I have been talking every evening with the bartender at the bar in the hotel where I’m staying. His name is Ronald, and he’s studying to be a physical education teacher, because he loves sports so much. He has a wife and a daughter and somehow is able to support them with this job, and go to school at the same time.
He said that he’s from Heredia, a small city just 12 km north of San Jose. I was curious to see what this small town was like, so he volunteered to be my tour guide on his day off.
I took a taxi to the Parque Central in Heredia: this is where we had agreed to meet. I got there early, and walked around and took some photos. There was a church, of course, on one side of the park, and there was also a curious sculpture garden with all kinds of animal sculptures.
Ronald arrived: he had borrowed his uncle’s car so he was able to drive me around a bit. He showed me the Heredia Fortress and the Heredia Castle, as well as examples of local mud and brick construction.
Along the way we passed a curious sign for the “Inst. Parauniversitario Richard Nixon.” Richard Nixon? I found this most bizarre.
We left Heredia and went into the Braulio Carrillo National Park where we saw a waterfall. We didn’t go much farther because it was very foggy: low clouds had moved in. So we headed back to Heredia and went to the INBioparque.
This is part botanical garden part zoological park. We saw some of the strangest plants here, like several different kinds of giant orchids, and a flower that looked vaguely like an albino ear of corn.
There was a lake in the middle of the park, as well as a small waterfall, and here we saw turtles and iguanas around its perimeter.
There was also a garden with lots of plants that a attracted a huge number of butterflies and it was enclosed with netting to keep them inside.
We saw a tarantula and other insects in the insect house, and a rather large boa constrictor in the reptile house.
When we were finished, Ronald kindly drove me back to the hotel in San Jose.