Two hours along winding mountain roads from the capital city of San Jose lies a jungle oasis at the base of a protruding volcano. The clouds linger around the top, casting bright rays down across the valley. After a red-eye flight and a long drive, my body was itching with the anticipation of experiencing naturally warm, crystal clear hot springs.
Playas del Coco is on the beach; however, the mountains and rainforest are less than an hour away for the occasional change of scenery. There are many scenic waterfalls, suspension bridges, and hiking and horseback riding trails. We made a stop at the volcanic hot mud baths and coated our bodies with the nutrient rich warm mud. After showering it off, it was time to relax in the hot tubs fed by natural hot spring water. It was interesting to see frogs living in the natural hot steam room.
Dona Noire picked out a parachute-looking seed pod from a table laden with colorful fruits and vegetables and peeled back the outer layer to reveal a tiny yellow fruit inside. “The fruit of love,” she said, and handed it to us to eat. “This will be your breakfast juice tomorrow and after you drink it I will show you where it grows.” The following morning after a breakfast sourced entirely from her family farm, she led us through her garden pointing out not only her plants (she grows incense among her flowers and fruits) but also how the farm recycles ordinary items instead of buying materials. Used tires form steps and garden beds. Used rubber boots become the insulating base for the house. Broken glass gets mixed into concrete for benches. Discarded stuffed toy animals get turned into garden scarecrows.