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Adventure Tours Cultural Tours Wildlife Tours Overnight Tours
Surf Lessons
Kekoldi Indigenous Territory
Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge
Community of San Miguel *
Guided Bike Rides
Caribbean Cooking Class
Cahuita National Park
La Finca Educativa **
Dance Class
Farm Tours
Bird Watching
Casa Calateas **
Fishing
Gandoca Community--Laguna, Forest, Horseback, Volunteering, and More!
Green Iguana Tours
Waterfall Hikes
Agricultural Tours: Visit a Typical Talamancan Farm
Tortuguero, Turtle Watching/Canals
Kayaking
Yorkin - Women’s Artisan Group of Alta-Talamanca Indigenous Territory
Leatherback Turtle Watch, Gandoca
Horseback Riding
El Yue, Eco-Agro Farm
Dolphin Watch
Night Hike
Chocolate Tour, Upper Talamanca
Transcontinental Hike **
Combo Tour in Alta-Talamanca. Chocolate, Watefall, Iguanas, the Costa Rica-Panama Border!

Adventure Tours


  • Surf Lessons
    Surf Lessons
    Our young local guides have all been teaching for at least 10 years.
    The guide will pick you up at your hotel, take you and a board to a beach that is suited to your experience level. You’ll do some practicing on the beach, go through some techniques, then get in the water with a guarantee you’ll stand!
    Surfing is a way of life for the youth of this coast. Learn a little of the tranquillo lifestyle of the Caribbean surfer while learning to surf with a certified local instructor and community activist.

    All ages and levels.

    Cost: $55
    Reduced costs for groups

    about 2 hours.

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  • Guided Bike RidesGuided Bike Rides

    Spend a day ambling up the coast with this lovable guide. Learn about the history of the Afro-Caribbeans along the coast and current issue they face today, stop at various beaches and end with a refreshing drink at the famous Maxi’s bar in Manzanillo.

    Or learn about the Indigenous culture; stop by the iguana project in Kekoldi Indigenous Territory, pass by the recycling center, learn about the chocolate making process and it’s role in BriBri history, stop by a waterfall along the road, and get your workout going up the mountain to Talamanca’s political seat in the town of BriBri. Enjoy an organic lunch along the way.

    From Puerto Viejo to KekoLdi and BriBri
    18-20 km
    Start in Old Harbour.
    * Bike from Puerto Viejo about 5 KM to the rustic Green Iguana Project at K�k�Ldi Indigenous Territory
    * Pass by the recycling center in Patino. (+ 1/2 km)
    * Participate in the chocolate presentation with Miss Petronilla. (+ 2 to 3 KM)
    * Stop by Miss Petronilla’s son’s artisan shop.
    * Visit the small waterfall off the main road. (+1 KM)
    * Have a typical lunch at local family farm with food produced on the farm. (on the way back to BA about 2 km from waterfall)
    * If you have energy and feel very athletic, you can work those quads and bike up the mountain to the town of BriBri. BriBri the county seat of Talamanca our Canton, looks much like any other town one might see in Costa Rica. By this time you’ve gotten to know your bicycle and the terrain, you can discuss this option with your guide at lunch.

    Cost: $55 6-7 hour tour (longer if you go up to BriBri)

    From Puerto Viejo to Manzanillo
    14 km
    Bike leisurely from Old Harbour to Manzanillo. Learn some history and what’s going on today with sustainable (& not so sustainable) development along the coast. Stop by the surfer’s beach, learn about the “Blue Flag” program; visit the animal rescue center and or the Iguana restoration project, enjoy a dip at Punta Uva, & sip an ice cold beer or fruit shake at Maxi’s when you reach Manzanillo*.

    Cost: $45~5 hr tour

    * Beer drinking not required.

    From Puerto Viejo to Cahuita National Park
    16-18 km
    Feel the wind in your hair as you take to the road on this 15 km ride from Old Harbour to Cahuita. Spot some monkeys as you take a ride through the park and relax with an organic lunch after your ride. Cost: $40 ~6 hr tour

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  • Dance Class
    Dance Class
    Learn about Calypso, Soca, Salsa, Meringue, African. Proceeds go to benefit the local youth dance group “Olaba.” A 2 hour work out.

    Educated in San Jose with a degree in dance, our instructor has worked for more than 20 years to motivate Caribbean youth to take pride their culture and heritage and taught them the importance of nature through choreographed dance. You can get a taste of 3 or 4 different types of dance�€”Salsa, Merengue, Soca, African, Hip-Hop, Dance Hall, Calipso �€” and music traditional to this coast. If you’re lucky a couple of local kids will stop in and kick up their heals with you.

    Proceeds from this mini-course go to help the youth dance group Olaba�€”a local dialect pronunciation of our town Old Harbour, or in Spanish Puerto Viejo.

    Cost: $25 per person for a 2 hour Work Out.


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  • Fishing
    Fishing
    Since there have been people on our South Caribbean Coast, there have been fishermen. Hang out with a local fisherman. Most of these guys aren’t “professional guides”, they’re real fisherman with whom you can spend a morning on the sea in a simple boat, learn their way to fish, help them support their traditional lifestyle. Line fishing for red snapper, mackerel, and jack, or sport fishing for Tarpon. Ask and maybe your captain can help you cook up your trophy!

    Line Fishing

    for red snapper and jack, or sport fishing for Tarpon.
    Early Morning
    Learn to line fish the traditional way. Red Snapper, Jack, and more�€� 2-3 early morning hours:

    Cost: $65

    Sport Fishing

    Tarpon.

    Half Day:
    Cost:
    $300 Two People in Manzanillo or Puerto Viejo
    $400 in Punta Uva


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  • Waterfall Hikes
    Waterfall Hikes
    Traipse through the forest along a river to one of three fabulous local waterfalls.

    Combination Tour of Indigenous Culture
    Waterfall Visit, traditional farm, and Chocolate Tour

    Experience this unforgettable adventure to upper Talamanca, where you will visit places that few visitors get to see.
    The tour includes:
    * A visit to the Chocolate House—a must do for the chocolate lover,
    * A stop by the Sixaola River—the Costa Rica - Panam� border
    * A visit an Indigenous Home built in the traditional style.
    * A short tour of traditional use of the plant life in medicines, foods, dies,
    * The grand finale; experience the peace and tranquility of the magical waterfall at Volio. Enjoy a refreshing swim, see tropical flora, fauna, and with a little luck see animals such as birds, monkeys, sloth, blue Morpho butterflies…

    Duration: 4-5 hours
    Difficulty: The hike to the waterfall has steep parts, you cross a river several times, but the hike is short, only about 30 mins.
    Cost:
    $45 per person includes Transportation ($50 per person in 2012)
    $38 per person if you have your own vehicle.

    Including: Transportation, guide, juice in the waterfall.

    Bring with you:
    * Bottle of water
    * Towel
    * Shoes you don’t mind getting wet such as Sandals (such as Tivas, Chacos, sport sandals)
    * Repellent
    * Copy of your passport a little extra cash to pick up some authentic souvenirs.

    KekoLdi Waterfall

    Enjoy a whole day guided hike to the waterfall at KekoLdi Indigenous Reserve.
    Duration: Full Day Trip
    Difficulty: This will wear you out.
    Cost: $35 full day

    Tropical Forest and Waterfall

    **
    Two day package
    Visit el Y�e eco-agro project medicinal plants, organic banana plantation, greenhouse, biodigestor. Take an early morning trek to the Carb�n 1 Waterfall.
    Duration: 2 day trip
    Difficulty: The hike has its difficulty part.
    Cost: $60 2 Day Package

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  • Kayaking
    Kayaking
    Kayak in the Río Ernesto in Punta Uva or the Río Sixaola in Alta Talamanca.

    Kayak Punta Uva and Rio Ernesto*

    Duration: about 2 hours on the river
    Tour the in Kayak in and around Punta Uva. Venture into the Ernesto River and see what wildlife you can spot. Learn to surf if the sea is right.
    Cost: $35 ~2 hours on the river

    Alta Talamanca on the Sixaola River

    Whole day trip, including transportation to and from Puerto Viejo to the remote indigenous community of Suretka,
    What better way to see the flora and fauna of Alta-Talamanca than from a kayak on this guided float down the Sixaola River. Enjoy the view of the primary forest of the jungles of Costa Rica on one side and of Panam� on the other. Your guide will point out wildlife and share with you what it’s like to live long this sometimes raging river. Stop for a drink in the small town of Chase on the Panama side of the river, and end the trip in the town of BriBri, the political center of Talamanca. Don’t worry, the guide will protect you from the crocodiles.

    Cost: $80

    Duration: it will take most of your day

    Difficulty: It depends on the weather, your guide will let us know the difficulty level.

    Gear: We provide the kayak, the life jacket, a paddle. You bring river shoes, swim suit, sunblock, insect repellent, water, rain poncho if needed, a hat is a good idea.


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  • Horseback Riding
    Horseback Riding
    Feel the ocean breeze as you amble between the sea and the forest along the Caribbean coconut walk. You’ll encounter fabulous surprises with our expert guide.
    * We don’t promote riding on public trails as they make them impassable for the hikers.
    * This ride is along the sea in areas where we won’t run over the sun-bathers.

    Difficulty:
    Easy, but more easy if you have experience

    Duration:
    A two to two and half hour ride

    Location:
    The ride starts in Cocles, about 4 km south of Puerto viejo

    Price:
    $65

    2012 Price:
    $75 per person

    Notes:
    Long pants and shoes that won’t fall off are required.
    This trip goes in the morning or the afternoon to not overheat the horses.


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  • Night Hike
    Night Hike
    Punta Uva Night Hike

    If you think you know our jungles, think again. On a night hike the forest is a different world. This is a hike to experience all of your senses; hear the eerie sounds of howling up in the towering tress or a rapid rustle off in the bush, see glowing eyes staring back at you in the night, feel the damp night air deep in the forest, and smell the night-blooming flowers of the jungle. Here’s your chance to spend a few hours enjoying the unusual sights, sounds, and sensations of a night walk through the jungle.

    Spend a few hours enjoying the unusual sights, sounds and sensations of a night walk through the jungle.

    Duration:

    3 hours Difficulty: moderate

    Location:

    In Punta Uva, 7 km from Puerto Viejo. In front of Cabinas Itaita

    Hints:

    Bring a flashlight and sturdy shoes.

    Transportation and flash light costs a bit extra.

    Cost:

    $35 per person

    Group of 6 or more cost:

    $30 per person


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  • Transcontinental Hike **
    Transcontinental Hike
    Hike from one side of the country to the other, camping along the way in the Talamancan Mountains.

    Extreme Fitness Required.
    6 to 15 day trip.

    If you’re crazy enough to try this 70 km trek, you’ll never forget it. Experience an amazing trek through pristine rainforest and cloud forest, crossing the continental divide in the Talamanca Mountain Range with a Cabecar native experienced guide from Coroma, Talamanca. The journey took you from Ujarr�s on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca, to peaks such high as 2700 m, and down the Caribbean slope through wonderful landscapes of dense forests.

    This trek is both a physical and mental challenge, but also an unforgettable experience and a very unique way to discover natural wonders and wildlife of Costa Rica.

