David McCarthy, New Haven, CT

La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Costa Rica:
Costa Rica is in a tropical zone, very close to the equator.  Because of this the temperature and average amount of sunlight each day varies very little throughout the year.  However, the country does consider itself to have two seasons:  summer and winter.  The summer in Costa Rica is its dry season, with little or no rain.  Costa Rica ‘s summer is the opposite of what is generally found in the rest of the Northern Hemisphere as it lasts from December through May.  Winter in Costa Rica , also known as its green season, sees a great deal of rainfall and lasts from June though November.  The only exceptions to this summer/winter pattern are in the country’s mountain regions which tend to get more

La Fortuna
Population: 7.202 (1997)
Location: 80 miles northwest of San Jose

La Fortuna (Spanish for “The Fortune”) rests at the base of Volcano Arenal and was founded in the early 1930’s. La Fortuna was originally named Caserío El Burio until 1948. Its natural beauty inspired Rufino Quesada, Isolina Quesada and Antonio Hidalgo to change the name to La Fortuna. It was recently placed into the region of San Carlos due to a majority wining vote. The vote was one of the first of its kind in Costa Rica. Its potential at the moment is the cattle raising, although the tourism is already displacing revenues. It is a beautiful city that is very rich with culture.

Elevation: 350 feet above sea level
Temperature: 67-88° F year round
Annual Rain Average : 13 inches/month

Internet Videos:

Internet Links:

The vibe: Like the rest of Costa Rica , they are very green and eco-friendly. Trash is divided up into recyclables, garbage, and organics. There is very little litter around. You can see easily how tourism has impacted the city. Directly behind the novelty shops and main street restaurants are very poor ghettos. You can go from shopping for fine art to seeing barefoot children in the mud within twenty steps. The people are very friendly, I felt safe at all times. Like any other city in Central America , even an attempt to speak Spanish is much appreciated; and there are dogs everywhere!

Soccer – Photos 25-46
I was walking through the ghettos and I came across a few kids standing on the side of the street, one was holding a red soccer ball. I approached them with my broken Spanish. I politely asked them their names, and attempted to ask them where it was they were playing. They pointed to the field behind them. I asked them if I could come in with them. Kevin, Jonathon, John, Steven, Henry, Manual, Felipe, and Aron said yes and asked me if I was going to take photos (they signed taking a photo with their hands). I said no, juego!!! Their faces lit up. We stepped over the sewer channel, crawled under the barbed wire fence, and ran into the field. They made me a captain; I picked all the littlest guys for my team, then jugamos!!

The children ran happy and barefoot through a cow/horse feces littered field. There was a giant pile to dodge every few seconds. Beneath our feet laid about seven leafcutter ant paths that were scored through the field, thousands of ants marched as we played. The goals, two sticks wedged into the ground as deep as a 10 year old can push them. Directly adjacent to the field was a 10 foot tall barbed fence. If the ball was accidentally kicked over, the children were forced to wedge themselves under the gate to retrieve their ball. I kept thinking to myself, I wonder if these children have ever played on a real field before. I live near several soccer fields, and hardly ever see them being used. I never thought a field to play in would be something that I took for granted. After about 30 minutes of playing we stopped. We played hard, and a lot sweat was shed. One of the children asked me to take my shoes off as we stood about 2 feet from a steaming pile, I said “necesito mis zapatos.” The score was tied, 2-2. I wanted to take all the kids out for ice cream, but I forgot how to saw that word in Spanish. I started to draw an ice cream cone and before it was complete their faces lit up. They all started to yell helado! I said si, nosotros.

They walked proudly and next to me towards the local market. Most of them were explaining to the locals what it was that I was doing for them on the way. We walked into the market, and they immediately began to ransack the ice cream cooler. The cashier/owner was frantically trying to add up the costs on paper as he watched the indecisive children take one and put on back, the total came to about $3.00 US. Outside the market we all enjoyed our helado, and I took a group shot.

Soon after one of them brought me and a few others back his home to meet his pet parrot. I hung out there for about 15 minutes and took a few photographs. I had a good rest, said my goodbyes, and ventured off to explore more.

Rent – Photos 10-24
As I walked through the ghetto I saw many barefoot and muddy children and homes hardly standing, yet these children were anything but unhappy. As I was photographing a house (photo 10-11), a man that spoke good English approached me. He was short, clothing slightly disheveled, barefoot, and had a deformed nose. He was very polite and told me that he was a volcano tour guide. I asked him questions about the ghettos, such as how much was rent on the street. He told me an average of 40,000 colones a month, that’s about $80.00 US. These homes had no windows, dirt/concrete floors, and had no more furnishings then a few chairs, maybe a bed. I know because I was invited to walk through a few, the locals were very hospitable.

This entry was posted on Friday, March 26th, 2010 at 11:16 am and is filed under Photography, Travel Photography. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.