When we visited Costa Rica, we really didn’t know what to expect. For once, I didn’t do Google research ahead of a visit to someplace we had never been. I’m happy I didn’t because everything we experienced was a welcome and awe-filled surprise.
We visited Limon and surrounding area via bus, train, and canal boat.
The 100 inches of average annual rainfall in Costa Rica makes it the perfect environment for my favorite fruit to thrive. We saw bananas both on plantations and growing in the wild.We learned that because the trunk of the Banana Palm is so hollow, it acts as an efficient wick to continually pull moisture into the plant.
On our train and bus tours of the countryside, we saw the disparity in living conditions and lifestyle that’s tied to income. This always seems so much more apparent in tourism-driven warm-weather countries. Dole pays their banana plantation employees 46% above the national average minimum wage for agricultural workers. At the time we were there, that particular minimum wage was approximately $15/day. We were told that the big-ticket purchases for homes were, in order of priority: First a satellite dish, second a ghetto blaster, and third, a refrigerator. We found it so interesting that communications and music ranked ahead of food storage in such a hot climate.
Our boat tour of the Tortuguero Canals took us through lush rain forest on a mineral-filled waterway. We saw endless wildlife, inclusive of, but not limited to: sloths lazing in the tree tops, cranes wading by the water’s edge, blue morpho butterflies flitting right past us, hawks, eagles, and kites perched on their lookouts – and me without my zoom lens. Lesson learned.
We have friends who own a small coffee plantation in the north. We hope to make a return visit soon to see that part of this beautiful, diverse country.
As the eco- and adventure-tourism capital of Central America, Costa Rica has a worthy place in the cubicle daydreams of travelers around the world-Lonely Planet