa Rican culture into your travel itinerary.
THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON MAY 11, 2016. IT IS BEING REPOSTED ON THIS SITE BECAUSE THE EXAMINER.COM SITE SHUT DOWN IN JULY, 2016. SOME PARTS OF THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE HAVE BEEN UPDATED AND THE ORIGINAL SLIDE SHOW HAS BEEN ELIMINATED.
Sandra Bornstein is a freelance travel writer. She shares her travel experiences and recommendations on this blog and on other websites—One Travel: Going Places, Cheapoair.com Miles Away Travel Blog, We Said Go Travel, Mom It Forward, Boulder Jewish News, and Family Circle.
Sandra is the author of MAY THIS BE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE. This memoir highlights Sandra’s living and teaching adventure in Bangalore, India. As a licensed Colorado teacher, Sandra has taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad as well as college level courses.
The memoir was a finalist in the Travel category for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2013 International Book Awards, the 2013 National Indie Book Excellence Awards, 2013 USA Best Book Awards, and a Honorable Mention award in the Multicultural Non-Fiction category for the 2013 Global ebook Awards.