- The Best of Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Top Spots for WIldlife
- Costa Rica’s Most Beautiful Beaches
- Costa Rica’s Best Beaches for Wildlife
- Best Surfing Beaches in Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Unique Retreats & Resorts
- Surf’s Up in Costa Rica
- Off-The-Beaten-Path Eco-Adventures
- Costa Rica Family-Friendly Adventures
- Adrenaline Rush
Farm and Cultural Tours
Coffee is grown on the slopes just below Santa Elena and Monteverde; some three dozen small-scale coffee producers make up the Santa Elena cooperative. Monteverde Fair Trade Coffee Tour (tel. 506/2645-5006, www.monteverde-coffee.com, 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. daily by reservation, $30 adults, $25 students, $15 children) has three-hour tours.
The El Trapiche Tour (tel. 506/2645-7780, www.eltrapichetour.com, 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 3 p.m. Sun., $30 adults, $25 students, $10 children) offers a more rounded experience that teaches about production of a wide range of crops, from coffee to sugarcane.
La Lechería (Cheese Factory, tel. 506/2645-5436, 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 7:30 a.m.–4 p.m. Sun.), in Monteverde, is famous for its quality cheeses.
Production began in 1953 when the original Quaker settlers bought 50 Jersey cattle and began producing pasteurized Monteverde Gouda cheese. The factory produces 14 types of cheese—from parmesan and emmentaler to Danish-style dambo and Monte Rico, the best seller.
Guided tours are offered (tel. 506/2645-7090, www.crstudytours.com, 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Mon.–Sat., $10 adults, $8 students and children).
Hard to believe, but in 2010 a real railway with a tunnel and three bridges opened high in the cloud forest. Two diesel-powered, scale-model antique trains operate 90-minute tours with hourly departures.
The Monteverde Trainforest (tel. 506/2645-5700, www.trainforest.com, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. daily, $50 adults, $32.50 students, kids under 12 free) runs on a six-kilometer track that ends at a lookout toward Arenal Volcano.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition