During my travels in Costa Rica, I went on several tours through the jungles and coffee plantations and discovered that many of the famous food produce associated with Costa Rica such as coffee, coco beans, pineapples, bananas etc – are not actually native to Costa Rica.
Pineapples in particular were introduced to Costa Rica from Brazil, in fact there is also evidence that pineapples originated in parts of Asia – such as India and Thailand. However, Costa Rica has certainly taken the reigns of being the pioneers of Pineapple trading – especially to Europe. Who’s heard of ‘Del Monte’ ?!
So let’s talk coffee. Coffee beans were introduced to Costa Rica in the 1700s and became a global sensation. The coffee industry eventually surpassed the other leading produces such as cacao, tobacco, sugar cane and become a major source of foreign revenue.
Costa Rica is incredibly rich in naturals wonders, home to an approx of 5% of the worlds’ biodiversity housing beautiful flora & fauna, wildlife and even has twelve different ecological zones. This of course provides the perfect conditions for harvesting delicious exotic coffee.
Although this resulted in incredible growth for the economy, it of course came with its devastating consequences.. By the 1950s’ Costa Rica lost over 60% of forests to agriculture – the biggest culprit being coffee farming. Costa Rican’s are a nation incredibly devout to the protection of its’ eco system, so the people were extremely disappointed with the loss of the roots of the country.
The Costa Rican government at the time, sanctioned several actions at high alert to rebuild the forests of Costa Rica through many tree planting programmes, and many zones became protected national parks. After decades of dedicated hard work out of passion for the environment, the nation have achieved the rehabilitation of the countries forests, and have successfully recovered over 50% of Costa Rica’s lost forests. I noted this figure down from my trip a few months ago in May – so I’m confident this has increased since!
The moral of the story here is, the Costa Rican people realised the consequences of their actions, humbly admitted to their flaws and worked profusely together as a nation to rebuild what was lost. Not only was I totally in love with the country since I stepped foot off the plane, but after this tour where I learned this information from a guide (which was only on my 2nd day!) I gained an immense respect and gratitude for such a humbled nation who have a deep loving connection and respect for nature and the Earths’ inhabitants.
This collective conscious thought process of the Costa Rican people demonstrates clearly to the rest of the world as Costa Rica currently holds the status of being the leader for sustainability, producing approximately 93% of its energy from renewable resources and conserves 30% of its national terrain. They are truly the ‘Gandalf’s’ of the Eco World!!!