Wonderful memories from San Vito, Costa Rica

San Vito, Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica


We have wonderful memories about San Vito and the friendly people we met there.
During our final days, Senior Luis Solis went with us to the Wilson Botanical Gardens, which are close to San Vito. This place includes an extensive tree collection and endangered plants from Costa Rica. It is a training ground for scientists from all around the world. But it also teaches the public some basics about tropical ecology.
On our last day, we continued to explore the farm of Senior Solis. There is a nice, cool river close to his house. When we went there, Senior Solis used his big, freshly sharpened machete to clear the way for us. It was quiet an experience! He was clearing vegetation that grows higher then we are tall.
While walking around on his farm for the last time, Senior Solis told us a lot about his future dreams. He has a lot of organic projects on his mind, which he wants to start soon. We wish him all the best and look forward to hear about all the developments.
Each day, we learned a lot from him. Once we are back in Europe, we want to create an organic garden as well! We will stay in contact with him so that we can continue to exchange our knowledge and ideas.
We enjoyed the time we spent with Senior Solis, his family and friends. Often times, happy children were visiting his farm. They love him and he loves them.

He and his friends prepared typical, delicious Costa Rican food for us with a big smile on their faces. We also had a good time when we were preparing food for them, which we like to eat in our home countries.

Thank you for everything!

Vivemos la vida organica!

San Vito, Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica


Paradice in the Costa Rica mountains

For 6 days we are the guests of Senior Luis Solis, who lives close to San Vito, a town in the southern part of Costa Rica.
Senior Solis is a passionate man, who lives his dream. He is an organic farmer. Step by step he is improving the outcome of his mission.
In order to be a successful farmer, as he points out, he needs to be a clever biologist, chemist, economist, psychologist and much more.
Senior Solis loves his profession. Every day, he not only takes care of his farm, but he is also constantly experimenting and discovering new things, which could be beneficial for his business
We are learning a lot from Senior Solis. He is demonstrating us that the use of microorganisms is essential if one wants to run an organic farm. He shows us in detail how he produces microorganisms and fruitful organic soil. We are helping him a little bit during the process.
Senior Solis also showed us how he is producing organic cheese.
Every day we see lots of new beginnings. Not only the fruits of Senior Solis’ work, but also baby dogs and a baby bird.
Senior Solis also invented a new nick-name for Marek. He calls him ‘Max’ or ‘Max-Organico’.
We enjoy our stay with Senior Solis and his friends a lot. We can not ask for more. Thank you Senior Solis!

La Iguana Chocolate – cacao fruits farm

Mastatal, San José, Costa Rica

Let’s keep calm! Let’s eat organic chocolate! And let’s listen to the sounds of nature!
We worked 5 days as volunteers at the family-run La Iguana chocolate farm.
La Iguana is a small organic farm, located in the quiet mountain village of Mastatal, between San Jose and the Pacific coast.
The Salazar Garcia family is producing chocolate for more than 25 years. Together with other volunteers from Canada/Quebec, USA, Ireland, Mexico and England, we learned how chocolate is made from the bean to the bar. We not only helped roasting, peeling and grinding the beans, but we also formed the chocolate.
We enjoyed getting to know all the other volunteers. To our surprise two young women – similar to us – came all the way from Ireland to Central America. They came from Galway and Kerry and look forward to move to Dublin during the end of the summer.

Mastatal is not only a peaceful, isolated village. It is also an environmental learning and sustainable living center. Besides La Iguana, there are at least 3 other farms in this area, which welcome volunteers. We met people from the Rancho Mastatal and from Villas Mastatal.

Cocoa trees (Theobroma cacao) and cacao fruits

Cacao trees

Cocoa trees (Theobroma cacao) are robust, elegant and beautiful. They grow in the shade of tropical rainforests and can get as tall as 12-15m. Cocoa comes from the beans that are inside the fruits. Cacao trees have flowers and fruits continuously during the entire year. Each flower blooms for only for a day.

We believe that cocoa trees can pass on their energy, strength and love.  

Cacao fruits

Cocoa trees have beautiful fruits. David Wolfe- a well know raw foodist and cocoa expert – calls them ‘Sunfire Oranges’. According to him, their surface resembles the sun. And he just loves the brilliant glow of the Vitamin C element.

Let’s enjoy real food!

Many people are depressed because of the food they are eating. Processed food lacks nutrients, energy and colour. It is completely empty.

Cocoa beans are extremely nutritious. They contain fat (50%) carbohydrates (25%)
and minerals (magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, sodium, and phosphorus) and
vitamins (A, B1, B2 and B6).

Let’s eat and enjoy real and colorful food that is filled with energy and nutrients 🙂

A taste of nature – Cafe Ruiz, Boquete

Boquete, Chiriquí, Panama

Thursday, May 29, 2014

We arrived at the mountain town of Boquete in Panama.
There are many coffee plantations in Boquete. Today we took time and visited one of Panama’s most famous family owned coffee companies: Cafe Ruiz.
Our tour guide Carlos informed us about the art of growing, processing and tasting coffee.
We saw the 92 year old owner of Cafe Ruiz sitting outside on the terrace of the coffee shop. Carlos told us that he is still active on site. It must be his passion for coffee, which is keeping him young!
Our tour took 3 hours and we learned a lotCafe Ruiz, Boquete, Panama.
The golden grains of the coffee fruits are protected by 3 different shells. All of them have to be taken off before the roasting process can start.
Imperfect coffee beans are carefully sorted out. A great deal of the sorting process is done by hand. Patient workers are doing this for hours day after day. Most of the sorting process is done by throwing the beans in a big container, which is filled with water.The beans, which float on the water have a low quality. They float because worms have damaged them. Holes inside make these beans float. Carlos told us that floating beans are sold to instant coffee makers.
Last but not least, we learned that locals like to drink just 1 cup of medium-roasted coffee in the morning. Why?
  • It is very humid and hot in Panama. People sweat most of the time, even if they are not doing anything at the moment. Because of the climate locals do not feel like drinking warm coffee often during the day. One cup of coffee in the morning is just fineCafe Ruiz – Selection of coffee and sweets.
  • Medium-roasted coffee has a long pleasant aftertaste. Light or dark roasted coffee, on the other hand, does not have a long aftertaste. Locals like medium-roasted coffee best because they can still enjoy their special ‘morning cup’ many hours later.
  • Locals like a to live a balanced life-style. The lighter the coffee is roasted the more caffeine is retained. Medium-roasted coffee is the ‘golden middle’.

