San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Notes from Puerto Viejo De Talamanca

The Talamancan Association of Ecotourism and Conservation (ATEC) is kicking off its Community Spotlight Tours once again.

ATEC invites its partners, local business owners and their employees, media, neighbors and tourists on reduced-rate trips to sustainable ecotourism activities in some of the communities it represents. The idea is to offer nationals and residents the chance to enjoy some of the activities tourists do and to get to know their own communities better.

Coming up first on July 7 is a look at Costa Rica’s endangered green iguana, perhaps one of the most representative animals of the Caribbean. The group will visit the Iguana Foundation in Playa Chiquita and the rustic Iguana Project at the Kekoldi Indigenous Reserve, where visitors will enjoy a typical indigenous lunch.

Future trips include: first week of August, a visit to Gandoca and the rural community of San Miguel to watch baby turtles hatch and be released into the sea, and tour a family-owned traditional farm to learn about local sustainable development; Aug. 27, Afro-Caribbean Day celebration with cooking and dance classes and hair braiding; September, Tortuguero, the hemisphere’s most important nesting ground for endangered green turtles and home to 60 mammal species, 111 reptile species and more than 50 amphibian and 300 bird species; October, raptor migration observation at the Kekoldi reserve’s bird-watching tower. Additional trips are planned as well, including a visit to Bocas del Toro, Panama.

Everyone is welcome to participate and help support community ecotourism. For information and to sign up for a tour, contact ATEC at or, or call the ATEC shop at 2750-0398.

The second Multicultural Festival at the Tribal Market in Playa Chiquita’s Cubali Town has been rescheduled for tomorrow, June 25, from 1 to 7 p.m. The event will feature artists, musicians and healers. For more information, call 2750-0923.

And the second Walter Ferguson Culture and Conservation Festival is set for July 4 to 10 in Cahuita, featuring live music, painting, theater, dance, calypso, literature, poetry and many more Afro-Caribbean and indigenous cultural events. The festival is sponsored by Dinámica Empresarial, Caribe Communication and the Cahuita Development Association. For information, call 8892-2895 or email caribe

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