    Cost: $750 for 1 to 3 people. It takes 6 to 15 days.

    TRANSCONTINENTAL TREK TALAMANCA
    Ujarr�s �€“ Coroma

    By Olivier Chassot, November 2001

    We were lucky enough to experience an amazing 8 days trek through pristine rainforest and cloud forest, crossing the continental divide in the Cordillera of Talamanca with Zen�n, a Cabecar native experienced guide from Coroma, Talamanca. Our journey took us from Ujarr�s on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca, to peaks such high as 2700 m, and down the Caribbean slope through wonderful landscapes of dense forests.

    This trek is both a physical and mental challenge, but also an unforgettable experience and a very unique way to discover natural wonders and wildlife of Costa Rica.

    The following is a short account aimed to provide information to anyone interested in taking part to this amazing adventure. Complementary information can be provided by Mel Baker, atecmail@racsa.co.cr, melbaker@racsa.co.cr
    or Olivier Chassot, lapa@cct.or.cr.

    1. DESCRIPTION OF THE TREK

    Start point
    The start point of the trek is the native village of Ujarr�s, 10 km north of Buenos Aires and the Interamerican Highway, one hour southeast from San Isidro del General (Perez Zeled�n). There is a small grocery store (pulpería) offering basic staple food and goods such as rice, pasta and cookies. It is possible to enjoy a meal with one of the native families before starting the adventure. It is also possible to sleep underneath the school porch if you arrive late in the day.

    End point
    The end point of the trek is the native village of Coroma, about 60 kilometres northeast of Ujarr�s, on the other side of the Cordillera de Talamanca. There also is a pulpería and it is possible and recommended to eat at the Communal House, which is the cultural centre of the village. People will let you camp at the Communal House.

    Fauna and flora
    The nature of the trek itself, considering the difficulty of each daily segment, relative speed of the trip combined with the way of walking single file with the guide at the front extensively using his machete, does not allow good opportunities to observe wildlife. In the dark rain forest it is easy to spot many animal prints on the ground but it is much more difficult to have a look at them in the flesh. More commonly fauna seen includes arthropods, lizards and snakes. Among others mammals, it is possible to observe:
    Tapir
    Jaguar and other cats
    Coatimundi
    Monkeys (3 species)
    Kinkajou
    Neotropical Otter

    Among birds, the following conspicuous species are easily found:
    Motmots
    Quetzal and Trogons
    Tucans
    Hummingbirds

    Floristic diversity is beyond any description. It is safe to allege that it is amongst the richest of Central America, including a great number of endemic species found nowhere else. La Amistad International Park, which is crossed during the trek is shared between Costa Rica and neighbouring Panama and thus constitutes one of the biggest parks of the Isthmus, where pristine rainforest and cloud forest is the rule. Usually, your guide shows the animals, trees or plants of interest with the basic information. The use of binoculars is not necessary for it is heavy to carry and is not so useful due to the forest’s structure.

    Rain and temperature
    In the tropical wet forest, humidity level reaches sometimes 100%. Talamanca is one of the wettest parts of the country with more than 4000 mm of rain per year. Usually, the dry season is from December to May, but eastward from the Continental Divide, climate is typically Caribbean-like, which means that there is no real dry season and that it can rain at any given time with heavy showers every day. You can experience 8 days of heavy rains or also be lucky to experience no rain. Whatever the conditions are, you will be soaked from the time you start walking until you come out of the forest.

    Temperature fluctuates between very hot and dry in Ujarr�s, that is, about 30º C (at 600 m) to cold and wet around the highest peaks, that is, about 4 to 6º C (2700 m).

    Nature of the ground and paths
    Nature of the terrain can be qualified such as extremely difficult, with slopes between 25º and 45º and some of them reaching an amazing 65º to 75º. In this case, the energy required by the trekkers is really demanding. Rivers and streams are relatively common and one of them, Río Cohen presents a moderate difficulty to be crossed when low but can be dangerous during continuous rainfalls.

    It has to be explained that there are no paths such as we know them. Paths that are used during the trek are riverbeds or the one made by large mammals such as Tapirs, Jaguars or Wild Pigs. This means that the vegetation obstructing the path has to be chopped out constantly by the guide making the progress sometimes slow and difficult. Only a few native guides of either the Cabecar or Bribri ethnic group know the route from Ujarr�s to Coroma. They mark trees in order not to loose themselves if they have to turn back for some reason, but more than anything to make the way easier for other companions. The way is generally obstructed by a great amount of fallen trees, branches, lianas, spiny plants and palm trees of all kinds, making the hike really difficult, as you have to pass under or above huge trunks with a heavy backpack. The itinerary can change according to the trekker’s need or capacity. Only your guide is able to take decisions and no one else.

    RESPONSIBILITIES

    Native guide
    The guide responsible for the trek is Zen�n, a native Cabecar from the Coroma community. Zen�n has been working many years with ATEC and crossed Talamanca many times. A close relative who helps him as his assistant always accompanies him. Besides Zen�n, two or three other guides are available. They only speak Spanish but it is possible to have an interpreter from ATEC or Eco Aventuras. Zen�n is one of the few people doing this type of work who has extensive Red Cross training.

    GEAR AND EQUIPMENT
    The quantity of gear is the most determinant factor for the success of your trek. A heavy and badly packed backpack is synonymous for suffering.

    Collective gear
    Camping tent
    Cook stove(s) and fuel
    Cooking gear
    Food
    Snake bite kit
    Anti-ophidian serum

    Individual gear
    The following list is the minimum recommended:
    2 pairs of trousers (1 for hiking, 1 for the night at the base camp)
    2 underwear (1 for hiking, 1 for the night)
    2 pairs of socks (2 for hiking, 1 for the night)
    2 long sleeved resistant shirts
    1 sweat shirt
    1 pair of good leather or rubber boots
    1 pair of synthetic light sandals
    Rain gear (for the night)
    Hat or cap
    Light sleeping bag
    Towel
    Gloves
    Walking stick(s)

    Mattress (optional)

    Personal gear
    Swiss knife
    Metal plate
    Fork and spoon
    Metal cup
    Soap (biodegradable)
    Shampoo (biodegradable)
    First aid kit
    Torch
    Extra batteries
    Gourd
    Swedish matches/storm proof-lighter
    Insect repellent
    Toilet paper
    Zip locks
    passport
    Money
    Camera (optional)

    Leather boots or rubber boots?
    Leather boots suffer humidity and mud. Rubber boots are cheap, reliable, almost indestructible, and are used by any peasant, indigenous, ranger and researcher in Costa Rica. Whatever the choice, comfort for your feet is the most important thing to consider, and you must be used to your boots before starting the trek, as it is hard to walk nine hours a day with blisters.
    Tent
    Tents should be waterproof, light and easy to pack and unpack.
    Backpack
    Backpacks, like tents, should be of the best quality, water resistant (they spend the night outside, hanging on branches). It must be as light as possible, and should not exceed 15 kilos, including food and cooking gear.

    TREK

    Usually, the group hikes every day from 7:00 to 16:00 non-stop. The schedule can vary according to the group’s needs or capacity: it can be extended to more days, rarely reduced. The group’s main goal is to be able to camp along a stream every night to be able to drink, to cook and to wash. The schedule thus depends in great part of the group’s ability to complete a segment between two streams.

    A typical day
    5:30 Wake up
    6:00 Breakfast
    6:30 Packing the gear in the backpacks
    7:00 Start of the hike
    12:00 Light meal
    12:40 Start of the hike
    16:00 End of the hike
    17:30 Large meal
    19:00 Sleep time

    Food

    Food supplies have to be planned carefully as taking too much is a heavy burden and not carrying enough can be foolish. Total quantity of food must be divided into everybody’s backpack and food must also be taken for the guide and his assistant. The guide and his assistant do not carry food supplies, food gear or tents, as they have to focus on the heavy machete task. Menu can be like the following:

    Breakfast: coffee, oatmeal with powdered milk and dry fruits
     
    Lunch: powder fruit drinks, seeds (peanuts, etc.), dry fruits and chocolate

    Dinner: hot tea, soup, pasta or seasoned lyophilised rice

    Do not carry any cans and have everything packed in ziplocks bags. Do not trash anything in the forest and take all garbage with you.

    Duration:

    The trek can last between 7 and 12 days. A reasonable average is 8 to 9 days. The more time the treks extends, the more the food supply factor becomes critical. It is impossible to predict the trek’s duration, but ideally, food supplies should be enough for at least 10 days.

    FIRST AID
    Medical attention and first aid
    Your guide is trained for first aid and knows exactly how to act in any given circumstances. It is he who decides what needs to be done and how. He also knows how to use snakebite gear and administrate antivenin serum. Your guide is also capable to go out of the forest in a record time and get help from the radio in Coroma or Ujarr�s; in the meantime the groups remain with the guide’s assistant and the injured person.

    PARTICIPANTS
    Inscription form
    For each participant it is important to know the following data:
    Name
    First Name
    Nationality
    Passport number
    Date of birth
    Specific information on specific diet
    Specific information in case of special medication


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Cultural Tours


  • Kekoldi Indigenous Territory
    Kekoldi Indigenous Territory
    Get to know this BriBri Indigenous Territory, located just 15 minutes from Puerto Viejo. Although there is no “central” village you’ll pass by typical homes, a bird-viewing station where the annual bird count takes place, the iguana project, the cultural center and the scientific center, or spend a bit more time and hike to the impressive waterfall or through a private reserve and traditional farm the buffers the Indigenous Territory.

    This 5,000+ hectare reserve is part of the Talamanca-Caribbean Biological Corridor, more than 36,000 hectares of land under protection. K�k�Ldi is a mosaic of primary and secondary forests, abandoned cacao plantations and private farms. While there is no central “village” you’ll pass by traditionally built indigenous homes, a bird-viewing towers, or stop to enjoy a traditional lunch with a family. Learn about Bribr� culture, history and use of the forest. Wear yourself out with a hike to the impressive waterfall. Check out the iguana project and the “Basket House” where Indigenous crafts are sold.

    Tour of the Iguana Farm

    Tour the Iguana Farm, learn a bit of folklore & nature, hike a short trail around the protected area.
    About 3 hours

    Upon arrival, you be will welcomed by one of our local guides who will tell you about the Bribri Indigenous Territory, K�k�ldi, and about the research project for the reproduction of the iguana verde (Iguana iguana), an initiative of the community since 1990. Then, you will be taken through the Striut trail (Cacao Bribri) in the tropical forest and learn about the importance of different species of flora and fauna for his ancestors and those still used today by the locals. Your guide will tell you interesting mythological stories from the Bribri culture and the special connection of the people with the nature that surrounds them. At the end of the trail we will take time to look at the beautiful handicrafts made in the community.

