At first pass, El Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) in Turrialba looks like a university campus, but Cristof, the owner of El Salto Ecolodge, tipped us off to the fact that they have an incredible botanical garden. "The architecture alone," he said, "is worth the trip, and the botanical gardens are small, but well-maintained."
CATIE was only a 45-50 minute drive from the Ecolodge—and the town of Turrialba is worth a walk through. My friend and I worked up quite an appetite by the end of the walk at CATIE, and then happened upon the restaurant at Hotel Casa Turire, compliments of a cursory search on Trip Advisor. The meal was A+++, largely because—as we would later find out—the restaurant harvests ingredients from their organic garden daily. We met up with their gardener, Julio, who graciously (and excitedly) showed us through the organic gardens, the horticultural greenhouses, and even tipped us off that there were forested paths throughout the grounds, which we later explored with the utmost appeal.
A note on the below: None of the species were identified at the Botanical Gardens, so if I have mislabeled one, or you see one unlabeled that you know, please do make a contribution by messaging me or writing below on the species. Thank you!