Most visitor view this small region of southern Costa Rica as an ideal escape to a tropical forest. There is nothing like spending lazy days under a clear blue sky, sunning on the beach and enjoying the waves. The sun and sea alone are worth visiting this hidden haven. However, there is so much more. Many would go as far as saying there is something mystical and transformative about its fresh and untouched beauty.
The Osa Peninsula. A remote biodiverse area surrounded by marine waters and lush green rainforest,. Biologist and conservationist Trond Larsen describes the peninsula in all its splendor in his book Osa: Where the Rainforest Meets the Sea, published in 2009. Larsen spent over 10 years conducting scientific research of the Osa. Together with internationally acclaimed photographer Roy Toft, Osa: Where the rainforest meets the sea describes the delicate attention and balance required to sustain the ecosystem inhabiting the Osa Peninsula. Larsen is a former science director for the organization of Friends of the Osa.
Adrian Forsyth, Ph.D., biologist and author of books such as Portrait of a Rainforest, Tropical Nature and Nature of the had this to say about the Osa Peninsula, “Much has been made of the herbal power of the rainforest but this seems, on this day, to be a lesser balm than its mental and emotional benefits.” It seems clear today’s conservationist, biologist and ecologist are working tirelessly in keeping this place, as botanist Paul Allen stated, “alive, and timeless and magnificent.”
The reason the Osa still remains timeless and magnificent is the honor and respect the Costa Ricans have for their home. They respect the land and the sea. They realize the bio diversity not only the wildlife but also help support the culture and life style for the people of the region.
The easy slow pace lifestyle of Costa Ricans align smoothly with the natural world of the rainforest. No matter where you find yourself on the peninsula you can hear, see or smell the ocean. Los Ticos are proud of this land and its culture. The vibrant colors scarlet macaws, toucans and howler, spider and white-face monkeys. Their world is not hurrying or worrying. Their world is not about luxurious and elegant resorts. Yes, resort help with the economy. But whose economy? Los Ticos? The Costa Rican Government? Not as much as the ex-pats or Hilton.
Spending the last four months on the Osa Peninsula, there is something more glaring than the trees and beautiful scarlet macaws. It is the number of resorts and other business owned by ex-pats. And so far mostly white ex-pats. All saw beautiful land and opportunity. Not unlike the days of Britain, France, Spain back in the day of conquer in seize. Today we can add the United States and Canada.
From all over the world individuals fly to this small ideal area to rest, relax and enjoy the calm and tranquil undisturbed private beaches in southern Costa Rica. The roads are still unpaved. Jungle vines hang from the tree. God the frogs, crabs and iguanas are the size of a damn kitten. The first week here I thought someone drop me off in Jurassic Park.
There are endangered species here on the peninsula that conversationalist have been striving to save for decades. As beautiful as the peninsula is today. It pales to what it once was since illegal logging, poaching and gold mining “degraded the forest”
The resorts currently on the peninsula are small and intimate. Most of the resorts work to remain eco-friendly. The Osa’s beauty and excursions arranged by the lodges make up for the less than luxuries and elegant amenities. However, the same lack of amenities are an issue for some guest. Yet the resorts are quaint, pretty and well kept. By locals. The open-air dining hall and lounge. The studios and bedrooms are usually up high in order to catch the view of the ocean waves below, while feeling like you are up amongst the trees. Stunning. All this is geared toward outsiders. As far as I can tell, no one is inviting tico business men and women to come enjoy a week at a beach front resort for conference or team building. On the other hand, ticos are welcome to come cook, clean and smiling while escorting the happy tourist around their homeland.
The pristine beaches and well-preserved rainforest and its inhabitants. Come on people there is a reason for this. There is no one here to muck it up. The beaches are practically empty. People don’t leave garbage on the beach and in the jungle. The more progress and development the more people. The more people the more damage to the eco-system.
Can’t you see it? One example, the dirt roads. Do you think individual who can afford the type of luxury and elegance Botanika is talking about are going to want to ride on bicycles and motor bikes. No dirt roads will become paved roads. Paved roads means more cars. More cars means more emission. Emissions means no clean air.
And what’s left of the wild-life. They will disappear because there is nothing more damaging to the eco-system than humans and there need for more. Bigger, better faster. Until there is nothing left worth seeing.
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Written by Kimberly Wilson