Diamante: Went for Adventure and Found Costa Rica Culture too
Costa Rica Cultural Attractions: I had arrived in Costa Rica looking for adventure and opportunities to learn about Costa Rica culture. What I didn’t expect was that I’d find so much to do and learn about costa rica traditions in one location. We had seen the advertisements for the ziplines and adorable rescue animals at Diamante Eco Adventure Park. Diamante was also promoting its botanical gardens and a unique Costa Rica cultural attraction featuring some of Costa Rica’s famous export products. The range of activities offered something for everyone in the family to get excited about.
Costa Rica Culture:
Needless to say,
we were in chocolate heaven!
Our sense of arrival at the Welcome Center was quite dramatic. We were impressed with the incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and friendly staff ready to help us plan our visit. We opted for the “adventure pass” which includes the zipline, animal sanctuary, botanical garden and cultural experience, beach activities and lunch. This was everything my family and I were looking for.
Our excitement heightened when we spotted people flying overhead along the mile-long zipline. The guides were helpful and reassuring as they could tell the kids were nervous. While gearing us up, they explained the quality and safety features of the equipment and design of the zipline course. We immediately felt more confident.
It was a thrilling trip that exceeded all my expectations. The zipline course ends in the animal sanctuary, where you cross a hanging bridge suspended over the crocodiles. We wandered through the habitats and learned a lot from the staff who take care of the animals: monkeys, sloths, toucans, jaguars, pumas, butterflies, frogs and more. Our favorite ended up being the two-toed sloths that peeked into the audience when a guide offered a few veggies for a snack.
A true highlight was our cultural learning experience in the botanical garden, which is lush with trees, flowers, and plants. It showcases a beautiful and picturesque little casita, replicating a traditional Costa Rican farmhouse, surrounded by many types of vegetation including banana, mango and cashew trees.
Our cheerful guide, Alex, began our hands-on demonstration by directing us to the sugar cane, coffee plants and cacao trees in the garden. The casita has a fireplace, where Alex explained we would be making our own chocolate. After taking us through the steps of roasting the cacao seeds, peeling them and grinding them into cacao dust, he coached us through the process of combining the ground cacao with raw sugar and water. It was exciting to see the ingredients come together to create a chocolate mixture. Needless to say, we were in chocolate heaven!
We then cut raw sugar cane and extracted the juice with a hand press, each taking a turn tasting the fresh sweetness of what is called agua dulce.
Next, we explored the coffee plants and learned about the history and process of making coffee. Alex explained that the traditional way to brew coffee in Costa Rica is using a chorreador. This is a wooden stand with a special cloth sock that serves as a filter. You simply place ground coffee into the sock, pour hot water over it and let the liquid drip into a cup underneath.
During a short tour of the gardens outside the house, Alex pointed out the medicinal plant garden and a traditional Costa Rican oxcart. He explained that these brightly painted oxcarts were used in the 1850s to transport goods from Costa Rica’s capital, San José, to the ports for export.
We sipped our coffee and headed back to the Welcome Center, waving goodbye to Alex and thanking him for being such a great host. Everyone in the family agreed that Diamante was a highlight of our vacation.