Yesterday we left Tirimbina to head to Rancho Margot, which is where we are now. Rancho Margot, is a fully sustainable, working farm, that all the students would agree feels like heaven! Coming from a hotter climate zone, this temperate climate zone is a refreshing change from the sticky, lowland rainforest feel. We are still located in the tropical rain forest climate zone, but we are fairly close to Monteverde, which is a cloud forest climate zone. This perfect location between two zones creates a moderate temperature, with frequent rain showers, but absolutely delightful. The cool breezes and sounds of the birds are calming and restorative. Students have already had a chance to relax, and immerse themselves in their research topics and enjoy some group time today. The group is also getting a tour of the farm, will get a chance to milk cows and work on the farm later today, and get some time to work on projects, do yoga, or soak in the warm compost-heated pool. Pictures will follow later!
On the way here yesterday we made a couple of awesome stops. Our first stop was the Iguana Bridge, where we saw a large assortment of iguanas basking in the trees, and we also enjoyed some delicious ice cream! Our next, and totally amazing stop was at the Venado Caves. These originated 17 million years ago, pushed up from the sea by tectonic plate movement, at a location where the Caribbean plate pushes up or subducts the Cocos plate. The caves were spectacular!!! Huge limestone stalactite and stalagmite formations, beautifully sculpted by water erosion, surrounded us. Four species of bats make their homes in these caves, and students looked thru Mark’s telescope at nectar and vampire bats. The group climbed through a narrow passage called ‘el nacimiento’, or the birth canal, got to wriggle under ledges, up a rock staircase, and under a spectacular waterfall to see the ‘Papaya’ – a formation shaped by stalactites and stalagmites joined together from ceiling to floor. It was an experience that students will always remember. We purchased a CD of pictures that were taken by a professional photographer inside the caves. We will post those later after we get access to an external CD player to upload the pics from the CD. Additional pictures include views of Arenal volcano from the bus, Ginger the dog at Rancho Margot, students enjoying the delicious food at Rancho Margot, and students working in their project groups. Pura Vida!