I lace up my boots and clip snake-gators around my shins. I pull my machete from the leather sheath and whet it across the sharpener as the sky shifts from pale orange to blue. The iguana that lives in the roof, discontented with my noise; shuffles above me, his long toes scratching the tin. I glance over at the field bags and go through a mental check list of the equipment to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything: datasheets, compass, soil samplers, flagging, ziplocks, sharpies, caliper, DBH tape. Check, check, check. My research assistant, Juan, and I load the field equipment into the car and head down the bumpy dirt road.
I am in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, and it is nearing the end of the dry season. It hasn’t rained since November. Occasionally a wispy cloud will dampen the sun’s strength and I’ll look up, confused. The dry season feels like a washed-out photo; everything is overly bright and I squint in search of contrast. My car’s dash board is covered in a thick film of dust from driving on farm roads. Waves of dusk billow up from the roads and pass through the window in sets so consistent a surfer could set her watch by it.
Guanacaste province gleaned it’s named from the wide-canopied dry forest tree with seedpods shaped like ears. Guanacaste is one of the larger provinces in Costa Rica, bordered on the north by Nicaragua and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. I am here studying tropical dry forests; one of the earths most endangered ecosystems.
For part of the year in Costa Rica, moisture-laden warm air flows off the Caribbean Ocean. The warm air pushes up against Costa Rica’s volcanic spine, cooling as it rises, until it reaches the dew point and rain falls on the windward slope, creating a rain shadow on the other side of the mountain. The leeward slope, then, is haunted by intense dry winds. During the other half of the year, the winds come off the Pacific Ocean, bringing the rains. Tropical dry forest fauna and flora have evolved to cope with the strong seasonality to the rainfall.
When I arrived last September, the forest was as green as a summer garden. Leaves broad, full, verdant. The drought-deciduous trees species began to lose their leaves when the rains stopped. Now in April, a mountaintop view looks not unlike a temperate winter landscape—if you replace the thin-needed pines with broad-leaf evergreens, subtract the snow, and spin the thermostat up to 95 degrees F. Okay, so they are quite different: no coat required. Also, many TDF trees flower during the dry season so, amidst the mostly nude forest, bouquets of yellow, pink, purple dot the landscape.
The car windows are wide open and the wind rolls through carrying a campfire smell. The air often smells burnt during the dry season, especially in the last couple months. Before people settled in Guanacaste, the main source of fire would have been lightning—in the wet season. People have introduced a fire regime that peaks in the driest months. I drive out of the trees and notice the smoke on the road ahead. The dry, reedy pasture grass on farms on either side of the road is aflame. I have worked on both of these farms. I can see a few trees burning and a wall of hazy smoke across the asphalt. My car hits the smoke and it swirls off the car in tornados.
TDF have been disproportionately settled because it has relatively nutrient-rich soils and a climate favorable for growing crops and raising livestock. And if you’ve ever lived in a tropical rain forest or cloud forest—you’ll know that even freshly laundered T-shirts, folded and put away in a clean dresser begin to smell like the musty back corner of a forgotten part of your garage within a few days. It’s no wonder people preferred sunshine.
I glance in the rearview mirror and can still see the smoke lifting from the fire we passed. Although management patterns are changing, some people still use fire to “clean” pasture. They burn pastures to clear out early forest successional growth and entice new pasture grass to sprout for hungry livestock. Also, crops like sugar cane are burned after the harvest to remove crop residues. Landowners can apply for a burn permit with the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment but illegal burns are common. Regardless of the source or legality of the burn, once a fire escapes, landowners face another problem; there are not enough resources to fight forest fires on private farms. There are fire fighters. Area de Conservación de Guanacaste (ACG), with upwards of 290,000 acres of land, has a trained team firefighters that are kept busy protecting both the immense park and bordering forests on private farms. City fire fighters, on the other hand, must focus their efforts on fires that encroach upon buildings, towns, and roads. Basically, there are not enough resources to fight all the fires on private farms. If the landowner has employees and equipment, they will often fight the fires. But, frequently, the private forests just burn. I drive past the road that runs up the flanks of Rincón de la Vieja volcano. When I was hiking there last week, I stopped at a lookout point and counted seven fires. They looked like industrial smokestacks scattered in the forested landscape.
