26 March 2017
26.03.2017 75 °F
So first thing this morning I go to the car to get my Lonely Planet book and see the tire looks kind of flat. After an actually very good breakfast for $6 each at the hostel we attempt to put air in the tire in the hopes that it isn’t a flat. (Breakfast was in the hostel because we couldn’t find much else in the town open on this Sunday morning.) After getting directions to the gas station (turn right, then left, then another left and drive until the pavement runs out) we find that the employees there actually do the work. So we got air and gas without even getting our hands dirty 😊
First up for the day was a zip line tour with Original Canopy Company. OMG, SOOO fun. The first thing you do is a tarzan swing which looked scary but was a blast. The rest of the tour is through 15 zip lines, the longest being 800 meters. On a few you could look over and see the Pacific Ocean in the distance.
There was one point where we came to an old hollow tree and we got to rappel down from the top and then climb up rope steps inside the tree. That was really an interesting experience.
We had our GoPro but for some reason can’t find the batteries or memory stick attachment so I will have to wait to see how the videos turned out.
After the canopy tour, we were starving and this stand called Taco Taco is right next to the hostel. Unfortunately, a couple of G Adventures groups got there before us so we had quite a wait. It was worth it though because the food was good and I got to buy some bracelets from a stand next to the restaurant.
Oxen cart that carries sugar cane
A short rest later and we were off on another tour, El Trapiche. I’m pretty sure the guide said El Trapiche means sugar cane farm but here they make coffee. The tour includes the explanation of sugar cane processing, chocolate and coffee. The two hour tour takes you through the process of growing the coffee plants from small plants which take 3 years to produce coffee and are cut down after five years of production. The new tree grows from the stem and produces for another 5 years. This can be repeated 3-4 times.
Curt with coffee plant
Coffee beans actually need to be dried and shelled several times before being used for coffee.
The coffee pickers wear a basket like this and pick only the red fruits. They make $2 per basket and can only pick 6-8 baskets per day! We also learn of a larva that eat the fruit from the inside and you can’t even tell there is no bean inside.
It seems bizarre today that a machine like this is the one that sorts the different types of beans. And the timer on the roasting machine is a stop watch.
Next we go to the coca house where we see the cocoa plant with the fruit on the bottom, when it is ready it turns red. Only 10% of the flowers that start actually grow a fruit! Inside are several cocoa beans which we get to try. Then we try pure cocoa, then with sugar, then with milk. It still never tasted that great!
So we move on to the sugar portion where we get to taste some sugar cane and then ride in the ox cart down the hill. They show us how the oxen used to be the work force behind squeezing the juice out of the sugar cane. It is 50% juice so here were it rains so much it tastes especially good.
Next they poor the hot molasses on a chunk of wood and we had to stir quickly with a wooden spoon until it became like peanut butter. The guide was so kind as to bag it up and let us each take home our sugar.
Finally, we go inside for a sample of the honey processed coffee, lemonade with their sugar cane and a little snack with arracacha. According to the guide, this plant is supposedly only used in food for special occasions like weddings and divorces.
overlook from El Trapiche
All the buildings have beautiful murals, not just here but also around Costa Rica.
Growing right on site is the national flower, is the purple country girl orchid, called Guaria Morada in Spanish.
We fully intended to eat dinner at Orphos a short walk from the hostel but just weren't hungry so I just took a picture instead