Relaxing at the Doubletree resort

Trip Start Apr 04, 2009
Trip End Apr 14, 2009

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Sunday, April 12, 2009

We did a morning trip to a nearby area known for Maccaws.  Saw one green one.  We stopped at a river known for Crocs.   There were about 20 adult crocs on the river bed which we viewed from the bridge above.  Frightening creatures.  We spent a bit of time on the beach in the little town and bussed back to the resort by 11am.  Mom is having a siesta.  The sound of birds and waves are very relaxing.  This is an excellent wind down after a bit of a whirlwind for the first 7 days.

It is nearly 5pm now and we have been enjoying a nice quiet day back at the hotel.  Mom has a bit of a stomach bug that a few other Caravan people have had recently, but it is probably more a combination of a lot of sun, different foods, and maybe some water or beverage that had some different chemical qualities than we are used to.  A bit of rest and a bunch of Immodium takes care of everything.  This is the spot to get the rest if you need it.

It has been quite an adventure.  Tomorrow we go to a coffee plantation and to a nearby artisan town for souviniers, then back in to San Jose for the last night of the trip.  We are back at the Holiday Inn again which is familiar at least.  Our departure will be ugly early as our flight leaves SJO around 8am and traffic can be very busy in the morning.  We need to be at the airport about 2 hours before our departure.  We can pay the Exit tax (about $30 US each) at the hotel to save a bit of time though.

The wind has picked up a bit this afternoon and the cloud cover is refreshing.  The sun is still incredibly hot.  We spent about 30 minutes at the pool today after lunch.  I had 45 SPF sun screen on and still look like I got too much sun.  At least I am coming back with a tan : ).  Mom has been soaking up the sun as well and has a good golden bronze color to her regardless of not feeling 100%.

Things I have learned about Costa Rica:
They depend on exports of: Banana, Pineapple, and micro chips are their main resources.
Bananas take about 10 months to grow.  Pineapples about the same.  This is only with the aid of agricultural assistance.  Bananas are wrapped in blue plastic, while pineapples are covered in black plastic to trap the etholine gases inside and stimulate faster growth along with additional fertilizer.
Coconuts are good for milk, water, and oil (the oil is high in saturated fat though)
They are known for their coffee, but no longer export it to the degree they used to.
Some areas grow strawberries.  They use black tarps to cover the vines from the sun.
There is more than one combination of rice and beans.
The average wage in Costa Rica is between $500-2000/month for Teacher-Doctor range
Tourism represents the best chance at a higher income
For citizens who are fluent in English, Costa Rica is now becoming known for "Call Center" type support desks.  The wage for this are over $1500/month
The average rent in the San Jose area is over $1000 a month ($200-500 in the rural areas).  You need to add $100 for water, $400 for hydro, and your cell phone bill, car, gas etc.  You get the picture..
Costa Rica is bordered by Nicaragua and Panama
They gave up their army in 1948 and have been peaceful ever since
The primary ethnic group is Latino, however Italian, Chinese and Black Caribbean make up significant portions of the population due to historical events.
The government has had many issues with corruption.  Two former presidents are currently in jail for embezzlement.
The current president has his Wife as the vice president and the rest of his family all work within the government offices.  They were elected and re-elected recently on a 4 year term.
Costa Rica is one of the smallest countries to touch two oceans.
The currency is called the Colone.  It is valued at about 560 for 1 US Dollar.  The two currencies are generally accepted almost everywhere except the smallest of towns.
Cost Rica does not observe day light savings time.  They are in the Central time zone.
Bats are butterfiles are the most common form of pollination.
There are 69 volcanoes in the country.  Only 5 remain active at this time
Costa Rica developed from volcanic activity and joined North America to South America, now known as the gateway country.
There is a tree called the "walking tree" that is the only tree in the world that actually moves in trunk location, but external roots which grow about 5 feet off the ground and shift to the best available location
People love buses.  In the province of San Jose everyone stared as our bus went by.  Everyone.  In the rest of the country everyone stops and waves.
There are 7 provinces.  We visited all of them on this trip.
The province of Limon is the poorest.  It is on the Caribbean coast where Tortuguero is.
Arenal Lake is the largest lake in the country.  It is man made.
Wind turbine energy is a new source of power in the country
There are Caymans and Crocodiles, but no Aligators.
There are two International airports.  San Jose and Liberia.  Liberia is a tiny airport and the drive is 6 hours in to San Jose.
They have over 30% of the country reserved as protected park land.  This is the highest of any developed nation.
There are rain forests, cloud forests, dry forests, mangroves, swamps, oceans, waterfalls and all sort of tropical pleasures.
The main language is Spanish, however over half of the citizens can speak English.  In the province of Limon, they speak a Caribbean dialect.
Phones are uncommon in most households.  Pay phones are everywhere, but cellular coverage is available in even the most remote locations for those that can afford a cell phone.
Costa Rica is responsible for about 60% of the green sea turtle conservation of the world.
At the shortest point, it is about 150km for sea to sea.
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