Province of Alajuela, Costa Rica
Sunday, July 20, 2014
San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, is surrounded by many small, charming towns and picturesque hills. Many of them are covered with coffee plantations. We took the time and visited the lovely towns Grecia, Sarchi, Naranjo and Zarcero.
While driving from one town to another, we enjoyed some of the most beautiful views and scenery within Costa Rica. Each town of this agricultural center is unique and full of wonderful surprises! Grecia, for example, has a charming cathedral made of red colored metal.
The town of Sarchi is famous for its arts and crafts factories. Colorful oxcarts – which are one of the country’s National symbols – are being produced in Sarchi for more than a century Right next to the church in the town of Naranjo, we discovered a huge coffee mug, which is about 2 – 3 meters high. We walked around the church and found a small pond full with fishes and turtles. At first, we only saw one turtle. We were very about it and checked her out for a few minutes. Once we looked around more closely we discovered more and more turtles. They were swimming in the water, enjoying the sun or laying on top of each other!
The mountain town of Zarcero is known for its dreamlike wonderland, the Parque Francisco Alvarado, which is located in front of the church San Rafael. There are conifer cypress bushes, which are trimmed in various shapes. We saw dancing animals, oxcarts, dinosaurs and many other fantasy creatures. The imagination of the artists does not seem to have any boundaries. Sixteen green arches lead to the entrance of the beautiful pink and blue church.
Zarcero is the home town of our friend Milena Solis, who we got to know while living in Dublin, Ireland. Ever since we planned our trip to Costa Rica, we were very excited to visit her family in Zarcero. Her mother, Seniora Ana Solis, her uncle Senior Hernan Solis and his family welcomed us. We explored her uncle’s beautiful and well-kept coffee plantation, where coffee plants grow only by sustainable methods. We enjoyed the fresh air, the spring-like mountain climate and the breathtaking views. Seniora Ana Solis prepared one of the best vegetarian meals, we ever had. The freshly prepared filter-coffee from Senior Solis’ plantation was delicious.
Senior Solis invited us to visit the Helsar de Zarcero coffee plantation and mill run by his friend Ricardo Perez.. We not only got to know one of the best coffee mills in Costa Rica, but also another excellent organic coffee plantation.

Thank you Milena and Family Solis for inviting us to experience the beauty of Costa Rica’s people, culture and na