Today we docked in Puntarenas on the Pacific Ocean side of Costa Rica. The temperature was in the low 90’s just like the Atlantic side, but the humidity is much lower. Since we had both been to the cloud forest previously, we elected to take the included local tour. This was a mistake as the cloud forests of Costa Rica are certainly more attractive with more interesting things to do. There is an attractive beach adjacent to the port, but the ship had warned us that the water was not clean enough for swimming.The locals apparently never got the message! The sand is of volcanic origin so it is a dark brown color.We visited the small nearby town of Esparza where we were treated to a demonstration of local dancing by the children of the town.The church in Esparza.A brown pelican.
We did learn some more interesting facts about Costa Rica. They get about 80% of their power from hydro, 15% from geothermal, 3% from wind, and they are starting to add solar to the mix. They used no fossil fuel based power on over 300 days this year. Costa Rica is considered one of the successful Central America countries (together with Belize and Panama) with an average annual income around $10,000. There is no income tax on this amount and a relatively modest income tax of 15% – 20% on higher amounts. However there is a large tax of 25% up to 80% on imported goods. For instance, the tax on an imported automobile is 50%!
I want to thank everyone for their Christmas messages. Our next stop is Nicaragua.