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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Like an Old Married Couple

3/14/13     Tapanti -> Hotel de Montana Paraiso Quetzal

The morning began with a bird-viewing at 6:30 AM.  I wouldn't call it a walk since we only walked over to the trout farm where we proceeded to hide from the rain for about an hour.  We stayed in that particular area because there was a Violet Sabrewing, a hummingbird, frequenting the area.  These guys are cool because they're very large for hummingbirds- 6 inches- and are vibrant purple.  We saw him twice over the span of 45 minutes before heading back to the room to finish packing before breakfast.


The bus arrived around 8:45 and we left for Finca Christina, an organic coffee plantation.  The owner, Ernesto, gave us a tour from plant to finished product.  He talked about all the different aspects of growing the crop, harvesting and pruning- both the crop and shade trees.  He discussed that although his son (an ornithologist) has made the farm bird friendly and has seen over 300 of 800 birds species in Costa Rica, the farm is still not certified bird friendly because of the way they handle their shade trees.  Trust me, there were birds everywhere- this place was like a bird sanctuary.  We then moved over to his processing buildings where they remove the beans, dry them, and sort them by weight.  They're then stored in silos until they're ready for roasting which his wife Linda is in charge of.


We were able to taste some coffee (I thought it was pretty good and I don't drink the stuff) and then purchase some.  They also have an online website.  Any price you see there includes shipping to your front door.  Feel free to check them out if you love coffee.

From there we ate lunch at La Pasada de la Luna before making our way to Lankester Botanical Gardens.  I enjoyed their Orchid collection the most, simply because of the vast variety of species present (18,000 plants of over 1,000 species!)  There were large ones, medium ones, and teeny tiny ones!  Due to the large variety there's always something in bloom.  The different bamboo species were also really cool because of how large they were!


After a bit of a sickly journey up the mountain our final stop of the day was our destination- the Quetzal Lodge.  Here I was assigned to room/cabin 4 with Joy and Melissa.  Where everyone else went to the left of the main lodge building, we went to the right.  Special, that's us.  In the end I was very happy with it because we're right next to the Hummingbird Gardens!  We had just enough time before the light disappeared to get some nice pictures.


Dinner was a delicious meal of chicken, mashed potatoes, and vegetables.  We soon headed back to our own rooms to settle in a bit.  The only downside to this location is that it's cols.  I mean cold.  Like, in the 40s cold.  I was not fully prepared for this.  There's a small space heater in our room and that's it.  We did discover there were seven blankets on the bed though.  Seven!  At least the people who work here realize how cold it is.  Although there were three beds, Joy and I ended up sharing the big one to conserve heat.  Melissa actually went to the other girls' cabin to do the same.