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Michael Oliver

Costa Rica was awesome

By Costa Rica

Costa Rica was awesome. It was my first time there, so I didn’t really know what to expect. When I first got to the hotel definitely felt the Christmas spirit. Soon as you walked in there were Christmas decorations everywhere. When I get to the room I noticed there was how you turn on the lights is exactly how they do in the UK and Paris. You have to put your room key in a slot to power everything In the room, so when the key’s not there, to power goes off after a certain amount of time. While on the tour, walking by the gym the hotel wasn’t using the same system as they were in the rooms. So the lights stayed on 24/7 unless someone turned them off.

Day 2 we went to Finca Rosa Blanca which is a shaded organic Coffee Plantation. I really enjoyed the tour we had there. They let thing grow as naturally as possible which the need for human touch. For example they have a natural irrigation system, which is made up of dying banana plants.That really blew my mind. The reason they use the banana plants is because the cells in the plant holds a lot of water that contains magnesium and potassium, which is good for the soil. Since the plantation is shaded it has a natural weed control also. Until then I never knew that just by having shade you can control the weeds in your garden/plantation. I’d like to bring some of those practices back home with me since I’ve been wanting to grow my own fruit. It was also cool to see how they dried the coffee literally nothing but it laying on a table. So if its rainy season it takes longer for it to dry. Next door to the drying area. Was the processing room literally only had 3 machines in there. The roaster, sorter, and a mill to grind up the coffee. While there I found out that there was this type of coffee that was sweeter since it didn’t go the fermentation process. I think it was called the honey roast not 100%, but it smelled so good when one of the guys were grinding up the beans. I don’t drink coffee often but I finally found a brand I knew I’d like. But to be honest out of everything on that tour, I enjoyed the lunch there the most. That lunch was so good, I had casados de pollo. It had rice n beans, gallos de papas, plantains, and a salad. So with that lunch and the view we got from our table it was definitely one of my highlights of the trip.

On day 3 we went to the Pacure river for white water rafting. That experience was amazing. The Pacure river is in the top 5 rivers to go white water rafting in the world. So it was pretty cool that my first time doing it was there. To be honest I think I underestimated how long it’d take us to finish everything there. It took 2 hours for us to get to Rio Tropicales lodge. Outside of the lodge was beautiful. There definitely an eco-lodge. You see them doing different thing like making compost for the plants out of all the food waste. Also they make their own soaps there with was pretty cool to me. After I got distracted and stopped paying attention since I saw a dog and some chicks being all adorable. I was ready to get back on the raft but before that we had some fruit from the lodge it was sooooo good. After that we got back to rafting. after a while we reached an area called “Dos Montanas” since its where 2 mountains meet. That place was gorgeous. I got sad since my phone died and couldn’t take I just jumped in the water and chilled until it was time to get back in the boat. I was definitely in the moment and enjoyed every second of the beauty of that area.

Day 4. We arrived at Rancho Margot, which has 2 types of accommodations for guest. We stayed in the bunk area, so it was like we went camping at a summer camp. They have farm there also. They have pigs, cows, chickens, and different types of medicinal plants. Had a chance to milk a cow, it was more difficult than you’d think. But I ended up getting it…. Somewhat. The farm to table aspect there is really cool. Pretty much everything we saw for breakfast, lunch, and dinner was sourced from the farm on the property. The only thing I didn’t really like at the ranch was the night “hike” we had.  We were told we going to do a hike to the volcano, so we were all excited for that adventure. But it just ended up being a walk around the ranch at night. Now it was optional that understandable but everyone was ready for an actual hike to the volcano, so we were all disappointed in that. Other than that some of the other amenities were awesome though. We had a nice pool, yoga near a creek. Both were really peaceful. They make their own compost through the use of Californian Red worms.

That day I also had the chance to go zip lining. Most amazing experience ever. I definitely want to do that again. We had the best view of the volcano and lake Arenal.  I never would’ve thought that I’d get to go zip lining and the fact that it was near the volcano was mind blowing.

