Costa Rica 2016, A New Travel ‘Season’ Begins

Five years after leaving Paris, with two long journeys, and two other summers spent in France and around – spending more time friends and family -, my confidence has grown: my lifestyle is working!
I can do a job I like during the winter and travel the rest of the year, learn new skills, learn about/from the planet and people, get involved in actions that benefit nature and local communities.

The irresistible call to travel

Nearly 3 years after the closing of the second season of my travels, the travel bug has awaken again. My backpack is desperately calling for action! I had two options for destinations: resuming from where I left off either one of my so-called seasons: South-East Asia of Latin America.

The latter is packed with advantages: easy to travel, no visas, one language I want to (re)learn to speak, spectacular sceneries with natural features I love the most: mountains, volcanoes, intense wildlife, lush rainforests; and other ingredients: precolombian cultures and ruins, colonial towns and lifestyle, rich traditions and customs, warm and welcoming people…

Destination was chosen, dates easily picked up. I only had to determine the itinerary considering seasons and weather conditions, trying to get the best of those all along the way. Final result: From Costa Rica to Argentina, from May to November 2016.

Objectives

With my recent experience WWOOFing in England and my interest for ecology and sustainable living, I quickly defined clear objectives: getting involved in the preservation of nature and the wildlife.

I have done some research and found interesting projects that where recruiting volunteers. A lot of organisations offer a rich catalogue of projects covering vast areas from social to education, from wildlife welfare to farming. I made contact with a few of them. All projects come at a cost for volunteers and organisations can charge a lot. Too much. Way too much. I was finalising a project with a local organisation in Quito for a Natural Reserve preservation program in the Amazon forest, and I was asked for more than 700 USD for three weeks. Although it is somewhat understandable to be asked a contribution for food and accommodation, being asked for such an amount of money made me fell like being ripped off.

At least WWOOFing projects only ask for food and/or accommodation contribution. But some of those are organic farms and so-called fair-trade businesses set up by opportunistic ‘Westerners’ who are taking the benefit of the green-washing and eco-bullocks trend in Western countries. Yes, they may also benefit local communities in one way… May be.

Anyway, one day before departure, I have managed to find what seems to be a local independent hospitality business attached to a natural park and that offers lots of activities in conjunction with the local community and adjacent Tenorio Volcano National Park. The place is the Heliconias Eco-lodge. I have planned to stay and work for two weeks there.

For the rest of the trip, I have made contacts with an organic farm in the South of Costa Rica, another Lodge and community in Columbia, and due to the recent devastating earthquake in Ecuador, I might get involved in the reconstruction.

I have posted a map of the roughly planned itinerary for this journey on this page: Season 3 Map: Latin America.

I will be posting further details and accounts of my experience on this blog. Keep checking back, and also follow me on Twitter and Facebook for more live updates.

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