Endangered Sharks: When the Predator becomes the Hunted

Baby Sharks
Image Source: 3.bp.blogspot.com

Endangered sharks are abundant in these waters and these prehistoric creatures are some of the most intriguing of all of sea creatures. It is no surprise that the fertile Golfo Dulce is a nursery for many fish including juvenile sharks.  While they have gotten a bad wrap for being predators, they play a very important role in maintaining health of the oceans as predators and scavengers. Females travel from the ocean to this coastal area to birth pups in the mangroves where the young sharks find protection from large predators.  A growing concern are the free trade agreements with China that allow for large-scale extraction coupled with China’s insatiable appetite for shark fin soup.  The number of illegal shark poachers is on the rise and there is a growing push for shark protection initiatives in Costa Rica. Continue reading

The Secret to the Legendary Waters of Golfo Dulce

Golfo Dulce Park
Image Source: Costaricaweb.cr

In the Southern part of Costa Rica just above Panama is Golfo Dulce.  Wild, untouched raw nature, this bay is where you go for an exotic get away. With a fragile marine environment, it is one of only three tropical fjords in the entire world. The mangroves provide a crucial nursery for marine life such as sharks and shrimp.  With a depth of more than 1,000 feet in some places, it is one of the deepest gulfs on the planet.  It provides some of the best inshore fishing opportunities available anywhere.  With an abundance of snapper, roosterfish, grouper, snook, blue travelli, amber jack, jack crevalle and ciero mackeral there is no shortage of fishing opportunities here.  It is a bottomless pit in terms of the number of fish.  It is a favored destination spot for anglers, and Costa Rica has taken special efforts to preserve the surrounding the environment. The question is: What makes these waters so incredible? Continue reading

Discover A Secret Garden Along the Golfo Dulce

Welcome Sign
Image Source: Sailingcamelot.com

Tucked away in a remote spot along the Golfo Dulce is a magnificent botanical garden. New Hampshire natives Ron and Trudy McCallister while on a roadtrip from the USA to South America purchased an old cacao plantation and created the Casa Orquideas Botanical Gardens. Located at the base of the Piedras Blancas Mountains, they turned these five acres into a majestic “Garden of Eden.” Ron and Trudy, self-taught botanists, applied their years of knowledge to create this little exotic garden paradise. Today the garden supports conservation and education efforts and hosts many visitors to guided or unguided tours every year. Continue reading

Spottting Humpbacks in Matapalo

Humpack Whale
Image Source: Cascadiaresearch.org

Besides the great right hand breaks, Matapalo is also a key spot for Humpback Whale watching.  The 5th largest of the whale species, they can grow as long as 52 feet and weigh up to 50 tons. They may be gray, black or mottled and most likely have white on its flipperss and underside. These great mammals of the sea arrive here twice a year from the Northern Hemisphere in January and February and then from the Southern Hemisphere in August and September.  You can sometimes see a pod of 50 or more migrating offshore to the south.  Mothers will bring their calves into the Golfo Dulce to teach their young how to feed on their own and breach.  Sadly, these endangered species are under increased stress due to the acceleration of climate change. Continue reading

Nature in Balance: The Butterflies of Costa Rica

Butterflies
Image Source: Travelinparadisecr.com

Greeks believed butterflies represented the human soul, and for the Chinese and Japanese, butterflies represent the presence of loved ones. These mystical creatures with their delicate wings are insects and one of the many species that inhabitat Costa Rica. Hecale Longwing, Owl Butterfly, Florida White, Ruby-spotted Swallowtail and Blue Morpho are among the many varieties of butterflies found throughout the country’s many microclimates and habitats. Continue reading

In Search of the Ultimate Wave: Matapalo

Surfing Matapalo
Image Source: Homeaway.com

While Pavones is home to the longest left in the world, Matapalo is known for its long excellent rights. When the die-hard surfer wants to escape civilization and catch some of the best rides of his life, Matapalo is the place to go. It is an adventure just to get here since it is only accessible by a rustic dirt road or by boat. Here, you will not find restaurants, bars or shops to distract you but, instead you will discover world-class surfing and inshore and offshore fishing in the middle of paradise. Continue reading

Sanctuary for the Wild

Osa Wildlife Sanctuary
Image Source: Sailingcamelot.com

Along a remote beach in the Golfo Dulce covering some 700 acres that borders Piedras Blancas National Park and 25-miles from Puerto Jiminez, lies a sanctuary for the wild. Carol Crews is a San Franciscan native who came to Costa Rica only to accidentally find her true calling in life. In 1996, she started the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary is a non-profit supported by researchers, conservationists and volunteers. Continue reading

The Undying Lands

Corcovado Rainforest Trail
Image source: Travelphotos.expertvagabond.com

While poking around for a blog topic today, I found an advertisement that sparked my interest. In order to protect a patch of rainforest bordering Corcovado National Park from development, a couple bought the land and are now selling it into parcels for sustainable houses that will be part of a nature preserve. With human habitat included in the development plan, the reserve will restore migration paths and habitats for the native species. This couple devised sustainable development plan to raise the funding for a nature preserve.

Sustainable development is a term growing in popularity these days but what does it mean? The United Nations defined it in Our Common Future as follows:

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts: the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs.” Continue reading

Save the Sea Turtles

Costa Rica Sea Turtles
Image Source: Costa-rica-life.com

With their impressive beauty and gigantic stature, the fabled sea turtle is on the verge going bye bye from planet earth. Species extinction is largely the result of human development and the destruction of the environment. The once abundant sea turtle now dwindling population reveals the problems caused by unsustainable development. Conservation groups play a critical role in protecting endangered species. Continue reading