Sunday, March 4, 2018

Trip to Cartago

Friday, 2nd March.

We got up early this morning to head to the Irazu Volcano near Cartago. I read yesterday that rain and drizzle was expected at the site with temperatures in the low 40s. Brrrr! I have got used to the 70s and 80s so will need to pack a sweat shirt and jeans for both of us.
The journey was uneventful and we arrived in sight of the volcano on a fairly cloudy day down in the valley.

However, the volcano was not in the clouds and we got a good view of it.

The dip in the photograph is the volcano. We were very surprised it had vegetation growing almost to the very top.

Set in its own National Park, the volcano rises to 11,260 feet and its summit has a complex of 4 craters. The Diego de la Haya crater has a greeny blue lake in the bottom. Next to the crater with the lake is another crater that is 1080 feet deep. Both Gary and myself huffed and puffed at the high altitude and had to take frequent rest breaks on our walk (you could drive to the top of the volcano).
The volcano is still active and last erupted in 1963, the same day John F. Kennedy visited the country.

To give you an idea how wide one of the craters was, I took a photo of Gary standing in the middle. You probably need a magnifying glass to spot him. He is in the center of the photo.

 We were way above the cloud line but because of the clouds we could not see The Pacific
Coast but could spot the Caribbean Coast way, way off in the distance.

What amazed me was the flowers flowering at 11,000 feet. They must be quite hardy.

Even dandelions were at the top of the volcano.
What was a very pleasant surprise was the temperature - we guess it to have been in the 60s with a very strong wind that blew my hair in every direction. So much for the weather forecast!!

On the way down from the top of the volcano we passed a motorcyclist exercising two horses and the usual cattle in the road. We never did see anyone accompanying the cattle.

We also passed a truck carrying farm hands and there must have been at least ten of them either sitting or standing in the back of the truck.

To end our trip to Irazu, we had a nice view of the city of Catago down in the valley. Even Cartago was at an altitude of 3,500 feet.

Saturday, we visited Lankester Botanical Gardens run by the University of Costa Rica. The garden specializes in orchids and is world renowned for its research. Costa Rica has more than 1,400 varieties of orchids, and almost 800 species are on display at the botanical garden. Unfortunately, for us, the majority of the orchids were not in bloom.
I took some photos of the ones that were.

There was a very nice display as you entered the orchid greenhouses that housed many, many orchids.

 Some of the orchids were growing in pieces of coconut shells.

Others were growing on the walls of the greenhouse.

I have never had any luck with growing orchids. I think that may be due to over watering them. My cousin, Jean has a wonderful collection and they are always in bloom when I visit her in the Wirral.
Walking through the gardens we came across some strange looking palms with roots growing down into the soil. I do not know the name of palm, unfortunately.

The garden also had a nice succulent/cactus section. I would not have thought succulent/cactus could survive the wet season but they seem to do well enough.

The above Crown of Thorns is one of the biggest I have seen and I have visited many botanical gardens around the world.
After the succulent garden came the fern garden. Now, ferns fascinate me due to the way they unfurl their leaves. I took the next photo of a fern as it reminded me of a boxer holing up his arms after winning a match.

The garden though known for its orchids and bromeliads did have some flowers I had not seen in Costa Rica before.

Many of the trees in the garden had bromeliads growing out of their trunks. How they manage to attach themselves, beats me.

There were plants growing on the roof of the entrance to the Japanese Garden.

The last part of the garden was dedicated to bromeliads and there were hundreds of them but not in bloom, unfortunately. I spotted a bird I had not seen before.

On our way out we decided to have a drink. On the table we chose to sit at was a huge bug (I guess to be 4") that gave the good impression of being a leaf. He crawled down the table leg and towards Gary's foot. Gary was having nothing to do with it so kept moving his foot out of the range of the insect.

On our way back to the hotel we had to cross a one lane suspension bridge.

Some of the hedgerows were quite pretty as we rounded a small lake.

Well, that ends our trip to Cartago, the Irizu Vocano and the Lankester Botanical Gardens.

No comments:

Post a Comment