Scenic Driving route Alajuela to Poas Volcano by Car
Travel Costa Rica by rental car, the best way to see the Real Costa Rica, with it’s abounding natural beauty. Travel the scenic back roads and experience Costa Rica’s small villages and rural way of life. Stop along the way, walk around the little town squares, watch the children play in the park. Ken, my husband and I decided to just that. The day was beautiful with lots of sunshine so we headed out early from Alajuela, the second largest city, north to the Poas Volcano. This is called the Touristic Route Alajuela-Poas Volcano, not exactly “the back road” but it took us through beautiful coffee plantations, dairy farms, and strawberry fields. As we gained altitude, hundreds of coffee plants surrounded us, each filled with dark red berries. It’s January, prime time coffee harvest , and the pickers are at it. My photograpy captured a pretty young Costa Rica woman whose wide brim sun hat and solid white attire shielded her from the tropical sun. We came to a small village flanked by a large fern farm. The locals, only about two hundred of them, gave it the name Fiajanes. We stopped and walked around the little park and the nearby lake, or lagoon. Mothers were out with their babies to bask in the morning sunshine and the older children were playing soccer.
A few miles up the road we stopped at a small roadside market selling fresh strawberries, locally made fresh sour cream and while farmers cheese. Plus a local Costa Rica artist was displaying his wood art. We bought a toucan delicately carved and hand painted, a beautiful souvenir of our visit to Costa Rica.
The views all around were spectacular. I felt like Heidi with her Grandfather in the Swiss Alps. The white dairy cows with huge black spots all over them were lazily grazing along the hillsides. They looked like a Norman Rockwell painting.
People of all ages were out for their Sunday strolls, dressed in the best for the family reunions and an afternoon with your sweetheart. We had to drive very slow because the people use the road to walk since there are no sidewalks. Some younger kids were even playing ball in the road. It’s not uncommon to see chickens, ducks, cows, and even horses roaming freely in the middle of the road. Seems the roads are for vehicles, people, animals and everything else!
Approaching the entrance to Poas Volcano National Park, Costa Rica we noticed the landscape was changing. Hugh ferns, almost like trees hung over the sides of the roads and plants with large unbrella like leaves, called Poor Mans Umbrella lined the walkway up to the crater. Wildflowers were blooming in all shades of the rainbow. January is definitely a great month to be here with lots and lots of sunshine. The crater was clear and the hot pool of gurgling blue water was spectacular. How lucky could we get!
Heading back down we stopped for lunch at a small wooden house with a beautiful garden. It is called Chubascos, and is owned and operated by a local Costa Rican family and serves delicious typical dishes. In the middle of the garden is a beautiful plant named Bell Of the Night, looks like an upside down pink and white bell. Story goes that if you drink of the boiled flower you will hallucinate. (Old Indian Legend) . After much pondering over the menu, we choose the specialty, a plate sized homemade corn tortilla smothered in shredded beef, homegrown tomatoes, and Chubasco’s own sauce. And yes, the recipe for the sauce is a secret. And for desert we choose the cheesecake made from locally processed cheese, and topped with the strawberries grown next door. What a treat! With so many dairy cows in the region, it’s no wonder that so many varieties of cheese are found here.
Our last stop for the day was at Three Generations Coffee Tour, owned and operated by the Doka family for three generations. I was tired by then but so glad we stopped. A Real education here! We have a guided tour which demonstrates the entire process of the coffee from the coffee plant to your cup. Great guides and such a gorgeous place right in the middle of the coffee plantation.
The sun was setting and we were ready to return to our comfortable hotel in the mountains, Hotel Buena Vista. Not far to go since it is located on this road approx. 4 miles north of Alajuela. A very picturesque place with views to central valley and the Poas Volcano. Cool mountain breezes refresh us from the patio off our room. We choose the second floor for the views. What a nice day we had and now are ready to say good night (buenos noches)