Another sea day and then Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Trip Start Feb 28, 2012
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10
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Trip End Mar 20, 2012


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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Sunday, March 11, 2012

Saturday, March 10th... was another sea day.  We booked this cruise because we like sea days between port stops.  The forecast was for cloudy skies with a high of 79. Dress for the evening was Smart Casual. 

Again, there were Scholarship@Sea lectures along with an ice carving demonstration by the pool, trivia, bridge, an afternoon movie, "Under The Same Moon"... and of course, Snowball Jackpot Bingo.  That evening in the Princess Theater was Musical Showtime with Craig Richard, and in the Vista Lounge, a production show, "Words and Music".

Sunday, March 11th... we arrived in Puntarenas, Costa Rica at 5am and docked at the Puntarenas' main pier.  All passengers were required to be back onboard by 6:30pm.  The forecast was for partly cloudy skies with a high of 91.  The dress for the evening was Smart Casual. 

I had booked a private tour with Charlie Soto of Okeydokeytours.com.  This was the 2nd time we had used Charlie.  We met our guide and driver at 8:30am.  Our itinerary was the Espiritu Santo Coffee Plantation, the artisan town of Sarchi, the town of Grecia and the El Jardin Garden and Butterflies enclosure.  

Our first stop was to see the Capuchin Monkeys and the Coatis in a private grove. The stop was a big hit.  Then, we drove to El Jardin Garden and Butterfly enclosure and souvenir shop... another big hit.  Next, we drove deeper into the Costa Rican countryside toward the Espiritu Coffee Plantation.  Since we were further inland, it was definitely warmer than the predicted forecast.  

We arrived in the little town of Naranjo, where the plantation was located.  The Espiritu guide led us out, onto the grounds of the plantation.  We were very appreciative that he stopped to talk under the shade of a tree, while explaining the different stages of growing coffee and how the coffee beans are processed.  We were able to see the coffee terraces in the distance.  After the tour, we had the opportunity to sample different kinds of coffee as well as chocolate-covered coffee beans... yum!!   

Next stop was the artisan town of Sarchi, Costa Rica's most famous crafts center.  Sarchi is best known for it's "carretas", the handcrafted oxcart, which is the national symbol of Costa Rica.  In Parque Central, we viewed the world's largest oxcart.  Also in Parque Central was Sarchi's lovely white church with pink trim, called the "wedding cake" church.  

 From Sarchi, we were to have driven further inland to see the town of Grecia.  Since the weather felt like it was over 100, we all decided to start back to Puntarenas.  Just outside Sarchi, we made a brief stop an arts and crafts store.  It was a lovely, large store selling all sorts of handicrafts, as sell as local food.  While there, we had the opportunity to view the arttisan's workplace... very interesting.  

We returned to Puntarenas at 4pm, in plenty of time to explore the area near the dock, with its' stores, hotels, restaurants, food carts and very long row of souvenir stalls.  It had been a good day.
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