    Price $20 about 3 hours

    Overview of the Territory

    The iguana project, bird viewing station, community center, scientific center, interpretive hike.
    About 5 hours

    At the beginning of the trail, our local guide will tell you about the Bribri Indigenous Territory and about the research project for the reproduction of the iguana verde (Iguana Iguana), providing you information about the species reproduction process. Next, you will walk through secondary tropical forest, where you have the chance to observe different flora species, mainly palm trees, cocoa and fast growing trees as the Jabillo and Jobo. On a slow climb into the mountain, you will be introduced to many species of trees such as the Pilon, Almendro de Montana, N�spero and Ceibo present in the primary tropical forest. You may observe Congo and White Faced Monkeys, Iguanas, Leaf Cutter Ants and several unique bird and plant species.

    The guide will then take you to the highest point, approximately 220 m. above sea level, where a tower was built especially to observe the raptor migration which takes place just twice a year: from September to November and from February to May. During the peak of the season, it is possible to count thousands of birds of prey in one single day. From this observation point we will also discover the outstanding scenery of the Talamanca mountains, Panama and the coastal zone with a beautiful view of Puerto Viejo, Puerto Limon and Uvita island. After enjoying a typical lunch, we will then walk down towards the reserve’s main entrance where you will be invited to shop for local handicrafts made by members of the local community.

    Price: $25 about 4 or 5 hours

    Chimuri Reserve and K�k�Ldi

    Tour a typical Talamancan farm tasting the in-season fruit and bird watching, hike this private forest reserve (a buffer zone to the K�k�Ldi Reserve,) wander into K�k�Ldi and check out the bird watching tower, if you have time stop and support the iguana reintroduction project and pick up a souvenir at the “basket house”.
    About 6 hours.

    The starting point for this hike is the private reserve called “Chimuri.” Chimuri private reserve serves as an important buffer zone to the K�k�Ldi Indigenous Reserve—adding to this critical biological corridor.

    On this (approximately) 7 hour walk you’ll have the opportunity to taste in-season tropical fruits that you may never have even heard of before—mammon chino; a beautiful spiky red fruit, the Creole lime, the mangostan, the Columbian zapote, the custard-like birib�, and homegrown starfruit grapefruit, pineapple or Banana—ask your guide about the banana industry and you’ll never eat a commercially grown banana again.

    You’ll trek through traditional Indigenous farms where the cacao (chocolate) trees growing beneath the canopy of the towering rainforest trees and pejiballe palms. You’ll pass through primary and secondary rainforests and little patches where organic bananas, yucca, and yam grow.

    Throughout the walk, you’ll encounter and learn about medicinal plants used traditionally by indigenous folks and fruits, plants and wild edible fruits that have been part of the indigenous diet since ancient times. Your guide shares his wide array of knowledge of his ancestors, their traditions, daily life and the mythology of the BriBri People.

    See the traditional materials used in construction of the traditional houses (ranchitos), the leaves used for roofing, the specific palms used for the walls and flooring, the woods and the vines used to bring the building together.

    It is possible to run across at any moment a coati, an armadillo, a sloth, or a monkey, the tracks of any of these animals or a big cat. Will you be lucky enough to run across one of Talamanca’s colorful snakes? An abundance of birds are always around; toucans, magpies, aricaris, tanagers, humming birds, parrots or with luck a jungle turkey.

    Poison dart frogs, exotic insects and other reptiles hide in the under story as well.

    This tour takes you to the 200 meter tall bird observation tower in the heart of the K�k�Ldi reserve where we can see the marvelous view across the Talamancan Mountain Range, to Panama and to the Caribbean Sea.

    This very part of Costa Rica is the world’s second most important migratory path for the migratory raptors. During the raptor migration months we can observe 1000’s of migratory hawks, vultures, falcons, etc.

    This guide is one of ATEC’s founding members, an active participant in protection and conservation of Talamanca’s culture and nature, a fabulous story-teller and a treasure to our community.

    Price: $36 about 6 hours

    Hike to Waterfall

    Pass the bird viewing station, the community center, the scientific center, on a strenuous interpretive hike to an amazing waterfall.
    About 8 hours

    Enjoy the same information included in the “B” Tour: “Overview of K�k�Ldi”, with your final destination a beautiful waterfall in the K�k�Ldi Indigenous Reserve. Be prepared for a muddy, intense hike and fun in the water!

    Price: $36 about 8-9-10 hours

    Lunch at the Scientific Center

    Add a typical Indigenous lunch to any of the above tours. Lunch usually consists of typical root vegetables, in season fruit, real “home made” hot chocolate, ripe plantain, traditionally prepared smoked chicken served on a banana leaf. With juice from in-season fruit.

    Price: $6

    Scientific Center

    Spend the night in the heart of the reserve. Includes 3 meals & lodging

    Stick around for a while and stay at K�koldi’s newly constructed lodge in the heart of the reserve.

    Price $25 per night includes 3 meals and lodging.

    Field Study Programs and Courses**

    from two weeks

    At the K�k�ldi Scientific Center we are honored to offer courses in bird conservation, bird banding techniques, raptor migration as well as many other customizable options. Complete packages with in-country transportation, local instructors, and food and lodging services are available. Our packages may include visits to other nearby community initiatives. We would like to help make your group experience truly unforgettable. Because these services are offered directly from the K�k�ldi Wak ka K�neke Association, all proceeds stay at the local level!

    available from $380 for 2 weeks.

    Intensive Bird Banding Training Course

    3 weeks at the K�k�ldi Scientific Center

    Includes all lodging and meals on site.

    $800 (price is valid for up to 4 weeks stay); additional weeks are $100/week

    Raptor Migration Counters, Volunteer Position

    1 month at the K�k�ldi Scientific Center

    Includes all lodging and meals on site.

    $600 (price is valid for up to 4 weeks stay); additional weeks are $100/week

    Got to http://www.kekoldi.org to sign up for these packages.

    Learn More:

    The People

    Cultural Diversity:

    Talamanca, located on the South Caribbean Coast, is Costa Rica’s most ethnically diverse canton (county). Our population is composed of native BriBr� and Cabecar, as well as Afro-Caribbean and Latin peoples, along with residents from some 40 different nations.

    The BriBr� and Cab�car

    Sib� made the first Indigenous people from seeds of corn. He brought the seeds from a place called /suLa’kaska/, which means the place of destiny. From there Sib� brought corn seeds of all different colors: black, white, yellow, purple. That is why Indigenous people have different skin colors and tones. Sib� brought the seeds to the world by night. We were not born in the day; we were born by night. That is why the /awapa/ (shaman) chant and do their curing ceremonies at night.

    From: Taking Care of Sib�’s Gifts, p.31

    The BriBr� and Cabecar people of the Talamanca now speak Spanish, wear western clothes, and participate in regional political and economic life. However, even with so much contact with outsiders their religious ceremonies, ancient traditions, and oral histories continue to be passed on from generation to generation. Through various grand success stories in sustainable eco-tourism, many BriBr� and Cabecar communities are again teaching their youth to speak the languages of their ancestors.

    BriBr� and Cab�car people believe that Sib� created all things on Earth, and that all things have supernatural guardians. These guardians permit human beings to kill wild animals and use forest products only as necessary for human subsistence. Through traditional practices of shifting agriculture (corn, beans, plantain, rice and peach palms or pejibaye), hunting (tapir, iguanas, pacas, agouti, peccaries, deer), fishing, and using forest products, the BriBr� and Cab�car have maintained a respectful relationship with their natural environment. Many are working to protect the remaining forests in their reserves from exploitation and destruction, such as within the K�k�Ldi Reserve, where, since 1991, the community has been working on a program breeding endangered green iguanas to release into the wild. See page 39 for a description of visit to K�k�Ldi.

    Just 1.7 percent of the Costa Rican population is of Indigenous descent. The national census of 2000 identified for the first time the count of 63,876 Indigenous people living in Costa Rica. The BriBr� and Cab�car who live within the Talamanca are the most numerous Indigenous populations in Costa Rica. They live in three main reserves. The Talamanca-BriBr� Reserve and the Talamanca-Cab�car Reserve cover large areas of the interior Talamanca Mountains, and the K�k�Ldi Reserve is smaller and just inland from Puerto Viejo. These reserves were created in 1977 following the adoption of the Indigenous Act by the Costa Rican government, giving the country’s Indigenous people the right to live within self-governed communities. However, the government retains the land titles to these territories. As with any private lands, access to the reserves is limited. Those who wish to visit may do so with a guide who is from the reserve or those who seek prior permission from reserve associations.

    In the Talamanca forests, Indigenous people found palm trees (Iriartea gigantean, Socratea durissima) whose outer bark provided the building material for their houses; palm leaves (Geonoma cuniatia, Raphia sp) to weave thatched roofs; and sturdy vines (Anthurium scandens Aubl) that substituted for nails in construction. Many Indigenous people continue to live in thatch-roofed houses built entirely from forest products. Through secret ceremonies passed down through the generations, Indigenous shamans (/awapa/ in BriBr�) cure illnesses, employing medicinal plants and sacred stones (/sia/ in BriBr�).

    Paula Palmer, Juanita S�nchez, and Gloria Mayorga published a book called Taking Care of Sib�’s Gifts, which gives much more information of the life and history of the BriBr� people. The book is currently out of print but if you are interested, you can come sit on ATEC’s porch and look through a copy.


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  • Caribbean Cooking Class
    Caribbean Cooking Class
    Learn to cook in the traditional Caribbean way with one of Puerto Viejo’s matriarchs . Patacones, rice and beans, fresh fruit batidos, fish or chicken in Caribbean Sauce and more.

    A 2 hour class includes instruction and of course you get to eat the food you prepare! Using fruits and veggies typical to Coastal Talamanca, you’ll learn to cook in the traditional Caribbean way—things like Patacones, rice and beans, batidos, fish or chicken in Caribbean Sauce for example. This is also an opportunity to spend some time with one of the mothers from our community, Puerto Viejo. Here the Afro-Caribbean folks speak what some call “Patios” some call a local dialect of English. Some call this language “Make I tell you” because many a phrase starts with Make I tell you… or Let me tell you what’s been happening. A great way to spend a rainy morning.

    PRICE $25 for 2 hour class. ($30 if you want fish)


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  • Farm Tours
    Farm Tours
    Agriculture is the second most important industry in the GDP of Costa Rica, number one is tourism—combine the two and visit a typical Talamancan Farm. Only 10% of all fruits are economically recognizable in the global market, try a fruit you may never have heard of; a water apple, a Birib�, mammon chino, or what ever exotic fruit is in season.

    Chimuri Family Farm

    Hike the jungle areas of a family farm in Chimuri traditional Indigenous Farm and private forest reserve; try fruits you’ve never heard of, learn about natural history & local folklore.

    3-4 hours

    Here the Salazar family has planted a variety of tropical fruit trees, hardwoods necessary for the wildlife here, tubers, breadfruit, pejiballe, local banana, the plaintain which has lent it’s name to our Reserve, the “Chimuri” plaintain. (Chimuri is the BriBri word for the sweet ripe banana or plantain.)

    Get to know this farm nestled in the jungle and hike through the other two-thirds of the property which is strictly protected primary and secondary forest.

    Follow a ravine and a river that criss-crosses the land and offers a view of several small waterfalls.

    See a traditional BriBri dwelling (ranchito) and learn about techniques of it’s construction and the BriBri daily life today and throughout history.

