bulletTravelogue Costa Rica — Day 3, Saturday, 20th November 2010

Poas Volcano — Horquetas de Sarapiqui: 110 km (69 mi)

It has been pouring with rain all night long, and the sound of the rain has been intensified by the corrugated sheet roof. A look out of the window doesn’t give cause for hope. It’s totally cloudy and there is almost no visibility. Extremely unfavourable conditions for our planned visit of the Poas Volcano.

But first of all we are looking forward to breakfast. Unfortunately however this is a real disappointment. Coffee, tea, orange juice, milk, simple cereals, toast with jelly and bananas. That’s it! Well, I have to admit that the room description has only promised a “continental breakfast”. But this one is really poor. We have been to many US motels where we even have been served much better “continental breakfast”. Our breakfast this morning perfectly matches with the lousy weather.

Hoping that the sky still will clear we drive to Poas Volcano.
At the park entrance however they tell us that we should not expect to see anything. Fair enough. So we decide to turn back instead of spending the entrance fee of 23 US$ (10 $ per person + 3 $ for the car) for seeing nothing.

After checking out at Poas Lodge we instruct our GPS to navigate us to Britt Coffee Plantation in Heredia. Sometime we come to the conclusion that our GPS is wrong and we determine the path by ourselves. What a great idea! The result is rather sobering: we have completely lost orientation and lose more than half an hour of precious time. Finally we make it just in time to Britt and the “Classic Coffee Tour” which starts at 11:00 a.m. Next time we will trust our GPS and enjoy a more relaxing drive.

The “Classic Coffee Tour” is clearly overpriced (20 $ per person), but it is very entertaining and educational. There are three actors who perform the tour in a funny way. We laugh a lot and learn many interesting facts about coffee, its cultivation and processing. The first time in our life we see coffee beans growing on bushes.

At the end however the tour turns into an absurd piece of slapstick. We do not feel anymore like being on a coffee tour but rather being the audience of a preposterous theatre play. Finally the tour ends – as usual – in a large gift shop. Prices here are very much on the higher side (but not more expensive than elsewhere as we learn later during our trip)

We leave Brit and set tour GPS to our next accomodation. Our way leads us through Braulio Carrillo Nationalpark on toll road 32. At the left and at the right side of the street there is dense rain forest, the sky is grey and it rains

Fortunately just a few miles farther the weather changes and is getting better. When we arrive at our accommodation Hacienda La Isla the sun is shining and it is comfortably warm.

There is another German couple who is checking in at the same time than us. Belgian owner Jean Pierre explains in perfect German what to do in the region. We follow his advice and book a rafting tour the following morning.

Hacienda La Isla is situated in the rain forest and we immediately like it. There is a well marked walking trail leading through the huge property. We gladly take this opportunity and do a nice hike.

The lush vegetation is very impressing, but unfortunately we don’t see any animals. Except some horses blocking our way. The rest of the afternoon we spend reading and writing our trip report.

Dinner is served on a nice patio next to a small pond. A cayman is living here who loves to watch people having their dinner (or may be it is the other way round?).

It’s a very romantic ambiance here. The only thing we don’t like is the kitschy illuminated Christmas tree. After all X-MAS is still one month ahead! But Jean Pierre explains us that this is usual practice in Costa Rica.

Dinner, prepared by Jean Pierres wife, is superb. We have a carrot-ginger soub, porched seabass with fresh tomatoes and herbs and an ice cream creation for dessert. The price for the food is 28 $ per person and for a bottle of wine we pay 30 $. Compared to other good restaurants in Costa Rica this isn’t cheap, but we think it is worth every penny. Quality of the food as well as the ambiance can’t be beat.


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