Guanacaste is in the middle of a forest transition. In the 1970s and 1980s deforestation rates were high, but beginning in the mid-1980s Guanacaste has had high rates of forest regeneration. Importantly, the overwhelming majority of that regeneration has occurred on private lands. What I’m trying to find out is who owns these regenerating forests and how ownership might influence the ecology and management.
I am interested in coupled human-natural systems—intrigued by the links between society and environment. Here in Guanacaste I am looking at how tree biodiversity and carbon storage are influenced by socioeconomic variables such as land ownership. I am interested in how the choices landowners make could influence forest regeneration processes. For example, ranchers retain certain tree species on their lands for the shade or fruit provided for their cattle. Landowners often select particular species such as indio desnudo (Bursura simaruba) to use as live fence posts—fences made of living trees connected by lines of barbed-wire. Indio desnudo is a great live fence post tree because it resprouts so easily: You can cut off a branch, plunk it in the ground and, viola, you’ll get a tree. Landowners may also be more likely to remove ‘weedy’, fast growing species from their pastures and retain valuable timber species such as mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla). These choices may influence the forest biodiversity and carbon stocks in private forests. After completing forest inventory plots on private farms, I will compare my data to a dataset from public forests collected by my adviser. We will use these datasets to test the hypotheses that private forests contain less biodiversity and carbon stocks than public secondary forest of similar ages and soil conditions.
Juan and I arrive at our new farm site. I stop briefly to talk with the farm manger; he is sitting atop a big tractor outfitted with a water container to fight the fires that are on the upper border of the property. Juan and I will work on the lower border of the property to avoid the fires. We drive to the lower part of the property and Juan hops out to struggle with the gate—five wrist-thick branches strung together with barbed-wire. The car lumbers down the road through the pasture and we arrive at a patch of forest. In the forest plot today, we will identify tree species to assess tree biodiversity. For carbon estimates, we’ll measure tree diameter at 1.3 m take species-specific wood density samples to plug into allometric equations. Within the plot, we will also collect soil samples to assess soil physical and chemical properties. We heft on our backpacks and swing the field bags over our shoulders. I rope the machete around my waist in case I need to give the spiked bromeliads in the forest plot a haircut.
If you like horses I strongly recommend the whole day horseback riding you can do here at Hacienda Guachipelin. You don’t have to be good on horseback riding to do this tour!
I do my internship here at Hacienda Guachipelin and works with the horses every day, and this tour is my favorite because you get to see the best sides of Guanacaste Costa Rica. You get to see everything from dry jungle to rain forest. You get the chance to ride in rivers, up on hills and around the area of other farms. Maybe the monkeys jump over your head as you ride in the forest. You will probably see a lot of beautiful birds and other animals.
The adventure tour starts at 8 am and the ride goes to Oropéndola witch is a big and beautiful waterfall where you got the opportunity to jump from the cliffs and swim in the clear water.
After the visit to Oropéndola you get up on the horses again and start the ride to Rio Negro hot springs, when we are arriving at Rio Negro you get to see the beautiful hot springs where you get painted in mud from the volcano. You can sit and relax in the hot springs where the water comes directly from the volcano. There are different pools with different degrees in it, so you can chose the one that fits you best. After the relax at the hot springs you start to ride again.
More bathing and refreshing surprises will be discovered under the day.
Air Berlin has announced that it will operate a new service to Costa Rica in Central America every 14 days, effective November 2011. An aircraft will leave Dusseldorf every other Saturday for Liberia, the capital city of the province of Guanacaste in the northwest of the country.
An Airbus A330-200 will leave Dusseldorf every other Saturday. Connecting flights are available from Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg, Nuremberg, Stuttgart, Vienna and Zurich.
Guanacaste has many things to offer for the european traveler. From active volcanoes to white sand beaches, from small boutique romantic hotels to all inclusive beach resorts. This of course with a wide range of budgets. Guanacaste welcomes Air Berlin.
The video down below is a recent Ad for hooney mooners filmed in Guanacaste.
Simbiosis Spa, located at Rincon de la Vieja National Park’s entrance, has new attractions for our guests.
There is a new water fountain, geyser and 2 new hot spring water pools, making a total of 5 located in deferent areas.
There is a small bar at the reception that offers different drinks for visitors.
With the admission, guests will enjoy a volcanic mud treatment, a sauna treatment, and the hot spring waters to relax.
