Pictures/Journal - page 28

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San Jose (home base) - Arenal Volcano - Monteverde/Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves - Manuel Antonio Nat'l Park - Rain Forest Aerial Tram "Atlantic" (day trip)          (see map below)


Combined Arenal/Monteverde circuit provided spectacular scenery with lots of wildlife and things to do; staying at the Arenal Observatory Lodge at the base of this active volcano was unforgettable.  However, the wildlife at Manuel Antonio was more plentiful.





4 million   (1/3 under age 15);                                    10% of the population are Nicaraguans


20,000 sq mi (slightly smaller than West Virginia); 27% of country is "protected" land


San Jose;                                                                 in 1884, it was the 3rd city in the world to get electricity (after Paris and New York City)




18% of population lives below poverty level (relatively small due to lack of civil war, strong exports and stronger tourism); minimum wage is $375/mo (source: Wikipedia)


75% of economy is from tourism;                    Exports:  Coffee, corn, sugar, palm oil


Colón   (US$1 = 512 Colones)


Series of volcanic mountains runs NW-SE and includes Arenal, one of the 10 most active volcanoes in the world

MILITARY Has NO military - was abolished in the 1940s
OTHER: Prostitution is legal


Of all the Central American countries, Costa Rica is considered to be the most sophisticated.  The standard of living in Costa Rica is well above all its neighbors, so prices are considerably higher than what we had been used to in other Central American countries (except Belize) (plus their sales and hotel taxes are high). 


Considering how “sophisticated” Costa Rica is compared to the rest of Central America, we were surprised to find out that prostitution is legal for persons over the age of 18, and is centered around San Jose.  In our nice but not fancy hotel, everyday we saw nice-looking young women in skimpy outfits hanging around the bar with gringos, and saw them come and go from rooms.  Our upscale neighborhood also had several “massage and spa” parlors and hotels, some for “men only”. The pleasant public parks are fine during the day, but at dusk turn into prostitution hangouts and are considered dangerous at night.  A bigger problem, though, is that this has fostered sexual exploitation of children, and Costa Rica has a big campaign on to crack down on offenders.  (Hard to do when this is the only way some families can “make a living”).  Costa Rica has become a haven for wealthy American men to come and have “fun”.  So if your honey tells you he’s going on a sport fishing trip with the guys to Costa Rica  .  .  . 


Costa Rica is a small country bordered by the Pacific on the west, the Caribbean on the east, Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south.  The volcanic range that runs down the center of Costa Rica splits the country into 2 halves, each with markedly different climates, vegetation and wildlife.  Furthermore, due to its unique geography and wide range of habitats (eons ago it served as a "transit bridge" between the North American continent and the South American continent) it boasts the most diverse collection of flora and fauna of any country in the world*.  It is a very popular tourist destination for nature lovers and outdoor adventure seekers - so much so that high/dry season (December - April) will have you on waiting lists to enter the more popular national parks and other attractions.  We traveled during the low/rainy season and would definitely recommend it.  (See Traveling During Rainy Season under our Trip Recommendations for more discussion on when to travel.)

Twenty-seven percent of the land is protected in national parks, protected zones and privately owned reserves.  Costa Rica is home to colorful frogs including Costa Rica's poster child, the red-eyed tree frog, as well as the red and the green poison dart frogs, sloths, monkeys (howler, spider, white face capuchin, squirrel), to name just a few.  Birders from all over the world come here to see the rare resplendent quetzal (the most cherished bird in Central America), toucans, macaws, parrots, mot-mot.  Throughout Costa Rica there's more than ample opportunity to visit butterfly and hummingbird gardens, ranariums (frog aquariums), serpentariums (snake aquariums), insect museums, botanical and orchid gardens, canopy zip line tours, aerial trams, hanging bridges, etc., etc.  There is turtle watching (leatherback, green, olive ridley, hawksbill) on both coasts.  Hiking, backpacking, river kayaking/raft trips, horseback riding, sport fishing and surfing are all very popular here, as well as 4-wheel driving.  And last but not least is the abundance of colorful tropical flowers and plants, so many varieties of orchid, heliconia (bird of paradise), ginger, ferns, epiphytes, bromeliads and strangler figs.  The above only scratches the surface of what we saw.

