Costa Rica

Pura Vida

9N°0'2" 83W°17'59"

Connect Locally in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a highly-volcanic country located along the Pacific and Caribbean slopes of the Central American bioregion. It is one of the most established democracies of Latin America and was founded on the core value of environmentalism. The country is the proud home to over 5% of the world’s biodiversity, all present within just 0.035% of the earth’s surface area. Cloud-forests, farmlands, countryside, and even beaches and volcanoes are lined with rain forests. The country has 12 climactic zones and a number of micro-climates, meaning that you can go from tropical beach to cloud-forest in just a few hours. Traditional agriculture exports, such as bananas, coffee, sugar and beef, combined with high value-added goods and services are the backbone of the Costa Rican economy, along with tourism. Family-run businesses and small-scale farming and livelihood projects abound across the country. Administratively, Costa Rica is divided into 7 Provinces, including Alajuela, San Jose, Guancaste, Limon, Cartago, Heredia, and Puntarenas.

Artisanal Fishing with Gerardo Puerto Soley, Guanacaste Province

Gerardo has six sons, five fishermen and one is a successful businessman. He says that fishing is a family tradition. He notes that he thinks his sons are truly happy to carry on the family tradition because they are all fat and happy, a local sign of a good life.

Farm-to-Table with Colonia Libertard Women's Group Colonia Libertad, Alajeula Province

As in many parts of rural Costa Rica, women's work often focuses on domestic duties. The Colonia Libertad Women's Group was formed in 2010 to create opportunity for women and their families. With all of the knowledge these women have about farming, construction, arts and crafts, and cooking, the group has a lot of potential. The group enjoys hosting travelers in their village to share their stories and learn from others. When there are opportunities to collaborate with other groups in the community, the women's group always does. Also, the group is always selling food or arts and crafts to the community so the relationships are very open.

Bamboo Farming and Tortilla Making with Alexis and Xania Argendora, Guanacaste Province

Xania and Alexis have three children who have all moved to nearby neighborhoods. Their hope is when tourism begins to develop a bit more in Argendora that they will build rustic ranch style cabins and that their daughters will return to help with the family business.

Lamp Making with Kathya and Cinthya Ciudad Colon, San Jose Province

A few years ago, Cinthya met an old man selling these beautiful lamps at the hotel where she worked. The lamps caught Cinthya's eye and she learned to make them herself by asking him questions and doing her own research. Little by little, the two sisters raised money to buy the tools and make the lamps on their own. Once the first few lamps were built, they learned how to paint. When people saw the finished products, they were really impressed. As people began to recognize their work, Kathya and Cinthya realized that they want to establish their own business. Many people in town buy the lamps as gifts for baby showers, birthdays, yoga centers, Christmas, and personalized pieces.

Organic Cacao and Banana Farming with Aida and Fredi Yorkin, Limon Province

Aida and Fredi are a humble, hardworking couple. Their family exudes positivity. Their kitchen is a neighborhood gathering place where laughs can be heard starting at sunrise. Despite the physically taxing nature of both the farm work and house work they do, it is rare for Fredi or Aida to admit to being tired.

Mosaic Art with Rodrigo Ciudad Colon, San Jose Province

Rodrigo and his wife, Yani, came to Costa Rica because they wanted to build an artistic life and community here. They were attracted to the fact that they could live and work in proximity to nature and tranquility in Ciudad Colon. There is so much culture and art in this town. Plus, they get to enjoy the sun everyday. Rodrigo believes it is noble to be able to express himself personally through art. There are no limits. Rodrigo has a dream to make Ciudad Colon the first mosaic city in Latin America. Wherever he goes he believes he can contribute something that will make the place more beautiful.

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Field Notes from Costa Rica

A Day in the Life with Don Pancho

Jaime Posa · Aug 25, 2015

If you are lucky, you can catch a glimpse of the Volcan Poas crater on the way to Don Pancho’s coffee farm. (Check this website for real time update on visibility) For 16 United Nations University for Peace students and I, we were not lucky enough ... read more