This was the wrong road.
The Monteverde area was charming. It is in a different climate zone (small Costa Rica has 12 distinct climate zones). It was windy and a lot colder. We actually had on jeans and jackets the entire time. Good thing we had some with us! It was nice to stay at a little rustic cabin too so we had a few days off of restaurant meals. A trip to the local grocery store to stock up on some basic food was all that was needed.
The highlight from this part of our trip was definately the coffee tour. There were many tours to pick from, but we chose to go with the Monteverde Coffee Co-op. What a great decision! We got picked up in a van in the morning. It was just the four of us and our driver and guide. The coffee co-op is comprised of 42 small coffee growers in the region. They produce mostly organic coffee and it is all fair-trade. Our guide took us to one of the smaller coffee plantations (2 hectares) where we met with the owner, Don Juan (yes, that is his name!). We ended up spending two plus hours touring his property, picking coffee beans, and learning how coffee beans are processed. It was coffee bean picking season so the timing was right.
We learned that Costa Rica passed a law a some years back requiring that farmers only produce Arabica beans (the highest quality beans). While farmers can sell the bean itself, they receive far more money if they do the processing themselves. Coffee beans are inside a green fruit. The fruit turns red when it is ripe. At this point, it is picked. The beans are run through a machine that removes the outside fruit. The beans are then washed to remove a slimy layer of skin then laid out to dry in the sun. They dry out in about a week or so. Coffee beans are a tan color at this point. The farmer then takes the dried beans to the co-op where they go through a final cleaning and roasting. Because the Monteverde Coffee Co-op is fair trade, farmers are guaranteed a minimal price regardless of what the world coffee market does.
Our guide and coffee grower.
Coffee from Don Juan's front porch.
The other highlight from the Monteverde area was our evening frog tour. Lily and Semira received a book about Costa Rica a few months ago from Grandma Bev. They read it while I was in Israel in November. Leave it to Lily, the studious one, to know plenty about Costa Rican frog species. She was up front with our tour guide touting her knowledge as we shined flashights on various noctoral frogs. The big highlight was the red eye tree frog. During the day, it is all green. At night, it is seven different colors. Amazing!
We very much enjoyed our time in Monteverde. Besides the colder weather, it was a charming, quaint place. Now onto the beach!