The most visited

Certificate for Sustainable Tourism


This is a program of the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT), designed to categorize and differentiate tourism companies according to the degree to which their operations approach a model for sustainability in the management of natural, cultural and social resources (ICT, 2015). Since 2012, the CATIE Botanical Garden has been in the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) program that evaluates and categorizes the management of the country’s tourism companies, thereby affirming our commitment to develop activities hand-in-hand with the environment, the community and the culture.

We carry out actions whose aim is to have our operation impact natural resources as little as possible and we support the social, cultural, sports, crafting and educational activities in the canton of Turrialba; we also use natural, biodegradable products and we execute a waste management program as well as a reforestation program with groups of national or foreign volunteers.

It is our commitment to continue down this path and make improvements in a way that our activities provide many potential benefits to the community as well as the environment.

Regulations for the public use of Protected Areas (SINAC), applicable to the Dr. Jorge Leon Arguedas Botanical Garden at CATIE

  1. When visiting protected areas, a conservationist attitude for the protection of nature should prevail, bearing in mind the relationship between humans and the environment.
  2. Ensure that the site contains adequate disposal for solid wastes generated on the tour; these must be separated and deposited in a suitable place.
  3. Avoid using plastic bottles; use glass bottles that are recyclable or returnable.
  4. Avoid excessive use of plastic bags.
  5. Use organic biodegradable soaps, sun block and insect repellents.
  6. Smoking is strictly forbidden during tours of the CATIE Botanical Garden is strictly forbid smoking.
  7. Consuming fruits that are protected in the Botanical Garden is strictly prohibited, unless under the supervision of a guide or a staff professional.
  8. Plants should not be touched, as some could cause allergic reactions in certain people.
  9. The garden paths are properly labeled and users are advised not to go off the trails.
  10. The extraction of any plant material preserved in the Botanical Garden is prohibited.
  11. When a large group or several groups are touring the garden, take care to maintain spacing and not interfere with interactions others are having on the tour and do not alter the environment.
  12. It is recommended that products be purchased in the Turrialba are to contribute to the local economy.
  13. Do not buy souvenir items that are made from endangered plant and animal species.
  14. The CATIE BG is committed to reporting the commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents. If you see any harassment situation, the garden has an appropriate protocol for these cases, as stipulated in the Code of Conduct.
  15. Respect and interact correctly with the local culture of the Turrialba area.
  • Do not leave your belongings unattended in public places, buses or taxis.
  • Always be aware of your belongings.
  • Do not accept help from strangers; if you have an emergency with your car, go to nearest law enforcement authority or the car rental agency.
  • If you plan to travel to areas far from your hotel, you must carry your passport and take care. If instead you are going to remain close to your hotel, it is advisable to leave your documents in the hotel safe and carry a photocopy of the page that contains your passport data.
  • Ask hotel reception for information about the safest travel routes, especially during nighttime hours.
  • For currency exchange, only use banks or authorized exchange houses. You must have your passport for all banking process.
  • Use ATMs located in public, well-lit places.
  • Keep the doors and windows of your vehicle closed when driving and when parked. Avoid leaving anything in your vehicle.
  • Do not wear or carry valuable items in public places.

Milk station

Low carbon cows

CATIE’s tropical agriculture systems combine high production standards with environmental protection, helping to reduce the carbon footprint. Nothing is wasted in this state-of-the-art, climate-smart dairy for sustainable milk production, including the use of silvopastoral systems that incorporate trees and forage into pastures. The dairy is a clear example of how integrated production systems can benefit animals, the environment, producers and consumers alike.


Germplasm Bank

Seed Collection:

In this facility you can see how orthodox seeds from the most diverse families are preserved at -18o C; beans, corn, squash, peppers and tomatoes, among many others. The Bank, or Seed Collection, is the last in a series of steps required for the conservation of germplasm (genetic material). It all starts with field collections where fruits are cultivated and harvested to obtain the seeds that will then be preserved using a strict process.

Experience in the preservation and restoration of these materials, accompanied by a selection of the best technical staff, allows top notch work to ensure the existence of the seeds that are essential for global food security over the long term.

Knowledge of these procedures will be an enriching experience about their importance and the methodology used in seed preservation, and it will improve the sources of the foods that come to our table every day.

The use of freezing chambers as Germplasm Banks for the preservation of orthodox seeds reduces the use of large tracts of land and genetic erosion, it lowers costs and relieves pressure on protected areas, and allows the development of improved varieties.

Approximate duration of tour: two hours.

Botanical Garden

Surrounded by the calls of birds, the whisper of the giant Guanacaste tree and the imposing Ceiba, the Botanical Garden is a special place to relax. Here, you will fi nd life ranging from miniscule parasites to exquisite orchids, bromeliads and robust stands of bamboo.

Discover various botanical “rarities”, such as cinnamon, (Cinnamomum verum), the “cannon ball tree” (Couroupita guianensis), “hombrón” (Dracontium pittieri), cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), strychnine (Strychnos nux-vomica) and more.

Have your camera ready to capture the gamma of colors displayed by the bright fl owers of bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spp), heliconias (Heliconia spp), shell ginger (Alpinia zerumbet), red torch ginger (Etlingera elatior), beehive ginger (Zingiber spectabile), weeping bottlebrush (Callistemon viminalis) and mountain rose (Brownea grandiceps)

The CATIE Botanical Garden serves as a laboratory for students and scientist investigating the molecular and morphological characteristics of the conserved species. It is also an educational site, where we promote awareness about environmental conservation and the sustainable use and protection of our natural resources.

Biodiversity station

A bird in the hand

More than 300 bird species have been identified at CATIE headquarters (30% of Costa Rica’s total), inhabiting the surrounding forests, pastures, farms and the campus itself. For this reason, CATIE scientists have created a Bird Monitoring Program, which allows them to study how farms can help conserve these species, as well as how the birds make our farms more sustainable.

Visitors can join our ecologists in bird identification and registration activities, in order to gain a better understanding of the compatibility of agriculture and conservation.