PINEAPPLE SALSA VERDE - RECIPE
3 to 4 medium sized fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered
1 fresh jalepeno or other chili pepper of your choice
½ large white onion, cut into large chunks
8 oz can pineapple tidbits, drained (or use 8 oz fresh pineapple)
1 – 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro
¼ tsp salt
Juice of ½ of a lime
Combine tomatillos, jalepeno, onion and pineapple in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Pulse until coarsely chopped.
Add cilantro, salt, and lime juice and pulse until desired texture. It will be runny; spoon off extra liquid if desired and serve with chips.
THE RAINFORESTS OF COSTA RICA
The rainforest, or “selva tropical”, is not just amazing to look at. It has its own ecosystem which is characterized by a warm climate (average temperatures are above 18 degrees C, 64 degrees F, for all months of the year) and significant rainfall (annually between 250 and 450 centimetres or 98 and 177 inches).
Even though rainforests cover only about 2% of the globe, they contain more than half of the world’s species of plants and animals. In Costa Rica, rainforests cover 25% of the nation and consist of three types; tropical rainforest, cloud forest and tropical dry forest. The tropical rainforests are found mainly in the area of the Central Pacific, specifically Carara National Park and Manuel Antonio National Park. The cloud forests cover the higher elevations of Costa Rica’s mountains and volcanoes; and the tropical dry forest is found near the North Pacific coast.
While you are exploring the Manuel Antonio area, be sure to take a tour of the Manuel Antonio National Park. While it is the smallest park in the country, it has more than 110 species of mammals and over 185 species of birds. Most visitors want to know if they will see monkeys in the area; the answer is a definite “Yes”. Most often seen are the White-headed Capuchin, the second smallest Costa Rican monkey, and the Mantled Howler, the second largest monkey species in Costa Rica, and aptly named for its loud calls that can be heard for several kilometers. Other mammals calling the park home are the sloth, raccoons, and the white nosed coati (or coatimundi). Commonly seen birds are toucans, brown pelicans, motmots, parrots and macaws.
Plant species include the mango tree and the Monstera (if you have never tried the fruit of either of these, don’t miss your opportunity while visiting Manuel Antonio). Also found are the national tree of Costa Rica, the “Guanacaste” or Teak Wood, the balsa tree and the peinemoci (Monkey’s comb).
Have your camera ready to capture and remember the beauty and diversity of the Costa Rican rainforest.
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
How can you budget for the incidentals on a trip when you don’t even know the currency and what things cost? And you can’t shake that uneasy feeling that it will cost way more than you expected. All you need is a plan. Get familiar with the local currency so you don’t go into shock when you see that an inexpensive bottle of wine costs around 7,500; that is, 7,500₡ or colones, which is equivalent to about $14 (U.S. Dollars). Not as bad as it first sounds! Go to www.greencoastrentals.com, visit the “News” page and try out the currency converter. Then when you get your bill for dinner and it’s 26986₡, you won’t panic because you’ll know that’s about $50.
Generally the prices for grocery items and meals at restaurants are about the same as they are in the United States, where a good number of our guests reside. If you keep this in mind, you really don’t even need to convert the currency. If you wouldn’t hesitate to order dessert at a restaurant in the U.S., go ahead and order something similar in Costa Rica; you can expect that the price will be about the same as a comparable restaurant in the U.S.
Tour prices vary greatly. Your Green Coast concierge will be happy to arrange your tours and activities for you. We partner with the most reputable tour companies to insure a great experience for our guests. Most tours include transportation and either breakfast or lunch, depending on what time your tour starts. Prices range from the Butterfly Atrium tour at $39 per person to the zip line (Canopy tour) at $80 per person to the Jet Ski tour at $130 per person.
One question that is often asked is how to tip. Tips are greatly appreciated from the staff at any resort vacation town and it is no different in Manuel Antonio. The amount of your tip should be based on the level of the service. As a general guide, we recommend tips as follows:
- Concierge: $25 per day
- Maid Service: $10 per service
- Tour Guides: $10 per person
- Chef: $30-$40 per meal
- Van Driver: $20 one way to or from San Jose
With a little planning, you will feel at ease in dealing in colones, ordering meals, choosing your tours, and tipping all the people who have made your vacation a little more fun and much less stressful.
Costa Rica Palm Plantations = Palm Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Kernel Oil
We see a picture of a coconut palm and it immediately brings to mind a tropical beach, clear sparkling waters, and a sunny perfect day. But there is much more to the palm tree than a pretty image. Along the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica, mainly between Jaco and Dominical, you will see large plantations of African Palms (“Oil Palm”). The production of palm oil is one of the largest agricultural industries in Costa Rica. Palm oil is extracted from red, fleshy fruit of the oil palm tree and is deep orange-red in color. It is used in a wide array of products such as candy, cosmetics, candles and industrial lubricants. The fruit of the African Palm in Costa Rica is all harvested by hand and is back-breaking, strenuous work.
Palm kernel oil comes from the seed (or kernel) inside of the fruit of the African Palm. This oil is very similar to coconut oil. It is clear when melted and white when solid.
Coconut oil comes from the seed of the coconut palm and is a pure white color. It is said to have remarkable healing qualities.
Did you know that virtually every portion of the palm tree can be used for some purpose? We all know one use is in cooking and an easy 4-ingredient recipe follows. Other uses include: Soap, fuel, building material, mulch, baskets, AND they make a nice shady spot for you to enjoy on your tropical beach!
Try this recipe for a sweet treat:
EASY COCONUT CAKE
1 C self-rising flour
1 C caster sugar (finely ground granulated sugar)
1 C coconut (dessicated = shredded and dried)
1 C milk
Optional: Sift confectioner’s sugar on top once cooled.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line an 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until combined. Pour into cake tin and bake for 40 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before turning on to a wire rack to cool.