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TEN CURIOUS THINGS ABOUT PURISCAL:
1.) Declared a canton on August 7, 1868 2.) Received electricity on July 25, 1926. San Jose was the 3rd city in the world to be electrified. 3.) The CAIS hospital helps the hospitals in SJ for patients in Costa Rica
4.) The central park is called “Park of the Agricultor” 5.) The most famous monument is the ‘Sapo’ (frog) 6.) National Park La Cangreja is located in the canton and where you will find the PliniaPuriscalensis, native to the region. 7.) On August 8, 2018, Puriscal will celebrate 150 years. 8.) City Hall (municipalidad) was built in 1936 and now has cultural status along with the old church. 9.) the last segregated district was Chires in Mercedes Sur, and last but not least…10.) the stadium field is called “the billard table.”
Santiago de Puriscal, called Puriscal by locals, was once part of the Western Huetar Kingdom, a Costa Rican indigenous group. The area was an important crossroads, used by the Huetar as a central meeting ground and resting place. Later, after Spanish conquest, the small village continued its geographical roll, serving as a stopping point on the central trade route between Costa Rican and Panama.
Today, this mountain town enjoys a picturesque location as well as easy access to Pacific coast beaches – Puntarenas is just 30 minutes away via the new Caldera Highway. The quiet ambiance offers a relaxing alternative to bustling San Jose and the country’s more touristed areas. At La Cangreja National Park, miles of hiking trails and lovely viewpoints await, while two neighboring indigenous reserves offer a slice of authentic Costa Rican culture.
Puriscal has also grown as an agricultural center and residential community, and the area attracts visitors interested in rural tourism. Tour operators and independent organizations invite travelers to experience Costa Rica’s great outdoors as a local: meet farmers, learn to herd cattle, or catch tilapia with just a hook and line.
Attractions: Don Franklin’s Trapiche Tour Follow the journey of sugar from the cane field to the supermarket – and participate in each step of the process. Use the trapiche, a traditional sugar cane press, to make sweet sugar cane juice, and sample a variety of goodies made from fresh sugar.
La Iguana Chocolate Farm Located in the quaint village of Mastatal de Puriscal, the family-run La Iguana Chocolate Farm has produced organic chocolate for more than 25 years. Take a tour and learn how cacao is harvested, dried and fermented to produce cocoa powder, chocolate and other delicious goodies. The sustainable farm also welcomes volunteers to assist in cocoa production and service projects in the local community.
La Cangreja National Park Located 20 miles west of Puriscal, La Cangreja is comprised of land once described as “the Garden of Eden.” The park’s fertile soil and virgin rainforest nourish a wealth of flora and fauna, including poison dart frogs, river turtles, basilisk lizards, sloths, armadillos, and more than 2,000 plant species. Be sure to stop at La Cangreja, a stunning lookout point, and explore the lower hiking trails – a series of paths rarely visited by tourists. Volunteers are welcome to assist in various conservation projects. schedule: 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.; closed Mondays.
Turu Ba Ri Tropical Park Enjoy the adventure of a lifetime – choose from a zip line canopy tour, Tarzan swing, or the sensational Superman cable, which sends you flying 4,000 feet at a whopping 55 mph! More serene activities include a nature tour, horseback riding, and a scenic ride on the aerial tram. The park is in Turrubares, approximately 10 miles west of Puriscal. schedule: 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Re-opens in Sept. 2013.
Tabacos de Costa Rica Cigar Tour (Santiago de Puriscal) Visit a local cigar factory and learn how cigars are made. Discover special tobacco processes, how to roll a good cigar, and other celebrated traditions. The tour also explains the positive impact tobacco has had on the Puriscal region. Open: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday. Free
Coffee farm and roasting facility.
Leather Products: Handmade bags, belts, sandals, cell phone cases, etc. in Grifo Alto. Also La Perla ‘shoe repair’ by Super Mora offers very nice custom made leather sandals.
KAMIKIRI RECREATIONAL CENTER:
38 meter water slide, heated swimming pool, restaurant, soccer field, beach volleyball court, basketball, green areas, play area for kids, rooms for parties. Rock climbing wall and zip line canopy offering adventure and adrenaline. Located in town.
