So far on our visit in Costa Rica we have stayed in homestays in Heredia and visited San Jose for a day. San Jose is the capital city and Heredia is a smaller city north of San Jose. Today we see two new sides of Costa Rica as we drive along the Pacific Coast on our way to Montverde, a mountainous rain forest.
Since we were no longer in the city, the areas we passed were much more rural. The houses were spread much further apart, they had fences made from small trees and wire, and animals roamed freely. The more rural the area got the more sodas, small restaurants ran by a family, there was. I thought Heredia had a lot of green land but that was nothing compared to the Coast and mountains. There was a big distinction between the different types of houses we passed on our ride. Along the coast, houses went from small cement houses with tin roofs to on the very next corner there was pool advertisements and large, clean houses with porches and gardens. I found it quite contradictory that these two styles were so close to one another.
As we got closer to Montverde there became fewer and fewer people and less and less shops. It was not until close to the top of the mountain that we began to see people and shops again. The terrain was very rugged as we climbed the mountain. Narrow roads and steep cliffs all the way up. Tico traffic rules still applied here, as motorcycles sped past us up the mountains around blind turns. At the top of the mountain began the tourist shops, hotels, markets, houses, adventure sport companies and more. Clearly Montverde has become a tourist attraction for its cloud forest and the culture surrounding it has changed to fit that style as well.
Since arriving in Costa Rica my perception of the country has changed each day. Despite being in a city not at the beach I expected much more of a tropical paradise when arriving in Heredia. I soon realized it was very urban and began to accept that. Now we have moved to Montverde and it is more of the rustic nature and bugs that I imagined. I was surprised to see the variety in the ways of life of the Ticos and how close these different communities lived to one another. Costa Rica was influenced by the Spanish, other central American countries, the natives, the Quakers and many more who have led to a diverse community through out the Central Valley.