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Grassroots work for an inclusive public sector

An office where fingerprints are processed. A training for the administrators of public ports. The meeting room of a municipal government. Sometimes, the work to...

A day in the life of an active retirement

The terrace of our living and dining room is the last frontier between human hands and the forest. There, with the Lajas Ravine at...

Coming out in Talamanca: the basket and the seed

The seed? That’s me. The most unnatural thing is to fear the natural. But what is natural? Are not all seeds natural? I am one of those...

One day, they said yes

Bourbon. Bitters. Sugar. Water. A graceful unwinding of orange peel. Why call it an Old Fashioned when you could call it a Media Naranja,...

Costa Rica’s advances towards inclusion—with some detours

Over the past three decades, Costa Rica has made important legislative advances towards greater inclusion and respect for LGBTIQ+ rights. Having moved from the arrests...

A secret garden of fruit

It's been only eigth years since this garden stopped being a couple's backyard with fruit trees, to become a botanical sanctuary for the palate,...

‘For my whole life, my existence has been invalidated’

As I was completing my Common App as a part of the university admissions process, I couldn't help but glance at the message saying...

Hope, in a heartbeat

Even when the world stops, life goes on. Not fear, not death—not even a pandemic full of death—can keep hope from poking through, new...

‘We must take advantage of Costa Rica’s young talent’

The Luis Jorge Poveda Álvarez Arboretum, on the Osa Peninsula, is a place to dream. I have been dreaming here since my childhood, and...

A day in the life of Jafet, a proud recycling collector

For two years and six months, Jafet Vilegas has been getting up every weekday at 6 am. He takes his time to say hello...

When your talent is dreaming big

Sometimes, you’re drawn to another person by his talents or skill. For her, it was the sheer scale of his dreams, and the way he...

AGUINADRA and COVIRENAS: a solution to hunger and illegal hunting

During the pandemic, the Association of Naturalist Guides of Drake Bay (AGUINADRA), where I serve as president, has carried out two fundraising campaigns with...

A treat for all the senses: birding in Coronado

Bird watching can happen anywhere: you just have to be curious and pay close attention. This is well known to all bird lovers, including...

The Bribri cosmovision and our relationship with nature

Nature sustains us. It is our home, our culture, our sense of self, and our food source. That is the relationship that Bribri people...

From multilingual chatter to the songs of birds

Even when he was at home in Bolivia, his passport was always within reach, a journey always being planned: to forests, beaches, deserts, mountains...

Philanthropy: the tourism product we aren’t offering in Costa Rica

A funny thing happens when I mention that my work is focused on Costa Rica. I hear stories about fantastic vacations, honeymoon dreams, or...

From consumption to conservation: the story of Carlos

What does it take to protect wildlife in Costa Rica? When we imagine the needs of wildlife organizations, we often think of funding for...

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...

A day in the life of a young artisan

Angie Flores López is one of the young women who collaborates with the Fundación Construyendo Sonrisas. She is 14 years old and lives in...

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...

Forward hard!

Series by Katherine Stanley Obando and Mónica Quesada Cordero, with additional reporting by Mayela López and Thomas Enderlin. Seventh part in our series on...

Can the government of Costa Rica rescue rural tourism?

Text by Mónica Quesada Cordero and Katherine Stanley Obando, with additional reporting by Mayela López and Thomas Enderlin. Sixth part in our series on...

What would Costa Rica be like without rural tourism?

Text by Mónica Quesada Cordero and Katherine Stanley Obando, with additional reporting by Mayela López and Thomas Enderlin. Part Five in our April series...

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 Costa Rica, there’s no time to lose

I'm an introvert. When I travel, I like to hide away with a book. But despite all that, every so often, sometime extraordinary happens...

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 pebbles in their shoes

Text by Mónica Quesada Cordero and Katherine Stanley Obando, with additional reporting by Mayela López and Thomas Enderlin. Fourth part in our April series...

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...

Online sales in Latin America: the challenges behind the opportunity

You have a great product that you’re certain will sell in the thousands if it only were available to all those international buyers. You...

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...

One step at a time

Part two in our April series on rural community tourism in Costa Rica. Read Part One here. Birdsong and warm mountain sunlight flood the small...

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...

Women, nature, and development

When I think of the link between women and nature, I think of Gladys, María Luisa, and María Elena. They represent many women I’ve...

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...

The wisdom of a life on the river

"Forward hard!" yelled the guide. And I, with all the energy and emotion of a 16-year-old, rowed with all my heart. In the split...

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...

‘We students need your patience’

I will never forget the moment in March 2020 when they passed out the printed announcement at the Liceo de Uvita, telling us that...

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...

Searching for a Renaissance

The final installment in our four-part series on education and the pandemic in Costa Rica, inspired by a 2006 series by our co-founders that...

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...

Learning liberated: The movement for innovation in education in Costa Rica

The first thing that strikes you as you enter HeartSong Community of Free Learners is how different it looks and feels from a conventional...

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...

The equalizers

Third in a four-part series on education and the pandemic in Costa Rica, inspired by a 2006 series by our co-founders that followed three...