Realllly good ceviche
Pathway at Rancho Margot
360 degree panorama of Rancho Margot. Rainforest all around.
The view from the bunkhouse
They recycle pretty much everything they use here
The hammock I'm sitting in.
This is one of two compost heaps at Rancho Margot
Another angle of the compost heap. Notice the water tanks in the background. Ready for awesomeness? They run coils of pipe through the compost pile, and use the heat created by the decomposing stuff to heat water for the ranch.
This is the water turbine. In retrospect, I should have used a video, because you can't see how ridiculously fast it's spinning. The pipe on the right brings water that runs down from the rainforest, and the narrowing at the end increases the pressure as it enters the turbine. There are two of these guys that run this entire place.
They feed half of the bananas to people, and half to the animals. The trees also grow big enough to produce one batch of bananas, and then don't do anything much else other than grow other trees (note the sprouts at left), so here, after the fruit is collected, the trees are composted. The entire process turns around in 7-9 months.
Avocado tree, out of season
Mint looks different here (as does cilantro, as you may recall)
Hens for egg production
Cotton, from the cotton plant. I pulled the seeds out, and it was not easy. Now I understand why Eli Whitney was such a big deal.
The gardens and greenhouses, seen from above
Sugar cane. They mostly use this to feed the animals, but you can get a drink with a fresh stalk in it.
Everywhere there's lots of piggies, living piggie lives.
De-seeded. See? I had time to take several photos in the time it took to do that.
Water running down to feed the turbines.
That's a boar. It is immense.
Hummingbird in its nest (this will come back shortly)
Note again, the hummingbird.
Water being piped to the turbines
Radishes, carrots and whatnot. Note the large basil plants, evenly spaced throughout. Those are there to draw insects away from the other crops.
Worms, next to the manure stocks. The worms, of course, turn it into soil.
Hacking banana trees with a machete for composting
Where they make the soap from leftover fat from the kitchen.
Mountain microorganisms, used as a natural pesticide.
Water apple tree
Up into the water apple tree
The aforementioned coils of pipe that run through the compost heaps. Note that they go up and then back down, to maintain the pressure.
Big rainforest spider
This is the biodigestor, where the liquid animal waste is used to harvest methane gas for the kitchen. The remaining liquid is then used for fertilizer.
Oh, also it's really pretty here. That in front is the Children's Eternal Forest, which is a patch of rainforest (you can also see it from the bunkhouses) that was purchased and saved by a charity founded by children.
Juan has quite the eye for design
The hot pool, heated by the compost.
Really pretty orchids. The red leaves at left are part of the same plant.
This plant is called lengua de suegra, which means "mother-in-law's tongue." Because it's long and sharp. I don't write the jokes, I just repeat them.
I rode a horse!
See? I told you I rode a horse. The helmet cuts down a little on the badassness of it, but still cool.
Arenal Lake, a man-made lake that generates hydroelectric power for the whole region. Also, it's very pretty.
Rancho Margot, down at the bottom of the hill.
Arenal once more
That's Jimmy, my guide.
This is a leaf-cutter ant mound. It's about 30 feet deep.
Me and the horsey.
View of the lake from the horse
Arenal and the lake from the mirador.
The view from your hammock
The rainforest, doing its thing
fresh cheese, made on site