Finca Lomas (EN)

Trip Start Nov 02, 2007
Trip End Dec 31, 2008

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Finca Lomas

Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Friday, June 13, 2008

My first weekend with the spanish couple and the other volunteers from APPTA (an sub-association of ANAI dealing with fair trade), we decided to explore Finca Lomas, one of the projects initiated by ANAI to create an organic farm.
When packing my bag, I was told to be prepared mentally for the place has no electricity nor water. Far from being discouraged, I was happy to finally be able to use my portable solar panel. I was so disgusted when the weather was cloudy throughout the weekend.
Lomas in spanish means hills. The farm is so called precisely because of its landscape...hilly. Finca Lomas is situated in a secluded part of Gandoca, near the border shared with Panama. The way to get there was a taxi from from the border or alight at the crossroad between the main road where the bus to Sixaola drops us off and the road going towards Gandoca reserve, and then if weīre lucky, the five of us hitch a ride with all our big bags or itīs a 4 km hike with all our belongings in the heat. The choice was imminent.
Hence, we bought our supplies in Sixaola for the weekend : candles, lighters, food, a gallon of water and some fresh beer to brace us for the adventurous weekend. We took a cab to the Doņa Fernandaīs place. Doņa Fernanda is the housekeeper of Finca Lomas. To get to Finca Lomas from her place, itīs a half-hour trek from behind her house and through the forest.
We arrived at the wooden house of Finca Lomas just in time before it got dark. Patricia and I were going to share a room and we had 2 choices. In the first room we entered, we spotted cute-looking fluffy hamster-like creatures, but nonetheless from the roden family, at one end of the roof. The second room had an enormous bug on one side of the wall. It was a pretty difficult decision to make....mouse or giant bug? Hmmm... In the end we chose the least weīll have our mosquito net to protect us (but I later found out, itīs useless against mosquitoes....I killed 20 of them in the next morning in my net while motivating myself to get up)
What is unique about the house is that it has no walls. The sides of the house are covered with mosquito netting, so that you hear everything as if youīre out there in the jungle. Starting from 4 am in the morning, we are treated to an orchestra of parrots, then the howling monkeys before the rest of the jungle wakes up.
There are 2 indoor for gas cooking and the other outdoor for wood fire. On our last day, we ran out of gas so we cooked outside, where David had a narrow escape from a giant white scorpian. The toilet and the shower cabin is situed about 30 metres away from the house. To get to both, itīs best to wear boots in case of snakes lurking in the knee-length high grass. Itīs not advisable to stay in the toilets for too long or you risk your chance of getting dengue. The shower cabin is in a bit of a state...part of the flooring has fallen apart...take a shower in there requires special balancing skills.
The second day, we decided to explore around the finca to get more food supplies. We discovered lots of fruit trees, mostly exotic : jackfruit, durian, zapote, amazonian grape, avocado and many others. We trekked about 3 hours, crossed a few streams until we finally arrived at someoneīs home in San Miguel. It was at that moment that we admitted to being lost.
As a blessing in disguise, we found a Jicara tree in the compounds of the owner. Itīs a tree which bears gourd-like fruits, that the indigenous people use to carve into bowls, cups and other decorative ornaments. We each took our pick...mine was a large one with pretty flat sides. Perfect for making bowls. The problem was we were absolutely exhausted from the hike there and walking back with a jicara was a nightmare. Not to mention that I refuse to take off my Gortex windbreaker because of the mosquitoes. On the other extreme, we have Jonathan, an English volunteer, who only applied repellent on his hands and legs. Little did he know that mosquitoes bite through T-shirts and pants! There must have been at least a few hundred bites on him, his arms looked deformed and his back bumpy. In the end, Iīm good in my sauna.
The second day, we decided to go to the beach. 2 km walk from Doņa Fernandaīs house to the beach in Gandoca and another 4 km walk along the beach to Punta Mona (Monkey point). We were lucky to have hitch a ride for the first part of the journey. Most people come here to snorkel because of the abundance of coral reefs. It was a shame that we couldnīt swim to the reef crests because the waves were too big and the currents were too strong. On the beach, we decided to pick some coconuts at the beach for a quick snack to curb our hunger. We were grateful to David who brought along his machete to crack open the coconuts.
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