    * Measured in terms of number of species per 10,000 sq km (3,860 sq mi), Costa Rica has 615 species, compared to Rwanda with 596 and the USA with 104.   Source: Lonely Planet



Columbus discovered this land in 1502 from the Caribbean coast and mistakenly saw what he thought was an abundance of gold, thus "la costa rica".  Costa Rica avoided having to fight for their independence from Spain, then Mexico, by being situated on the territorial outskirts and having little natural resources to exploit.  The 1800's coffee cultivation propelled Costa Rica into the wealthiest area in the region, and from then on coffee barons would play a part in the country's politics ever after.  To export coffee from the Caribbean coast, a railroad had to be built from the central highlands across fertile land.  Banana crops were planted along the railroad to provide cheap food for the workers.  On a whim, bananas were shipped to New Orleans, where they became the craze, creating the "yellow gold" for Costa Rica, surpassing coffee exports by the early 1900's.  As with other Central American countries, American exporter United Fruit Company (aka Chiquita Banana) got involved and greatly affected (not necessarily for the better) the country's economics, politics and ethnic mix.

Costa Rica has had its bit of civil war, violence, dictatorship, armed struggle for power and related executions.  Coffee barons, the military and the church have been very influential.  In the 1940s, Costa Rica was coming into its own as a democracy.  Under coffee baron Jose Figueres Ferror's leadership the wealthy were taxed; national banks created; full citizenship and voting rights given to women, blacks, indigenous and Chinese minorities; AND the military was abolished saying that it was a threat to Costa Rica's politics.  His revolutionary regime is the foundation today of Costa Rica's unique "unarmed democracy".

However, this concept has been tested.  As we've seen from the recent history of Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua, the U.S. was actively opposed to the leftist politics in these countries.  (Although Costa Rican politics are leftist, it's considered reformist, not revolutionary.)  Again, the U.S. had to meddle.  In making another go at financing the Nicaraguan Contras in order to thwart the Sandinistas (it wasn't going well for the U.S.), the U.S. dragged the reluctant Costa Rica into their conflict.  The Contras, CIA and U.S. military set up shop and built a secret jungle airstrip in northern Costa Rica, bribing Costa Rica with hush money.  Oliver North trafficked illegal narcotics through the region to finance the operations.  (Of course this didn't do much to help the already strained relations between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.)  Because of this, there was an outcry to reestablish the military, but the 1986 election of Oscar Aria reaffirmed the "unarmed democracy" credo.  President Arias was also the person behind the Peace Treaty (which Pres. Reagan pooh-poohed) which finally ended the civil wars and brought peace to Central America after many decades. 


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We're now leaving the CA-4 countries so clearing out of Nicaragua and crossing the border into Costa Rica is a lengthier, 2-hour ordeal of waiting in lines.  On the road again, we notice the roadways are cleaner and apparently there are some sort of building restrictions as houses, fences, utility poles etc. are built way back from the road, as if to allow for future road expansion.  Also, Costa Rica's ecology-mindedness was obvious from the moment we crossed the border as there were more trees - not having been cut for lumber.  After a much longer than normal (due to fatal traffic accident, torrential rains and rush hour traffic) but comfortable bus ride, we arrive in San Jose located in a valley in the center of the country.

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San Jose, the capital (pop. city 350,000, metro 1.5 million), is considered to be the most cosmopolitan of all Central American cities.  It is a delightful, thriving city, with pleasant temperatures (3,500 ft. elevation), although rain in the afternoon is to be expected this time of year.  We stayed in the safe, nice neighborhood of Barrio Amόn, which is a mix of the old wealthy coffee baron homes, most converted into nice hotels (including where we stayed) and restaurants, along with a smattering of modern construction.  San Jose  has street names, but does not use street addresses for anything:  It's "at the corner of ___ avenue and ___ street",  or,  "____ meters southwest of the Catholic Church".  So far it's worked for them.  We've seen this used in small towns, but never in a city the size of San Jose!  We used San Jose as our home base in between side trips, allowing us to explore a little at a time.