The Quitirrisí Indian Reservation is located 30 kilometers west of San Jose, Quitirrisi de Mora, 300 meters West of the soda Linda Vista. Its inhabitants are descendants of the Huetares Indians who inhabited much of the metropolitan area and the Central Pacific. For the Chief of Reserve Quitirrisi; Sipu means god almighty. Doc, the sun god. Durrucha, the moon goddess and tatamama, the name of the beliefs of the natives. The Indians had very consistent names for the names of individuals, peoples and things. For example, Puriscal called PURICAR where PURI is the name of a yellow bird with coffee colored chest and CAR means montana, hence the name PURICAR means “bird of the mountain.” The are special prices for group visits. Only 32 km away from the capital of San José, taking the highway towards Puriscal, the Indigenous Community of Quitirrisí has its home – hidden away in the mountains, the indigenous still preserve their spirituality and costumes that they have treasured for more than 500 years until the arrival of the Spanish conquerors.
Visitors can enjoy walking on the paths leading through the indigenous community and visit the important cultural sight like ceremonial altars and tombs. Visitors will have the chance to get to know more about the original population of the country and their way of living.
The indigenous community of Huetar living in the same area, welcomes visitors with open arms and allows them to get to know several types of indigenous medicines, take part in workshops about the cycle of life and the processing of the sweet corn, about the stones, natural colorings handicraft works.
Other attractions: central park & city tour, seniors home, farmers market on Saturdays, new hospital, recycling center and butterfly farm, Kamikiri water park
Sustainable Community-based Rural Tourism (SCRT) is an economic activity developed in rural areas, with the goal to provide personalized tourism services in each of the communities visited.
SCRT bases its supply on the connection of these communities with the environment, where culture, society, agriculture, cattle raising, industry and commerce are integrated in an authentic tourism product, protecting, recovering and strengthening the natural resources and its environment in general.
This activity guarantees sustainable development and maximizes the quality and standard of living of the rural population, creating opportunities for men, women and children in a development model called SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY-BASED RURAL TOURISM, directed towards the responsible tourist who wants to contribute to social development in harmony with nature.
WHERE DID THE NAME PURISCAL COME FROM?
Many people believe that the name came from the flower of the beans…’flores del frijol’. A very romantic idea but there is another justification for the name Puriscal. The story of Puriscal says that in 1815 Puriscal began to be populated but this is not warranted. The truth is that some families reached Puriscal after 1856. Therefore, it is not easy to accept that the name derives from purisco, flower of the bean. The name predates that, because the land was cultivated and worked very hard. The name Puriscal has prior ancestry, lineage and caste. Simply derived from the Indians that inhabited the center of this community, puririsi or puririse Indians, such as the Quitirrisi. The suffix “al” of Puriscal simply indicates abundance. Where there were puris Indians, the town of puririsi, was called Puriscal. This really is credible because in many places of the city center and neighboring towns that were inhabited by indigenous Indians, often are found stones for grinding corn, stone axes, and pottery.
WINERY IN PURISCAL:
The harvesting of grapes and the making of wine is being done by Don Teofilo Santillan in Grifo Alto, Puriscal. Harvesting is done in the months of July and August, you can even help harvest the grapes, however tours are offered throughout the year for 3,000 colones per person. Don Teofilo has been experiencing with different varieties of grapes for over 20 years and has perfected a hybrid perfect for the climate of Puriscal. Don Teofilo Santillan said that everything began 25 years ago, from a course from the University of Costa Rica, when he began cultivating 14 of the 102 varieties of grape plants to see which flourished in the land where they lived. Mr. Santillan tested several until he managed to adapt the American Lambrusca to the puriscaleño climate. They currently have over 100 plants, which produce around 2,500 bottles of all natural and organic wine, which is processed with a unique oriental method and different than the European methods. On his large vineyard, Don Teofilo produces red wine. The wine is sold in Super Mora (6.500) and at the winery for 6.000 colones. At the winery you can sample a brandy type of grape liquor. Enjoy.
