We didn't have a very good nights sleep. It sometimes happens in strange rooms. Suitcases have to be outsides the rooms at 6:30 am and then breakfast.
The bus is very small. Nestor has put labels with our names above the windows over each seat so there is no question where to sit. He will rotate these every day. It's kind of good ... except that mine is over a wheel and my knees are up to my chin.
We have a tour of the city. San Jose is the capital city of Costa Rica founded 1737. We learn that there are lots of earthquakes (about 2 daily) which means there have to be building codes.
Teatro National which was built 1897 by the coffee moguls. 7 families had become very rich and powerful owning coffee finca (plantations). And this was one way to show it.
Even the bathrooms had mahogany doors and crown molding around the painted ceiling.
We were back in the bus at 10:35 am but excitement again. One of our fellow travelers was missing a bag she thought she had left on the seat. A search began but it wasn't found. Don't know when we hear the rest of the story or whether there will be one.
Pan American Highway which goes from Alaska to Patagonia. Road constructions and accidents makes Zorro find alternative routes. It is quite hilly.
Next stop: At a leather factory. This is a single lady's private home with a couple of sewing machines (behind the lady) and 2 little sales rooms. She doesn't speak much English but Nestor translates. She tells us her life story and the story of her business and it is very interesting. She is very nice and so enthusiastic and energetic. I was very happy that somebody bought something.
One of her phrases: The best day to learn is every day!
The view from the back room into the valley and the mountains.
Doka Estate. This is a national heritage site and one of the oldest wet mills. This one is important because they are doing it very environmentally correctly ... no polluting of the rivers.
This is a basket the pickers use. In Costa Rica the pickers get about $3 for each basket. In Nicaragua only 50c that's why there are many migrant workers here from there. It takes a experienced picker about 20 minutes per basket.
About the environment: at this finca (plantation) they use the skin as fertilizer, the sugar being washed out between the skin and the beans can be turned into liquor and the water is used for irrigation. No waste.
Quality is dependent on density, weight, size and color.
We were asked to guess how long roasting (always at 250F) takes. Light roast = 15 minutes
medium = 17 minutes
dark roast = 20 minutes
what a science!
And did you know that the leaves have caffeine in them too?
Costa Rica boys are called = Tico
girls = Tica
and there is something like "tico time" which means "whenever"
Our Hotel: La Quinta Sarapiqui
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The official OAT itinerary of today:
After breakfast and a welcome briefing with our Trip Leader, we set off to discover San José—Costa Rica’s capital city—founded in 1737 and rich in culture and history. We begin with a walk through the National Park, which is well-shaded by tropical trees and contains the National Monument, a bronze statue symbolizing the bravery of the Costa Rican people.
From there, we continue through downtown San José to the ornately decorated National Theater (Teatro Nacional), passing the National Library and Morazan Park along the way. One of the country’s most impressive architectural accomplishments, the National Theater is proudly regarded as the "jewel of the nation," and we'll explore it today on a guided tour, before departing San José on the famous Pan-American Highway.
From the city, we drive through the beautiful Central Valley to Alajuela, the coffee capital of Costa Rica, where we stop at Doka Estate, a 100-year-old coffee finca (plantation). At this Costa Rican National Heritage site, we’ll learn why locals call the coffee bean the grano d’oro, or golden seed, and find out how this valuable crop is produced. We enjoy lunch at the plantation, and then continue on to Sarapiquí.
We arrive at our comfortable lodge outside the town of La Virgen later this afternoon. Our eco-friendly lodgings here are situated alongside the Tirimbina Biological Reserve. A lush tropical rain forest teeming with native fauna, this habitat is also a seasonal home to migratory birds from the northern U.S. and Canada. After getting settled, we take a leisurely walk around the lodge’s grounds. This evening, we enjoy dinner at our lodge's open-air restaurant before settling into our thatched-roof rooms, where we’ll be lulled to sleep by the soothing sounds of the jungle, and awaken to a symphony of birdsongs.