Our group eating lunch on Finca Rio Perla!
I am writing this post from my home office in Washington DC – it is a pretty chilly late February night, and it is hard to believe that just a few short weeks ago I was in Costa Rica, galloping on one of the horses on Finca Rio Perla, or enjoying the magnificent sunset on the Caribbean coast.
In late January I led a small group on one of our “Caribbean Experiences” (the second such tour I lead), introducing a group from DC and L.A. to the farm, the highlands, and to the Caribbean coast. The weather was just perfect, as we had arrived right after an extended rainy season – it seems that we brought the sun with us!
After grouping up in Alajuella, the small town near the International Airport, our driver for the trip, Julio, took us down to the farm, passing on the way the towering cloud forested mountains of the Braulio Carrillo National Park, making our way to Finca Rio Perla.
It was great to be on the farm with the group – it had been 6 months since I was last on the farm, and it has gone through some major changes – first and foremost, the addition of the new managers of Finca Rio Perla : Andrew, a permaculture specialist originally from the US who has lived in Costa Rica for the past decade, his soon-to-be wife, Daniela, who is a native Tica, and their son Nicolas. Andrew has a MS degree in Horticulture from University of Georgia and expertise in organic agriculture and educational programs, and has started to manage the organic garden and the professional courses & internships that the farm is offering, and Daniela is a Spanish teacher, and will be managing the B&B on the farm as well as offering Spanish lessons to guests and volunteers.
These days the farm staff is quite busy, as they are hosting a three week Permaculture Design Course Course, with over 15 participants from the US.
Finca Rio Perla has also added a spacious handicap accessible room, and the whole area of the Stablo has been supped up – a wooden camping platform for the farm’s comfy tents, bathrooms and showers, a state of the art kitchen, a classroom, a pool table - as well as stone picnic tables. Nearby, they are building the new Casa Communal house that will host up to 8 volunteers – this will help free more rooms for guests in the main house, the Posada.
Paul, the owner of Finca Rio Perla was on the farm when we visited, as well as several volunteers that usually spend a few weeks to a few months on the farm. Paul really enjoys showing guests around and telling them about his vision of building a thriving community on Finca Rio Perla - and indeed, Finca Rio Perla is growing, and is the community.
The group I traveled with really enjoyed the farm, which to myself and Paul is one of the greatest rewards of being in this business – the satisfaction of our guests and tours attendees.
The group enjoyed the amazing veggie food, went on a long horseback ride, swam in the refreshing waterfalls on the farm property, fished for dinner, milked cows and learned how to make Tico cheese and ice-cream- and enjoyed a thrilling day rafting on the mighty Pacuare river!chocholate
We did other things on the farm as well - such as planting hardwood trees to offset our travel associated carbon emissions, help with the organic garden, go birdwatching with Andrew – and of course, relax on the hammocks and remember that we are actually on vacation!
The Reef Runners 'Booze-Cruise' - part of the group and our cruise guides...
Later on, we headed down the coast and based ourselves at Puerto Viejo, the most happening town on the Caribbean. Puerto is the kind of place you get to know quickly, and often do not want to leave - as attested by the more then 40 nationalities represented there. Our group checked into the Cabinas Jacaranda Hotel & Jungle Garden, run by the amazing Vera, and started on the second leg of the trip, which included a chocolate tour, a zipline adventure, a great jungle hike in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, and a sunset "booze-cruise" where the group got to drink some spiked tropical punch and swim a mile off the coast, amongst he gentle Caribbean waves...
The Costa Rica Caribbean Experience
In this blog Greener Travel will write about eco-tourism and unique travel experiences!