What a special day! We spent the whole day interacting with locals and scientists. Early this morning, we all disembarked on Playa Blanca, where our activities began. We could choose two of the four activities described below.

Some of us took a small bus through the Costa Rican countryside to visit Don Juan and Rosa and participate in their gold panning tour. This was followed by a visit to Don Johnny’s sugarcane mill.

We also visited Doña Eida and Yorleny. Through effort, a commitment to learning, and trial and error, these two women overcame the difficulties life threw at them and started a tourism project about the production and history of hearts of palm in the region. This project allows them to make a good living.

Some of us visited Alex’s farm. Alex and his wife Utta had a dream. When Alex inherited his father’s farm, he and Utta wanted to transform it to an organic farm that hired local people. Some of Alex’s most popular products are cacao (the main ingredient for chocolate) and vanilla. 

Finally, some guests enjoyed the Danta Hotel hiking opportunity. Merlin and his family took the land his family left him and created a small hotel with individual cabins in the forest and a wide array of trails.

We topped off the day with a presentation by LAST, the Latin American Sea Turtle Association (formerly WIDECAST-Costa Rica). LAST is a Costa Rican group that works together to make a change in sea turtle conservation. Presenters showed us how to measure, test, and mark a sea turtle. Today we had a hawksbill as an example of the species found within the Gulf.

We came back on board with a long list of sightings and the satisfaction of having met and supported four local families who changed their lives and the future with ecofriendly projects.