Today our group left Heredia again to travel up to Monteverde where we’ll be staying for the next two nights. During our almost four hour drive, we got to see the biodiversity and different climate regions of Costa Rica. So far, we’ve spent most of our time in Costa Rica’s Central Valley, which is very different from the Pacific Coast region we drove though today and from the cloud forest/ mountainous region where we are today. We have mostly been in urban areas so far, so seeing the rural areas of the country has been very interesting.
On our drive, I noticed that the rural areas are pretty spread out and the houses had less gates and fences than in the city. However, the pacific coast and cloud forest regions definitely have similarities with the city still. I noticed a lot of sodas (small family-run stores/restaurants) along the road, just like there are in Heredia. There were also a lot of tourist oriented businesses, such as the gift shop we stopped at on our drive. The prices were in USD and a lot of the signs were in English. I noticed that there are many places along the coast that are definitely geared towards tourists. It’s very apparent that tourism is a major part of Costa Rica’s economy.
As far as scenery goes, we were able to see everything from tropical plants and beaches to mountainous plants and terrain. The area near the coast was very flat, but it quickly turned hilly as we started ascending the mountain to get to Monteverde. Also, the pacific coast region was very hot (in the 90s), but here in Monteverde is is much cooler (60s and 70s). Overall, today showed me that Costa Rica has much more diversity in climate, scenery, and people than I thought. For such a small country, it’s amazing that there are such different climates and ecosystems present. It’s fitting that Costa Rica has such a wealth of natural beauty since they place such a huge focus on sustainability and preservation of their beautiful country. Overall, the Ticos embrace the outdoors in all aspects of their lives, from the bottom of the Central Valley all the way to the top of the mountains.