Tropical Fruit for a Healthful Costa Rica Spring Break

While some travelers will spend their spring break filling themselves with toxins, the sweet, delicious and nutritious tropical fruits of Costa Rica offer a great alternative for a healthful break to rejuvenate your mind and body.

Tropical_Fruits_Costa_Rica_JCsJourneysEverywhere you look in Costa Rica this time of year, bountiful fruits decorate the trees and landscape. Consisting of colors and shapes you may never have seen before, seeing the abundance of fruit grown in the humid tropics of this country are reason enough to visit. Sampling them in local cuisine to get a healthy dose of vitamins and nutrients is a far greater reason still to spend your break here.

Health Benefits of Tropical Fruit

Considered one of the properties that makes the Nicoya Peninsula one of the blue zones of the world, the fruit consumed here are highly nutritious. Many are still used for health and medicinal benefits by locals. Mangoes for example can be seen all around the country (Pictured: Right) and have been found to contain properties that protect against certain cancers, as well as provide high levels of vitamin C.*

Guanabana_TropicalFruit_JCsJourneysAnother fruit found growing in the area is the Guanabana or Soursop fruit (Pictured: Left). With a textured exterior that resembles a strangely shaped giant pickle, the tangy pulpy interior provides high doses of vitamins C and B, known to be useful to boost immunity and energy. Although yet to be proven, the leaves of this fruit are also believed to have cancer-fighting properties.*

For a more thorough list of all the varieties of fruit that can be found in Costa Rica see this blog.

Ways to Enjoy Tropical Fruit of Costa Rica

There are lots of ways to enjoy these fruits, whether it’s a fried plantain to accompany your pinto (black beans and rice) or a ‘batido’ (fruit smoothie) to cool you off in the hot humid weather. Like in other places, tropical fruits from mangoes to guavas and pineapple can also be used in marmalade to enhance your morning toast as well as salsas and salads for a light lunch.

Straight from the tree or in a dish, there’s no shortage of ways to have your daily fruit serving here, so get started! You can also sample fresh fruit on our Let’s Get Local tour on a visit to organic farm Finca Integral Didactica.

*For tips on how to pack light for your upcoming break, see this blog post: Packing Light for Your Costa Rica Nature Trip.

Counting Birds in Tambor Bay

It’s before 6am in Tambor Bay, Costa Rica. The sun has just risen and the air is calm and cool, the sky a pinkish haze dusted with a few low clouds reflecting in the nearly silent bay; silent that is, all but for the songs and calls of hundreds of species of birds that inhabit the area.

group_birdcount2On Friday and Saturday, January 10th and 11th, Tambor Bay Birders association hosted one of their many bird counts in the area.  With a regular base of about 12 birders in the association, they form groups with other members and volunteers who then split up and explore trails surrounding the bay to identify and record the names of any birds they spot. We had the honor of sharing in the count on Saturday, setting out from the Tambor Tropical Hotel with a group of about 20 participants; a combination of professionals, avid bird watchers and novice bird lovers both from the area and abroad who excitedly point out any fluttering wings or brightly colored flying objects. After a day of meandering through various trails the groups reconvened to determine the collective results of their findings. In this case the count totaled nearly 200 bird species, ranging from more common ones such as the Long-tailed Manakin, to more rare species such as the Mangrove Hummingbird endemic to only the Pacific of Costa Rica.

group_birdcountTambor Bay Birders not only host these bird counts for reports to the Costa Rica Ornithological Association for official records, but also for local educational purposes. With a noble cause to promote education about birds, nature and conservation, the aim of the association is to involve local residents and students, as well as visitors and volunteers, to help spur greater interest and awareness about Costa Rica’s biodiversity and its valuable place in our world. If you’re interested in joining the association on their next count, you can follow their Facebook page here. You don’t have to be a professional or have your own equipment necessarily (although a good pair of binoculars does help), just bring your curiosity, keen eyes… and of course a little bug spray. 🙂

*Special thanks to Juan Carlos Cruz, Nick Hawkins and the rest of the Tambor Bay Birders for inviting JC Aguirre of JC’s Journeys to participate in this count.

*Be sure to check out our bird watching tour Bird Lover’s Morning.