When Coffee Speaks ….

Panama City, Panama

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Today we went to Bajareque, a small fascinating coffee shop in Casco Viejo, a neighborhood in Panama City with lots of Spanish colonial architecture.
As soon as the barista of the coffee shop found out that we are passionate about coffee, he introduced us to a manager, who gave us a detailed presentation about their business. He showed us many photographs of the farm, which is supplying the coffee. .
We had been told that their coffee comes from the Elida Estate coffee farm in Boquete, which is located in the highlands of Panama.
The manager emphasized that their high quality coffee is produced under unique conditions:
  • The plantation is one of the two highest farms in Panama. The location is at a very high elevation – 5.600 ft/1.700m.
  • The cherries of the coffee trees grow slowly in the rich soils of the Baru volcano. They are surrounded by a national park. The coffee trees grow in the shade of the big rain forest.
  • The cherries are handpicked by the native Ngobe-Bugle Indians.
He also informed us that their coffee is ‘natural’, which means that the beans were dried inside the fruit. The fruit flesh had not been removed as it is the case with ‘washed’ coffee.
Since their coffee is ‘natural’, it has a sweet fruity taste.
The barista of the the coffee shop grinded freshly roasted coffee beans for us. With a smile on his face, he called us over to the counter and asked us to smell the freshly grinded coffee.
What a smell and what a day!

We took some fresh coffee to the hostel and continued to enjoy the day.

This is Costa Rica!

Corcovado National Park, Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Saturday, June 7, 2014
The Corcovado National Park is the largest tropical rain-forest of Costa Rica and the last great origianl tract of tropical rain-forest in Pacific Central America. It is located on a peninsula, south-west of Costa Rica. This part of Costa Rica used to be an island.
We met our tour guide in Puerto Jimenez and drove to Carate. From there we hiked 3.5 km to the La Leona ranger station. From there we walked 16 km to the Sirena ranger station. We walked along the shoreline on rough beach sand, though costal forest and crossed two rivers with our backpacks. Heavy rain was pouring on us most of the time. We enjoyed every moment we spent in this tropical topical paradise.
We slept two nights in a tent at the ranger station. The sounds of the jungle woke us up around 4 o’clock in the morning.
We did two trails around the ranger station enjoying the intense nature.

It is wonderful, how most of the animals use camouflage to disappear into the nature.

The Coffee Plantation of Senior Armando Navarro

San Vito, Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Senior Luis Solis introduced us to some of his friends – Senior Armando Navarro and his family. We had been invited to visit their home and coffee plantation, which has a long family history.
The home and coffee plantation of Senior Navarro are located close to San Vito in the Southern part of Costa Rica. Nearby is the national park La Amistad.
While walking around the coffee plantation, Senior Navarro and his youngest daughter demonstrated how they are producing coffee in harmony with nature. No chemicals. which harm the environment, are used.
We enjoyed seeing lots of green and shining coffee plants. They grow in harmony with trees, which provide shade or which keep harmful insects away On a regular basis some branches of the trees are cut of so that they can be used to fertilize the soil.
Senior Navarro does many things to keep his coffee plantation healthy. He produces organic soil with microorganisms, which he uses as a fertilizer. He is also a passionate bee keeper. The bees like the the flowers of the coffee plants. And he and his family like the delicious honey, which they get from them.
We had been told that there are various wild animals, which are living close to the plantation.
Senior Navarro is on a mission. He wants to insure that his coffee plantation contributes to the well-being of Costa Rican people and the environment by promoting sustainable development.
We were overwhelmed because he and his family welcomed us with so much love. They invited us for a typical Costa Rican lunch made with organic products from the farm. One of his little daughters surprised us with a present. She gave us two of her paintings. We tasted coffee from the farm.
Without a doubt, we tasted the tropical ‘Pura Vida’ Aroma!
Thank you Family Navarro! Thank you Senior Solis!

Parque International La Amistad & Aqua Caliente

San Vito, Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Senior Luis Solis introduced us to a young friendly, energetic woman and her warm-hearted family.
Her name is Karen Melissa Araya.
We drove together to the ‘Parque International La Amistad’ (International Friendship Park). This enormous National Park is located in the South of Costa Rica and extends into Panama.
We hiked to a beautiful and refreshing waterfall. There were many colorful butterflies, sparkling streams and sweet wild-berries around. We enjoyed the beautiful forest, the vivid colors of nature, the silence and the fresh air.
On our way back we stopped for a short break. We were sitting in the shade under a tree. While eating cookies and drinking soda, we talked about life in Central America and Europe.
We continued our journey and walked to a magic oasis called ‘Aqua Caliente’ (Hot Water). Surrounded by tropical trees, next to a big and sparkling river we discovered two natural tropical pools, filled with clear and warm thermal water. Senior Solis went for a swim while we were relaxing next to the pool with our feet inside the water.

Thank you Karen and Senior Solis for this wonderful day!

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