Costa Rica: La Fortuna
Hello from La Fortuna! Today, I learned from our guide, Ima, that the name of this fruit is “noni.”
Noni (or Indian Mulberry) common name for Morinda citrifolia, are native to Polynesia, especially Tahiti and Hawaii. Noni was brought to Costa Rica by Asian Immigrants traveling to work on the Panama Canal. A lumpy irregular stinky fruit grows on small shrubs or trees with glossy green leaves. (Wikipedia)
Ima’s grandmother used to make smoothies regularly with this fruit, saying that it is good for your stomach, good for losing weight and to cure cancer. Unfortunately, Ima’s grandmother died of stomach cancer. The cause of her illness were the pesticides from the banana plantation where she worked. Banana plantations are dangerous for local people’s health because they are regularly sprayed with pesticides. Those pesticides pollute drinking water, therefore, many communities live without drinking water. It is delivered to them in big trucks two times a week.
The town La Fortuna is very fortunate to be located near the volcano Arenal. It is the biggest tourist attraction in the area. Its last explosion took place in 1968 and the volcano is still active. A short hike took us to the base of the volcano. The guide showed us how nature conquers rocky lava and turns it with time into a rain forest.
This is the lava from 1968, we can see that the vegetation is starting to grow.
The elevation of Arenal is 1,670 m. In 1968 local people did no suspect that the mountain near their community is not a hill, it is a volcano. For the two nearest villages, there was no escape in the morning of July 29. According to our guide, one hundred and fifty people were killed on that day, mainly women and children; their husbands went to work earlier and that’s how they escaped the tragedy. Both villages were totally destroyed and never rebuilt. Sulfur gas and ashes destroyed crops and vegetation around the volcano.
In 300 years this vegetation will look like that:
Our best view of the volcano Arenal:
La Fortuna is also famous for its falls:
The hike down to the waterfall is short and arduous, along a staircase carved into the hillside:
The White-nosed Coati (Pizote) from the raccoon family: