This summer I spent working for Rustic Pathways a company that leads travel education trips to different parts of the world. We have the students do service in different parts of the country. I was a Program Leader for a couple different programs. One had me leading students on night walks to find Olive Ridley sea turtles laying eggs. Another had me building affordable housing projects. One had me leading students in Corcovado National Park, a park that holds 3% of the worlds biodiversity.
All of these projects allowed me a peak into Tico (Costa Rican) life and mentality. I loved learning about the different students and people of each place I worked alongside and for. Here are some images from said trips.
Punta Mala National Wildlife Refuge
The above and below gallery are from the pacific coast in Punta Mala collecting sea turtles at night and releasing hatchlings during the day.
Punta Mala is a 300 acre private farm, on the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica, dedicated to agriculture and wildlife preservation. It is located 15 minutes from Jacó, 45 minutes from Manuel Antonio National Park and just 200 m from the beach.
This wildlife refuge is dedicated to the protection and conservation of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle, where thousands of little baby turtles are released every year to the ocean. It protects a 4 mi pristine beach known for its spectacular rock formations called Punta Mala and amazing tide pools perfect for sun bathing and a for the observation of abundant marine and terrestrial wildlife.
Punta Mala National Wildlife Refuge is the continuation process of the long and difficult conservationist work done by Mr. Fernando Araya and his family for the protection of the wildlife on Punta Mala, in particular the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle that was menace by poachers and traders.
Saladero Eco Lodge
The students had to kaya to the Saladero Lodge an environmentally sensitive 480 acre private preserve set in the undeveloped Golfo Dulce and the seldom visited Piedras Blancas National Park. It includes ½ mile of coastline on the Golfo Dulce, 30 acres of gardens and 465 acres of primary rainforest.
Corcovado National Park is a National Park on the Osa Peninsula in Osa Canton, southwestern Costa Rica, which is part of the Osa Conservation Area. It was established on 24 October 1975, and encompasses an area of 424 square kilometres. It is the largest park in Costa Rica and protects about a third of the Osa Peninsula. It is widely considered the crown jewel in the extensive system of national parks and biological reserves spread across the country. The ecological variety is quite stunning. National Geographic has called it "the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity". Not only is the park very popular with tropical ecologists, a visitor can expect to see an abundance of wildlife.
The park conserves the largest primary forest on the American Pacific coastline and one of the few remaining sizable areas of lowland tropical forests in the world. Historically, logging has taken place in lowland areas because those areas are more easily accessible and contain the largest and most economically valuable trees. But those habitats, which feature diverse vegetation, are also usually the richest in biodiversity. So even though approximately half the tropical forests on Earth remain, what is left of the originally rich lowland forests is usually in too small an area to support the original natural biodiversity. Larger animals, especially, need a large habitat free of human activity. Unfortunately this means that even tourism, the economic incentive for Costa Rica and other developing nations to preserve and protect parks such as Corcovado, actually threatens the long-term biodiversity of the park.