There is something about wild places. Maybe it’s that there aren’t too many left in the world. Or that there’s a sense of adventure and exploration when you visit them (especially when you travel there in a 2 seater plane and you’re flying in a tropical storm). Or maybe it’s just a magical piece of the world that is so untouched that it takes your breath away.
My breath was taken away. And magic happened. My 2 day experience in Tortuguero was unlike any other. I’ve been to other places that seem untouched. Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula is one of those places. But Osa doesn’t have anything on Tortuguero.
The day before my chartered flight, I arrived in San Jose and had a prep conversation with my client/friend.
Here’s how part of the conversation went:
Her: Did you bring shoes?
Me: Of course!
Her: Something other than flipflops?
Me: Oh…no. Do I need something other than flipflops? We’re not going hiking!
Her: No, but you’ll be taking a boat everywhere and probably have to walk through mud to get to the school.
There are no roads in Tortuguero. None. And no cars. Just a small village that is literally in the middle of a National Park. Like many other areas of the world, it has seen its share of turmoil. In the 1800’s, explorers killed the turtles that came onto shore (like Ostional on the Nicoya Peninsula, thousands of turtles visit this 22km Caribbean beach each year) for their meat and oil. Also during this period, slaves were used in cacao plantations. In the mid-1950’s, lumber mills came in to the area. And while it brought in jobs and more income for the local people, it also took down much of the pristine primary forest.
But things have shifted. Since 1972, the local area has been a protected National Park (which technically people are not supposed to live there but the local residents would have no other place to go). In 2006, the community handed out the first high school diplomas. They have an amazingly clean potable water system, a recycling center and even internet (the speed of which is debatable as is the case everywhere in Costa Rica). That’s pretty incredible considering this small village has no cell phone reception, no pharmacy and very little in the way of what most would consider “basic needs”.
So you may ask…what was I doing there? Well hop on over to this blog post to read about my experiences with this little Caribbean village and a small nonprofit who is bringing about big change for local people and our planet.
And you won’t want to miss next week’s post which could very well be the sweetest and cutest post of all time!
Enjoy the slideshow…