When we visited this week locals were going about their day, working, heading back home for lunch after school or sharing the latest gossip in the park. Naranjo’s picturesque sherbet-colored church was repainted several years ago and gives the place a colonial feel that’s uncommon in many Costa Rican towns.
The decidedly un-colonial pyramid gazebo in the center of the park feels a bit like a model from “Blade Runner” landed in town, but on hot day it’s a welcome respite from the sun.
The weather can be hot in town but driving up the snaking road to the coffee farms the breeze turns chilly. The brisk air is a small price to pay for the view. Don’t forget to put the parking brake in gear when stopping on the steep road to take in the valley’s madras pattern of dark verdant coffee plants, yellow pasture lands and the light green canopy of forests.
There’s no coffee to be harvested right now, but the fields are in bloom. A perfume-like gardenia wafts through the fields from the bunches of white flowers that bloom and fall from the plants after three days.
Just because there’s no coffee to pick doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. At the Vista al Valle mill, perched on a steep slope overlooking the valley, coffee is still drying and being sorted for imperfections by hand. This level of attention coupled with volcanic soil and altitude (1,500 meters) makes for excellent coffee.