Traveling Nancy

Traveling around the world as far as I can go.

Botanical Orchid Garden and Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center (formerly Rescate Animal Zoo Ave) Feb 20


This morning began with m mandarin juice which was so delicious.  Mario and Auria grow the mandarins.  Aurea also made fresh tortillas from corn that they grow in their garden. During breakfast we continued our interesting conversations.  Because Mario speaks English I am learning a great deal more.  Much of our conversation today was around religion.

This was a free day with our families. I asked Mario and Aurea if it would be possible for me to see a school when it is in session so after breakfast tried to go to the school in town.  Ir is one of the schools where Aurea taught before becoming a principal and district supervisor.  The entrance to the school is behind a locked gate. But the students were not there because it was a day for teacher meetings.  If we get back from tomorrows adventure before school is out, we will try again.

As Mario was driving, I asked many questions about the school systems.  Between Mario and his translating what  had to say, I learned about the elementary, schools, high schools and university.  Some of this information I had already heard from Sergio in Liberia and from Emilia in Pérez Zeledón.  If I heard correctly, these are a few things I learned.:

  • Public elementary schools are planned to be all equal but the fact is that some principals and administrators get more for their school than others.  The one we were going to visit has a complete computer lab.
  • Private elementary and hight schools are considered to be of better quality.
  • University education is free to all students in Costa Rica
  • Public universities are considered to be better than private universities.  You must pass a test to attend the public universities.

Auria had a task to do in San Pedro which is the capital of the Canton.  San Rafael where Mario and Auria live is considered a neighborhood  – not a city.

Mario and I walked around a park where men were playing Dominoes.  We stopped to watch them for a bit. Retired men playing cards, Dominoes, Bocci Ball, and/or sitting on benches is common in many countries where I have traveled.  The women are home doing all of the work

We also went into the church.  Mario told me that his father had a business to make things and he designed and made a gate and the windows in the church.

Now they are changing all of the windows and his brother, who is an artist, is creating new windows and they will be replacing all of them.

I enjoy hearing about Marco’s family.

Our next stop was the Botanical Orchid Garden.  We strolled around the garden and through the bamboo forest looking at the orchards and trees and I took photos.  Other Ticos families were also there.  The Ticos were disappointed because many of the orchids were not in bloom this week but I enjoyed the gardens and took many, many photos.  I probably should put these into a collage, but I am way, way too tired tonight.

This is called a walking palm.  I appears to be moving be walking.  This is because of its unusual root system; while most trees have one trunk, the palm splits into many smaller roots a few feet off the ground, giving it the appearance of many little legs.


I forgot the name of this duck.

I thought this was a Bird of Paradise but Marco told me it was another plant.

The patterns of green in this trunk were very interesting.

I even captured a spider when i tried to get a close up photo of the pattern.

This is called a Tiger Claw.

These yellow colored bamboo are common in Costa Rica.

If I am remembering correctly, a part of this tree is used for medicinal purposes.

Barbara took a photo of Marco and me.

As we were finishing our walk through the gardens, of the Oregonians asked about a rescue zoo so when we were finished looking at orchids, we drove to Zooave and first ate lunch in the restaurant.  It was another ice-cream for dessert day for me.

Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center (formerly Rescate Animal Zoo Ave), is an urban park of approximately 14 hectares, located in La Garita, in the canton of Alajuela, Costa Rica. In 1980, Rescate Wildlife was born under a new administration with a new vision, prioritizing conservation and animal welfare.  The previously owned Zooave opened its doors in the 1960s and was a small private zoo with facilities and a framework that at the time focused on the export and exhibition of wildlife.

The new administration’s goal was to eliminate the previous inadequate location and move the animals to a larger property of 36 acres that borders the Itiquis River and forms an important biological corridor in the area.

This then evolved into a new inspiration for creating a non-profit organization with modern facilities.  It presently focuses on conservation, animal welfare, and environment education.  There are over 125 species of animals (birds, mammals and reptiles) that have been rescued and due to health or behavioral reasons, cannot be fully rehabilitated for reintroduction into their natural habitat.  The large enclosures are naturally designed to offer these animals quality of life and enrichment.

There were Peacocks strolling around the grounds.

The first bird we saw was a Toucan whose beak had been broken off.  I am not sure what caused the injury but I think it was done by humans.  It was heartbreaking to see.

There were photographs showing the prosthetic beak which has been created to help the Toucan function.

I loved walking through this park and taking photos.  I do not know the stories of how most of these animals were found.  I believe that Rescate Wildlife is also breeding animals here.  These photos are only a fraction of the animals we saw.

