A section of Hotel Bougainvillea's beautiful tropical and landscaped gardens has been set aside to showcase some of the most well known crops which have not only sustained Costa Ricans for years, but also brought great wealth and prosperity to this small Central American country. Several of these crops literally have put Costa Rica on the map.
CoffeeCoffea Arabica An African native bush brought in the 19th century to Costa Rica, it has been the principal supporter of Costa Rica's economy. Costa Rica is famous worldwide for its coffee, mainly cultivated in the Central Valley area and surrounding mountains. In the hills surrounding Hotel Bougainvillea in Santo Domingo de Heredia, coffee used to be the main crop, and many small farms and coffee growing families still carry out coffee production, honoring methods and traditions of the past.
Cocoa or Chocolate treeTheobroma cacao Native of tropical America, chocolate is obtained from its dried seeds. Cocoa was a very important crop in Costa Rica during the Pre-Columbian and Colonial era. Most of the fields were planted in the Atlantic zone. Nowadays most of them are abandoned.
BananaMusa spp. The symbol of tropical fruits, bananas are one of Costa Rica's major exporting products. The biggest plantations located in the Atlantic zone of the country have replaced the cocoa cultivated areas. Cultivation began in Costa Rica in 1878, which made us the first Central American country to plant bananas. Once the Atlantic Railroad was finished in 1890, banana exportation attracted foreign investment, increasing and surpassing coffee production economically. By 1911, Costa Rica had become the world's largest producer of bananas.
PineappleAnanas comosus A native of tropical America, this fruit belongs to the bromeliad family. It is also one of Costa Rica's main exporting crops. Pineapple plantations are found all around the country.
Bougainvilleas Native of the South Pacific Islands, Bougainvilleas are woody, thorny, evergreen vines from tropical and subtropical weather. They are popular for their large, colorful blooms, which are produced most abundantly in the dry season. Bougainvillea's colorful "flowers" are really bracts (modified leaves). The bracts are located below the rather small true flowers. They are named after Louis de Bougainville, a French navigator who first brought them to Europe.