Beautiful images of humpback whales; a puma that rests peacefully in the middle of the forest or a tapir or peccaries and their young that walk through this green natural lung to the amazement of locals and strangers.
These scenes fill the TikTok of Dionisio Paniagua, the naturalist guide who has been in charge of telling the digital world about the exuberance of Corcovado’s flora and fauna.
Like a natural amusement park
“I feel so happy, so comfortable. The animals here are like my companions. For a nature lover like me, this place is like an amusement park,” said Paniagua. This national park is located in the southwest of Costa Rica, on the Osa Peninsula, and is considered one of the most biodiverse regions in the world.
Corcovado has an area of 42,560 land hectares and 3,354 marine hectares. It is home to 367 species of birds, 104 mammals, 117 amphibians and reptiles, and 40 freshwater fish, just to name a few.
From this privileged place, Paniagua tells his thousands of followers about his day-to-day life as a guide, a job he has been doing for 20 years. Previously, this native of Copal de Aguabuena de Coto Brus worked at the Lapa Ríos hotel, always in Osa.
His arrival on TikTok
Paniagua reported that at the beginning of the pandemic – when the country closed its borders and tourist activity collapsed – he heard about TikTok. And was curious to know more about this platform and discovered a window not only to entertain himself. If not, in addition, a way to “carry out environmental education responsibly.”
And that is how little by little he took on the task of uploading videos with different moments inside Corcovado. Although this meant breaking his low profile, he said with a laugh.
Paniagua never tires of praising on TikTok the benefits of this forest that receives the waters of the Pacific. In this social network, he has 161,600 followers and his videos have more than 2.2 million “likes”. His account is called @costaricaguide.
Corcovado beats the Amazon
“I’m going to tell you an anecdote. Last year a colleague and I spent a month in the Amazon (the largest tropical forest in the world and which encompasses several South American countries). What we saw there in a month we see here in three days in Corcovado”.
“The number of species per square kilometer far outweighs these much larger areas, which also have a lot of biodiversity, but Corcovado is impressive. That’s why high-profile tourists come here who don’t skimp on coming here in order to live and see what we have in this part of Costa Rica,” he expressed excitedly.
His followers appreciate each video of this 50-year-old guide, especially applauding his sensitivity and knowledge. Paniagua emphasized that before uploading a video, he documents himself with specialist friends. This to offer -he said- material that educates but also entertains.
How much longer will he be on TikTok? Paniagua assures that as long as health allow it and “the affection of so many people, not only from Costa Rica but foreigners who fall in love with the wonders of this country,” he said.