Costa Rica

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:

And a message from Guru Sloth:

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Our homestay experience in Costa Rica

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Costa Rica: cocoa and Lake Arenal


  1. Emily Clarke
    January 8, 2020 at 2:24 pm — Reply

    Joanna really knows how to capture the authentic essence of our trip through her descriptions and photos. Thanks for sharing the adventure!

    • January 8, 2020 at 6:57 pm — Reply

      Thank you Emily for your sweet comment. I am glad you and your family are following my blog. It always make me feel special!

  2. angie
    January 8, 2020 at 7:59 pm — Reply

    Joanna, your pictures are truly amazing. We are also enjoying the messages from Guru Sloth. Looking forward to more fabulous pics and Guru Sloth messages! 🥰
    Love Alda and Angie

    • January 8, 2020 at 11:10 pm — Reply

      Glad to hear that, thank you Angie.

  3. Bozena Stoch
    January 8, 2020 at 8:40 pm — Reply


  4. Anesti
    January 9, 2020 at 5:14 pm — Reply

    Hi Joanna,
    I am very happy you’ve enjoyed your vacation in Costa Rica.
    You’re such a great photographer and we hope we’ll have some day a full book with your pictures made all over the world.
    I wish your next trip would be to Albania!!!
    You would not de disappointed!
    Have a lovely day,

    • January 10, 2020 at 7:42 am — Reply

      Thank you Anesti, yes, Albania is on the list.

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