GOLF NEAR PURISCAL
Los Reyes- Los Reyes is beautiful gated community with a golf course and country club. It is a short 20 minute drive from downtown Atenas. There are 9 holes, which Marc says are very pleasant with ups and downs in the pines and typically not many players. The price for residents is C 19,000 ($38) for 18 holes.
Valle del Sol – Valle del Sol is located in Santa Ana only 30 minutes drive from Atenas via Highway 27. The course is 18 holes and is relatively easy and forgiving. There are more players here because it is a public golf course and it has the appropriate infrastructure. Prices vary, but a typical week day runs around 22,000 colones ($44). Prices vary, but a typical week day runs around C 22,000 ($44)
Cariari Country Club- Cariari Country Club is off the PanAmerica Highway, just 5 kilometers from the airport, on the way to San Jose. This is one of the first courses built in Costa Rica and is narrow and more difficult. It is a private course and you must be a member, an invited guest, or go on specific ‘open’ days. http://www.clubcariari.com/”>Weekday prices are C 22,000 ($44) plus C 8,000 ($16) for a mandatory caddy.
Become a member of the CVGA (Central Valley Golf Association ) which has around 120 members, mainly Americans. They have an organized tournament every Tuesday morning starting at 6:30 a.m. at Valle del Sol in Santa Ana. The people are very pleasant and it’s well organized with a different format of competition every week.
Every three months they organize trips to other courses in Costa Rica, including those at Tambor, Conchal and Los Suenos.” Marc adds “You also have Anagolf , which is the official golf federation of Costa Rica.”
“The best deal in Costa Rica is the Central Valley Golf Association which makes its home at Valle del Sol in Santa Ana. They play a regular weekly tournament at Valle every Tuesday morning. The format varies but the tee-off is between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m. The cost for entry fee, greens fee, and cart is around $60. The association also arranges for ‘away’ events at courses such as Cariari. Three to four times per year we have a two night special at the Barcelo Tambor for unlimited golf at Los Delfines.” There are two other golfing options that are a short and scenic drive away. Escazu Country Club and La Iguana Golf Course at Los Sueños, Playa Herradura.
Living in Puris: We have been living in Puris ( what the locals say) for three years now and love it – it has a small town feel and if you know some Spanish you can really fit in. The BCR bank manager turns out to live near us – the wife of the electrician we use works as a cashier at the SuperMora (really nice supermarket) and people will beep and wave to say hello… makes you feel less a gringo.
For buses – there are local ones to the outlying towns ( we actually live in Desamparaditos) into Santiago, then local and express service over to the Central Valley ( especially the MultiPlaza 😉 . There is one daily bus to Parrita…. when the road is open.. the drive to Parrita is exciting at times, but very beautiful – it becomes dirt about 15k south of Puriscal.
One of the stops for buses is the new CAIS hospital, very new and modern facility that has most needs – X-ray, mammography , etc , so you rarely need to go over to San Jose for medical help.
For the old church…. there was a study made by UCR this past fall and they released their findings in November… Turns out it would take about $2M to just stabilize the situation and more to repair… but the real problem is that Santiago itself is slowly sliding down hill and without that work ( to the tune of over $18M ) it would be throwing money away… where Puriscal can get $18M US no one knows.
The more we travel around the country, the happier we are living here – I grew up in the mountains of Pennsylvania and it reminds me of living int he US in the early 60’s – calmer, simpler life… There are a good number of expats here, but few in large gated places… most are blending into the fabric of life here. G & M.
A universal area we all encounter is food. So I’ll begin with some food related items.
Sliced bread, both white and brown (as well as hamburger and hot dog buns) are significantly ‘dryer’, even when very fresh. Therefore, bread slices do not have the ‘structural integrity’ needed for making a good sandwich; the bread often crumbles when trying to spread anything thick, like peanut butter, on it.
Generally, the beef in Costa Rica is tougher than what’s available back home (wherever that may be.) It is, therefore, sliced thinner at the supermarket, or served as thinner cuts at restaurants. (There are exceptions to this, but expect to pay premium prices.)
