Costa Rica Adventure, Day Five-Part Three, Colonia Libertad

The small village of Colonia Libertad, a short distance down the road from La Anita Rain Forest Ranch, contains a small Catholic Church where I watched an early afternoon Christmas Eve ceremony and held a toddler dressed in her Christmas finery.  Meanwhile a short distance away my grandson, other tourist children, and locals played soccer in this field.


It alternated between dark and rainy and periods when the clouds zoomed away and everything lightened up a bit. When the game ended, everyone was a muddy mess.


The village contains the small church, this soccer field, a school–in green on the left, and a recycling center.


They recycle nearly everything.  You can see the sign for plastic above.  I could hardly believe it.  Here I am in the middle of nowhere in Costa Rica and they recycle; yet where I live in the Panhandle of Texas, recycling remains extremely limited.

Several of us walked down the road from the soccer field and found the neighborhood bar. A local couple joined us.


To the right, behind the bar, a stream ran rapidly along.  The local couple happily posed.


Besides these buildings and the soccer field, we visited a shop where local women make and sell necklaces, bracelets, and earrings to supplement their less than lavish income.  Many of the people in the town work for La Anita Rain Forest Ranch.






Costa Rica: 4, Flora

For a person who loves flowers (and I do), Costa Rica exemplifies a lush, green heaven.  This intense green makes the flowers show up more than they would in a duller landscape.  Whether in the high mountains near Monteverde or down in the coastal lowland jungles, flowers abound.  So many flowers everywhere made me want to photograph them all, but there are too many; I photographed a few.

My friend, Anabel McMillen, the professional photographer, just about went nuts there were so many spectacular things to photograph.  Last count I think she hit over 1000 photographs.

While wild flowers grow everywhere, the people also take great pride in both their personal and public gardens.  Even at the simplest country house, flowers and other plants could be found growing in profusion.  Almost all towns, like La Fortuna in the photo above and the one below near Arenal Volcano, create a public square with a church and gardens.

Hydrangeas like this one above grow along the roads everywhere near Monteverde.

Not only are the flowers frequently much larger than the same flowers grown here, but in the lowlands, in particular, many of the trees seem huge.  Costa Rica also cultivates flowers for export.  Net covered fields of ferns grow all over the steep mountain slopes.

In the highlands near Monteverde more than one hundred species of plants can be found growing on the surface of one tree as shown in the photos below.

Twice we stopped at a place called El Jardin, once on the way to Monteverde and another on the way back to San Jose from the Pacific Coast town of Jaco.  In addition to their beautifully landscaped outdoor gardens, they possessed a small greenhouse filled with butterflies and a sculpture water fountain in an indigenous style seen throughout the country.

As I looked at the following bouquet where we ate lunch near the Sarapiqui River on the Caribbean side, I touched it because I remained unsure as to whether it could be real.  It was.


Pura Vida: 3, The Volcanos of Costa Rica

Of the six active volcanos in Costa Rica (61 are dormant), this month I visited two.  Poas, a caldera volcano about 1 1/2 hours from San Jose in the Central Highlands, rises  8, 885 feet and is one of the largest and most active.  Its crater contains water and rising steam. Lush rain forests surround the volcano.  It rained the entire time I was there.

Arenal rises 5, 437 feet above the surrounding forests and verdant hills.  It has been the country’s most active volcano for more than 40 years.  In 1968, a large explosion buried three villages and killed 87 people.  More recent eruptions have been much less severe.  Smoke drifts skyward daily.  Arenal is a strat0 volcano, tall and symmetrical.  The lake near Arenal is manmade and an excellent place for kayaking in relatively serene waters.  The lake provides 12 per cent of Costa Rica’s electric energy.

Due to Arenal’s geothermal activity, the surrounding area contains a number of hot spring resorts, one of which is El Tocano, where we stayed two nights.

This place is delightful and relaxing.  The bar tender made yummy margaritas.  If you want to drink wine, Costa Rica is not the place.  However, the national beer, Imperial, tastes quite good and I do not usually like beer.