Palo Verde National Park.
Awake at 1:00 am to use newly restored iPad hotspot to do church work.
Up with the sun and hiked up the 4 flights of stairs to wait for the bus to pick up up at 7:00 am. We saw lots more damage from rocks falling in the night.
On the way to our main event, we passed several soccer games and a LOT of sugar fields. We passed El Viejo Mill (Azucarera El Viejo, S.A), a Costa Rican company dedicated to growing sugar cane and sugar production. The company annually produces 50 thousand tons of sugar in the forms of raw, white, and special; by the industrial processing of half a million tonnes of cane grown by over 500 farmers in the Tempisque Basin. The sugar here in Costa Rica goes mainly to the Coca-Cola Company and for producing energy. I was very surprised that there was no rum production like in Barbados and other sugar-growing countries.
After many dirt roads, we stopped at the Palo Verde Restaurant and had juices and coffee while we waited for others to arrive. Since we were going to Palo Verde, I assumed (you know what they say about assuming!) we were close to beginning our trip. Well, no. Back on the busses. More narrow dirt roads.
Finally, we got to the Temique River and into our small boat. One of the women getting in commented to Michael that she had sat behind him in the plane from New York. Small world.
We saw lots of white-faced capuchin monkeys – several came right inside the boat. The Capuchin monkey is named after the order of Capuchin friars – the cowls of these friars closely resemble the monkey’s head coloration. I’ll bet those friars are happy to hear this!
We saw lots and lots of iguanas of various colors, in the trees, on the ground.
We also saw something that looked like a hawk but were told it was a black vulture. We also saw blue heron, egrets, and of course, crocodiles. The crocks saw we were there and slowly circled our boat.
In the photos below, the guide is showing us a huge grasshopper with red underwings.
After our boat tour, we went back to the Palo Verde Restaurant for what is called a “tipical meal”. We had Casados (black beans and rice) with chicken, beef, salad, fried plantains, white cheese and corn tortilla. Casado, the name referring to the eternal “marriage” of the beans and rice.
A l-o-n-g bus ride and we were home again, ready to rest up for the next day!
We just saw this ship in Barbados harbor last Wednesday! Several folks on our Cool Runnings catamaran had come off this ship to sail with us.
From Totally Barbados
Barbados has unveiled plans to construct an ultra-modern cruise facility, in the capital city of Bridgetown.
Totally Barbados has been informed that, when completed, the Barbados Sugar Point Cruise Facility will allow the tourism-driven country to welcome some of the largest cruise ships in the world.
Another advantage of the facility is that it will in effect separate cruise and cargo activities, thereby addressing complaints about the two competing for limited space within the port.
The development will take place along Trevor’s Way and involve reclaiming 15 acres of land from the sea, 100,000 square feet of which will be provided for commercial activity. Dredging is slated to begin in November 2012.
Minister of International Business and International Transport George Hutson said the project will be done in two phases, the first of which is estimated to cost 300 million dollars. He said the initial stage will include two cruise piers, arrival and departure facilities, along with parking lots.
The two-year project will be spearheaded by Barbados Port Incorporated in a joint venture with a consortium comprising Barbadian company SMI Infrastructure Solutions Incorporated and Royal Caribbean Cruise Limited, the world’s second largest cruise operator.
Project to bring Jobs to Barbados
A minimum of 200 jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase, with 500 more added through related commercial activities.
Once completed, the facility is also expected to feature Barbados rum and sugar culture as a major theme throughout.
Minister Hutson said the Barbados government is banking on the new facility to attract more cruise ships, with a view to increasing the revenue generated from their passengers.
He pointed out that for Barbados to effectively compete with new and emerging tourism markets, it must improve the customer experience and satisfaction.
It is with that in mind, that the new facility will be constructed in such a manner as to offer the opportunity to experience Barbados cuisine, local music and even see local artisans prepare their products for sale.
Barbados wants to be Cruise Hub
The facility will bring Bridgetown to cruise passengers, the minister said. He also said that the development would assist Barbados’ efforts to become a hub for cruise tourism.
Cruise tourism in Barbados has grown from just over 127,000 in 1985 to 726,543 last year. The highest number of cruise passengers 812, 863 was recorded in 2004.
According to the latest Central Bank of Barbados figures, which are for the first half of this year, the number of cruise passengers rose slightly, by 2.5 percent, although 21 fewer cruise ships visited.
The effort by the government to boost the intake from cruise tourism is in keeping with recommendations from the central bank, which has stressed that Barbados needs to earn more foreign exchange to register sustainable growth.