Having been told nothing but wonderful things about Costa Rica for years, we finally made plans to go. This being Nadia's first international vacation, other than India...Costa Rica (Or as Nadia calls it “CostaRi”) offered the perfect spot for an escape from Milwaukee’s winter…warm weather, lovely vistas, exotic wildlife. Traveling from February 14th through the 21st, we spent time at San Jose, Alajuela, Doka Estates, San Ramon, La Fortuna and Monteverde.
We spent Valentine’s day night at Wyndham in San Jose, surrounded by couples with roses. We had a nice dinner at the hotel and turned in eary.
Next morning, we had an awesome breakfast at Wyndham. Tropical fruits, warm eggs and fresh coffee which our hostess made for us at our table…delicious.
Soon after, we checked out of the hotel and started driving towards Alajuela (or so we thought). After driving 10kms in the wrong direction we quickly realized our mistake and rectified it. We reached Alajuela within an hour on a Sunday morning. The town center was filled with people relaxing, making their way to Sunday church and some other local folks selling their wares. We spent some time in the central area with Nadia playing with bubbles and just enjoying the fresh air.
We then walked around the little town surrounded by mountains and soon after left for Doka Estates. We were so lucky to be welcomed at Doka Estates by this gorgeous rainbow atop the rolling hills.
Doka Estates is famous for the coffee tours. We reached around noon, hungry and ready for lunch. We booked the 1.30pm tour and stopped for lunch at their restaurant. A simple lunch of rice, beans and chicken along with the most refreshing mango juice and we were ready for the coffee tour.
Doka Estate coffee is one of Costa Rica's highest quality coffees. Located on the fertile slopes of the Alajuela Poas Volcano, the rich soil and the ideal altitude and climate have made the Santa Eduviges farm famous because of it's excellent coffee. The Vargas coffee growing family also carry a brand - Cafe Tres Generaciones. From the seed to the cup, the Coffee tour pretty much taught us everything one needs to know about how coffee is grown and made.
Our guide showed us the coffee plants, as well as talked about the local history and geography of coffee production. We then visited the processing plant, which is very old and was, in fact, declared to be an Architectural Heritage for Humanity site in 2003. Here we observed the process of de-pulping and fermenting the grains, which readies them to be peeled and then exported or roasted in the country. Finally, we visited the roasting plant Café Tres Generaciones and sampled the eight different blends made at Doka Estate.
We bought coffee, chocolates and a coffee maker wooden stand. I used it to make coffee this weekend and it was a delightful experience, bringing a bit of Costa Rica home to us.