Saturday, June 24, 2017

Exciting Tours at the Sustainability Demonstration Center!

Are you or anyone you know looking for something fun, authentic, and exciting to do in the Monteverde region?! Want to choose an activity that directly supports the local community and environmental conservation? Want to immerse yourself in nature enjoying both forest and river?

Head over to the Sustainability Demonstration Center, located right along Route 606, the main road towards Monteverde! 

If you're planning a visit to Monteverde, make sure you stop by and spend some time with us. Whether it's so you can stretch your legs, eat and take a swim while on your journey to Monteverde (especially great if you have children with you) or just escape the busy tourist hot-spots and enjoy some peaceful time in nature, we have so many wonderful activities for you to enjoy such as hiking, bird-watching, refreshing swims in the river, horseback riding, a zip-line for children, traditional outdoor games, tour of the historic center and animal welfare program, and more!  

While we welcome you to just stop by, we also offer themed tours at the Sustainability Demonstration Center. Choose one or create a whole day of fun by combining two half-day tours! 


Each tour is 2 hours and can be provided in either English or Spanish. We offer a morning tour from 9:00 am – 11:00 am and an afternoon tour from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm. If the tour is arranged ahead of time, we can adjust the hours of the tour. Reservations are necessary.

CONTACT US AT or +506-8302-2522 for more information or to make your reservation! Get ready to have some fun!

100% Natural Tour

Literally submerge yourself in a totally joyful and natural experience in a pristine river and the true rural Costa Rica. Learn about what lies behind the decline of the most important economic center of the entire region, the old gold mines, trade route, and find out why the locals say there are ghosts around.

Visit our tree nursery which houses thousands of trees given away for free to promote reforestation, enjoy the traditional games outdoors and learn about wildlife rehab and animal welfare efforts. Walk across a river and end up at a 112-acre integrated farm to watch the water buffaloes and many fruit trees and other crops and get served a fruit-based drink and snack. The beautiful Guacimal River offers swimming holes deep enough to swim and jump off the rocks plus the shallow Jacuzzi-like areas to get a natural massage- a favorite!  

The 100% Natural Tour includes:
·       Tour of the historic Sustainability Demonstration Center
·       Visit the native tree nursery
·       Learn about the wildlife rehabilitation and animal welfare programs
·       Enjoy traditional Costa Rican outdoor games
·       Hike across a river to visit a 112-acre integrated farm
·       Natural fruit drink and delicious snack
·       Swim in natural swimming holes in the Guacimal River

$40 USD per adult, $25 USD per child
Includes guided tour, activities, and snack

Horseback Riding

Start by a brief tour of the historic Casona, then cross a gentle river and go through what used to be an ancient trade route, a forested path that takes you to an integrated farm where you see farm animals and water buffaloes, organic crops and fruit trees, then go to the mountain top with wonderful views of the Gulf of Nicoya. Then off to the pristine river pools to swim and where you can often watch tropical birds, monkeys, iguanas sunning themselves on a large river rock or a Jesus Christ lizard literally walking on water! Hearing the sound of the water cascading over the beautiful rocks and feeling the cool water over your skin is an exquisite experience that will leave you relaxed and happy…. Getting there on horse-back is idyllic.

During the tour of the historic Casona (Big House), you will find out why the locals say it is haunted and what lies behind the collapse of what once was the most important economic center of the entire region. Upon return, enjoy refreshments from our farm…you will have a memorable experience and a happy heart, as you will have supported a rural non-profit organization.

The Horseback Riding includes:
·       Relaxing horseback riding tour through a 112-acre integrated farm with beautiful mountain views of the Gulf of Nicoya
·       Visit to a natural swimming hole to enjoy a refreshing swim
·       Tour of the historic Sustainability Demonstration Center
·       Natural fruit drink and delicious snack

$40 USD per person (same for adults & children)
Includes horseback riding, activities, and snack

Please help us to spread the word! 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Co-creating a New Reality

Yesterday morning I spent a few hours with a professor from the University of Costa Rica named Gloriana going over many aspects of the Center.  The evening prior, we had both attended a forum regarding the water issues in Puntarenas City.  These included the threat to a fragile wetland by the construction of a GAS STATION.  We thought about how the Communications and Radio class she is teaching here at the Center could organize to help Puntarenas City.  There is also a volunteer named JJ who is coming to do a short documentary for the Center and we thought of inviting him to help Puntarenas too.

The early afternoon was dedicated to organizing a talk that will be given here by Michiko Hayashi, who is coming to speak about the famous work on water consciousness of Dr. Emoto, a prominent scientist from Japan who transitioned in 2014.  We are so grateful to my friend Mary Newswanger who worked very hard to bring Michiko to Costa Rica.

Later in the eve there was a downpour, and people were calling the Center to see if the workshop called Community Consulting was on.  A few minutes before 5:00 p.m. and nobody had arrived.  The professor from the University of Costa Rica in Puntarenas showed up with her assistant, a little concerned about the apparent lack of participants. But we went ahead and set up the large screen, moved tables and chairs, got the materials out, etc.  Preparing as if people were going to come…and they did, a little late and a little wet.  The workshop spun into all kinds of discussions, as we all knew one another well… we have been marching on the streets together, we have shared meals at our own market, we have organized to help other communities, etc.  At the end, the project that we as a group decided to work on was this: Helping young couples with children with Effective Communication, Dealing with Emotions and Parenting.  It was decided that the workshops should be given in Guacimal, but also in a nearby very impoverished community called Colina, which suffers from all the ills that extreme poverty has to offer.  I gave the professor the contact info for Colina and left that group.  We were thrilled this Community Consulting Program of the University of Costa Rica can do this kind of work!

As I removed myself from the Events Room into our dining area, I saw my husband with our French friend Patricio in a very animated conversation in preparation for opening what we consider the last point in the triangle, the trinity, that we had envisioned long time ago... a permanent store to have products that are produced in small farms in Costa Rica, in a fair way, without chemicals and going with the natural cycles for each crop. 

Chumi, a friend and environmentalist from a nearby community came by.  He produces and sells honey and came to discuss his having a stand at the new store which we will call Cosas Buenas Market.  The store will open up soon and we are excited to see what people think of our home-made ice cream and bakery using ingredients from small farms and fruit from our trees, in addition to the crafts, grains, produce and many other things that will have a benefit for all involved.

Gloriana, the professor from the UCR who has been teaching a workshop on Communication and Radio came back and met up with the professors that were already here and became part of the discussion to help Colina.  The new professor, Marieta, must have said goodbye several times.  She said, “I keep saying goodbye and I don’t leave.  One feels so good here and never wants to leave.” I said, “It must be because we don’t want you to leave either."

We live at the Center, so at the end, we went to bed late. Our Events Room was all in disarray and our kitchen area was the same, but our hearts were filled with so much joy.  The Center is fulfilling its Mission and our Vision for it.  It waited asleep and shut down for over three decades to do this.  And as we have struggled to keep it afloat financially, we tell ourselves, “the Center itself must be very happy to be serving.  Therefore, IT will help us move all the necessary elements to do so.” 

And then we rolled over into a deep and satisfied asleep, knowing every day of our lives is filled with infinite possibilities to help and grow, to fulfill dreams, to co-create a new reality.  There is no greater payment for our work than days like this.