Costa Rica: Monteverde
Today, we are moving away from the volcano towards Monteverde, another fascinating area in Costa Rica.
Our itinerary says:
Monteverde was founded as an agricultural community in 1951 by a group of North American Quakers – they cleared virgin forest to create verdant pastures ideal for dairy farming. These environmentally aware settlers were conscious of the danger that unrestricted settling and farming could cause to this precious habitat. Consequently, they established a small, privately-owned wildlife sanctuary, which has since grown to become the internationally renowned Monteverde Cloudforest Biological Preserve. More than 2000 species of plants, 320 bird species and 100 different types of mammals call Montverde home.
Let’s begin with our afternoon walk in the Cloudforest Preserve:
Cloudforest is different, more mysterious:
Ima told us not to touch the moss on trees because snakes like to hide there:
Monteverde Cloudforest Biological Preserve also includes a hummingbird garden, when the little birds can be admired.
Cloud forest area in Monteverde offers excellent conditions for growing coffee. Today, I had a chance to visit El Trapiche plantation, an authentic local family business producing and selling Fair Trade coffee.
Our guide told us that there are two types of coffee: Arabica and Robusta. Robusta is easier to grow, has a higher yield and is less sensitive to insect. Arabica is more difficult to grow but it tastes better and is of better quality. Since Costa Rica is a small country, its production of coffee is entirely focused on Arabica. There is an official law banning any production of Robusta in Costa Rica. That’s why Costa Rican coffee is famous for its quality.
While visiting the plantation, I had a chance to become familiar with two more plants. First the Macadamia Tree:
The second plant is Arracacia. According to Wikipedia, Arracacia is a root vegetable originally from the Andes, somewhat intermediate between the carrot and celery root. Its starchy taproot is a popular food item in South America where it is a major commercial crop.
At the end of the tour, we were offered a small snack made of Arracacia root cooked together with chicken.
Guru Sloth’s wisdom for today:
The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. -Dolly Parton