    You your self can pick the different seasonal fruits right from the tree. See the tree that produces a fruit that we could not live without—Chocolate! Depending on the season, you’ll have the opportunity to taste other tropical fruits that you may never have even heard of before—mammon chino; a beautiful spiky red fruit, the Creole lime, the mangostan, the Columbian zapote, the custard-like birib�, and homegrown starfruit grapefruit, pineapple or Banana—ask your guide about the banana industry and you’ll never eat a commercially grown banana again.

    Throughout the walk, you’ll encounter and learn about medicinal plants used traditionally by indigenous folks and fruits, plants and wild edible fruits that have been part of the indigenous diet since ancient times.

    This visit also allows you the chance to get to know some of Talamanca’s favorite birds: Toucans, parrots, hawks, mannequins, tanagers, hummingbirds, magpies, woodpeckers, as well as birds endemic to Talamanca and so much more.

    On the Chimuri Reserve, over 400 different species of birds have been recorded and your guide knows the songs and habits of them all!

    This tour can have a focus on the traditional Talamancan Farm, on bird watching, on Indigenous medicinal plants, on local development—sustainable and otherwise--BriBri folklore and history.

    This guide is one of ATEC’s founding members, an active participant in protection and conservation of Talamanca’s culture and nature, a fabulous story-teller and a treasure to our community.

    $20 ~4 hours.

    $35 tour the traditional Indigenous farm and explore K�k�Ldi Indigenous Reserve.

    Y�e-Eco-Agro Project**

    Spend the day with this women’s cooperative group who got together to invite in visitosr to learn about organic bananas, check out their greenhouse, and see how their pigs generate gas to cook their food (—yes, it’s totally sanitary) while improving their standard of living and continuing to live in the eco-friendly way that they always have—it’s Eco-tourism at its best.

    from 3 hour visit or a 2 day package –see tour # 7 for more details on el Y�e.

    This women’s group initiative comprised of banana and vegetables growers has developed alternative activities to allow them to improve their standard of living while being eco-friendly. Visiting this project benefits local families and local development while promoting nature conservation efforts, such as reforestation, environmental education, environmental crime watch.

    El Y�e Agroeco Farm Day Visit:

    Meet the women’s association, hike through the tropical forest, observe endangered tree species and our organic bananas—you’ll never eat a corporate banana again—check out the Carbon River, & learn about our eco-friendly practices: the biodigestor to produce natural gas for cooking, the Medicinal Garden, & our organic green house.

    Cost: $20 about 3 hours

    See TOUR #7 for more info on el Y�e Eco-Agro Project.

    Community of San Miguel*

    Spend a couple of hours or days on a campesino farm. See tour # 26 for more details on this community.

    Volunteer packages

    Volunteer on a Farm in San Miguel:
    Learn the campesino way of life first hand; learning adventure, lodging, 3 meals/day: Cost: $35 /day; less if you stay a while.

    See Tour # 26 for more details on the Community of San Miguel

    Chocolate Tour

    Learn how a cacao—chocolate— farm functions, A day trip up in Alta Talamanca

    Located in the heart of the Talamanca Reserve, the Shiroles indigenous community is one of Costa Rica’s largest. With the Association of Indigenous Bribr� Women of Talamanca.—ACOMUITA.—you’ll see the reality of their lifestyle from a woman’s perspective. Through this eco-tourism project the Association leads social, economic, and cultural projects. Your visit contributes to the finance of these activities that benefit low income families.

    Start your visit with a nice cup of home made hot chocolate. Get involved with the process of producing chocolate from the tree on the farm, to the drying in the sun, the work in the kitchen, and the sampling of the final product.

    Cost: $35 Day Trip

    SEE TOUR # 8 for more details on ACOMUITA.

    Casa Calateas

    A two day package in the campesino community of Carbon 1. See the description in tour #29 for more info on Calateas.

    Casa Calateas is and Agro-Eco-Lodge that was created by a group of campesinos in order find alternative means of dealing with the exploitation of nature and of the community of Carbon 1. The lodge is surrounded by an exuberant tropical humid forest with an amazing number of wild birds. Casa Calateas is a great central location for visiting K�k�Ldi Indigenous Reserve, Cahuita National Park,& this rural community. We invite you to enjoy the natural beauty of Casa Calateas and help us make our dream come true.

    Learn More:

    Flora: Trees and Plants, and their Practical Uses
    The Indigenous, Afro-Caribbean, and Latino people have long utilized the resources of the forest in their day-to-day lives — for food, the construction of houses, crafts, as well as “bush medicine”. These groups have developed a rich knowledge of the medicinal plants of the forest, and although injections and pills are used today, they are frequently accompanied by this “bush medicine”. See page 48 for tour. You can also arrange a visit to a local farm to sample local produce Page 41 or visit Finca La Isla’s Botanical Garden in Puerto Viejo—open Friday through Monday or call for an appointment. 2750 0046.
    Despite the pungent taste and smell of Noni (Morinda citrifolia), which is also referred to as the blue-cheese fruit, both the pulp and the fermented juice of this fruit are used to maintain health. It has been said to boost the immune system, improve circulation, energy, and digestion, and is also used for healthy skin and hair, and even to treat insect bites — a general cure-all, but only if you can get past the smell. It smells so bad it was long believed to be poisonous. If you are struck down with a stomach ache — or even a self-inflicted hangover — hombre grande (Quassia Amara) can help sooth your stomach and to cleanse your system, pipa water (from green coconuts) will do the trick, and it tastes great too!

    Visitors to the Talamanca Coast are usually first struck by the expanse of coconut palms (Cocos nucifera) that line the sandy beaches. Growing to 100 feet and bearing over 40 coconuts yearly, these trees have been of major importance to the coastal residents as a source of food, oil, and materials for mats and shelters. Early settlers planted “coconut walks” along the sea, however because a seed (coconut) is able to retain its germinating power after four months of floating in the sea, many coconuts grew by themselves. In your walks along coastal paths, you might come upon evidence (husks, large pots, and homemade graters) of people continuing to undertake the laborious process of producing coconut oil.
    Throughout the coast, you will see cacao or chocolate trees (Theobroma cacao) with their large seedpods. Cacao originated in tropical America, was an important beverage in the Indigenous cultures, and was the primary source of income for the coastal settlers. The farmers planted cacao under towering rainforest trees, making use of their shade and soil protection. Tragically, in the 1970’s, monilia, a kind of fungus, made its way to our coast attacking the cacao trees and destroying the farmers’ crops. Consequently, many farmers were forced to sell their farms. However, there are organic chocolate producing cooperatives today. APPTA the Association of Small Organic Producers of Talamanca (http://www.appta.org) and ACAPRO (http://www.acapro-cr.org) are examples of organic producers. You can still go visit chocolate farms. ACOMUITA and El Y�e are women’s cooperatives that are successful examples of groups of agriculturalists making a living from and “eco-agro” project that combines ecotourism and agriculture. See page 45 & X.
    Check the trees in people’s yards or take a guided walk into a typical Talamancan farm and you might see the calabash or gourd tree (Crescentia cujete). These trees with their short trunks and long spreading branches bear numerous round green fruits that grow up to 12 inches in diameter. Both the Indigenous peoples and the Caribbean villagers hollowed out these fruits to make containers for food and water.
    African-Caribbean settlers brought the cola nut tree (Cola acuminata) to the Talamanca in the 1800’s. Originally, a native of West Africa, this tree provided the original flavoring to Coca-Cola. For the local African-Caribbean population, the pods produced by this tree were grated and used to make “busy tea”, which gave energy. Tea is also made from lemon grass (locally known as “fever grass") that is used for the treatment of flu symptoms.
    In the rainforest, stop and admire the ceiba or silk cotton tree (Ceiba pentandra). It is one of the largest trees in the forest and was held sacred by the Ancient Mayas who believed that it was the source of humankind. For the BriBr�, the Ceiba Tree was the mother of Tbekol, the big snake, and therefore was also viewed as sacred and untouchable. One legend states that the ancients buried their dead at the roots of these trees so the soul of the departed would grow up the tree to ascend into the heavens. The trunks are thick with branches sticking out at right angles. The seeds of the tree are in black oblong capsules, three to six inches long. These capsules contain “kapok”, used to stuff mattresses and pillows.
    Indigenous people throughout Latin America have used the oily red dye from the seeds of the achiote (Bixa orellana) as a body decoration since pre-Colombian times. A diluted form of the dye produced by this tree (a native of Costa Rica) has been used more recently adapted for dying food products such as margarine and cheddar cheese yellow.

    The sandbox tree (Hura crepitans) continues to be an important tree of the forest for villagers who fell them to make dugout canoes. The latex sap of the tree is poisonous and traditionally used by Indigenous people to stun and catch fish. Canoe makers drain out the sap before working the wood into a boat. The tree can grow to immense heights of 135 feet and nine feet in diameter. You will probably identify it first by its bark, densely covered with small spines, not one to grab onto as you descend a steep, muddy trail.
    As you walk along coastal trails or into the “bush”, another plant to notice is the dragon blood plant (cordyline terminalis). This leafy ornamental plant grows eight or nine feet high and has showy leaves of brilliant red or green. Early settlers planted it to denote farm boundaries. In many places, it is still respected as a natural fence.
    Ask a local about their knowledge of the moon and its effect on the weather, fishing, and planting and harvesting — even one’s attitude. You’ll come to expect rain when the “moon is changing up” and learn when to cut thatch for your roof so it won’t “fill with Worms.” Be careful of someone who “work with the moon”
    Taking Care of Sib�’s Gifts mentions some of the medicinal plants used by K�k�Ldi people and What Happen mentions some of the traditional Caribbean cures. For more information, talk to the people—or “if a cold take you”, ask what to do and you’ll learn much about traditional cures.


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  • Gandoca Community--Laguna, Forest, Horseback, Volunteering, and More!
    Gandoca Community--Laguna, Forest, Horseback, Volunteering, and More!
    Explore the Gandoca Lagoon, walk through the primary Cativo forest reserve, help with a reforestation project, go for a peaceful horse ride.

    Get to know this beach community that’s still got that real local flavor. Come enjoy the beaches in the Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, check out the swamps and mangroves, trek through the primary Cativo forest, watch a great diversity of wild birds, participate in the turtle watch (Feb-July) in this small community and really get to know a community . Stay in rustic cabins or in local family homes. By visiting Gandoca you will contribute to the local community sustainable development and the Leaterback (Baula) Turtle protection program.

    Activities in Gandoca:

    Leatherback Turtle Watch (February through July or August)

    Get to know this laid back beach community who has fought to protect the leather-back turtle. Learn how volunteers gather data on the turtle nesting population. Your collaboration in this tour is what will protect this amazing creatures for future generations.
    See the Wildlife section for more info on Gandoca’s Leatherback turtle watch.

    Duration: 7 hours approximately

    Cost: $30 per person (transportation to Gandoca is not included in this fee)

    Special notes:
     
    The main turtle nesting season in Tortuguero is April-September, and in Gandoca nesting occurring from March to June and hatching in July and August.
    Insect repellant is a pesticide and may harm the turtles or their eggs, apply only on the skin, not the clothing, and many hours before your hike, wash hands thoroughly,
    Wear dark, long sleeved clothes.

