Bus tour/Tortuguera to La Fortunate
NSTA Costa Rica Trip Day 5
July 27, 2012
(posted on behalf of Greg Neff)
We first have to load into a water taxi and take the 1 1/2 hour trip up-river to meet up with our bus. Not raining yet but the boat is sending up as spray getting some of us just as wet as the rain.
Load up the bus and head towards La Fortunate. Our drive takes us through large agricultural areas, cattle is the main income in this area, with pineapple yuca, palm heart, taro, corn, papaya and rice also being important products.
County of San Carlos, Largest town we passed through Aguas Zacara (calm, pure waters) named after the local river. This area is one of the most prosperous areas, as the farmers own larger tracts of area (1000 plus acres) and have diversified their crops, producing a variety of crops that provide a steady income all year.
Dairy farming is free-range, with grazing being supplemented only slightly with higher protein grain such as corn. No dry cropping of haulage produced. Until 1940 this area was not well settled, it was frontier, unbroken continuous forest. The government at time encouraged settlement, and offered for free 1000 acres (400) hectares. 2 provisions had to be met by settlers, 1 to improve the land, and 2 settlers had to live on it for 10 years. Then the land would be granted to them. Life was harsh without improvements, and developments. Clinics were far apart, no groceries stores, life required hard work. In order to generate cash settlers used cattle. This was a non-product product they could bring to the market to generate the much needed cash. Settlers needed cash for things like clothes that they could not produce themselves. This is what started the cattle industry in this area, now the most important product of the area.
Sugar cane another important crop produced, is harvested by hand. This draws many immigrants from Nicaragua. Costa Rica has similar immigrant situation with Nicaragua as the US has with Mexico. Many immigrants seeking work where little is available in home country.
Living fences are very common along the borders of the property; farmers use 4 different tree species for these. All 4 of these species are distantly related to the bean plants. If not cultured tree could grow to 100 feet. Farmers cut them at about 1 1/2 meter, trees continue to live and provide excellent fence post, which is ecologically sound practice, providing habitat and food for wildlife.
Rain is heavy today, after days of always being in the rain, so it is good to be on the bus and be able to stay dry, even though we have been driving for 5 hours. Town of La Fortunate suddenly appears out of the fog and rain, we are at our destination. We’re looking forward to a soak in the hot springs pools that are a part of our hotel.