Tamales are not long and round and filled with spiced ground meat. Most often seen around Christmas time, Costa Rican tamales are about three- to four-inches square and made up of lots of dough with a small piece of pork or other meat, and maybe a green bean or two, inside. They are cooked and served wrapped in a banana leaf. (And tacos are more like small, oriental egg roles than a U-shaped tortilla shell – except at Taco Bell.)
Most Costa Rica brand hot dogs have a clear, nearly invisible, wrapper (tube) that is inedible and must be removed before cooking or eating.
Fruit from trees or bushes growing near roadways are considered “public property” and passers by will often help themselves to the bounty.
Most bars and bar restaurants do not have an ice maker and / or freezer, but will have a cooler with ice they get delivered from somewhere. The quality of the ice is frequently poor and contain lots of air, so it melts quickly.
One last food related item: When eating in a fast food restaurant, many Ticos do not clear their places when done, but leave used cups, wrappers, serving trays, etc. on the table for an employee to clean up.
In many stores, mens pants are often found in only one length, often 32. (Seems like a long length to have as standard in C.R.)
If you buy a set of dinner plates, cups, etc., be sure to buy an extra set, or all that you will EVER want, because in all but a very few stores you won’t see that pattern again after the current inventory is sold.
Supermarkets routinely completely change the location of many items. Don’t plan on being able to find something in the same place in a store one or two months later. Sometimes the move is done weekly.
Payment for a job means the job IS done. It is not usual to pay before a job is finished. Ticos don’t expect or understand down payments either.
Costa Rica is a dumping ground for seconds of all types of goods. An example is plumbing fixtures, which may require routine, periodic replacement.
It is seldom a good idea to interfere or attempt to help a Costa Rican when they are doing something their way. It’s of no consequence how unusual, counterintuitive, or strange their way of doing it may seem, advice, no matter how well meant or logical it may be, it will usually be ignored.
Auto repair (and other areas too) are specialized and compartmentalized. For example, when taking a vehicle to a radiator shop for a coolant leak and it is determined the leak is in the water pump, they can’t help; they don’t do water pumps. And, if you ask where a water pump might be changed, they often can’t refer you to someone who can do the job.
Don’t try to stop someone at a farmer’s market from securely tying the bags closed.
Everyone has a nickname. Often Gringos are not told what their’s is, but there likely is one. (According to my wife, mine is “Estupido viejo Gringo” – always said with love.)
Don’t play “I’ve got your nose” with little children. To Ticos, putting the thumb between the first and second fingers results in an obscene gesture, one which is equivalent to the one finger salute Gringos often use.
Purchasing anything in a store can be a complicated process. First, it will usually involve the help of an ubiquitous sale clerk who tries to help you find what you want, even if you don’t need help. Next, once an item is selected, the clerk will take you and it to a counter where they, or most likely another employee, will enter the item information into a computer. You may be asked for your name, which is attached to the computer entry. The first clerk then leaves you and takes the item to another counter, probably one near the entrance, after directing you to yet another counter or window where a third person will ask your name, look in their computer, find your name and the item’s information, tell you the amount to be paid, and take your money. After stamping three copies of an invoice with one or more rubber stamps, they will hand you two of them. You then take the copies to the counter near the entrance where another employee will scrutinize them, take your item from those being purchased on the counter, check it against the invoice, apply a different stamp to both copies, keeping one and handing you the other, along with the purchased item. After all that you can leave the store with the item. (There are several variations to this procedure but the one described above is common. And, if you are thinking this procedure is for control of high value items, that is NOT the goal. This procedure is used for items whose price is less than USD $0.50. It’s a process that Ticos, who love process over efficiency or results, favor.)
An alternative to the above procedure, seen in the more modern style stores where the customer themselves takes the selected item(s) to the check out counter, is that the bag with the items purchased and the sales slip will be compared and checked against each other by a person at the business’ exit.
If the purchase is some electrical item, the clerk at the register may open the carton and plug the device in to make sure it works, before completing the sale.
