¡Pura Vida from Costa Rica!!
Heyy… Today we learned about 2 major local businesses in Costa Rica. We kicked off our day by doing our wake-up calls at 8:00 am. After we got ready, we headed to breakfast at 8:30 am. Today, we had delicious rice and beans with fresh fruit and an amazing blackberry juice. After we finished eating and thanking the chefs, we headed back to our rooms to do some last-minute packing as we prepare for an amazing day. Around 9:15 am, we gathered outside the base house and started making our way to our first stop. We had a 15-minute walk through the streets of Aquiares before stopping at a historical park. The amazing Memo gave us an amazing explanation of the historical park. Inside the park, we saw carved stones that were once used for maps, historical churches, and houses.
Around 10:00 am, we hiked up the steep hills of Aquiares taking in the breathtaking views of the town. While we hiked, we stopped at the beginning of the coffee plantation where we saw hills of coffee plants. Memo gave us an engaging description of the important history of coffee in Costa Rica. We not only learned that locals purchase coffee from the plantation, but that major companies like Starbucks purchase coffee as well. Continuing our way up the hill, we had a chance to try coffee beans right on the side of the trail. The coffee beans were very sweet and had a slightly bitter aftertaste to them. We continued hiking to the top of the hill where we stopped to take pictures of the views. After a short break, we hiked back down old (and unstable) steps.
Around 10:45 am, we arrived at the coffee factory where we continued to learn about how coffee was produced. Memo informed us about the factory’s history and the process. We learned there were five different grades of coffee ranging from the best to the worst. We learned the factory exports mid-grade coffee to major enterprises like Starbucks. After the quick coffee tour, we walked back to the base where we had lunch. For lunch, we had scrumptious rice, white bean, and pork soup along with blackberry juice. It was a nice change from the traditional rice and beans and was still delicious.
When we finished lunch around 12:30 pm, we had a little free time to ourselves before making our way to the cheese farm at 2:00 pm. We hopped on a bus for a 30-minute ride leaving Turrialba toward Santa Cruz for a local cheese farm in the mountains. When we arrived, we were greeted by Carla, one of the only woman cheese farmers in Costa Rica. We separated into two groups for friendly competition regarding the information presented on our tour. We learned about the different types of grass that the cows eat. Carla was nice enough to let us milk her cows and allowed us to make fresh cheese out of the fresh milk. After, Carla taught us about the biological circle that was needed to have a sustainable farm. Carla let us try some of our fresh cheese after a quick farm trivia game. Before walking back to our bus and thanking her, she gave us bookmarks and our own cheese to keep at the base. We hopped on the bus for a 30-minute adventurous bus ride back to base.
We arrived at base around 5:30 pm where we had a little bit of downtime before dinner at 6:00 pm. We had an exquisite dinner which included nachos with carnitas, beans, pico de gallo with starfruit juice, and fruit punch. The dinner was absolutely delicious. We held our nightly meeting around 7:30 pm where we recapped the day before passing the torch for Community Day to our next Leaders of the Day: Katie, Shirley, Stephanie, and Vicmary. We hope everybody at home is well and following along with our journey!
- LDDs: Daran and Clive