Blogs from Cartago, Costa Rica, Central America Caribbean


===English version below=== Na onze rondreis in Nicaragua worden we verwacht in Tuis, Costa Rica. De Amerikaanse eigenaar gaat een cruise maken door Scandinavië, wij gaan 3 weken op zijn huis en zijn dieren passen. Het huis ligt in de bergen, zeer afgelegen maar oh zo mooi. Wat verderop aan de laatste bushalte stopt de weg. Vanaf dit punt trekken de indianen de bossen in. We maken kennis met Lula en Frank. Het zijn lieverdjes die honden, tenminste als je geen indringer bent anders bijten ze misschien een stuk uit je been? Wij nemen de honden mee tijdens onze wandelingen, ze zijn het duidelijk niet gewend. In de tuin groeien cacao planten. Met een beetje hulp van Google lukt het ons om van de vruchten cacao poeder te maken. Eerst smaakt het een beetje bitter maar ... read more
Tuis verblijf - Tuis house
Costa Rica kikker - frog
Cacao plant

Having finally made it to the right start point hotel (I got a taxi with a German couple I met from my group, Markus and Franziska, who were also at the wrong hotel) I finally get to meet Brian our Costa Rican tour guide (he looks like a football pro!) and the rest of my group. There's three more from the UK (another couple, Miles and Catherine and solo traveller Ben), Dan an Ozzie who's living in the US, Marian and Doug two Canadians also living in the US and one bonafide American Stu. We get to know each other better over a meal in the evening and they turn out to be a fun and friendly set of people so it's looking like being a great trip. We meet the final two people, Jane and ... read more
Entrance to the ruined temple at Cartago
Bringing Jesus on a donkey!
Football match

It took forever to get back on to the ‘main’ road (ever upwards with steep drops each side) and we were already missing the tranquility and comfort of Trogon Lodge. Luis, our driver had a couple of words of English - more than we had of Spanish and we got by with sign language for most of the two hour journey to the Orosi Valley. He showed us a map of the route and it was quite funny as the ‘legend’ showed, main roads, secondary roads, tracks and dangerous roads and guess which one we were on! We finally drove through the city of Cartago and the town of Paraiso before stopping at the top of the valley where Luis pointed out where we were. It was such a lovely view and we could see the ... read more
overlooking Orosi village
our local store
Iglesia de San Jose Orosi

This one will be more about pictures and less about writing. On Friday night the girls came over to go out dancing. YES! We finally went out to a local club Pepper’s and danced. FOR REAL! There were guys who could dance, there was a life band that played cool songs and the place that could support it all. We danced till 2:30am and left with a satisfied soul full alegria. Why does dancing make me so happy??? The girls spent the night in the house. In the morning we had coffee and bread with sour cream. Why sour cream? Because I thought I was buying Cheese Cream but accidently bought Sour Cream. The cream it was! Than we took a bus to Teatro National to take another one from there to Irazu at 8am. That ... read more
Casi en el cucurucho
Crater of Irazu
Who was there first? :)

Central America Caribbean » Costa Rica » Cartago » Cartago November 30th 2011

Now that December is here, the season for holiday foods has truly arrived. From lollipops to latkes, every holiday and region has its own traditions. In many Latin American countries, tamales are the stars of the show. These delicious creations are made from masa – a traditional corn dough – and some sort of filling. Popular choices are chicken, chilies, and pork. Many are familiar with the traditional Mexican tamal, which is wrapped in cornhusks and then steamed. In Costa Rica, however, the masa is wrapped in banana or plantain leaves. And the variations don’t stop there. Tamales, which are thought to have originated with the Ancient Mayans in Mesoamerica as far back as 8000 BCE, have an amazingly long and diverse history. For instance, they were originally designed as portable... read more

Central America Caribbean » Costa Rica » Cartago October 31st 2011

Hello friends! From Bocas Del Toro our crossing into Costa Rica was rather uneventful, and far better than our crossing into Costa Rica from Nicaragua, probably taking a fourth of the time (30 minutes or so in all). The crossing was an old metal railroad bridge over a river with wood boards put over it so 18 wheelers could drive over the bridge and made it easier to walk across. From the border we caught two different buses to get to Puerto Viejo, a total of about two hours on buses. The highlight of our trip from Bocas to Puerto Viejo was passing along seemingly endless miles of banana plantations owned by Chiquita banana company. I've heard before that bananas are grown in bags filled with fertilizer to keep them from being infested by bugs, but ... read more
Panama to Costa Rica

Central America Caribbean » Costa Rica » Cartago » Cartago September 22nd 2011

Tropical Adventures works hard to keep its costs and fees as low as possible. Still, for several people it can be unclear why they have to pay for volunteer programs. I´ve heard several opinions that it is unethical and so on, therefore I consider as a must to provide a proper explanation on how it actually works. I cannot speak for other organizations, but I can give you a perspective from our sight. We have made several analyzes of certain impoverished areas of the country. This comprises difficult travel and meeting with untold numbers of communities and individuals. We want to know what real needs are present and how we can be of assistance. The truth is, not all communities are even ready to accept volunteer help. It was a tough job narrowing down to just ... read more

The Irazú Volcano (Spanish: Volcán Irazú) belongs to places that rank among places worthy to see when you are in Costa Rica. Today I would like to share with you our recent experience with one day trip to this interesting Volcano. Let´s start with some basic information. It is Costa Rica´s highest volcano with the height of 3,432 meters. It is also one of the most active, with a history of frequent eruptions. The last noticeable activity came in 1996, and since then Irazú has been a quiet giant. The volcano has several craters, two of which are the principal attractions. The smaller crater, Diego de la Haya, has a beautiful unusual lake with bright greenish yellow coloring that is caused by rainfall dissolving the minerals along craters walls. I believe this lake really contributes to ... read more
Beautiful lake in the crater

Central America Caribbean » Costa Rica » Cartago February 28th 2011

You might have noticed that I'm having problems downloading photos from this trip. Only one downloaded so far. Ever since the connection problems I had here a week and a half ago or so this has been an issue. I'll keep trying as there are some very nice ones of Orosi Valley I have yet to try to download. Also I forgot to mention that Maria Elena is a retired judge here in Costa Rica. So she is very educated and highly respected as well as a lot of fun! With so many universities in the country and the cost being quite affordable it is accessible to many. Instead of spending money on having an army, since 1948 they have directed more funding on education, their national parks and tourism. Just wanted to mention this again ... read more
Their Pet Lara
Maria Elena, daughter, with one of their several birds
Barb, Maria Elena & myself

Central America Caribbean » Costa Rica » Cartago » Turrialba November 26th 2010

It's been two weeks now since I arrived here at Turrialba where the CATIE campus with my new home, the "Andino", is located. And what should I say? It's a lot less different than I expected :). Of course, it's quite a lot warmer, but at night it has cooled down to 13 degrees sometimes, brrr. And it is not dry, but there's such a lot of rain! This is definetely different to Germany, I don't know where all the water comes from. And as humidity is generally very high, the library smells of millions of pages of damp paper. Students' life The campus here is really huge (I feel), very green, with palm trees and a beautiful view on the hills around when they're not just covered in clouds. It is a bit outside of ... read more
CATIE campus in sunshine
Evening atmosphere

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