The admission fee is $20 for adults and $15 for children.
Simbiosis is open from 10 AM to 6 pm every day.
Just a quick note to explain about Rincon de la Vieja National Park, it is the most visited national park in Guanacaste, Costa Rica’s northern province. It’s main attraction is Las Pailas Trail, with lots of volcanic activity, similar to what you would see in Yellowstone.
Guanacaste is known as the sunny side of Costa Rica. This area has the best weather in the country and specially from November, when the drought season starts. But even when the rainy season starts, from June to November, the weather is still nice and warm and the rain showers only last for 1 or 2 hours for the most part, showing the warm tropical sun for the rest of the day. This is no coincidence, since Costa Rica is located 8 degrees north of the equator and bathed by the warm Pacific Ocean waters on the west and by the Caribbean waters on the east. Being a tropical country, Costa Rica has only 2 seasons, Dry and Green.
The expected temperature in Guanacaste for this month is a low of 67 and a maximum of 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Guanacaste is now very close to major US cities since major airlines have direct flights from cities like Dallas, Houston, Atlanta among others, and cities like Los Angeles are conected to Liberia International (LIR) through EL Salvador.
There is so much to offer in Guanacaste, that 1 week is not enough. There are white sand beaches, great fishing, golf, adventure tours, scuba diving, active volcanoes and much more. Another important thing is that there are accommodations for all budgets.
Come to Hacienda Guachipelin to enjoy the great weather and the best adventure. Send us an email to reserve+guachipelin.com for more information.
Mítico Trío La Anexión celebra al
sabanero con concierto en la Casona Santa Rosa
El mítico Trío La Anexión, integrado por los hermanos Fidel y Jaime Gamboa, y el compositor guanacasteco, Max Goldenberg, se unirán a la celebración del Día del Sabanero este domingo 14 de noviembre en los Corrales de Piedra en la Casona Santa Rosa Guanacaste, en un concierto gratuito que arranca a las 2 de la tarde.
Carlos “Tapao” Vargas se integrará al trío, para festejar a todas aquellas personas que en las haciendas ganaderas de Guanacaste forjaron con mucho esfuerzo un legado cultural que hace reconocible muchas de sus raíces. El 10 de noviembre es el día oficial, pero el Día del Sabanero se celebra cada segundo domingo de noviembre.
Además del concierto, desde las 8 de la mañana y hasta las 4 de la tarde de este domingo habrá baile, música de miramba y cimarrona, concursos de pica leña, preparación de tortilla y venta de comidas tradicionales.
Una parodia del humor, la alegría y el folclore de la provincia, el repertorio de Max cuenta con la complicidad de sus sobrinos, Jaime y Fidel. “La Canción de Adán” y temas como “La cumbia de la llorona”, “La contradanza de los liberianos sin cabeza” —piezas inspiradas en el libro de cuentos “La Orquesta Imposible”, escrito por el bajista de la agrupación nacional Malpais, Jaime Gamboa- harán bailar, llorar y reír. El concierto se realiza gracias al apoyo de Hotel Hacienda Guachipelín y es parte del esfuerza que esta hacienda está realizando desde hace años para preservar y renovar las tradiciones de la zona.
El Día Nacional del Sabanero fue establecido por Ley desde el 2003 “como un reconocimiento al personaje que modeló el ser guanacasteco”, pero desde hace 18 años ya era fecha de celebración gracias a la iniciativa de su padrino, el Programa de Ecoturismo del Área de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG).
Actualmente la festividad cuenta también con el respaldo del Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud (MCJ) y del Ministerio de Educación Pública (MEP). La actividad es organizada por el Museo Histórico Casona de Santa Rosa y el Programa de Ecoturismo de la ACG.
Para más información puede comunicarse con Sergio Pacheco, al 88162283 o al correo firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are planning to travel to Costa Rica from New York , for the coming month of september, there are great news. Airfares in Jet Blue couldn’t be any better: $385.55 taxes included (as quoted today) per person for a round trip ticket. Imagine leaving New York, from JKF at 6 AM 08:39 AM and arriving to San Jose, Costa Rica‘s international airport Juan Santamaria at 11:21 AM. It doesn’t get any better. If you want to rent a small 4×4 for a week, for the first week of september, there is a rate with insurance for $223.82 with National Car Rental. This vehicle is enough for 2 or 3 people. Then just imagine to go for 3 days to Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, the most visited national park in Guanacaste for as low as $194 for a 3 night special that includes a double room with a/c and tv, breakfast and a horseback ride tour to one of the waterfalls in Hacienda Guachipelin. After a 3 night stay at Hacienda Guachipelin, travelers can enjoy the beach area nearby, like Coco Beach or Hermosa Beach of the Papagayo Gulf area.
