The areas of Costa Rica through which we traveled on the way to Monteverde are much less developed than the town of Heredia and are made up of large, rolling hills covered in dense rainforest trees. The communities of people living there appear to rely on farming as their main source of income. Largely, the rainforest encroaches right up to the edges of the houses making up these communities. But rather than trying to transform the surrounding landscape to suit their needs, the people in these communities prefer to work with what nature has given them. Examples of this preference include building houses into the sides of hills, using dense patches of trees as fences for pastures, and using rivers and streams as primary sources of water. Since these people rely on farming and agriculture as their primary source of food and money, families will set up small farm stands on the sides of roads close to their communities to sell the harvests. These shops have lots of bright, ripe fruit hanging in the glassless windows, advertising their sale. I also noticed an interesting detail about the houses; even though their access to indoor plumbing and civil services is severely limited, a large majority of the houses have power lines running into them and satellite dishes on the roofs. I think this is a good representation of what the people living in these areas value most; they want to interfere with nature as little as possible, but at the same time also want to receive commodities like electricity and cable to entertain themselves.
My initial impression of Costa Rica has changed significantly since my arrival. At first, I found the country to be very urbanized and bustling with activity. I see now, however, that many areas of the country are not like this, and are in fact very rural and spread out. People living in these areas are not able to access government programs and services, such as police and fire departments, as easily as people living in well-established towns. The houses that are present are often ramshackle in nature, with only a select few having one or more vehicles. I did not expect so much of the Costa Rica to be as heavily forested as it is. While I knew that rainforests made up a significant portion of land in the country, I understand now that these areas are much larger and more disconnected from the large cities and towns than I initially thought.