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"Experiencing Rural Costa Rica"

Authentic Trapiche process for crushing whole sugar cane originally used in the early days of the sugar cane plantations.
Authentic Trapiche process for crushing whole sugar cane originally used in the early days of the sugar cane plantations.
(Photos by Sandy Zimmerman)

During our first day on tour in Costa Rica, even breakfast was an event! We began at the traditional Restaurante Tipico el Trapiche de Nayo, stopping to see the authentic Trapiche process for crushing whole sugar cane originally used in the early days of the sugar cane plantations. Pieces of sugar cane were placed in the top compartment.

Two oxen, leashed to a wooden halter connected to the sugar extractor, moved side by side rotating around in a circle drove the wheel which ground the sugar cane.

After the pure sugar juice was extracted, we had a chance for a quick taste before the liquid was boiled in exceptionally large steaming pots. The concoction looked like wax as the man poured it into several molds. They were preparing the remnants to be used for hot and cold drinks. Proud of their heritage, the Costa Ricans are happy to demonstrate their national traditions.

As part of the process, a young boy stood on the ledge below them tending the fire by adding plenty of wood to the oven as it carried the heat up to the top. It was a simple yet effective method of doing their job which today uses modern machinery.

I was so busy taking photos of the sugar cane process, but had to come into the open air restaurant for breakfast. This was breakfast the way they ate in the villages during the festivals. We were served stuffed banana leaves on a plate.

It was filled with rice, beans, eggs, and plantains. Each of the ingredients were cooked first and then wrapped in the banana leaves. Everything tasted great. In the early days, the farmers kept their food warm in the banana leaves for six hours while they worked.

Be sure to peek into their old- fashioned kitchen to see the firewood stoves. You can also taste organic coffee if you want a change from the usual.

This meant more to me than just spending time eating at a regular restaurant. I love to see the "real" Costa Rica, not just the tourist hotels but to travel off- the- beaten- path. You can immerse yourself in their culture, really see the country. Restaurante Tipico el Trapiche de Nayo, Perez Zeledon. www.trapichedenayo.com

Your honeymoon is a very special time to begin life together. What more romantic settings could be possible than the magic of the rain forests, cloud forests, jungles, volcanoes, or beaches? Costa Rica is ranked #1 for Best Adventure Honeymoons by Modern Bride Magazine. .

Do you wish soft or extreme adventure? Does whitewater rafting on the Pacuare River (Class 3-4), one of the most scenic rivers in the world, appeal to you? Spend time swimming and sunning at one of the beaches or walk around a volcano. Whether you prefer an adventure tour or even shopping can be an adventure if you know where to go. Their national parks are packed with activities.

As they say, "Costa Rica inspires people to care; you can discover and enjoy nature." This is the way to really see Costa Rica. costaricatours@att.netwww.visitcostarica.com