The hillsides surrounding the Central Valley are full of tradition. You can:
- see how sugarcane juice is pressed and boiled to make delicious tapa de dulce, the hard brown sugar that is molded into a flower-pot shape.
- try on the gigantic papier maché masks that local dancers wear for fiestas
- learn how the Quitirrisí indians weave baskets and hats from the fibers of the estococa plant
- learn to make tortillas
- experience the process of toasting, grinding and savoring coffee in the back yard of the farmer who picked it
- visit the large beneficio in Palmichal where coffee is processed, or visit the Vindas family farm, where they process coffee in a hand-crafted way
- visit a local organic farm to see how biodigestors supply gas for cooking
- visit local schools
Nacientes Palmichal Inn is surrounded by greenery, a great place to see lots of butterflies and birds. The food is delicious, and the sound of the rushing Río Tabarcia is always in the background. The community conservation group that founded the Inn is dedicated to providing pure, abundant water to thousands of residents in the towns below them. Nacientes Palmichal is a good stop at the beginning or end of your trip, because it is only an hour and fifteen minutes from the San José airport.
At El Encanto de la Piedra Blanca, in San Antonio de Escazú, you can visit a traditional sugar mill and learn about the colorful tradition of the mascaradas, huge papier mache puppets that parade at celebrations.
Getting to Nacientes Palmichal
From the south side of San José's La Sabana Park, take Rt 27, 17 kilometers to Ciudad Colón. It becomes Rt 239 (the Puriscal road) just south of Ciudad Colón. Follow this winding road up into the hills for 14 kilometers. Before the road descends to Puriscal, you will see the "Cruce Tabarcia".
Turn left and follow that winding road 5 kilometers downhill to the center of the town of Tabarcia. Turn left at the Church. Go another 4 kilometers uphill to the town of Palmichal. Continue uphill another 4 kilometers to Nacientes Palmichal Inn, about 800 meters beyond the San Pablo school. The road gets rough at the end--it is best to have the high clearance of a 4 WD vehicle. The Inn will be on your left.
What our travelers are sayingThe family vote was unanimous...of all the places and people we experienced, our time in Nacientes Palmichal and with Jorge (our 'guide') was the best. I couldn't say enough good things about the people, the countryside, the adventures/activities, the food, the lodge....We truly had an excellent time. In revisiting our experiences, I was pleasantly surprised to hear our 3 teenagers feel the way that Jim and I did -- That part of our trip was tops!
Our kids were thrilled to stay at Palmichal again - to play with the kids, sleep in the bunk beds, see the cows, chickens, horses, the fresh chocolate milk, and the bananas - they couldn't get enough of it! Marya and I enjoyed all of that and the coffee as well!