The sounds that the giant bamboo made as it moved in the wind was so musical.  This is a photo of Mario to try to show the size of the bamboo.  You can’t even see the top of the bamboo.


There was a jaguar that I did not get to photograph.  It was rescued after its mother died during Hurricane Otto. The enclosure for the jaguar (and the other animals in this place) was not like in a regular zoo.  They were very large and expansive.

These animals are so unusual.

The Tufted Ear Marmoset are so cute.


The head of the Peacock is so beautiful.

There were several tortoises slowly wandering around a large space.

Sometimes it was impossible to get a photograph of the animals and other times the cages showed in the photographs but I am still posting them.

.We met up with some of the other Oregonians and their Tico hosts.  Barbara took a video of the coyotes because we had never heard coyotes calling so loudly.  She is going to send it to me via WhatsApp so I can post it on Facebook.

I read s a poster about this bird.  It was nicknamed, “Narco Paloma” because it was captured at La Reforma Prison bringing drugs to the prison.  It is a pigeon of the Columbia Livia species which is not native to Costa Rica and is considered exotic. The most surprising characteristic of this animal is its ability to return to its nest from the most remote places.  That is why humans have used this species to send messages.  The authorities of the Penitentiary Police notices that there was a bulge in the chest of this pigeon.  They used food and coaxing to catch the pigeon and discovered that the pigeon had a small bag of 14 grams of cocaine and 14 grams of marijuana in his chest.  The task was to deliver it to some of the prisoners in that sector.  It appears that the pigeon was trained with food to perform favors.  They did not determine who the intended recipient was.

One area had many parrots.

This is Costa Rica’s largest parrot which prefers to inhabit wooded areas and mostly stays in the canopy.

It was fun watching this monkey swing through the trees although it was difficult to get a photograph because it was moving so fast.

There were many signs around the area depicting how wrong it was to cage birds at home or chain them.  This is one of the signs.

Although I was totally exhausted by the time we finished walking through ZooAve and the mosquitoes and biting ants were a bit annoying, I absolutely loved this place.  It is my recommendation that every group of Oregonians are given the opportunity to spend time here.

When we arrived at home, Mario showed me how he roasts coffee beans.  These beans are drying in the sun.

Then he opened the sliding door to an area with a lot of equipment.  It is where he roasts the coffee beans.  Marco made this roasting machine by hand.

Hr showed me how it works.

When he is roasting the beans watches them very carefully and checks the progress.

At the exact moment that they are roasted perfectly, he must dump them onto this screened tray.  Then he shakes the tray.

If he is not exact, they will burn.  It can be a matter of 10 or 15 seconds time before they are burned.  I loved Marco’s  enthusiasm as he was explaining all of the process to me.

We went into the kitchen where he showed me two different containers of roasted beans.  He explained that one of the containers had better beans than the other one.  These are the best coffee beans.

Every morning and when ever they want coffee, Marco and Aurea grind the fresh beans. They have various ways tjey brew the coffee.  Sometimes they use an electric coffee pot. One way is to put the beans into this strainer and pour hot water through the top.


I don’t really drink coffee but I love the smell of it. Tomorrow morning I am going to try some of Marco’s coffee.

I was so exhausted tonight (and uncomfortable from the sciatica), that I went to sleep for a couple of hours.  When I woke up at about 2:00, I finished writing this post.  I hope I was making sense. Now i will go back to sleep for a a few hours so I am ready for our next adventure.

Author: Nancy Panitch

Traveling has been a passion of Nancy Panitch's life and she loves seeing how people in other cultures live. Her travels have taken her to many places within the United States, Asia, Europe, South America, and Africa. Being around people inspires her and she has much gratitude for the kindred Souls that are joining together with her in body, mind, and heart. She moved from Chicago to Portland, Oregon in 1982. It was one of the best decisions of her life. While in Portland she stays very, VERY busy. She volunteers (Inter-Religious Action Network, Human Rights Council, & ushering for various theaters); attends a Unitarian Universalist church; goes hiking with groups (Cascade Prime Timers & Trails Club of Oregon) and also with individual friends. Book groups, movie group, and bridge groups occupy her time as well. Her quiet activities include yoga, knitting, Sudoku, and reading. She enjoys all of these activities, but making time to see her wonderful 4 grandchildren takes priority over it all. She is happy to share this blog and hopes to encourage others to travel.

2 thoughts on “Botanical Orchid Garden and Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center (formerly Rescate Animal Zoo Ave) Feb 20

  1. It’s a treat to wake up in the morning and have your newsy blog to read. Costa Rica sounds like a great place to live. The Ticos have a lovely quality of life.


  2. Your best post yet. Im hanging onto your every word. What a treat to share with readers your impressions & adventures. Love all that icecream.


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