    Boat Tour to the Laguna:

    Along with your local guide, you can row a rustic boat through the peaceful waters of the Gandoca Laguna; the only coastal lagoon on our coast and the least-altered mangrove forest in Costa Rica! Here we have the opportunity to see three kinds of monkey, sloths, and birds, colorful crabs and if you are lucky a caiman or a crocodile

    Duration: 3 hours
    Included: Boat Tour through The Gandoca Laguna and local guide.
    Cost: $20

    Horseback Tours:

    Mount up! Horseback along the Gandoca beach; we will go throw a path to the mountain where we will find many species of mammals, plants and birds. We will have a break in the beach and then we will come back home.
    Included: Horse tour, snack, and local guide.
    Duration: 2 hours
    Cost $30

    Hike to Manzanillo:

    We will start from Gandoca at 6 or 7 in the early morning. Here in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge we’ll traipse across the tranquil sand beaches through primary and secondary forests, and observing the vibrant coral reefs. This marriage of differing coastal traits makes the perfect habitat for a huge variety of exotic birds, tropical mammals, & large and small reptiles along with countless plants & flowers.

    Cost: $50

    Cativo Forest Tour:

    A local guide will take us through the primary forest, which is the biggest Cativo tree reserve in Costa Rica. The Cativo is a very important species for the local environment as it supplies food for several mammals. During our walk we may see poisonous frogs, monkeys and several wild bird-species. Then we will have a delicious lunch in the community.

    Included: Cativo forest tour, snack and local guide.
    Cost: $30
    $38 with homemade lunch.

    Lodging and Meals

    Gandoca is a pretty remote community. We recommend you spend a night or two and really enjoy all it has to offer.

    Cost: $30 a day includes three meals and lodging in clean rustic family-owned cabinas.

    Volunteer Projects:

    Conservation, reforestation, aqueduct construction, school, or with Leatherback turtles from March to July Minimum 7 days.
    The community offers the opportunity to collaborate as a volunteer doing conservation and reforestation work, cooperate in the aqueduct construction, volunteer in a local school, English lessons, etc…
    Cost: There are some fees, they vary.

    Volunteer with the Leatherback Turtle (March - July)

    Come to visit us and experience the satisfaction of contributing to the protection of the Baula (leatherback) turtle, the biggest sea turtle in the sea. The leatherback is in danger of extinction as are all sea turtles. You will be hosted by local families and go for night walks to meet the Baula. You will get to see the egg-laying process and protect the eggs while being nested. It is definitively an exceptional experience that will introduce you to the importance of the species and its natural history.

    Cost: Varies.


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  • Agricultural Tours: Visit a Typical Talamancan Farm
    Agricultural Tours: Visit a Typical Talamancan Farm
    Background
    Spend a couple of hours or a couple of days trying fruits you may never have heard of—water apple, Birib�, mam�n chino, or whatever is in season—or getting your hands dirty really learning about life in Talamanca.

    Tours:
    A. Chimuri Reserve: Learn about how indigenous folks lived in and with the forest, finding food, medicine, shelter, and a connection with their spirituality.
    Duration: 2 hours or 4-6 hours
    Difficulty: Short tour Easy, Long Tour difficult to moderate
    Cost: $25 per person for 3 hour tour
    $35 per person for 4-6 hour tour.
    Location: 1.5 km from Puerto Viejo, a 10 minute walk

    B. Botanical Gardens:
    Visit a respected member of the Indigenous community who can identify more than 1,500 different jungle plants and share with you their traditional uses. Tour his farm and gardens. Includes pick up at your hotel and a few hours visiting with C�ndido who knows the names of all the plants in the jungle and can tell you how they are traditionally used. Snack of in-season fruit included.
    Duration: about 4-5 hours
    Difficulty: Easy
    Cost: $35 per person for 4-5 hour tour, $45 per person with transportation included.
    Location: 6 km north of Puerto Viejo, 20 minutes from Puerto Viejo

    C. Y�e-Eco-Agro Project:
    A women’s cooperative whose projects include, organic bananas production, a greenhouse, a medicinal garden, and a biodigestor that uses pig waste to generate gas to cook.

    Duration:
    3-hour or multi-day packages

    Difficulty:
    Easy

    Cost:
    $20 for short tour,
    $60 for overnight package.
    Location: Near Hone Creek, about 10 km from Puerto Viejo, 25 minutes

    D. Community of San Miguel:
    Take an afternoon and tour a family farm or spend a few days living and working alongside Costa Ricans.

    Duration:
    A complete day or multi-day packages

    Difficulty:
    Easy

    Cost:
    $35 for day tour
    $42 for two day package

    Location:
    Toward Gandoca, 35 km de Puerto Viejo, about 2 hours

    E. Chocolate Tour:
    Participate in the production and processing of organic chocolate with a cooperative of women in the mountains of Talamanca. Yum!

    Duration:
    A whole day trip

    Difficulty:
    Easy

    Cost:
    $35 per person

    Location:
    Shiroles, Upper Talamanca, 35 km from Puerto Viejo, about 1 � to 2 hours by bus.

    F. Casa Calateas:
    Immerse yourself in the peaceful campesino community of Carbon 1. Learn about cacao and livestock farming—also available: waterfall visits, hikes, bird watching, swimming, and snorkeling.

    Duration:
    Day trip or multi-day

    Difficulty:
    Farm visit, easy—more strenuous activities available

    Cost:
    From $85 two day pacakges

    Location:
    Puerto Vargas, 13 km from Puerto Viejo, 20-25 minutes in bus

    Special Hints:
    Bring a little extra cash—some families offer traditional handmade, naturally colored crafts

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  • Yorkin - Women’s Artisan Group of Alta-Talamanca Indigenous Territory
    Yorkin - Women’s Artisan Group of Alta-Talamanca Indigenous Territory
    WOMEN’S ARTISAN GROUP OF UPPER TALAMANCA INDIGENOUS RESERVE

    One of our favorite tours, travel up river in a motorized canoe and learn about traditions and customs as presented by this BriBri women’s group.

    A river trip in a traditional dugout canoe begins this unique opportunity to share and learn from a culture struggling to maintain its identity. Participate in daily life, take interpretive hikes; practice your basket weaving, chocolate production, roof thatching, & cooking skills; learn some of the BriBri language, history and folklore, from ancient times, to Colombian times, to the current struggle.

    DAY TRIP

    Round trip transportation by boat from Bamb�, presentations, hike, lunch.

    In this tour we will visit a Bribri Indigenous territory, located in the heart of the humid tropical forest in the Talamanca Mountains. This special experience will allow us to discover part the Bribri culture. The tour begins in Bamb�, the reserve’s closest commercial town. There we will ride along the York�n River in an indigenous canoe, watching the exuberant vegetation of the Costa Rican and the Panamanian side of the river.

    One hour later, we will be arriving to York�n’s indigenous territory, from where we will walk 25 minutes to get to the Stibrawpa women’s house Lodge. A local guide will tell us about this organization and its purposes, then take us for a walk along the natural trail, where we will learn about the local trees, medicinal plants and community’s crops. For lunch, we will enjoy a typical meal. We will also participate in the process of making chocolate and will learn how they weave leaves to make their homes. After this unforgettable natural and cultural experience, we will return.

    Cost: $70 about seven hours

    OVERNIGHT VISIT

    Round trip transportation by boat from Bamb�, presentations, hikes, lodging, 3 meals

    GENERAL ITINERARY

    This itinerary is intended to give you an idea of your visit. Times are not exact and activities may vary depending on group and weather.

    6:15 AM
    Depart for the community of BriBr�
    Departing from the main bus stop in Puerto Viejo (or Cahuita), or private transportation.

    6:45 AM
    Arrive to BriBr�, plenty of time to take your morning tea, or travel direct to Bamb�

    7:30 or 8:00
    Bus to small town of Bamb� (if not using private transportation)

    8:30-9:00
    Arrive to Bamb� and meet with your guide from the York�n community
    Boat (or about a 3-4 hour hike) from Bamb� to York�n

    10:30
    Arrival to the community in front of the community’s school.

    for about 20-30 minutes
    a muddy hike to women’s group (Estibrawpa) Casa de Mujeres

    NOON
    Lunch including typical foods.

    1:00 PM
    Hike around the community or the forest, a waterfall or tiny hot spring
    A demonstration traditional art, agriculture, construction, cooking
    A discussion of history, folklore, tradition, current issues.

    3:00
    If you do the DAY TRIP Only, you’d depart for your return to the town of Bamb� around this time

    5:00
    Rest and clean up in the new shower facilities built by volunteers

    6:00
    Dinner and visiting

    8:00 PM
    It’s dark, time for bed, simple lodging (with mosquito net) either in the community center

    DAY 2

    7:00 AM
    Breakfast

    9:00
    Hike around the community or the forest, waterfall or tiny hot spring
    A demonstration traditional art, agriculture, construction, cooking
    A discussion of history, folklore, tradition, current issues

    11:00
    Lunch

    NOON
    Boat out in dugout canoe

    1:00
    Return to Bamb� to head on to your next adventure.

    Packing List:

    RUBBER BOOTS! -
    Walk in the shoes of the local man, literally.
    Or closed toed shoes with good tread that you don’t mind getting muddy.
    If you don’t want drag boots with you, ATEC rents rubber boots.
    Or you could purchase a pair here (about US$12) and donate them to the community so you don’t have to pack them out.

    Rain Jacket

    Water Bottle (filled for hike in)

    Sun Block

    Flash Light

    Insect repellent: For your security it is recommended that you make a best effort to avoid insect bites.

    A little extra money if you’d like to purchase souvenirs like handicrafts and chocolate.

    Additional Snacks if you tend to need extra calories.

    Cost: $90 2 Days

    $75—Hike in & boat out of Bamb�

    ADDITIONAL DAYS

    $40—Each additional Day in this community.

    Volunteers needed

    This remote community is looking for volunteers (minimum 1 month) to help with various projects, from teaching English, tutoring kids in the school, to trail maintenance, to contruction.

    Greetings Potential Volunteer to Yorkin

    The following is kind of an FAQ page for ya…

    Who will I be working under?

    The association you will work with is a women’s cooperative called Estibrawpa, it has about 16 families as members. They have a project where they invite in visitors (tourists) to spend a little time with them and get to know their way of life. So, you’d be working with them and helping them out with projects they see necessary.

    Will I have an English Speaking contact?

    I am Alaine, I work at the ATEC office and would be available if there is anything I could do to help, but mostly the volunteer working with the community up in York�n.
    I have advised a few volunteers up in Yorkin, but I Yorkin is a remote community. I live 4 km out of Puerto Viejo. It’s about an hour to an hour and a half by bus and then a 2-3 hour walk or an hour boat ride to get into the Yorkin community. Both Puerto Viejo and Yorkin are in the same county but, Yorkin is quite remote.

    ATEC--750-0191 or 750-0398

    I am willing to do most any work, but I think I would be best at teaching English, sports, arts or working on the coffee plantation.??

