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The love among guides

They go it alone, like schoolteachers: the forest their classroom, the tourists their students. When the tourists disappeared, they kept going out, walking the...

Where two rivers start, a mission was born

How did a specific concern for the health of two rivers grow into a project that affected multiple communities’ schools and economies, the role...

Handmade tortillas: culture on your palate

When I eat a criollo corn tortilla, I know we are eating the same thing our ancestors ate. I was fortunate to meet my...

The promise of a book

What is your first memory of a book in your hands? Your fingers trailing along a shelf, touching the spines? That distinct, strangely loud sound...

Orchids, mysterious plants.

    Orchids inevitably arouse curiosity and admiration. They used to be unusual, but today it is common to see them in homes and even for...

For the love of fire

Heat explodes in the mouth: he laughs as understanding dawns over a visitor's face when she recognizes that what she is tasting is a...

The power of the observer

When we go on a trip, a walk, a little getaway, we always have a reason. It can be knowing a new place, revisiting...

For the love of water

It’s a miracle that rivers exist at all. That’s what don Hernán Ramírez Alfaro has to say, with the song of running water behind his...

When gold is green

Third in our April series on rural community tourism in Costa Rica. Read Part One, “The wisdom that comes with a life on the...

A day in the life of a master chocolatier

In the early hours of the morning, the noise of an ATV fills the hills of Turrubares and announces that Yorleny Cubillo, the chocolatier...

Virtual travel experiences: opportunities for travelers and tourism enterprises

I have devoted much of the past 15 years to creating travel experiences, predominantly in Costa Rica and neighboring countries, anchored by meaningful human...

For the love of the air

Who makes the air we breathe?  Trees, of course. But who keeps the trees from being cut down? Do we recognize those people? Do they...

El Camino de Costa Rica

From river ziplines in the Caribbean to breathtaking Pacific views, from long days on the trail to a night at the frog pond... photojournalist...

For the love of the soil

Why do they love the soil? Because it gives them freedom. So many people in this world don’t even have a place to plant...

A night in the life of sea turtle protectors

Our new series "A Day in the Life" is part of our joint storytelling efforts with the members of Directory 506, our national directory...

They are the school

Rebeca. Ariel. Ingrid. Gabriela. Silvia.  Rebeca surrounds herself in flashcards and pens and laminated charts, even if she is the only one who can touch...

‘My advice is to hang on tight’

Costa Rica lost an iconic figure in conservation and rural ecotourism on March 23, when Rafael Gallo Palomo died after a long illness. We...

The canoe, another member of the community

Trade and transportation keep the economy running. In the remote Costa Rican region of Talamanca, means of transport are essential items. The Bribri indigenous...

Those who feed our children

What did you eat for your schoolroom lunches? Chicken and garbanzos on top of white rice in a crowded city school? Spoon-shaped orbs of melon...

I left my heart between Dominical and Uvita

The first time I visited the northern edge of Costa Rica's southern Pacific coast, it left an impression on me the way a lightning...

When a parent is the teacher

The curtain is drawn back for us, though at the time, it seems quite dull: long, hopeful hours in the classroom before the year...

Wild Backyard, a saving grace during COVID

I have the privilege to work as wildlife, nature, and travel photographer, and as a naturalist guide. When quarantine started as a result of...

The power of a teacher’s gaze

What is the most important part of a teacher?  What about her gaze? Bullying starts in silence. In subtleties. It’s glances, murmurs, a passed note, a...

A national park protected by a giant

No national park can resist him. No national park can resist the calm and respectful step, the attentive and curious eyes and ears, and the...

In the shadows, a dazzling light

The birth of your child gives your life an arc. In fact: pregnancy. From the first strange soreness, sudden nausea, you begin to measure...

Montserrat de Coronado, filled with surprises

Visiting Montserrat de Coronado means entering the cloud forested mountains of the Central Volcanic Mountain Range. It is a magical and wonderful place that...

