Header - Elaine Potoker, PH.D. Loeb Sullivan School of Intl. Business and Logistics
A View of the Pasantías (Stays) with my Colegas Ticos, by Elaine S. Potoker, Ph.D.


My schedule does not give me much time for tourism; however, to not see some of the country while I’m here would be ridiculous. Right? (yes)

San José: 9-22/23. Decided to check out some museums while here: The Gold Museum–an unbelievable collection of gold dating from the Pre-Columbian era; The Costa Rican Museum of Art, the National Museum, and a museum that displays a collection of coins, etc. dating back many years. In regard to the latter, I was amused to see that some of the coins and bills I still have from by business life here 20 yrs. ago are now museum pieces. While they have no value in exchange, I am sure they will be a nice gift for a young Costa Rican who is starting a coin collection. I also visited a Butterfly Garden–amazing all the varieties that were there. …lovely.

Manuel Antonio: 9-14/9-16. The 14th was Costa Rican Independence Day. In celebration, there were parades. Additionally, runners carried a torch from the Nicaraguan border to Panama to celebrate the occasion. The “neat” thing was to see the entire event emulated within the elementary schools. Another torch was carried by school children who ran along and passed it from pueblo (town) to pueblo. It was so cute to see the school children (in their school “uniforms”) perched along the road, waving the Costa Rican flag.

Manuel Antonio is on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. I decided to go there, rather than Limón (see below for “why”). It is a tourist-attracting place with lovely vistas and the celebrated Manuel Antonio National Park. Unfortunately, the area is showing the signs of too much development, I am told. About a month before I went, I was told that there was a tsunami alert there due to the Peruvian earthquake. People were literally running with their suitcases to the mountains. I was advised to stay higher up–in the mountains, if I decided to go. As it turned out, there was a tremor at 3 am. on Sunday, the day I was to leave…pretty scary.)

The park is definitely a “must see.” I managed to take more a few more pictures of monkeys, to include the perezozo (“lazy,” in Spanish)–a monkey that lumbers along so slowly, that it takes about 20 minutes for it to move about a yard. Crabs and grasshoppers that are beautifully colored, and iguanas that were not, were prevalent. I was told that a boa constrictor ate a small animal (a rabbit-like-looking rat the size of a small pig–name of which I cannot remember) the week before. It swallowed it whole, as the story goes. Glad I missed that… By the way, check out “Food,” updated below.

La Fortuna: 9-1/9-2. I spent two precious days with friends on a trip 2-1/2 hrs. northwest of San José. We visited several volcanoes–the quite impressive Poás and Arenal. I’m told there are 110 volcanoes in Costa Rica. We also bathed in some lovely hot springs near La Fortuna–in the pouring rain, by the way, and visited the Arenal Rain Forest…lovely. I’m finally figuring out how my daughter’s digital camera works: Got some some lovely rainforest shots, but the white-faced monkeys would not pose long enough for me to capture a picture of their great “mug.” With 5% of the world’s biodiversity here, there is much reason to take pictures, although I have not taken many yet.

Next trip? …don’t know yet. On the Caribbean side, Limón has been in the news an active place for dengue- carrying mosquitos due to the heavy rains this year. I was considering tying in a trip to Limón to visit JAPDEVA for an interview (see column on left). However, I’m adverse to taking unnecessary risks while here. Better to get the interview in San José? So for further travel, I may consider a trip to Guanacaste Province located on the Pacific side. There it is drier; therefore, it is more of a “no worries” area for mosquito -borne diseases. I would also love to go to the Golfito, down toward Panama–we’ll see; it’s a long trip.

Significant trivia: One-quarter of the world’s tree species are here in Costa Rica. Yes, Costa Rica is quite biodiverse.