Had a day out in Costa Rica yesterday. You tend to know the place name 'Costa Rica', and that it's 'somewhere over there . . .however a visit to the actual country and a bus tour where there is a tour guide to tell you all about the history of the country, it's economy and major exports etc, gives you a much better perspective of the area.
Costa Rica is the country just north of it's neighbour Panama and having a northern neighbour Nicaragua.
Coffee and Intel Computer Chips are the main exports from Costa Rica - a basic wage for workers in plantations and similar is about $2 an hour. It's not exactly a very wealthy looking country judging by the roadsides we passed.
We spent just over 2 hours in the bus up the the mountainous area and visited a coffee plantation where we were given a tour around the processing plant and info on the Arabica Coffee plants grown in that area. Downhill heading home seemed much faster!
Into the Port of Corinto in Nicaragua today and back not another tour bus for a trip out to a rum distillery and tour through there.
Nicaragua is the 2nd poorest country in Central America, beaten only by Haiti. Everywhere we looked it was poverty, old weatherboard or concrete homes built below street level in an area where 10 months of the year it rains. everything seemed to be part of the dirty, muddy surrounds - pigs, chokes, skinny dogs roaming around homes, skinny horses tied up on the road verge eating whatever they could find to eat and general lethargy by anyone we saw. However as a tourist visiting this rum factory, it's a totally different story - the surrounding 40,000 acres is owned by one family, who seemed to own the local Toyota factory, all the shops in the town and of course all the tourist dollars we were to spend would have gone into that family's pocket. So much for those living in the streets and cruise ships being a 'good thing' for the economy!
One has to wonder where money 'really' comes and goes to here in Nicaragua. The 'drugs' word was never mentioned and no-one even asked but seems there's something fishy going on here!!!