HomeRoast Digest


Topic: vacation in coffee-land (6 msgs / 263 lines)
1) From: MSMB
I was thinking of taking a vacation this year for the first time in =
many,
and I thought it would be fun and interesting to go to a place where I =
could
travel around a coffee growing area and get a much better sense of what
coffee is as an agricultural product, a market, the people who grow it, =
etc.
I imagine that some of the territory is very beautiful as well; kind of =
like
the coffee equivalent of the wine country tour in California.  There are
some good deals on travel to Costa Rica and I was wondering if you =
thought
this was a realistic idea and maybe even if you could suggest an =
itinerary
(or at least an inexpensive place-clean and safe, but it doesn't have to =
be
fancy--to stay in San José just to get started). Since the country is =
so
small, it seems like I could even combine my coffee country tour with =
some
time on the Beach.  I speak Spanish pretty well so getting around should =
not
be a problem in that regard and I am accustomed to going where many =
tourists
would not normally go (my version of ecotourism).  Do you have any
suggestions or comments?
Or, if there is a better place instead of Costa Rica where I could =
combine
my interest in coffee with a variety of other activities, please feel =
free
to let me know.  Many thanks in advance! 
MS

2) From: Dan Bollinger
MS, I don't know if 'industrial tourism' has reached CR yet. Maui is up to 
speed, so that's an option for you.
Dan

3) From: Michael I
I haven't visited any coffee farms in CR, but have visited several of =
the
regions of the country.  You would be doing yourself a great disservice =
if
you didn't see some of the sights while there.  
So, a couple of points of advice -- don't bother staying in San Jose, =
the
countryside is the place to be.  You'll probably want to go to Tarrazú =
for
the coffee, from which it is pretty convenient to get to Manuel Antonio =
(a
very nice forest preserve on the coast), to get some beach time in.
Your comment on the fact that it's small is true in the geographic =
sense,
but it's not small when you're there.  The roads are, um, interesting, =
so
getting 20 miles as the quetzal flies can take an awfully long time.  =
And
the variety of climatic zones is staggering.
Depending on how much time you're able to spend there, going to the =
cloud
forest in Monteverde is highly recommended.
These places (Pacific coast, Monteverde, Arenal volcano) are the most
visited by tourists, but that's for good reason.  You can, of course, =
find a
lot of places off the beaten path, where your Spanish will undoubtedly =
help.
I'll leave it to the others to give you advice on where to go to visit
coffee farms.  I hope you go there -- it's a great country to visit.
-AdkMike

4) From: Vicki Smith
I spent two summers in Costa Rica on a howler monkey project. The one 
thing I would add is that whilst San Jose doesn't have much to recommend 
it, it is a good place to use as a base camp for short excursions. There 
is a whole lot to see (in various directions) within a comfortable 
driving distance. There are also tourist bus trips that are quite good. 
Don't eat the street food.
When touring the countryside, we opted to stay in places designed for 
Costa Ricans on holiday, rather than for tourists. They were pretty 
basic, but wonderful in their own way.
vicki

5) From: Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee
Boy, I wouldn't really know where to start. A couple listers have 
been to Costa Rica. There, or Panama, would be ideal places. Tres 
Rios growing region is basically a mall at this point, a suburb. Two 
small towns that are true coffee centers, and that are really 
non-touristy are Santa Maria de Dota and Naranjo. They are in 
opposite directions from San Jose, but both within 1-2 hours. I don't 
think Santa Maria de Dota has any real hotels but a pensione type 
place is probably better anyway. I know Naranjo has one highly 
recommended small hotel, but I don't know the name and havent yet 
stayed there myself. Both have small coffee houses run by the local 
coops. If you go to those, have a cup , and express a real interest 
in their coffee, I think they could send you on to the mill, or to 
some nearby small farms. I think renting a car in Costa Rica is real 
easy, aside from the usual crazy driving. that would be smart if you 
want to try to stay in smaller towns.
tom
<Snip>
--
                   "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
            Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria
                      http://www.sweetmarias.com                Thompson Owen george_at_sweetmarias.com
     Sweet Maria's Coffee - 1115 21st Street, Oakland, CA 94607 - USA
             phone/fax: 888 876 5917 - tom_at_sweetmarias.com

6) From: Jim Russell
MS,
I've been to Costa Rica twice in the last few years and will probably go
back again this fall.  I highly recommend going for at least 10 days, if yo=
u
can.  As Michael mentioned, despite CR's small size, it is a challenge to
get anywhere quickly.  The roads outside the capitol are narrow and twisty.
That said, I think renting a car and driving around is a wonderful way to
see the country.  On my last trip, we had hotel reservations for only the
night our flight arrived at the lovely Hotel
Bougainvilleajust outside of San Jose.  After
that we just wandered around Costa Rica and
Nicaragua for 11 days, pointing the car in the direction we wanted to go an=
d
trusting that we'd be able to find a cheap, clean hotel when we got there.
We were never disappointed.
Hope your trip is as fun as mine have been.
Jim
On 6/28/07, Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee 


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