Costa Rican dogs are either very brave or very stupid. They seem to have no respect for the dangers of approaching vehicles and will lie in the roadway, never moving for on-coming vehicles.
Although we expats are usually diligent about refrigerating cooked foods to prevent them from becoming contaminated, Ticos routinely leave pots of cooked rice, beans, and other food items out on the counter overnight (and never seem to have any ill-effects from the practice.)
Central hot water supply systems are not common in older Tico houses. Generally, there is only one, ambient temperature, water line which supplies everything including the bathroom showers. The most common solution for obtaining warm / hot water for a shower is the “suicide shower” head. This is a device that attaches to the water supply line and hangs above the shower area. It is loosely wired to a 110 volt electrical supply line. The water passing through the shower head is heated by direct contact with a heating coil inside and emerges as warm / hot water. Operation is opposite of what appears logical: reducing the water pressure increases temperature (the more the water is turned ‘up’, the cooler it gets.)
And the final entry: When some one of the local population dies the funeral is usually held within twenty-four to forty-eight hours as there’s no routine embalming in Costa Rica. After the services the coffin is loaded in to, or on top of, a hearse (frequently an older, American station wagon) and is thus slowly transported to the cemetery. Mourners follow on foot, walking behind the hearse, often taking up all of the streets traffic lanes during their procession. Regular traffic slowly follows the group and doesn’t pass until the roadway is cleared, possibly by the procession turning on to a side street.
Allen Dickinson is a member of ARCR. In 2006 he retired and relocated to Costa Rica. He holds a Bachelors Degree from the University of New York and a Masters Degree from the University of West Florida. He can be reached via email at: email@example.com.
BE CAREFUL; Credit cards are international targets. Costa Ricans, expats and tourists continue to be vulnerable to crooks when they use their credit or debit card at a restaurant, store, GAS station or even an upscale hotel. Crooks have infiltrated all these locations with the goal of stealing credit card information.
These highly organized international gangs then use runners to visit automatic teller machines to steal the cash.
In just a few minutes using modern equipment, crooks can clone a credit card. Typically this is done out of sight of a customer after the card holder has offered the plastic for a purchase. So go with your CC to the cashier and don’t let it out of your sight.
THANK GOODNESS FOR PURISCAL
Why do folks relocate to Puriscal? Lots of reasons but I believe the basic reason is Puriscal’s innate charm. Puris does not have everything but it has what most people need. Of course there is the monthly shopping trip to “the city” but have you noticed how Santa Ana and Ciudad Colon are changing? New strip malls in Ciudad Colon! Soon though, the city of Santa Ana won’t be so nice. Rocca S.A./Kirebe plans to build an entirely new 30,000 square meter “downtown” for Santa Ana complete with movie theaters, hotels, office buildings, next to the new Plaza Murano.
In my opinion, desirable towns develop piecemeal, with new buildings erected next to old ones, new uses found for old buildings, and the whole presenting an unfolding drama of ongoing history. It’s in the juxtaposition of the old and the new that means charm is retained while economic vibrancy is maintained. Someone in Costa Rica needs to start understanding how good cities and towns work, and preserve the ones they have before it’s too late. Editor
TOWNS, the same as nations, need projects that result in positive welfare for the population. Costa Rica has wisely focused protection of a quarter of its territory as national parks and has served to encourage tourism that benefits the most unprotected regions of the country. Just as it was decided to attract technology companies to take advantage of the education of much of the population. This vision allowed many young professionals to find jobs and now they have a stable lifestyle. Previously, agriculture made the Puriscal region one of the most prosperous in the country. Tobacco production in Puriscal existed for over 80 years and led the advance of other food crops, and despite all of its drawbacks, was a source of development and prosperity until companies decided to move their factories and tobacco farms to countries with cheaper labor.
Now, who and what will move Puriscal forward? Community organizations like UPAP, COOPEPURISCAL, FIDERPAC, government agencies and the modern hospital CAIS are pushing. Those who live well, need security and tranquility to achieve their happiness. We need to shake hands with those who have less, for theirs is the safety and comfort of all residents. 2013 is a year that we strive for improvement, good health, community involvement and family unity.