Today begins the Caravan Tours bus journey. Essentially for the next week we will be on the road traveling with a group of 44 fellow Costa Rican explorers. All of these explorers have in common an interest in seeing the natural flora and fauna that Costa Rico is noted. What we are learning is that traveling with 44 people of various ages, energy levels, degrees of mobility, appetites, and tolerances for others will be part of our Costa Rican experience. Tonight at dinner our turtle expedition group was beginning to compare notes on some of the more interesting characters on our expedition.
Traveling in a Mercedes luxury bus makes the bus ride tolerable. The briefing we received last evening on the use of the inboard toilet was a hilarious indication of what this bus adventure is about to become. Our tour guide explained that the toilet was only for number one. No number two. Not because German bus technology cannot handle this particular human function but due to the odor factor for your fellow passenger. As this bathroom briefing was coming to a conclusion, I could not help but think, what have I gotten myself in to?
Anyway, we departed our hotel for the Polas Volcano. The largest volcano in Costa Rica and our first stop on today's tour. After an hours ride we arrived at the Polas Volcanic National Park. The quick hike up the road to the rim of the volcano was a moderate cardio workout. But at 8,800 feet of elevation who would have thought that packing a warm sweater would have been the prudent thing to do on a Central American trip? Those of us who had long sleeves and a windbreaker were thankful we had packed wisely.
After a lunch break, back on to the bus for another hours ride to the Britt coffee plantation. This afternoon stop was informative from the perspective of what it takes to grow a coffee tree. I did not know that from the time a coffee bean sprouts, it will take at least 3 years before a coffee tree will produce the first harvest of coffee beans. I did know that grinding your own beans for your morning cup of coffee is the recommended technique for brewing the most flavorful cup of coffee. Costa Rica had decided as a country to only grow Arabic beans as these beans have been determined by those who make such decisions that Arabic beans produce the highest quality beans in the world.