Costa Rica Rural Community Empowerment Project

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Phase 1 (2004-2005): Direct trade coffee production model

Phase 2 (2006-2007): Agro-trail production on Arturos farm

Phase 3 (2007-present): Beginning stages

Since development on the Eco-trail began in 2007 the itinerary and stops along the way have undergone some changes. The images in this section depict some of the original attractions and accommodations from the early stages of the Eco-trail project including Truchas Madre Selva, Quetzal Paradise, and Las Vueltas Highland Preserve and Eco-lodge.

Phase 3 (2007-present): Providencia

The first stop on the Eco-Trail is Providencia. Participants will depart from Santa Maria de Dota early in day one in vehicles and will be dropped off at the trailhead in the Parque Nacional de las Quetzales. The hike starts at an elevation of about 3500 meters above sea level in the high altitude cloud forests. The small town of Providencia is nestled in the mountains and is successful coffee and fruit growing region with immense natural beauty and interesting historic sites, such as La Piedra. The accommodation options in Providencia range from cozy cabins to intimate homestay experiences.

Phase 3 (2007-present): Quebrada Grande

The hike from Providencia to Quebrada Grande takes the group through thick Costa Rican forest where an abundance of different species of trees, ferns, fungus, birds, and more can be observed. The families receive the group in a Vilma’s century old home that used to be a working dairy farm for a hearty lunch and well deserved rest. Quebrada Grande is a small neighbourhood of the town of Copey, where the group will visit a beautiful historic church. The families love to showcase their agricultural products to visitors during an apple and avocado tour where the group learns about the growing and processing of the fruits, followed by a delicious sampling of homemade delicacies like fresh apple pie and avocado ice cream. A favourite activity for the group is also learning how to make tamales, a traditional meal made during special occasions like weddings and holidays, that’s wrapped in a banana leaves. As with every stop on the tour, interacting with the families is always a highlight!

Phase 3 (2007-present): Nubotropica Foundation & Santa Maria de Dota

The third day of hiking features an interest mix of forest trails and pastures to bring us to our destination: Nubotropica Foundation, an education, conservation, and interpretive centre for the surrounding Los Santos Forest Reserve. There are several dorm style bedrooms and a small hall, perfect for hosting groups. During the 2013 pilot tour, the families hosted a family gathering here and demonstrated a traditional Costa Rican peasant wedding. Nubotropica also has its own set of trails in surrounding forest and is located just a few kilometers from the quaint town of Santa Maria de Dota.

Phase 3 (2007-present): Naranjillo

On the final day of hiking a change in the climate is noticeable as the elevation declines and the environment feels more tropical. Vines hang from the trees and several impressive anthills can be spotted next to the trail. The community has turned a vacant home into dorm-style accommodation to house groups, which overlooks the river. The small, remote town is home to just a handful of families that are proud to teach tourists about their agricultural products such as achiote and sugarcane. One of the highlights of Naranjillo is that all of the food prepared for tour is local grown and organic – delicious! The final stop on the trail is Manuel Antonio where the group can enjoy some well deserved rest and relaxation on the beautiful sandy beaches of the Manuel Antonio National Park.

"I want to live, I want to give... I crossed the ocean for a Heart of Gold." (Neil Young)

website designed by reiko allen
Maintained by bruce degrosbois
last updated in 2016