The most famous museum is the newly relocated Jade Museum.  It has the world's largest (and nice) collection of American jade and other pre-Columbian ceramic and stonework artifacts.  The Central Bank, who now issues all the country's currency, owns the well-done Pre-Columbian Gold and Numismatic Museum, with a huge glittering display of gold pieces and artifacts.  We even found the small Numismatic exhibit to be quite interesting:  In the 1800's due to a shortage, coins from other countries were stamped and used; "private" money (chips, tokens, coupons, etc.) were used to pay plantation workers; the "colon" became the new currency (previously it was the peso) in 1892 in honor of the 400th-year anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival; a black-light display shows the safety features on their paper money and you can inspect your own bills.  (Most retail stores hold your money under a black-light to verify it's authenticity; for U.S. dollars, they run a special marking pen across the bill to verify.)  The National Theater is considered to be San Jose's most impressive public building, with beautiful marble statues and copious amounts of gold leaf; a large famous painting from Italy depicting banana harvesting – but obviously artist had never witnessed such a thing; theater's main floor rises level with the stage for social functions; this theater was the 3rd location in the world to have electricity (after Paris and New York City).  All museums had English signage (which is unusual).

Costa Rica is known for its beautiful hardwoods and wonderful craftsmanship.  A morning trip to nearby Escazú took us to Biesanz Woodworks, the workshop and store of internationally renowned wood craftsman Barry Biesanz.  His work is

delicate and high quality, totally handmade, each piece designed around the natural lines and shape of the wood so each piece is very unique.  His signature bowl pieces are so delicate that the wood is actually translucent when held up to the light (cost of single bowl shown above is US$700).  We bought a "thin", but not translucent, bowl.

In the neighborhood we were staying is the Galeria Namu that has a superb collection of art from the small but diverse indigenous culture of Costa Rica.  This small store is packed with high quality arts and crafts from the various tribes, and gave us a quickie education about traditions better than anything else we saw.  We fell in love with the Boruca “Diablitos” ceremonial masks (awesome way beyond any Guatemalan mask) and bought 2 (shipped to Houston).  See box below.  The store practices “free trade”, which means they buy the pieces directly from the artist (instead of on consignment); sales proceeds go 50% to the artist and 50% to the store.  We discussed having them arrange a trip for us to visit the Boruca tribe (pop. 2,000), but the rainy season was making reliable and safe transportation too iffy. 


Boruca (Brunka) (pop. 2,000) is one of the eight indigenous pueblos in Costa Rica, located in the southwest part of the country.  They fought against the Spanish invasion, and from that has come the Fiesta de los Diablitos (festival of the "little devils") ceremony.  Each year from December 30 - January 2, they reenact the invasion:  One person dresses up as the toro with a bull mask and costume (to represent the Spanish conquistadors) and all other tribal members dress up with diablito masks ("little devils" to represent the natives).  There is back and forth "fighting" between the bull and the devils, with the bull slaying all the diablitos, but on the last day the little devils resurrect and "kill" the bull representing their defeat of the Spaniards.

All masks are made from ONE solid piece of wood, originally out of cedar, but over time lighter-weight balsa wood was used as more practical for wearing.  The masks have evolved over time:  Original masks were crude devil (or bull) faces; then they became more artistic and started painting them; then they started adding ecological themes to them (as seen on our mask at left).  These evolved into ecologically-themed masks with a smaller shaman mask worked into it - we bought one of these, too, (forgot to take a picture before having it shipped to Houston) with lots of colorful Costa Rican frogs on a tree overlaying a small shaman mask  - frogs represent fertility, but we bought it for the colorful and incredibly, intricate 3-dimensional work.  


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For our first side trip, we were able to combine two popular areas into one trip:  Arenal Volcano and the Monteverde/Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves.  These areas are located several hours north of San Jose, on either side of the central mountain range, the Continental Divide.  Along the road to Arenal are sections of coffee, mango, papaya, banana, corn and commercially grown houseplants (dracaena, ferns); we travel through parts shrouded by clouds, heavy fog and mist; cross rivers and see lots of water falls and cascades.  

Arenal Volcano lies on the east shore of Arenal Lake; to the south of the lake is the Monteverde/Santa Elena reserves.  Although as the crow flies Arenal and Monteverde are close by, you cannot cross the mountain range that separates them (the Caribbean side from the Pacific side), so by 4-wheel drive it is a VERY ROUGH many hour drive around the other side of the lake.  Or, as we did, there is the Jeep-Boat-Jeep service that took us across Arenal Lake.  Even so, the then 22 miles by land over mountains still took almost 2 hours by van.  Our van driver told us that they have to replace the van tires every 2-3 months (6,000-7,000 miles) and the shocks 2-3 times a year due to the naturally rough terrain of rocks, dirt and mud ruts.  The origin of the Monteverde community is Quaker and they have intentionally left the roads “natural” to discourage tourism and development.  As we cross over the Continental Divide, it was odd to be able to see the Pacific Ocean and to be cold at the same time.


