People love food. One of the fun things about travel is exploring the food. My two favorite, traditional Costa Rican foods are gallo pinto and platanos fritos. Fruit shows up everywhere too.
Breakfast at El Establo just before heading down the mountain to the Pan American Highway on the way to Rio Tenorio. The plate in the background contains gallo pinto and platanos fritos. I have made gallo pinto three times since I returned. See recipe at end of post.
The final view of El Establo as we drove away.
The following photos were all taken riding along the highway, dropping altitude dramatically all the way from Monteverde to the Pan American Highway. The beauty one passes going to and from Monteverde remains unrivaled anywhere–miles of green vistas, colorful mountain homes, cattle grazing.
Typical country houses along the side of the road painted colorful hues. Even here the houses have electricity and running water. Most of the way the road was gravel. In spite of all the green in these photos, this is the dry side of the mountains, the Pacific side.
A lot of Costa Rica is cattle country. In the lowlands all the cattle have Brahma blood in evidence. In the high country it varies. Frequently, they look exactly like the common dairy cattle in the United States.
The farther we drove down the mountain, the drier the foliage and grasses became. Finally, we arrived at a paved road and a town.
Most places, even small towns, in Costa Rica are clean. People take pride in the appearance of their houses no matter how small. Flowers bloom brilliantly throughout the country.
Streams run everywhere even through towns.
Finally, we headed north on the Pan American Highway. In all of Costa Rica living fences surround fields. In this area it appeared the major commercial endeavor is cattle, all distinctively Brahma or at least part Brahma.
Looking at these photos it seems hard to believe this is the dry season. We saw large irrigation ditches bringing water all the way from Arenal, a huge lake on the other side of the mountains, a place I visited on my previous trip.
Recipe for gallo pinto:
Enough vegetable oil to lightly cover bottom of a skillet
1 1/2 cups day old, cooked rice
1 cup day old, cooked, black beans
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 small, sweet red pepper, finely diced
2 Tbls. chopped cilantro (optional)
2 Tbls. salsa (optional)
Add chopped vegetables to the skillet. Saute until onions are clear. Then add the beans and salsa. Finally, add the rice and heat through while stirring constantly. The mixture should be moist but not wet. There should be enough juice from the beans to color the rice. Experiment to see what you prefer. I use garlic instead of onion and poblano peppers instead of the red.