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.
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.
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.
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.
Choto’s education comes from his elders and from his connection with nature. He received no formal schooling and yet at an early age he was recognized by local organizations to help connect, develop and protect indigenous communities throughout all of Costa Rica. 10 years ago, he retired from his formal job as an indigenous social promotor and decided to focus his time and effort on his homeland. Choto recognizes that the Quitirissi region is located very close to the capital city (San Jose) and is in high-contact with modern society. For this reason, much of the traditional ways of life of the Guetares is being lost. There are many Guetar people who would like to continue their traditional practices, but the reality is that they need to make money to survive and they have very few opportunity available to them. Choto believes sustainable tourism is the only current option to be able to generate income, preserve their traditional practices and also educate the world about their reality.
The community of Argendora is just starting to welcome small tours of adventurous travelers to the area. The majority of the community members here make a living off of farming and small handicrafts, but all are looking forward to what tourism will bring for their future. Rudi and Enrique travel throughout the country working at and showcasing in local art shows.
Maria Cristina is a busy woman! Her house seems to be constantly filled with the cutest kids of Argendora. With eight of her own children living throughout Costa Rica, and six grandchildren in Argendora Maria Cristina shared that her dream for the future was simply to sleep more. All jokes aside, her and her husband do have dreams for a larger and more productive farm in the future. She is extremely passionate about maintaining the traditions of local Guanacasteco dishes, and her grandchildren are more than excited to practice their English with you!
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