Costa Rica is famous for the diverse adventure offer. From mountain bike to horseback rides, zip lines, rafting, trekking, hiking and more. There are lots of active volcanoes, hot springs and waterfalls. The best part is that Costa Rica is really friendly to tourists. For more information on tours contact guanacastetours.com . Don’t miss out on the September and October specials on Costa Rica. Pura Vida !!!!
Costa Rica is a Central American country considered one of the world’s most beautiful spots, thanks to its breathtakingly spectacular natural landscape and exoticism and its mature democracy.
RIU’s first Costa Rican establishment, built by the firm itself and located on the oceanfront in Playa Matapalo, the beautiful region of Guanacaste on the country’s Pacific coast. The hotel is close to the international airport in Liberia LIR.
Riu is situated in northern Costa Rica, in Guanacaste on Playa de Matapalo beach. it has omplimentary sun loungers on the beach, a 6 story main building. It is surrounded by 35,000 m2 / 41,86 sq. yards of lush gardens. RIU is 33 km / 20.5 miles from Liberia airport and 50 kilometers from the most famous National Park, Rincon de la Vieja. This National Park is famous because of its abundant volcanic activity. Rincon de la Vieja is also famous for the adventure tours offered by Hacienda Guachipelin.
Hacienda Guchipelin is owned by a Costarrican family. It is a working cattle ranch and activities related to traditional cattle farming is still going on here.
For reservations for Hacienda Guachipelin, call toll free from US or Canada to 1-888-730-3840 or write to email@example.com
Como se menciona en www.fototravel.com en el reciente viaje del reportero Santiago Fernandez Fuentes en su articulo habla de la Hacienda Guachipelín, y lo describe como uno de los mejores hoteles ecoturisticos (certificados) de Costa Rica para viajes de aventura. De los 1600 hectáreas de terrenos que cuenta la finca, 700 hectáreas se dedican a la conservación del bosque tropical seco, 575 ha. a los pastizales y 325 ha. a la reforestación de especies en vías de extincion.
En este paisaje volcánico (aún activo) excepcional, los huéspedes de la Hacienda Guachipelín podrán disfrutar de paseos a caballos acompañados por los « sabaneros » (cow-boys) locales o practicar deportes extremos (un paseo por las nubes en tirolina, tubing en los rápidos del Rio Negro, caminatas a los cráteres del volcán). Los más sosegados podrán elegir entre paseos naturalistas por los bosques primarios, que albergan una rica fauna y flora endémica, o darse un homenaje en el « spa » natural Simbiosis del Parque Nacional Rincón de la Vieja que cuenta cataratas de aguas termales y pailas de barro volcánico.
Hacienda Guachipelin is a great place for a family vacation. There are lots of activities for all ages, hiking, horseback riding, swimming in one of the 5 waterfalls at the Hacienda, playing with the farm animals, or simply relaxing in a hamock or a the look out. The Hacienda is famous for adventure.
The Hacienda is close to Liberia, a small town where the new international airport is located. The driving time form Liberia is about 30 minutes. When our guests fly directly in Liberia, they spend little time on the road, but when they fly in San Jose, the capital, the driving time to Guanacaste can be an issue. This is the reason why Hacienda Guachipelin has partnered with Nature Air to offer the best rates possible, so guests not only can fly at a great price, but they can also save precious vacation time, not driving, but flying.
Nature Air is based in San Jose, Costa Rica. Nature Air is Central America’s Premier Airline for adventure travel, luxury vacations and eco tours. This airline offers domestic flights from San José to all the major Costa Rica vacation destinations. This includes Tamarindo for fishing, surfing and scuba diving and Liberia for advenutre travel. For reservations on airline tickets, just fallow the link http://www.natureair.com/guachipelin-liberia.aspx?referrer_id=440047 .
For information on Hacienda Guachipelin, please email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free to 1-888-730-3840