Eyleen Vargas: The female power of Costa Rican canyoning

Here in the year 2021, we might think that all roads have been traveled, but they haven't. Some claim to be exploring parts of...

The story of La Llorona, but not the one you know

It’s such a small stone for such a big name. La Llorona: she who cries. A massive, creepy presence in our legends, in the minds...

Bajos del Toro, a photographer’s playground

Imagine yourself in the mountains. You hike along crystal clear streams while breathing in cool, clean air. Where do you imagine yourself to be?...

Woman, jaguar, Labrador: one biologist’s path to conservation

Who would not like to see a jaguar in its habitat? We'd all like to, right? Stephanny knows the feeling. She's dedicated more than a...

We played our hearts out, he and I

If only we'd come prepared, I thought when we came across the soccer field on the potato farm, seemingly by accident. But I was the...

Corcovado: synonymous with biodiversity

  Corcovado National Park is one of the places in Costa Rica with the greatest wildlife biodiversity. I've visited it several times in the past,...

Poem from the road: For Lara

  There are thousands of women I admire. I admit that many leave a strong impression on me, even if I've never met them. But...

One day we took each other’s hand. We never let go

Have you ever had that feeling of enormous pressure on your heart, but somehow it feels nice? That's what I feel when I see...

Los pasitos, a Costa Rican Christmas tradition.

I was 10 years old when I became part of the family tradition. My great-grandmother learned it from her dad, my grandmother officially introduced...

Arenal, the hill the became a volcano.

It was around 1 am on Monday, July 29th, 1968. Adita Vargas Pérez, then 21 years old, remembers how she was awoken by what...

Baile de los Diablitos, a Boruca tradition.

“Man, it is something that one carries in the blood. You are born, live and grow with that in your blood, your blood boils...

The Diquís spheres, a legacy of the indigenous people of Costa Rica.

In the southwestern Pacific zone of Costa Rica, specifically in the delta between the Térraba and Sierpe rivers known as the Delta del Diquís,...

Where have all the trapiches gone?

In the early 1900s, Costa Ricans sweetened their meals with tapa de dulce. There was no interest in granulated white sugar; instead, people would...

Costa Rica’s indigenous art

Whether you’re here on a short business trip or a long backpacking adventure, or you live here... you may want to bring home something...

Conqueror of our time, San Gerardo de Dota is born.

San Gerardo de Dota, a beautiful basin of oak forest and Quetzal birds, was baptized by Caridad Zúñiga after Saint Gerard, the patron saint...

Handy with cheese

“This machine that our hands are, is the only one that can do the job well,” said Reynaldo Villalobos, referring to the production of...

The story of olive-ridley turtle town, Ostional

I still remember, very clearly, the first time I got to Ostional, one of four places in the world that hosts the amazing, massive...

Barra Honda, wonders under the earth.

Butterflies, dragonflies and beetles of many colors and sizes flutter around the trails of the Barra Honda National Park. Their eye-catching colors make us...

The Typical Costa Rican Carreta, a symbol of work and tradition.

A loud metallic ring marks a slow and almost relaxing rhythm which is interrupted by sporadic cries and snoring. It is the harvest time...

Tortuguero National Park, a paradise surrounded by water.

There is something about Tortuguero National Park... I love traveling and I try to avoid going twice to the same spot: too much to...

Boruca’s traditional food

On the other side of the Rio Grande de Térraba, where there is no inter-American street or electricity, lives Celedina Maroto Leiva, a 66-year-old...

Annexation de Guanacaste, a territory that decided to be Costa Rican.

When you are in Guanacaste and you hear someone screem "¡Bomba!", it's not a call to fear, but to laughter and joy. Imagine music...

Toucans, six species in one country, Costa Rica.

Besides some childhood memories of a fruit loop eating toucan named Sam, what do we really know about the toucan? Lately, Costa Rican toucans have...

Tamales. A Costa Rican holiday tradition none should miss.

It all starts with careful planning to make sure the right ingredients are at hand. Then, families gather to put together a production line...