Dave Looks for Plants

Journal of a plant explorer

Archive for May 7th, 2006

Rancho Mastatal

Sunday, May 7th, 2006

The buses for my travel to the next location, Rancho Mastatal, were pretty easy to figure out until I arrived at Santiago de Puriscal.  From there I was told to go wait in front of a certain grocery store in town and the bus would be there later that afternoon.  So there I was, a gringo with backpack and all in a town that does not see many tourists.  One by one, taxi drivers would come up to me and ask if I was looking for a ride somewhere.  Finally, not knowing how much longer it would take for the bus, I asked one of them for the price to take me there.  I knew it was about 30 km and on a very poor road once leaving the main road.  But the driver must have been hurting for business and quoted me a good price so I took it.  It turned out to be well over an hour and he had trouble finding the place but eventually we got there.

Rancho Mastatal is the name of a small village and also the name of an environmental learning and sustainable living center, started by Tim O’Hara and Robin Nunes, former Peace Corps volunteers.  It has all the atmosphere of what we used to call a “hippie commune”, but only in the positive aspects of such.  They make their own soap, bake their own bread and build the houses there out of sustainable materials (like cow dung).  More about Rancho Mastatal when I describe trip number 3, Costa Rica, August 2006, when my wife Karen came back there with me and took lots more photos of the really interesting non-Costus stuff.

Here is Timo, standing in front of the main house and a large clump of Costus villosissimus.