Day 5 & 6 we stayed at a community got there in the afternoon and had lunch. The best part of that place was the pineapple juice we got to drink. It was so good , and refreshing. I could’ve drank a whole gallon of that by myself. after lunch we painted a church. That was my least favorite experience there, not because of the painting but because of how hot it was. I can’t stand being in the sun or hot for that long. The painting itself was fun though. But my highlights of that stay was after we painted n played kickball with the locals we went to this creek, and dinner at my homestay’s place. At the creek it was so much fun but ended up having war a war wound…. I lost my shoe. Trying to find the shoe I had to show off my parkour skills, hurting my foot in the process hahaha. It was an interesting experience. Definitely miss that shoe, it was so comfortable. But anyway we leave the creek and head to the house. The house I stayed at had 2 little boys. They were super energetic, so it was fun to play n run around with them. But at this house the pineapple juice I mentioned earlier was 10x better than it was at lunch that afternoon. And having something different than rice and beans for dinner was a blessing. We had a soup dish called “Donja carna” if I’m spelling it right. It was so good I’m not usually a soup person but I destroyed that dinner. The next day we planted some trees which was really cool so I learned a little bit on how to do that for when I start my garden.

Day 7 we went to the Bribripa which is an indigenous community. I felt that we wasted a lot of time, but it was pretty cool. We heard the story about their god came to be so that was really interesting. But it took 2-3 hrs for that story. I was tired so I almost fell asleep. I actually felt bad about that but the way the person talked and how long it took was definitely a recipe for knocking out. That night we learn how to talk in some of the Bribri language. Listened to music and danced with the locals. The next morning we went on the hike no one was expecting. This was the real hike that everyone wanted but the fact that we kept getting told something about a hike every time and it ended up being a little walk that was what we were use to at that point. But this was a legit hike we climbed up the mountain to get up to the this farm at the top. At the top we saw rice, beans, bananas, and sugar cane.

The farmer there was really cool. Apparently he was really surprised that I was there. On that side of Costa Rica there aren’t a lot of black people since it’s not the Caribbean side. So he was honored that I was on his farm. I didn’t understand him, but from what I was told he was pretty much calling me a king, and that me being on his farm was on the same level of their god giving him a good harvest. That was a pretty surreal experience. In America people tiptop around the topic of race, since sadly we still have problems with that even in 2018. But the way he talked about it you could tell he was just so genuine about how he felt about me being there. If I could blush I probably would’ve been. Since it’s a 180 of how a lot of people see African American men in the US. Instead of being demonized , I was actually looked at in awe, like in his words “a king”. After that we went we walking around more and got to this house where they “process” the rice. It was pretty cool pretty much it’s like a gigantic motor and pestle.So from there you literally just smash the rice to release it from its shell.  After that we were showed the different types of bananas the farmer has. There were purple banana, square banana, apple banana, and the regular banana. The apple bananas blew my mind, they literally taste like apples. so I made sure I took some with me. The farmer was nice and gave me more than what I already had. So I was happy with how we finished off that morning.

On the last day we didn’t have as much free time has we wanted. Soon as we left Bribripa, we went back to the Rio Mar and immediately had our tour there. With the hotel using all local plants, you’d see some of the native animals running around which was nice. They also hire people locally at most the people that work there are from a town that’s an hour away. They used solar panels to heat the water, and have plans of doing different thing to get more sustainable. After that we got ready to see go to the beach and see the sunset. Sadly there wasn’t that much time for that so we had to rush. But it was worth it. That sunset was beautiful. I think I got some really nice pictures of it. The pacific ocean was nice and warm, but I didn’t know the waves there are huge. I see why people go there to surf. One thing that really amazed me about the beach was the fact that you could walk so far into the water and the water is still at knee level. It’s really different that in Miami. That sunset I really felt the “Pura Vida” mentality on the beach that evening.

The next morning we headed to the airport and had some time to think about everything. This trip really did make me realize just how hard it is to produce good food. Between all the fruits, the animals and meats and the plants. All of the different ways of making everything the best quality it can be. For example I’ve never had a mango in December that good or the fact that some of the best pineapple on this earth is from Costa Rica. I really grown more appreciative towards my food after this trip. I’d definitely go back to Costa Rica.


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