    I can tell you that Estibrawpa has had probably a 100 of volunteers spend time in their community since they started their project in 1992. Still, only one young man speaks English. (Cesar, who speaks some basic English--but that’s from an intensive course he took) It is a big challenge to learn another language. The families of Estibrawpa have it on the top of their list of what they’d like a volunteer to work on—teaching English. In teaching English, I’m sure you’d have some good plans, but I would recommend that you first talk with Bernarda and Prisca (the president and treasurer of the association) about their goals.

    I often try to recommend to volunteers that they teach useful language for the Estibrawpa eco-tourist endeavor. Drilling basic phrases that they would need to know with visitors. Words for the food they eat, the plants they grow, health issues in case someone isn’t feeling well, presentations on the association, stories about the community, basic conversation--where are you from, why are you interested in being here--, there is a boat ride into the community from the small town of Bambu, I’d Love to see the boat guys learn how to communicate a little with the visitors on that boat ride (talk about the trees, the birds, the history of the river, the Reserve, the Park)

    I’d be interested in working on the coffee plantation.

    They don’t have coffee plantations, they grow cacao and bananas and manage a few other traditional plants for demonstration to visitors and some rice and root vegetables for consumption.

    I’ve checked out your website- greencoast.com and I’m very excited!

    There is some good info on Yorkin on greencoast.com. The greencoast.com site is a bit outdated, we have a coupla “geeks” working on it, and eventually it will have some current information. Ask us to send you ATEC’s newsletter so you have a bit of info on us.

    Fees? Costs?

    Yorkin is a very poor community. Talamanca, our county, is the poorest county in the poorest province in a quite poor developing country. I know that most volunteers volunteer in order to do good, to help people, we understand that, but there are so many people in Costa Rica, in Yorkin, that would Love to have a job that fed and housed them. Managing a volunteer, helping an outsider get used to a completely new way of life and feel comfortable, takes time. Yes, the people of Yorkin are Wonderful people, but they are poor.

    If a volunteer is in the community for a month or less, they ask that you pay a daily lodging fee of $5 a day. After a month, Estibrawpa does not charge any fees. But a volunteer must pay for food and transportation (coming in and out of the community in motorized canoe—the gas is muy caro). You can either purchase your own food in town and they will teach you to cook it. Or you can pay them at the community house to cook for you (breakfast about $4-5, lunch and diner about $5 each) or some combination of the two.

    They can’t even provide toilet paper.

    I would like to get some information about directions from the San Jose airport.

    From the airport you can take a taxi ($18) to the Terminal de buses “Gran Caribe”

    Or take the public bus from the airport ($2) to “el Centro” and then take a taxi ($2) to the bus terminal or walk ($0) to the bus terminal if you can get directions or a map it’s only about 8-10 blocks from the town center.

    From the bus terminal take a taxi to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca (make sure it’s not a different Puerto Viejo) about 4 1/2 hour trip on the public bus. (About $10)
    Spend the night in Puerto Viejo.

    In the morning (6:30 or 7:30)
    take the public bus from Puerto Viejo to the little town of BriBri. (~30 mins $1)
    From BriBri take a rickety bus to the very little town of Bambu
    (~30-60 mins depending on which bus you catch $1)

    From Bambu, (you’ll have had to arrange this before hand) meet a member of the Yorkin community to probably boat in (you can walk also, but not with all of your gear) the boat ride is usually around an hour long. The boat ride into the community is expensive. Often we can plan for a new volunteer to enter when the boat has to come out any way and then the costs can be shared. If they make a special trip just for you it costs a lot, like $50 or $60 just for the gasoline!

    From the Telire river bank in the community of Yorkin, walk about half an hour to the community house of Estibrawpa.

    What is it like to live in Yorkin?

    Yikes, hard to answer. There is a period of adjustment when entering a completely different culture, atmosphere, and way of life.
    I can speak of the volunteers I’ve seen spend time in Yorkin. For a person from a developed country to live in a community with no electricity, with outdoor bathrooms, lots of bugs and new critters, very rustic conditions, is a BIG adjustment. It’s remote, you can not just go “take a break” from it. Of course you can boat or walk out and visit a more tourist town like Puerto Viejo and Cahuita, but it takes a bit of time.

    (I’ve had friends visit me, from the states, our house in the bush outside the more tourist city of Puerto Viejo, and cry when they walked in because it’s so different than what they have experienced in their lives, and I have electricity, a fridge, no walls, but at least my house has a computer)

    With a very open attitude, patience, some preparation it really can be an amazing and rewarding experience. I don’t mean to sound like a know it all dork, but it ain’t just a simple thing.

    Most volunteers are very sad to have to leave and the community misses them immensely also—especially the kids.

    I have seen several volunteers that feel lonely and isolated when they first arrive in the community. That is normal and ok. Imagine how a stranger might feel coming into your community. Once you establish some relationships, you can begin to feel like a member of the family. The people of this community are humble and very kind and generous, timid, and welcoming.

    Is there electricity?

    Nope, no computer, one communal cellular telephone—charged with one solar panel—no alarm clocks, no oven, one or two light bulbs, no newspapers, few books, absolutely no malls, and a very little grocery stores with only some basic basics. Again, I sound like an ass, but I feel, in order for you and the community to have a positive experience, your stay has to be looked at with realistic expectations. Most people who have decided to go have absolutely loved their experience, but it is not for everyone.

    Any other advice for volunteers in the Yorkin community

    Spending time there takes a lot of adjustment, it’s a different world.

    But, I want you to have the most realistic information I can share with you And, I want the people of Yorkin to have a positive experience as well. The volunteers that I have seen not succeed are the one’s that jumped in with little information.
    or with out bug spray, bug spray is essential.

    Do I need to speak Spanish?

    Yes. Start studying now! You can still come if you have little Spanish—but it makes everything that much harder. Learn the phrases that you’re going to want to teach them. Learn to talk about yourself and understand about others.

    What if I need more supervision?

    There is an organization in Talamanca that works with volunteers and assists them their entire time in the community. Some people need a team to have a good experience, some don’t. They charge a fee, but I have gotten some good feedback from their volunteers. http://www.mytropicaladventure.com

    or you could write to

    Laura
    At Caribbean Hands
    palomo_laura@hotmail.com

    She’s getting her own volunteer program going in Talamanca.

    Ok, that’s what I know for now. It’s either way too much, or not enough info. I hope that you understand that my intentions in communicating like this are in your and Yorkin’s best interest. Please write again with anything.
    Pura Vida,
    Alaine
    ATEC

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  • El Yue, Eco-Agro Farm

    These ecologically-minded women protect their way of life by sharing with you their medicinal garden, organic greenhouse, and how pig waste can produce fuel!

    This women’s group initiative comprised of banana and vegetables growers has developed alternative activities to allow them to improve their standard of living while being eco-friendly. Visiting this project benefits local families and local development while promoting nature conservation efforts, such as reforestation, environmental education, environmental crime watch.

    Three hour tour

    El Y�e Agroeco Farm: Meet the women’s association, hike through the tropical forest, observe endangered tree species and our organic bananas—you’ll never eat a corporate banana again—check out the Carbon River, & learn about our eco-friendly practices: the biodigestor to produce natural gas for cooking, the Medicinal Garden, & our organic green house.
    Cost: $20

    Two day Package:

    Tropical Forest & Waterfall This two day package includes the above and try working in the greenhouse to learn about tropical ecology plus a trek to a Waterfall.

    Cost: $60—includes activities, lodging, 3 meals.

    Sample Itinerary: for 2 day package:
    ◦Arrival at the Agro-eco Farm, Welcome
    ◦Chat on the group of families constituting El Y�e. Snack
    ◦2:00 Lunch at El Y�e
    ◦In the afternoon, tour through the Agroeco farm (medicine plants, organic bananas, greenhouse, biodigestor). Optional: work in the greenhouse
    ◦6:30 p.m. We will be cooking dinner.

    Day 2

    ◦6:30 a.m. Tico breakfast (Gallo pinto, tortillas, natilla, eggs)
    ◦7:30 a.m. Trekking to the Carb�n 1 Waterfall. Bathe in the delicious natural pool.
    ◦12:30 Lunch at El Y�e
    ◦2:30 p.m. Departure

    Lodging & 3 Meals at el Y�e

    If you want to spend a bit more time away from it all, hide out with us in our comfortable lodge. Or you can volunteer in the greenhouse or on the farm.

    $45 per person per night.

    El Y�e Cabins

    El Y�e has 4 comfortable bungalow rooms with an ample balcony that looks into the forest. Two rooms have 3 single beds and two rooms have a full bed and single bed. Each room has fine details that remind the afro Caribbean flair. Besides, El Y�e has an indigenous conic ranch, where you can rest and read a book, surrounded by the forest. Cada una de las habitaciones cuenta con fines acabados que recuerdan la arquitectura afro Caribean. El Y�e has a beautiful garden with orchids and medicinal plants, as well as a nature trail-Samia trail- along the forest that leads you to Carb�n River. We also offer tours to Carb�n Waterfall, and other interesting places, such as the Kek�ldi Indigenous Reserve. At El Y�e, we offer delicious meals, combining the Afro-Costarican and indigenous tradition.

    $35 per person per night.


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  • Chocolate Tour, Upper Talamanca
    Chocolate Tour, Upper Talamanca
    A women’s cooperative shows you their organic chocolate farm & lets you participate in the process of chocolate production YUM!

    About 8 hours

    Located in the heart of the Talamanca Reserve, the indigenous community located in the small town of Shiroles is one of Costa Rica’s largest Indigenous communities. With the Association of Indigenous Bribr� Women of Talamanca.—ACOMUITA.—you’ll see the reality of their lifestyle from a woman’s perspective. Through this eco-tourism project the Association leads social, economic, and cultural projects. Your visit contributes to the finance of these activities that benefit low income families—AND get to participate in the whole process of making chocolate and taste your results.

    Day Trip

    Start your visit with a nice cup of home made hot chocolate. Get involved with the process of producing chocolate from the tree on the farm, to the drying in the sun, the work in the kitchen, and the sampling of the final product.

    Cost: $35 4-5 hours, Includes Snack & Lunch

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  • Combo Tour in Alta-Talamanca. Chocolate, Watefall, Iguanas, the Costa Rica-Panama Border!

    Combo Tour in Alta-Talamanca


    Pass a day where few tourists have the opportunity to visit.
    Our knowlegdable guide will pick you up at your hotel and share with you a special adventure in Alta Talamanca.
    You choose from the following what the visit includes:


    Combo Tour in Alta-Talamanca


    A visit to the home of a local lady who will teach you about the miraculous fruit we call chocolate from the tree to your taste buds including facinating stories of the folklore behind chocolate. Here you also have the opportunity to take a short walk around her back yard and learn the traditional uses of jungle plants; medicines, food, dyes for art, so much more.

     
    Combo Tour in Alta-Talamanca


    A visit to dip your toe in the Sixaola River and be inspired by the awe-inspiring view of both Costa Rica and Panama.