Arenal Volcano lies just to the east of Arenal Lake, a large man-made lake which generates a large portion of the power and irrigation for the area.  The dam at the base of the volcano was made with liquid cement so that it would filter down through the lava rocks.  There’s no pleasure craft and a little fishing on the lake.  It’s quite a view seeing the volcano and lake side by side.  

The biggest town in the Arenal area is La Fortuna, built up for the tourist trade (paved road, everybody speaks English, no burglar bars), but unfortunately it now lies on the wrong side of the volcano (wrong, as in no lava flow view).  So we head over to the "right" side of the volcano in our rented 4-wheel drive which is a MUST for this terrain, especially in rainy season.  All around the area are numerous hot springs, the glitz of which is described as Caesar’s Palace-esque, but with the daytime temps being hot and entrance fees up to $29/person we passed – in retrospect, we probably should have gone just to see what all the hype is about.  The area also has lots of water attractions and various eco-centers, where we saw sloths, cute colorful frogs and the like living in their natural habitat among the usual but wide variety of lush tropical flowers and plants.  But the main draw is the volcano itself.

Arenal Volcano, one of the 10 most active volcanoes in the world is identified as “pyroclastic”, meaning it spews hot ash, rock fragments, lava and gases.  Hot liquid magma rises inside the volcano, as it spills over the crater’s edge the cold air cools it to lava and it tumbles down the side as hard rock.  It erupted for the first time in 400 years in 1968, killing 87 people (most from poisonous gas) and 45,000 cows, affecting about 4.6 sq miles, and forming “Crater D” at 5,358 ft.  (Farmers had reported strange behavior from their dogs and other farm animals prior to the eruption.)  In 1984, and peaking in 1987-’89, another crater, “C”, was formed from a particularly harsh expulsion of incandescent basaltic rocks and ashes, today reaching 5,577 ft.  Arenal has remained active, and from time to time its lava flow changes directions, much to the dismay of fancy resorts built on the “wrong” side: In 1993, it flowed west/northwest; in 2000 changed to the north; and in April 2007 began flowing to the southwest.

We called ahead to the Arenal Observatory to find out which direction it was flowing before deciding where to stay.  We stayed at three different places – all with spectacular lava views - but the highlight was staying at the Arenal Observatory Lodge, which was built in 1986 to house the Smithsonian-Earthwatch scientists.  It is located less than 2 miles south of Arenal’s summit - in a high risk zone.  Our nice room had an up-close and personal view of Arenal through our picture window from our bed!  You might envision a rather rustic place for the scientists, but we were pleasantly surprised:  Beautiful spacious grounds meticulously landscaped with flowering trees and plants – lots of species of heliconia (bird of paradise), ginger, hibiscus and orchids to name just a few - and several miles of hiking/nature trails through the forests and along streams; a pool and huge covered jacuzzi set back in the pine forest; a wonderful observation deck (with a view of Arenal Lake, too); a good restaurant/bar off the deck; an interesting mini-museum with a seismometer; and different levels of accommodations scattered around the property.  We stopped by for a day visit only and decided we had to spend the night and take advantage of the awesome view and nice amenities (traveling during low season allowed us to remain flexible and spontaneous with our plans).

After years of “silence”, in 2005 loud explosions resumed.  During a 6-month observation period, there was an average of 17 explosions per day projecting rocks several hundred feet and up to over a mile on rare occasions, and 42 pyroclastic eruptions per day.  During our stay at the Observatory, the low grumble of the volcano provided constant background noise, and every few hours we’d hear a noisy explosion and see a big poof of cauliflower-shaped ash clouds over the summit.  During the day, we could easily see individual spewed lava rocks crash, then roll down the crater’s side, kicking up ash, leaving vertical “dashed lines”.  These are visible in our photos (enlarge photo at right), as well as vents where steam/gases are escaping.  At night, the lava rocks are visibly red hot, and can still be easily seen skipping, breaking apart and creating several “dotted lines” down the slope (difficult to photo in the dark, but got a few).

