On Top of the World

Most typical days are not like the type of day I experienced today. So far I am loving Costa Rica and all of the amazing sights I am seeing. Today was the quite the experience following our departure from Earth University. From using some of the narrowest roads I have ever seen, to seeing my first ever hydropower plant, my breath was taken away more than once. Eating breakfast at Earth was nice and relaxing, however it was fast-paced since we knew we had a full day in front of us. After breakfast, we headed to the banana plantations at Earth, one of the main plantations that provides Whole Foods Market’s with their bananas. Although we had passed the banana plantations the previous day, we got the entire speech on the banana’s today and the processes they go through at Earth. Something that I found very interesting: they wrap the bananas with these blue bags to protect them from insects and fungi, to prevent the bananas from bruising, and to make sure the bananas mature at the right temperature so it does not ripen too fast. When you go to pick-up bananas at the market you never think about all of these processes farmers have to go to in order to get the bananas certified for the market. Once we were done at the banana plantation we headed over to the factory where they did the final inspections. They transport the bananas on a cable-car like system which carries the bags on a cable-line. Once the bananas are cooled and washed in water, they are checked for bruising, size, and missing bananas on the same stem. Unfortunately we were not able to take any photographs inside the inspection factory, it was awesome, believe me.

We came back to Earth to eat our lunch and get ready for departure. After 1pm we were off to our next destination, Guayabo Lodge in Turrialba. The journey to Turrialba was an experience of a lifetime. Everything from the views, farms, houses, to the hydroelectric plant was just astonishing. I had never seen a hydroelectric plant in real life till today, which was quite the treat. The dam is called the Reventazon Dam, which was finished in September of 2016. It is currently the largest dam in all of Central America, standing at 130 meters tall, it also costed $1.4 billion to construct. Adrianna, our guide, told us that renewable energy is extremely important in Costa Rica, accounting for about 90% of the total energy output for the entire nation. Costa Rica also holds the record for most consecutive days on solely renewable energy: 283. Hydroelectricity and Geothermal energy are the two main forms of renewable energy in Costa Rica. I am glad we got to stop by the dam and see it in person, to see something so significant in person was just amazing, and it left me speechless.

 

As we approached closer to Turrialba, we got to see one more beautiful valley, and we passed by many farms and mountain villages. Arriving at the Guayabo Lodge was a relief after the long day of travel. The lodge overlooks a mountain and is in a serene location with very little in the town. We ate a delicious dinner together prepared by the lodge’s chef; and celebrated Professor Soto’s birthday while eating banana cake, a great way to end a truly memorable day.

– Jehan

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