I’m at 8 but bites and wanting to scream, but today was definitely worth it! We had breakfast at Guyaybo and had a two hour bus drive to our next destination which thankfully I slept for most of the way. We made a pit stop and were able to see a few sloths way up in the trees!
Our first stop was lunch and a tour of La Selva Biological Station, a massive, over 4000 acre forest with hundreds of thousands of species and animals living there. Our our guide talked to us about how the preservation is how it always has been, meaning no trees were planted or species brought in to give them this space. If a tree falls down, it is left to decompose and if an animal is seen wounded, it is left to take natures course. Researchers from all over the world come here to do studies on plants and species where they are gives places to stay up to a month as well as a wide array of equipment to do their research with. This is a researchers dream to do work here and it was clear many people were there from all levels testing out what it had to offer. We were told there are about 10 research projects taking place right now but there could be more. Some famous researchers like Dr. Clark conducted a 20 year project here. Just by being there for a few hours, we saw turtles, this boar-looking-animal, roaring monkeys, all sizes of ants, and more. Its mind-blowing for me to think about how researchers go out into this area to collect their data on bike and mostly foot to get what they need! I could never do it!
We then went to my favorite destination yet, the DOLE plantation for a banana tour! Our tour guide Carlos was hilarious and made learning about the history, processing, and packaging of bananas so funny and interesting! We got a full explanation of how banana production came to be from the time they were found in India to how the plant got to where it is today! There are over 50,000 hectors of banana plantations in Costa Rica with about 50-60 workers in the plantation and 120 in the fields. There are 1700 PLANTS (not trees) growing per hector of land, and the workers make about 29$ a day, compared to workers in Ecuador (the #1 banana producer) making about $4/day. The number 3 works in many ways when talking about bananas. 3 unique things about banana plants process: the plants are 90% water so even with the massive amounts of flooding that can risk destroying parts of the farm, the plants take in a lot of water! 2. they use a cable system to transport the bananas from right when they are cut to the processing and packaging areas! 3: they use ties to hold up the banana plants so they don’t fall over or get blown away by the winds! Another interesting fact we learned about the plastic bags that are put around the bananas to 1. protect them from being used 2. protect from insects and 3. speed up the ripening process is that they tried to reuse them to save plastic but it ended up being more expensive to wash them.