Hooray, the sun is out and we can see the mountains and even cloud forests across the rooftops! Suncream on.
Off the beaten track to The Museum of Insects, on the campus of the University of Costa Rica which has 27,000 students. Busman’s holiday for Stuart! Situated under the Faculty of Music building, of course (!), it is the largest insect museum in Central America.
Having rung the bell we are met by Federico, a qualified Biologist working here as a technician. We wander round the beautifully put together exhibits in one medium sized room. Once Federico discovers Stuart’s background we get a private tour and are taken into the lab to see the live insects he looks after. The cockroaches, mealworms, ants, crickets and a beautiful turquoise female spider on its web between the cupboards! He drops a tiny mealworm on to the web and in a second she has it!
The Peanut beetles are only about half a centimetre in size but apparently are great for asthma and as an analgesic when eaten live. He pops one in to his mouth - ‘spicey tasting’ he says as he crunches it! Sadly the kitchen is closed today so we cannot taste the fried mealworms. I am so disappointed!
Insects though are the way forward to feed the world as they are incredibly high in protein and can be farmed very cheaply. The museum makes cookies using powdered insects for schoolchildren to try.
Very interesting research has been done with a particular mealworm that can eat through polystyrene packaging leaving small bits which can then degrade easily. Great way to combat a plastic pollution problem. He has some of them chomping away inside some polystyrene.
Time to find a taxi back to the city so we say farewell to Federico and his ‘friends’! It was definitely worth the effort for a unique experience!
We leave the Hotel Presidente, sad to leave the incredibly helpful reception ladies, to stay at The Park Inn ready to begin the organised tour tomorrow. A lovely room with a good view which takes in a massive cemetery full of imposing, white, family mausoleums! It will certainly be quieter here than the city centre!