Heading inland from Uvita involved a massive climb. We estimated that we drove about 45 minutes straight up; the peak we crossed was 3491 metres above sea level. It was a long and windy road, finally popping out above the cloud cover. The road was in pretty average condition and this is one of the main routes in Costa Rica!
Upon our arrival to our hotel we were greeted with this view:
The Orosi Valley is just south of San Jose and made for an excellent stopover as we headed north. We allowed two nights here to visit an organic coffee farm and to drive a well-known 60-kilometre scenic route through the valley.
The first stop on our scenic drive was in perfect time for morning tea. Orosi itself is a very nice little village and the starting point for many bike riders to tackle the same route we were driving. It also boasts the oldest colonial church in Costa Rica and a couple of very decent options for a coffee, both owned by Europeans. After re-fueling we continued around the lake and stumbled upon a swing bridge, which traversed a free-flowing river. For a minimal donation we were able to walk over this decent sized structure and admire the view. It was then off to check out the largest dam in Costa Rica. This dam supplies San Jose with its water requirements. I put on my “Dad knows everything hat” and proceeded to bluff my way through the inner workings of the dam and hydro-electricity in general. As the valley is in coffee country, the drive meandered through coffee plantations and followed the waterway. It was a great drive in beautiful countryside.
The main purpose of our detour to the valley was Finca Cristina. The farm was established in the late 1970s by an American couple and they have been pioneering organic coffee since. They are also advocates for the industry in Costa Rica. The two hour guided tour around their farm by the owner, Linda, was a fascinating insight into organics and the process of coffee growing from the initial planting of the fruit to the roasting followed of course by some tasting of their delicious product. Although Trina and I are both coffee drinkers we didn’t really understand the process so we learnt a lot and even the boys took something away with them, so a very beneficial couple of hours spent.
It was a short stop and was thoroughly enjoyed. Stunning scenery, a couple of playgrounds for the boys to get stuck into and superb coffee for the grown-ups.