    Combo Tour in Alta-Talamanca


    A visit to the rustic iguana project at the KekoLdi Indigenous Territory--learn about this key species in our ecosytem


    Combo Tour in Alta-Talamanca

    A grand finale is a short invigorating hike to an unforgettable waterfall

    Duration: About 5 hours
    Dificulty: Easy...the hike to the waterfall does have steap and or slippery steps, ask your guide for a walking stick...but the hike is only about 30 mins long
    Cost: $45 per person includes transportation and TWO of the above OPTIONS
    Cost 2012: $50 per person

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Wildlife Tours


  • Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge
    Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge
    If there is a critter to be seen Manzanillo’s charismatic and well-trained guides will find it as they guide you through the refuge’s labyrinth of trails.

    Hike on the Refuge’s inner trails and the beach. Go to Punta Mona where you can go for a dip in the sea, enjoy a boat ride back or try an early-morning boat ride in search of dolphins accompanied with a glorious hike out through the Refuge back to Manzanillo. Learn the historical and medicinal uses of typical plant life, check out the tropical birds and animals; birders bring your binoculars�€”these guys can identify a bird a mile away. Moderate-difficult hike, you’ll get muddy. No Flip Flops!

    1/2 Day Hike:

    Along inner trails & the beach.
    Duration: About 4-5 hours

    One of the best trips for wildlife viewing in the whole of Costa Rica. This will take you on some of the Refuge’s inner trails, or you can explore the bluffs and tiny hidden beaches along the coast. Go early for the best opportunity for exquisite bird watching. Tino is willing to start 5:30AM even!
    Cost: $35 4-6 hours

    Long Hike:

    Hike to Punta Mona, snorkel if the sea’s calm. 8-10 hours
    This is an all day trip to see some of the most beautiful scenery on the Caribbean coast. You will follow the inland trail or the coastal trail until reaching Punta Mona where you can swim and snorkel Cost:$50 all day (eight hours or more)

    Take a long Hike in and a leisurely Boat Out:

    Enjoy the long hike and relax with a leisurely boat ride return.
    Duration: All Day

    Experience the hike to Punta Mona with all it’s glories and make arrangements to come back by boat, take the opportunity to see where the path along which you hiked from the vantage point of the sea.
    Cost: $70 in 2011
    $75 in 2012
    (Tour the Perma-Culture/ organic garden on Punta Mona for a small additional investment.)
    Duration: 6-7 hr hike & 45 min boat

    Dolphin Watch with Hike:

    Boat from Manzanillo in the morning and look for the 3 species of dolphins, hike back from Punta Mona.

    Cost: $90 per person in 2011
    $95 per person in 2012
    Duration: 6-7 hrs hiking & 2 hours boat

    Water sports:

    Enjoy a morning snorkeling or kayaking in the refuge’s protected waters.
    Duration: 2-4 hours
    Cost: $30 per person
    Difficulty: easy.

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  • Cahuita National Park
    Cahuita National Park
    See native plants still used by the descendants of the first permanent settlement of the Caribbean Coast, and learn about birds, monkeys, and the other animals you’ll see. SNORKELING is a great option if the sea is cooperative.

    Sure, you could walk through the flat trails of Cahuita National Park’s 7 km. trail by yourself, but nothing compares to the tour you’ll experience with local guide. Learn about the history of the first permanent settlement on the Caribbean Coast by the turtle fisherman from Bocas del Toro and San Andres. Learn about the medicinal plants still used by the descendants of those fishermen, as well as about the native trees, birds and other animals you will see.

    Half Day Guided Hike
    Cost: $25 About 4 hours

    Four hour hike then Snorkeling
    Lots to see when the sea’s calm
    Cost: $40 About 6 hours.

    Snorkel Only
    Cost: $30

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  • Bird Watching

    Bird Watching

    Be an early bird and go watch some birds. The earlier you start, the more birds you will see.

    Bird Watching in Black Beach
    3-4 hours

    Mauricio’s peaceful spirit seems to call the tropical songbirds to him. Spend a morning watching birds, take a stroll around his farm, hike through his private forest reserve, which acts as a buffer to the K�k�Ldi Indigenous Reserve, the long tour takes you into K�k�Ldi.

    The farm and private reserve “Chimuri” is about 20 hectares bordering and buffering the K�k�Ldi Indigenous Reserve.

    Here the Salazar family has planted a variety of tropical fruit trees, hardwoods necessary for the wildlife here, tubers, breadfruit, pejiballe, local banana, the plaintain which has lent it’s name to our Reserve, the “Chimuri” plaintain. (Chimuri is the BriBri word for the sweet ripe banana or plantain.)

    Get to know this farm nestled in the jungle and hike through the other two-thirds of the property which is strictly protected primary and secondary forest.

    Follow a ravine and a river that criss-crosses the land and offers a view of several small waterfalls.

    See a traditional BriBri dwelling (ranchito) and learn about techniques of it’s construction and the BriBri daily life today and throughout history.

    You your self can pick the different seasonal fruits right from the tree. See the tree that produces a fruit that we could not live without Chocolate! Depending on the season, you’ll have the opportunity to taste other tropical fruits that you may never have even heard of before mammon chino; a beautiful spiky red fruit, the Creole lime, the mangostan, the Columbian zapote, the custard-like birib�, and homegrown starfruit grapefruit, pineapple or Banana, ask your guide about the banana industry and you’ll never eat a commercially grown banana again.

    Throughout the walk, you’ll encounter and learn about medicinal plants used traditionally by indigenous folks and fruits, plants and wild edible fruits that have been part of the indigenous diet since ancient times.

    This visit also allows you the chance to get to know some of Talamanca’s favorite birds: Toucans, parrots, hawks, mannequins, tanagers, hummingbirds, magpies, woodpeckers, as well as birds endemic to Talamanca and so much more.

    On the Chimuri Reserve, over 400 different species of birds have been recorded and your guide knows the songs and habits of them all!

    This tour can have a focus on the traditional Talamancan Farm, on bird watching, on Indigenous medicinal plants, on local developments, stainable and otherwise--BriBri folklore and history.

    This guide is one of ATEC’s founding members, an active participant in protection and conservation of Talamanca’s culture and nature, a fabulous story-teller and a treasure to our community.
    Cost: $25 ~3 hours
    $35 ~6 hour tour

    Bird Watching in Manzanillo

    About 4 hours
    Get up with the sun and head down to the Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge and add a bunch more birds to your life list with one of Manzanillo’s excellent guides. 3 species of toucan, manikins, warblers, tanagers, raptors, humming birds and so much more.
    Cost: $55 ~4 hours.

    Raptor Migration in K�k�Ldi Indigenous Reserve:
    5-8 hours
    Enjoy the K�k�Ldi hike even more during the raptor migration from September to November and February to May. Hike to the highest point in the reserve, to the bird watching tower and observe the raptor migration. It’s possible to count thousands of birds of prey in a single day.
    Cost: $55

    Bird watching at Casas Calateas:
    New and experienced birder will love spending a few days in the heart of nature.
    Duration: 2 days
    Difficulty: Easy
    Cost: $100

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  • Green Iguana Tours
    Green Iguana Tours
    Background

    Many of the thousands of animal species that make the jungles of Costa Rica their home are in danger of extinction, among them the green iguana.

    Tours:

    A. The K�k�Ldi Indigenous Forest Reserve Iguana Project:

    Help support this rustic iguana project with a self-guided tour or take a short guided interpretive hike around the Indigenous Forest Reserve.
    Duration: 20 minutes or 2-3 hours
    Difficulty: Easy
    Cost: 20 minute tour $5 per person, 2-3 hour tour $20 per person
    Location: The entrance of the K�k�Ldi Reserve, 5 km from Puerto Viejo, 15 minutes

    B. Guided Tour of the Iguana Verde Foundation:

    On Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday morning, arrive at 10am to learn about the Green Iguana of Talamanca. Watch a short film and take a guided tour around the Foundation’s grounds. Proceeds go to educate local youth on the importance of protecting this key species.
    Duration: 2-3 hour tour or a self guided tours available any day before 5 pm
    Difficulty: Easy
    Cost: $15 per person with guide on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, $5 self guided tour.
    Location: Playa Chiquita, 7 km south of Puerto Viejo, 20 minutes by bus

    Special Hints:
    Bring a little cash, hand made souvenirs are available.

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  • Tortuguero, Turtle Watching/Canals
    Tortuguero, Turtle Watching/Canals
    Boat into Tortuguero, through the maze of canals, with our guide, a native of Tortuguero, and current president of ATEC. On this unique inland waterway you’ll spot also crocodiles, sloths, monkeys, and birds. On the night hike witness the ancient process of green turtle nesting during May to October.

    Enjoy Tortuguero, an excellent model of conservation-tourism, at the island’s only locally owned lodge and tour operation; All-Rankin Family Lodge. Have a great time with Willis’ silly sense of humor and his super eye for wildlife. We’re proud to say that he is ATEC’s president.

    You can’t wear repellent on the nighttime turtle watch and it’s a night time hike. Wear dark, long sleeved clothes.

    Complete 2 Day Package:
    Boat transport: Round Trip Moín - Tortuguero - Moín.
    Lodging in cabinas: Private bath, hot water; near the beach.
    Three meals
    Tours: Observe the nesting of the green turtle,
    Visit Turtle Conservation Museum
    Morning of the Cano Palma Reserve
    Cost: $160

    Complete 3 Day Package:
    Experience all of the above, plus and extra night, extra meals, and a hike to the Cerro de Tortuguero.
    Cost: $220 including night turtle watch.

    Extra days:
    from $60 Including 3 meals and Lodging.

    Transport Only:
    from $70

    Lodging only:
    $25 per night

    Turtle Watch only:
    $25 per person

    Learn More:

    Talamanca has the most extensive marine richness of the country: coral reefs, sea grass beds, wetlands and freshwater fish. The Talamancan coast—particularly Gandoca Beach located within the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge (see next section for more info.) is a major nesting site where four of the six species of sea turtles that nest in Costa Rica lay their eggs. The largest of the sea-turtle species, weighing as much as 500 kilograms, is the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). These as well as hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), and green turtles (Cheloma mydas) nest here. These species are under grave threat of extinction. Over the last 10+ years the efforts of ANAI (http://www.anaicr.org) and now WIDECAST (The Network of Marine Turtle Conservation for the Greater Caribbean, http://www.latinamericanseaturtles.org), have increased the survival rate for Leatherback sea turtles to in excess of 90%, from an original survival rate of just 5% (or a poaching rate of 95%) in the early 1980’s, before the conservation project was launched.

    When a nesting female turtle is found during beach patrols during the turtle-nesting season (March to the end of July), volunteers gather information such as the nest size, tag the turtle’s flipper, and gather the eggs. These eggs are either taken to the hatchery, or relocated to a safe position elsewhere on the beach. Once the hatchlings emerge two months later they are tracked until they safely reach the sea. For more information on the work of sea turtle protection or for details of volunteering opportunities, go to http://www.latinamericanseaturtles.org or turtle observation excursions on page 35.