We did a dusk/night hike to the new (1998) lava fields, where we should have had a very up close view of the flowing lava.  However, rain and fog obscured the red view.



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Monteverde / Santa Elena Cloud Forests  The Continental Divide, which runs from Canada to Argentina, separates the Atlantic (Caribbean) from the Pacific Oceans, thereby creating two different ecosystems.  This area in the cloud forests is subject to a fair amount of moisture (clouds, mist, rain) and as such is, simply put, lush and green.  The main attractions here are the cloud forests, each comprising different ecosystems: The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is on the Caribbean side, and the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve is on the Pacific side.  From a lookout point in the Monteverde Reserve one can see the Caribbean and Pacific simultaneously; and from Santa Elena Reserve Arenal Volcano is visible - both on a clear day (good luck in the cloud forest).  From our hotel located below the reserves (pictured), we did have a great view of the Pacific, and the Gulf and Peninsula of Nicoya.  As happens occasionally when traveling during low season, we were upgraded gratis to a luxury room/view.

These cloud forest reserves are huge tourist attractions during the high season and visitors find themselves on waiting lists to enter (we were told Monteverde allows a maximum of 150 visitors at a time).  But for us going during low season, we practically had both parks all to ourselves – very nice indeed to be “lost” deep in the still and quietness of the forest with our heads literally in the clouds! 

Wow, there is so much to see and do in this area, that you have to be ready to pick and choose from a multitude of options, else one will go broke on entrance fees: Of course, the cloud forests with its’ miles of hiking trails; aerial trams; canopy zip lines; hanging bridges; gardens specializing in butterflies, hummingbirds, orchids; aquariums specializing in frogs, snakes; insect museums; eco-centers; waterfalls and springs; coffee plantation and cheese factory (Quaker influence) tours; etc..  The wildlife is plentiful, but the absolute best way to make sure you see it is to go with a park guide – definitely worth the money, as we probably would not have seen even 10% of what we did with a guide.  All guides carry nice spotting scopes on tripods.

The main town is Santa Elena, although lodging, restaurants, shops and attractions are scattered all around, within several miles of each other.  We did a guided night tour in the reserve where the hotel is located, seeing our first mot-mot bird ever, along with other nightly creatures such as the rarely seen olingo, coatimundi, agouti, flying walking stick, opossum, porcupine, armadillo, and more.  Our young guide was well prepared with working flashlights for everybody, and he carried a battery pack for his own bright flashlight.




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Manuel Antonio  National Park is located on Costa Rica’s southern pacific coast.  It is a tropical rain forest at the edge of lovely pristine beaches and headland outcroppings.  The amount of wildlife (in the wild) we saw here was more plentiful than what we saw in Monteverde/Santa Elena.  To cut down on the stress that visitors impose on these animals, the park is closed on Mondays.  As we have learned, we used an "official" park guide complete with his spotting scope and tripod for a private tour.

The nearest town is Quepos, located on the coast about 10 miles from the park, and hotels and restaurants are all located in between, on the beach and up in the hills (with great views).  We stayed at a great hotel, Hotel California, way up on a hill - again, we were upgraded gratis to a pricier room with a spectacular ocean view.


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Rain Forest Aerial Tram – Atlantic  Several years ago in Dominica (E. Caribbean), an incredibly poor island loaded with “public” fruit trees all over the place, we experienced this tram and were very impressed with the eco-mindedness that was used to build it.  (It was built as a tourist attraction for the big cruise ships.)  We vowed to check out their tram in Costa Rica (owned by the same company).  In Costa Rica, they have a tram on the Pacific coast; an hour east of San Jose, the “Atlantic” side, is another tram along with other attractions and an overnight lodge (if you stay you can do a night hike) in the Braulio Carrillo National Park.

