Day Off: Chili Rojo Buffet & Botanical Garden

Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
Trip End May 10, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hospedaje Vista Verde
What I did
Finca La Isla Jardín Botánico
Visited amazing botanical garden, enjoyed the Rasta Vibe and ate like kings

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Limon,
Monday, May 2, 2011

Puerto Viejo, Monday evening and Tuesday - Visited an amazing botanical garden, enjoyed the Rasta vibe and ate like kings

They brought in a badly burned sloth who had climbed on power lines and was electrocuted. He smelled charred and had open wounds on his foot and face. As he laid in the cage, he appeared sedated. I reckon he was asking himself, "what the heck happened"'. The doctor was supposed to be on his way to operate.

After work, we took the bus to Puerto Viejo, an hour and a half down the coast toward Panama. We spent the night at Hospiedje Vista Verde owned and operated by a German couple, Kathy and Olaf. They were welcoming and gave us a choice of rooms. After a quick hello, we dashed off to the center of town to get to the buffet dinner recommended to us by our Canadian friends, Mike and Kristen.

The great 'sushi buffet’ dinner at Chili Rojo included Asian and Middle Eastern dishes. Overall, it was pretty tasty. The sushi was not world class by any means but it was great to get some variety back into our diets.

Puerto Viejo is a tourist mecca; bars, beach, yoga studios, ganja etc. Decent grocery stores too. Many of blacks who have settled in the area speak English as their mother tongue. I read that there are about 1000 foreigners who are making this area their home too.   

In the morning, we walked a couple of kilometers to Finca la Isla’s Botanical Garden on the outskirts of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. We discovered that normally, on Tuesday, the garden is closed! But Pete saw the disappointed looks on our faces and let us in anyway. He gave us a map and quick overview of what can be found in the garden and where. There wasn’t a guided tour but he showed us some frogs near the house and explained some of the off-spring sprouting techniques in the nursery section. His son manages the Gardens.

We told Pete we saw many similar exotic plants at Aviarios Del Caribe. He said "yes" Judy and Luis got many plants from him.

We spent a few hours wandering the gardens filled with exotic plants including the 'walking palm'. Many of the plants have a label on a rock or on a plastic sign nearby with the scientific name, the common name, and the origin. Many of the wonderful plants originated in Asia. We heard birds but only got a quick glimpse of a few. And there are Quetzals around but we did not have luck on this visit. 

We found out that May 1st marks the end of the high tourist season and many of the business shut down for a week to give their worker a much needed rest. On Tuesday, many of the restaurants we wanted to visit were now closed. We ended up having a late lunch at a nice place near the beach but the food was disappointing. We made up for that by having great handmade ice cream at the shop next to the bus stop. We took a late bus back home.

=============== According to the Garden's Website==============
The garden experience involves walking through our bromeliad nursery and observing the red poison dart frog in its natural habitat, our medicinal garden with healing herbs andri and Afro-Caribbean traditions, rainforest trails, tropical fruit orchards and edible landscapes, cacao, black pepper and banana plantations, ornamentals, striking bromeliads, anthuriums, heliconias and rare palms, just to mention a few of our special features. In addition to the beautiful greenery, the garden also offers good birding and opportunities to see wildlife After walking through the garden visitors will be welcomed back with a fresh fruit juice and an extensive fruit sampling, including a variety of seasonal native and exotic fruits, cacao and chocolate, and other products created here on our farm.

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