We were up at 5am, by design this time rather than because we couldn’t sleep, to get ready for an early morning birdwatching tour. We had a quick wash before noticing that we had a visitor in our room!
We headed downstairs to a quick cup of coffee before heading out on our tour at 5.30am. The sun was just rising and the light made the views crisp.
Barva volcano (extinct) in the distance 1
The tour guide, Kevin, was again excellent and along with some other sharp eyed spots from the group we saw a very wide range of birds and a few other animals too.
The complete list of what we saw:
… In order of appearance
Fly catchers – yellow breast
BARVA volcano 🌋
Black cheeked woodpecker
Tropical king bird
Orange shin parakeet
White crown parrot
Yellow belly fly catcher
Red billed pigeon
Great green macaw… Flying
Red winged blackbird
Keel bill Toucan
Black striped sparrow
Groove billed annie
Tent making bats
Red cheeked oropendula
Long tailed tyrant
Broad winged hawk
Black mandible toucan
Kevin also explained that the local farmers are encouraged to keep some of the woodland in order to allow tourists to see the wildlife and that they receive a contribution from each tour. As with the guided tour yesterday, we were able to get some of the shots above by using the scope that the guide had along with one of our mobile phones.
We arrived back at the hotel at 8.30am and were pleased to be back in the shade as the temperature had really heated up. Breakfast was ready and included a similar selection to the previous day including fresh scrambled eggs and the sweetest pineapple!
After breakfast we had some time to shower and pack before we boarded the bus to head towards our next stop, a homestay in a village called Santa Rosa Pocosol. We left at 10am and journeyed along the main road with lush green vegetation along the side. After about 45 minutes we stopped to get some supplies, including some sweets and biscuits for the children of the village. A short while later we turned off the main road onto an unmade, and bumpier road!
The journey along the road wasn’t that long, although the road did go through a series of short up and down hills before we arrived at the community of Jaunilama.
We later heard that the community had been set up as recently as 1991 and was, for the first six years inaccessible other than by horse! There are now 600 residents and the community has both a primary and secondary school – something that is required by law in Costa Rica for any community. The residents also managed to ensure that the community was connected to mains electricity and water by campaigning to the government and the community is mainly subsistence farming. We would be staying at three houses in the community and as we arrived, we were dropped off and introduced to our host families. We stayed at the house of Sandra her husband and two daughters, Alexandra and Maripasa, along with Amanda. The house was a charming log built type cabin, with our rooms having a private ‘Jack-and-Jill’ interconnected bathroom.
After dropping our bags off, we were then taken to the local ‘village hall’ – an open but covered area in the centre of the village. Here we met a number of the other villagers and then had a short tour of one of the ‘allotments’ behind one of the houses. Here they were growing bananas, pineapple, sugar cane, tapioca and black pepper, the latter being a cash crop. We continued the tour despite a very heavy, but short, shower. We also watched and then tried to use the press which gets the moisture out of the sugar cane.
We returned to the hall where the locals had prepared a delicious lunch consisting of pork with rice, black beans, mashed tapioca and a fresh salad of plantain. We all sat around eating it and it was washed down with oat juice and filtered coffee…probably the best so far in Costa Rica.
Sitting around I did think that if you ignored the environment, you could quite easily be sitting in any village hall in the UK, with the ‘committee’ having organised an afternoon’s activities. The women and children all looked like they were genuinely pleased to be hosting us.
We returned to our hosts and spent the afternoon sitting on the balcony ‘chatting’ with Alexandra. Despite being only 12 and not having had any formal English lessons, her English was good enough for us all to get by. We were due to meet up again at 5.30pm with the others for a local dancing demonstration. Just before we left, we were served pancakes and fresh pineapple juice.
We were driven back to the centre where we sat and watched some of the children doing some local dances, apparently based on wheat, coffee and anther local product (which now escapes me). The children were excellent but, inevitably, this led on to us all being invited/dragged up to join in. Despite the still sweltering temperatures, high humidity and our complete lack of talent, it was an enjoyable couple of hours.
By 7.30 we were back at our hosts where we spent some more time chatting on the balcony before having a light evening meal of rice and black bean soup (served with a boiled egg in!). We headed for bed by 9pm, tired from the heat, humidity and the communication in pigeon Spanish/English! However, as I drifted off to sleep I reflected on an enjoyable day, significantly helped by extremely hospitable and friendly hosts.