The 13 year old "Atlantic" park is situated on 1,200 acres.  All towers were brought in by Nicaraguan helicopters (as Costa Rica doesn't have much use for helicopters without a military) and all supplies were brought in via overhead cables or by hand so as not to compromise the earth with the weight.  All “stepping stones” and stairs were made from fallen trees.  We were the first visitors in the park that morning as we rode the aerial tram.  Each car holds 8 people and a guide, and passes through the middle of the forest and returns above the canopy level.  We saw a sleeping sloth, white-face capuchin monkeys, toucans, hawk, green eyelash snake.  We did their canopy tour (zip line) which consisted of 7 zip lines interspersed between lush nature walks. Several of the lines crossed over the scenic river; one platform was surrounded by toucans in nearby trees. Their equipment (and staff) were very professional – double cables and safety lines, new equipment, helmets, a practice zip line, cables with rubber blocks to keep from cutting into trees, and platforms with secure railings (no fear of heights on these platforms) and built in such a way that the platform can be adjusted as the tree grows.

Some of the trees we saw grow 75 feet tall with a 40 cm diameter in 6 years.  That’s what happens when there is 25 feet of rainfall a year.  Besides the aerial tram and canopy zip tour, we saw a collection of snakes, frogs, butterflies and birds.  We roused a boa constrictor that repeatedly struck at us with lightning speed through the glass.




THE FROG POND” (Ranario) in Monteverde

This was one of our favorite exhibits!  There were large, heavily floraed aquariums to house the frogs and toads, which are mostly nocturnal.  With the help of an excellent guide, we were able to locate 36 of the 37 species, most of which are sleeping and would otherwise be almost impossible for an amateur to spot.  However, our ticket entitled us to return after dark, and with a flashlight, we now could see the frogs and toads in full action.   


These are a common site in the forests of Costa Rica.  It starts out as a plant in the branches of a host tree, and grows air roots down to the ground.  Over time, the parasitic plant surrounds the host tree with its roots and eventually “strangles” it to death, leaving the surviving parasitic tree with a hollow center.


The basilisk lizard is more commonly known as the Jesus Christ (or just JC) lizard because it literally walks on water.  Males have a “crest” and “sail” (to attract females) and a flat tail that allows them to run across water at speeds up to 25 mph. 


The 3-toed sloth is a day creature, moves slow, is friendlier and is gray-brown in appearance.  The 2-toed sloth is nocturnal, moves very slow, is meaner and more aggressive and is yellow-brown in color.  All sloths eat, sleep (at least 16 hours/ day), mate and carry baby(s) hanging upside down from high tree branches.  They do not defecate from the trees, as predators could easily find them as they move so slow.  So once or twice a week they descend (right side up) to the ground to do their business.  They eat the leaves of some tree which “drugs” them.  So their life pretty much consists of sleeping, eating and an occasional poop.


Costa Rica is haven for four of the world's seven kinds of sea turtles: olive ridley, leatherback, green and hawksbill, all classified as endangered.  Turtles are found on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, and each has their own time of year when they nest.  Except for the leatherback, all return to their natal beach to lay their eggs.  Thus, protecting these beaches is of vital importance to their continued existence. 

When we were in Manuel Antonio, we visited the National Wildlife Reserve (for olive ridleys) at Punta Mala.  During the 2006-2007 season, the volunteers collected over 100,000 eggs, relocated 1,100 nests to a protected area, and released over 71,000 hatchlings to the sea, of which only a small fraction will survive 25 years to sexual maturity to lay her own eggs.  Turtles come ashore at night to lay eggs and their nests must be moved within 5 hours before the eggs begin to harden.  Gestation period is 45-55 days, and we missed being able to help release the season's first hatchlings by a couple of days.


The Quepos/Manuel Antonio area was a main banana port in the 1940's when a banana blight hit.  To supplement their economy, United Fruit Company (aka Chiquita Banana) introduced African palm trees to the area, where today it is the primary source of employment after commercial fishing and tourism.  Compared to the banana industry, this industry requires a smaller but more specialized labor force. 

The African palm produces huge pods weighing up to 80 lbs., each made up of reddish fruits.  Pressing the greasy fruit pulp produces palm oil which is high in saturated fats and is used in cooking oil, margarine and "tasty" processed foods.  Extracting and pressing the seed results in palm kernel oil used primarily in cosmetics and soap.  Approximately 24% of the fruit's weight is turned into usable oil. 

Also seeEl Salvador – Nicaragua – Costa Rica Trip Recommendations” with lodging, transportation and activity information including costs and trip tips.  Even the casual reader may enjoy looking at this to get more details and an additional feel for our travels that have not been included here.

To continue reading about our Costa Rica travel adventures, jump to Pictures/Journal - page 34.

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