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  • Leatherback Turtle Watch, Gandoca

    Leatherback Turtle Watch, GandocaHelp protect endangered Leatherback turtles nesting population through ecotourism

    Get to know Gandoca, a laid back beach community who has fought to protect the leather-back turtle. Learn how volunteers gather data on the turtle nesting population. Your collaboration in this tour is what will protect this amazing creatures for future generations. Gandoca has run their sea turtle conservation project for more than 10 years. Enjoy the beach, observe the Leatherback (Baula) Turtles laying their eggs in the sand (from March to July with hatching through August), do some trekking by the Gandoca Lake and swamplands and watch a great diversity of local and migratory birds. Stay in cabins or in local family’s homes.

    No repellant on the turtle watch and it’s a night time hike. Wear dark, long sleeved clothes.

    Overnight packages

    Lodging, 3 meals, & local guide, Leatherback Turtle Watch, (nesting season March-July and hatching through August)
    Cost: $60
    Duration: two day package

    Visiting Gandoca contributes to the local community sustainable development and the Baula Turtle protection program.

    Night time Turtle Watch Only:

    Pick up at your hotel at 5PM, transport to Gandoca, participate in the turtle protection program and watch, return to hotel at midnight or 1 AM.
    Cost: $70
    Duation:
    6-8 hours
    Includes:
    Local guide and transportation

    Learn More about Marine Life and Sea Turtles

    Likewise, Talamanca has the most extensive marine richness of the country: coral reefs, sea grass beds, wetlands and freshwater fish. The Talamancan coast—particularly Gandoca Beach located within the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge (see next section for more info.) is a major nesting site where four of the six species of sea turtles that nest in Costa Rica lay their eggs. The largest of the sea-turtle species, weighing as much as 500 kilograms, is the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). These as well as hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), and green turtles (Cheloma mydas) nest here. These species are under grave threat of extinction. Over the last 10+ years the efforts of ANAI (http://www.anaicr.org) and now WIDECAST (The Network of Marine Turtle Conservation for the Greater Caribbean, http://www.latinamericanseaturtles.org), have increased the survival rate for Leatherback sea turtles to in excess of 90%, from an original survival rate of just 5% (or a poaching rate of 95%) in the early 1980’s, before the conservation project was launched.

    When a nesting female turtle is found during beach patrols during the turtle-nesting season (March to the end of July), volunteers gather information such as the nest size, tag the turtle’s flipper, and gather the eggs. These eggs are either taken to the hatchery, or relocated to a safe position elsewhere on the beach. Once the hatchlings emerge two months later they are tracked until they safely reach the sea. For more information on the work of sea turtle protection or for details of volunteering opportunities, go to http://www.latinamericanseaturtles.org or turtle observation excursions on page 35.
    It is not legal to purchase products made with turtle shell, or to eat turtle eggs or meat.

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  • Dolphin Watch
    Dolphin Watch
    An adventure on the sea to observe a spectacle seen no where else in the world! In the waters of the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge; the playful bottle-nose dolphins & the rare tucuxi dolphins exhibit never before seen social interactivity. If your lucky you’ll also spot the third type of dolphin found here, the more elusive Atlantic spotted dolphin.

    Dolphin Watch Only

    Boat from Manzanillo in the early morning and look for the 3 species of dolphin found in our seas, go for a swim in a bay of the Manzanillo Wild Life Refuge. The Tour: Guided boat trip, a stop by a secluded beach to go for a dip (bring your snorkel equipment if the sea is calm) & snack of in-season fruit.

    Cost: $50 p/p
    Difficulty: easy
    Duration: About 4 hours

    Dolphin Watch with Hike

    Boat from Manzanillo in the morning and look for the 3 species of dolphins, hike back from Punta Mona and see what other wildlife you can spot.

    Cost: $95 ~2 1/2 hours in boat & ~6 hours hiking
    Difficulty: Moderate-difficult hike, you’ll get muddy. No Flip Flops!
    Duration: Dawn to Dusk

    Learn More:

    The Talamanca region is the only place in the world where the inter-species mating of dolphins has been observed. You might be lucky enough to experience the unique interactions between the Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncates), and the Tucuxi dolphins (Sotalia fluviatilis). The Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis) is also found in these waters.

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Overnight Tours


  • Community of San Miguel *
    Community of San Miguel
    Observe wildlife with this association founded by a group of farmers intending to preserve and manage this swampy area in the offshore mountains. You could visit for just a few hours, but try spending a couple of days living as these campesinos live.

    Wake up in this rural campesino community listening to sounds of nature. A group of campesinos work together to preserve more than 100 hectors of forest. Get to know the Talamanca campesino way of living and share their everyday activities. Enjoy a theater play by the young people of the community, walk along natural pathways and discover the great biodiversity of the forest. We also organize volunteer works programs in the community.

    A. Day Tour: The Talamanca Campesino way of living

    Farm tour, guided treks in the forest; 3 meals; discussion on the experiences of the conservation association and its efforts to protect nature and develop sustainable activities.
    During this tour in Talamanca, we will experience the Talamanca campesino way of living, from their history in the banana fields to their efforts to protect nature and develop sustainable activities production. After visiting Jos� Luis Z��iga’s farm we will walk through the forest, where your local guide will share with us the experiences and purposes of their conservation association. We will enjoy a local meal for lunch, after which we will have free time to enjoy our surroundings until our return, always through the wonderful forest San Miguel.
    Duration: 7 hours approximately
    Cost: $30

    B. Two Day Package: Forest & Talamanca Campesino!

    All of the above plus a theater performance and more time on the farm.

    Day 1
    Arrival at Finca Campesina.
    Welcome.
    Visit and tour of the farm.
    Lunch.
    Trekking through the protected forests of the Association with our local guide.
    Dinner.
    Theater performance by the young people of the community for groups larger than five people.
    Overnight.

    Day 2
    Breakfast.
    Help around the farm; collecting eggs feeding the pigs, harvesting in-season fruits, bringing products to market.
    Speech about the experience of this group of campesinos and their efforts to protect their forests.
    Departure

    Price: $45.00 per person

    C. Volunteer on a Farm:

    Learn the campesino way of life first hand; learning adventure, lodging, 3 meals/day:
    Cost: $42/day; less if you stay a while.

    D. MULTI-DAY PACKAGES for Groups:

    ASACODES is a group of campesinos from San Miguel de Gandoca community, who preserve more than 100 hectares of forest. While visiting them, you will get to know the Talamanca campesino way of living and will share their everyday activities. You will have the opportunity to enjoy a theater play by the young people of the community, walk along natural pathways and discover the great biodiversity of the forest through our local guide. Also we can organize volunteer works programs in the community.

    Price Starting at $42 per person per night.

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  • La Finca Educativa **
    La Finca Educativa
    Support this community ecotourism endeavor founded to provide an educational center for Indigenous folks in upper Talamanca.

    Spend a few days in upper Talamanca and support the “Finca’s” community ecotourism endeavor founded to provide an educational center for Indigenous folks in upper Talamanca.

    LODGING AT La FINCA EDUCATIVA:
    If you want to get to know Alta-Talamanca, this is a great base camp. From the Finca you can participate in many of ATEC’s other activity options; go up to Yorkín, visit ACOMUITA’s chocolate factory, go on a hike to the waterfall in Watsi. We can arrange packages. An example package is listed below.

    AN example of a package we can arrange from the FINCA; Exploring High Talamanca 4 Days / 3 Nights
    Day 1:
    Arrive at Finca Educativa at about 1:00 p.m.
    Snack
    Chat on the indigenous territory and Finca Educativa
    In the afternoon, visit Shiroles and Suretka communities, where we will be introduced to the locals and their way of living.
    Dinner at Finca Educativa
    Overnight at Finca Educativa

    Day 2:
    Breakfast
    Around 6:30 a.m., departure to Yorkín indigenous community. We will take a dug-out canoe along Yorkín River (natural border between Costa Rica and Panama). Afterwards, we will visit Estibrawpa Association, where our local guide will tell us the history and purpose of the organization. Then, the guide will lead us through the nature trail telling us about the local trees, medicinal plants and important crops of the Yorkín community. We will enjoy a typical lunch. Afterwards, we will learn about the secrets of the chocolate process and how the Bribris build their houses.

    Return to the Finca Educativa, dinner and overnight at the lodge.

    Day 3:
    Breakfast
    Cultural exchange with the Cachabri indigenous communiy: Departure at 7:00 am and arrival at Suretka community 20 minutes later. We will cross the Telire river by boat and a bus will take us to Cachabri. There, we will visit Casa C�nica (Bribri’s home), and will learn about the mythological creation stories, natural medicine, local recipes, bribri language, Surb�n traditional dance and the seed grinding daily activity. This cultural experience will be held by the Awapa (Indigenous doctor), who is highly respected by the community. We will then relax and enjoy the river. Afterwards, we’ll get back to Finca Educativa at about 4:00 pm.
    Free time
    Dinner and overnight at Finca Educativa Lodge.

    Day 4
    Breakfast
    Visit to the Watsi community, where you can purchase beautiful souvenirs, listen a chat about the community and cultural activities.

    Prices without transportation: $190 per person

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  • Casa Calateas **
    Casa Calateas
    Birders will enjoy this remote campesino lodge nestled up the mountain from Cahuita National Park. Visit local farms, walk along a tranquil river, enjoy the humid tropical forest, learn to cook in the traditional way, groups enjoy a Calypso Band.

    Casa Calateas is and Agro-Eco-Lodge that was created by a group of campesinos in order find alternative means of dealing with the exploitation of nature and of the community of Carbon 1. The lodge is surrounded by an exuberant tropical humid forest with an amazing number of wild birds. Casa Calateas is a great central location for visiting K�k�Ldi Indigenous Reserve, Cahuita National Park,& this rural community. We invite you to enjoy the natural beauty of Casa Calateas and help us make our dream come true.

    Packages:

    2 day package at Casa Calateas:

    ◦Enjoy peaceful walks through the tropical forest around the lodge with spectacular views of the sea from Panama to Cahuita
    ◦Observe the diversity of wildlife with the chance to see the more than 300 species of birds that have been identified here.
    ◦Have an evening of Calypso Music (a drummer for groups of 2, and whole band for groups over 5)
    ◦Learn to cook the traditional campesino way, prepare “Rond�n"� recipe together
    ◦Have evening discussions about the history of the community Carb�n 2.
    ◦Hike to Ca�a Gira River, bathe in the delicious natural pools.
    ◦Enjoy a walking Tour to a local farm

    Cost: Two day packet includes 4 meals, all activities and lodging for $85

    Lodging at Casa Calateas, a great location:
    This rustic lodge is a great location if you want to get away from it all. From here a visit to Cahuita Naitonal Park, to K�koLdi Indigenous Reserve, to Y�e Eco-Agro project, the hike to Wasti’s waterfall are all easy day trips. A variety of Package can be arranged.

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GRUPO ICCA & PHK S.A. ● Liberia, Guanacaste, Costa Rica ● Telephone: ++506 7122 3754 ● Email:
info@internacionalcooperacion.com
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ATEC is Puerto Viejo’s original eco-tourism provider. They work to help visitors find fun ecologically and socially responsible activities to entertain themselves
while in Talamanca, Limon, Costa Rica

Source: Talamancan Association of Ecotourism and Conservation - ATEC, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca Lim�n, Costa Rica.  Mailto:
ateccr@gmail.com;