December 6th, 2008: Donation activity in the mountains of Talamanca - Indigenous Village

On Saturday December 6th 2008 we had a Christmas event in a small community in the mountains of Talamanca. Thanks to the donations from friends, family and colaborators we could bring a lot of gifts to up to 80 people in a small and quite isolated rural community in the La Estrella Valley, Talamanca.

It was a little difficult to get there as the road is not in a good condition. At the end of the road the people was ready waiting for us with horses and helping hands in order to take all the stuff to the local school. After a 30 minutes walk we finally arrived to the local school where some people walked even more than 2 hours to be present that day.

We brought presents to all the kids (up to 41), food to every single family (14 families) and more. They had a very nice reception for us where all the community was present. We had a traditional lunch in plantain leves instead of dishes and an amazing atmosphere.

Here is a presentation with some pictures of the activity



Dota: Much more than coffee

The first area where we'll be working is where one of the best coffees
in Costa Rica (and in the world) grows. This is the land of the
quetzals, the cloud forest and the warmest and friendliest people you
could ever know. One of the most amazing features of this region is the
wide variety of biodiversity due to the unique feature of having
forest ranges from 250 m – 3500 m.a.s.l. (meters above sea level), in
a relatively small area. The different altitudinal points generate
different climate types: Tropical Rain Forest, Cloud Forest, Paramo
Forest (over 3000 m). This allows the presence of a wide variety of
plants and animals, some of which are endemic to this region. Among
this species the Quetzal is one of the most beautiful and
representative. It is also one of the most beautiful birds in the world.

Things you'll be doing

Here you can stay inside the Fundación Nubotropica. A foundation
created by the community to promote the conservation and sustainable
development of the region. You can stay in a lodge surrounded by
the cloud forest and you can practice some hiking and great bird

Besides the Fundación Nubotrópica you can visit the small towns around the region or you can take different tours inside the local farms. Tours include bird watching, waterfalls, hiking, caves, tropical forests, beaches and more. You can stay in small lodges available in the area, or if you prefer a deeper contact with the local culture, you can stay with a host family. The transportation between the lodges, families and/or tours will be provided by local drivers.

How this project makes a difference

The Fundación Nubotropica promotes the conservation and sustainable
development of the community by giving environmental education to the local people and by supporting activities and research.

With your only presence you’ll support the foundation and its initiatives as the main income come by tourist visits. If you want to go further and involve you can help in different ways such us helping in creating and maintaining the trials inside the foundation’s reserve. You can also help in the maintenance of the facilities, or joining their many initiatives.

In either option: Fundación Nubotrópica, lodges, host families or local tours, you will be in contact with the local people and you will help the community by providing a significant income that will support the local economies.

The main objective is that the community realizes that preserving the environment is a powerful way to grow and that the most important treasure that they have is their environment and their culture.

Talamanca: cacao, indigenous culture and rainforest

Talamanca is the region of the Bri-Bri people and the Cabecars two of the most important indigenous cultures in Costa Rica. It is located in the south Caribbean side of Costa Rica, next to the Panama border and it is rich in indigenous culture and amazing nature. Despite this wealth, Talamanca is one of the poorest regions in the country and now some local initiatives have begun to attract tourism to the area. Tourism could be a good input to this socially unprivileged area but the lack of marketing knowledge and support from other organizations have made this task difficult.

Things you'll be doing

The area is just amazing, there are multiple tour options inside the mountains trough the rainforest. Lots of birds and animals of different species live in the mountains of Talamanca. Green tropical rain forests and beautiful rivers and waterfalls make this place a natural paradise.

Here you'll have the chance to see the real cacao trees and be part of the traditional methods to make chocolate as indigenous people have done during centuries. Here you'll try the chocolate in the real cacao lands.

You can stay in an original indigenous lodge, a very interesting structure made on natural materials using the traditional indigenous construction methods. It is located in a small town inside an indigenous reservation around 30 minutes from the main town, BriBri. Besides this lodge there are some other lodge options in different parts of Talamanca all of them owned and runned by local families or if you prefer you can also stay with a host family. Depending on how deep you want to get inside of Talamanca the options varies.

Once on this area you can take some of many tours: from visiting waterfalls, riding a horse, take a hike inside the rain forest, take a boat trough a river between the Costa Rica and the Panama border, take a bird watching tour, go fishing, play with the kids in the community, learn some BriBri words, or just to relax and "disconnect" from the world in an "exclusive Talamanca indigenous-style lodge".

How this project makes a difference

The main lodge owner is a community leader who dreamed to attract tourists to this region as an alternative method to generate an income to the families in his community and to promote an intercultural exchange. His dream came true and now, thanks to this project he supports many families: All the ingredients on the meals that you'll try come from small local farmers (some of them are organic farmers), the tours that you'll take are runned by local people, the small staff on this lodge is a family who depends on this project to live. He also supports the community by sending tourists to local families where you can stay in case that you prefer to stay with a host family. All this means a very important income to the local economies.

This is what a newspaper in Costa Rica (La Nación) said about this place:

Welcome to the Coffee and Cacao Lands of Central America

This is a space to discus and describe the coffee and cacao lands of Central America. The idea is to promote responsible tourism around the region and we want to offer different alternatives to the massive tourism that is having a negative impact over the local cultures and the environment. The coffee and cacao lands and people of Central America have to much to offer and the coffee and cacao lands and people of Central America have to much to win if we know how to do it in a sustainable and responsible way.