, Costa Rica. San José

Costa Rica. San José

Leaving the laid back Caribbean/Jungle we headed to San José for two nights before going home.  Arriving in San José last night was quite depressing as our senses were assaulted by traffic jams, advertising hoardings, people scurrying everywhere, and a much cooler temperature.  Today we’ve spent the day on a trip to a coffee plantation, a volcano, and waterfalls.

On the coffee plantation it was fascinating to learn the processes that happen from planting right through to roasting, and it’s very labour intensive.  The berries are picked by hand, and gathered in baskets similar in size to a round laundry basket, which is strapped to the picker’s front.  They earn $2.50 a basket! Because coffee berries do not ripen uniformly, careful harvesting requires picking only the red ripe berries. These are initially processed in a pulping machine that removes most of the material surrounding the beans and the residue is then removed by letting the beans ferment in tanks for 18 to 36 hours. The beans are then washed, and spread out on the ground to be dried by the sun. There are a few more processes in between but I can’t remember them all!  The roasting process is very carefully timed, and just a few extra minutes makes a difference as to how strong the coffee will be.

Whilst there, I noticed some rainbow eucalyptus trees.  Patches of outer bark are shed annually at different times, showing a bright green inner bark. This then darkens and matures to give blue, purple, orange and then maroon tones.

And some more beautiful flowers.costa-rica-160


After the coffee plantation we travelled to a volcano where there are apparently great views of the crater and its turquoise blue water.  Unfortunately it was shrouded in cloud and rain and after walking (briskly) to the edge of the crater we saw absolutely nothing except cloud 🙁  The view below is what we wanted to see:poas_crater


Oh well, you can’t win ’em all………..

On to La Paz waterfalls, where they also have a rescue centre -animals and birds that have been kept as pets that now can’t be released into the wild.

Loads of pretty butterflies too:

And finally, the waterfalls themselves:

That’s it – our Costa Rican adventure is over and we head home tomorrow. We didn’t know what to expect but it’s been really great and very interesting indeed.  Some surprises, such as blue hydrangeas growing everywhere, rolling hills, deep valleys, and countryside that looks like Switzerland with cows and wild flowers in the fields.  It’s very verdant and lush and the green colours have been incredible, especially when viewed with a deep blue sky overhead. We’ve crossed many many rivers on roads that have sometimes been terrible, and been on a few rivers too, feeling as if we were somewhere completely remote and miles from civilisation.  The warm sea of the Caribbean was wonderful, and the wildlife is bright and beautiful.   All in all – if you’re looking for a different kind of holiday, this is it 🙂

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