Scenes along the
Pan American Highway
In Costa Rica

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  A Coffee Plantation  

These farms are very small compared to the large farms we have on the plains of the United States. And they are much smaller than Americans think of as plantations, such as the cotton plantations in the antebellum southern United States. These plantations are small enough so that a family could manage them.

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The coffee beans mature at different times and must be harvested by hand.
This fact provides jobs for those who haven't done so well in school. The Ticos enjoy a literacy rate of just about 95%. Our guides said that they have a system where students who do can achieve or exceed certain scores on college entrance exams can go tuition free. Those who score on the next tier get 90% of their tuition paid by the government. The third tier of exam scores earn 80% of the tuition, and so on. This gives the students good incentives to study hard in school.

They mix different plants in their coffee fields. The Ticos are very conscious of the environment, and nothing goes to waste. They use the fibers of plants such as bananas and coffee to make new paper. These papers are highly textured and have high esthetic value for artistic projects.

I wanted you to see their banana paper, so I used it as the background texture for the Costa Rica section of this Website. The text color matches many of the spots of fiber that add interest to the paper.

Here, an orange tree, a eucalyptus, and dracaenas share the coffee plantation land.

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The pink flowers in the photo above are impatiens.
In West Texas, we have to work so hard to get impatiens to grow.
In Costa Rica they grow everywhere whether they've been intentionally planted or not!

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Our Guide, Johnny

About forty people were in our group, and two guides worked with us. On the bus they took turns telling us about their country. And each took half of the group through the cloud forest.

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This page was last updated on February 6, 2000.