Here is my wife Maggie, peering around a huge bunch of bananas in the Garden of the Melia Caliari, the hotel that we stayed at while visiting San Jose.
Costa Rica is known for it's bananas and pineapples. I had sat next to a fruit company executive on the way back to Canada and was appraised of the inner workings of the "fruit world". Apparently there are three big fruit companies, Dole, DelMonte and Chiquita. Dole, for which this gentleman worked, had just moved it's offshore operations to Costa Rica. From there they run container ships to their various markets.
The advantage that Costa Rica has over Equador is that it has a port on the east side of Central America. Although Equador is the largest fruit producer in the world, anything coming from there must pass through the Panama Canal. The land along the southern border with Panama is "Banana Country". There are banana packing facilities all along the roadsides. Here workers sort and ship the "raicimos", (their word for the large bunches). Big piles of defective bananas lie in steaming heaps beside the sorting stations. They had not met "North American standards". The heat is opressive and the smell of fermenting fruit hangs heavily over the lush green jungle. Boxes marked "Chiquita head for containers and ultimatly our air conditioned grocery stores.
At one time there was a busy railroad that ran from Limon up the coast to the Pucare Valley. Much of the line is now abandoned though part is still utilized to move the fruit to market.
We had floated under a rusting bridge while rafting the Pucare River and Muricio, our guide, had informed us that it was the line to Limon. Over 4000 chinese labourers had died during the construction of the first 32 miles. Today many of those forebearers live in Limon; survivors of the malarial hell that the country had once been.