Wildlife Corridors – Path of the Tapir

Waterfall Villas joins ASANA in efforts to save the Path of the Tapir Biological Corridor – Costa Rica
Sighting a Tapir is a barometer for success in conservation efforts; like jaguar and parrots, these are rare migratory animals. In the rainforest of Costa Rica, the tapir is one of the animals that symbolize the vibrancy of the rainforest, because only when the forest is in its primordial essence, pristine and flourishing do these animals suddenly reappear.

The Path of the Tapir extends from the Osa peninsula in the south pacific of Costa Rica all the way to Manuel Antonio National Park passing through the Baru rainforest, and into the mountains of Tinamaste where the ridge is so vertically steep that virgin forest is still intact.

Here the largest waterfalls of Costa Rica are shrouded by a thick emerald green gallery. Amongst this rainforest in the heart of the Baru rainforest, Cascadas Farallas Waterfalls are protected in a private reserve set up by the Waterfall Villas to preserve the waterfalls and their unique habitat for wildlife. The Waterfall Villas reserve is right on the Path of the Tapir, an official certified biological corridor. The Waterfall Villas is an eco-retreat commited to rainforest preservation. Cascadas Farallas Waterfall Villas

“The path of the Tapir Biological Corridor represents one of the last remaining wild areas in Costa Rica, and as such enjoys an incredible diversity of flora, fauna, habitats, and ecological processes.”
Richard Margoluis, president ASANA

Along the Path of the Tapir, there are a scattering of private reserves, 5 National Parks, and various critical biological areas under threat: the Corcovado National Park, Terraba-Sierpe National Wetlands, Talamanca Mountain Range (where the only indigenous Costa Rican tribes still live), Los Quetzales National Park, the Marine Ballena National Park, and the Manuel Antonio National Park.

Conservationists have found that although these magnificent parks in Costa Rica are saving animal populations, the migratory animals need to venture outside of the protected areas to mate, feed, and breed. Healthy populations of animals in the parks require that the gene pool is wider than a small protected area.

The importance of maintaining the health of a biological corridor stems from the phenomena of the dead zoo – this happens when protected areas are located on a peninsula /or isolated areas surrounded by development and the gene pool is so small that animals eventually decline because of poor health. When the gene pool cannot be enhanced by natural migrations and is limited, then it has been required for new animals to be brought in manually to keep the animal populations healthy (as in Manuel Antonio). This new realization about sustaining natural selection in animal populations has conservation groups focused on protecting the biological corridors – natural migration paths that are connections between protected areas.

This conservation effort in Costa Rica has been lead by a group called ASANA (An acronym for Friends of Nature in Spanish). Unfortunately, the group was quite fragmented for some years, although they managed to start the protection process. Recently, a professional world class conservationist started to lead the group as president, Richard Margoluis. This is quite fortunate as the conservation efforts are very challenging, and he has major projects underway.

The Waterfall Villas and the Cascadas Farallas Waterfall Reserve, owned by Fateh and Franco Bolivar, is dedicated to preservation of this Biological Corridor – the Path of the Tapir. The Waterfall Villas is now the conservation group’s first corporate sponsor member.

In the last 10 years, an amazing comeback has been observed and many birds (over 400 species) including Macaws, and many other rare mammals (146 species) can be found well beyond the confines of the parks – throughout the corridor. But unfortunately, that seems to be a short lived success story as the greed and demand of more powerful entities is looming close.

Time -critical Threat to the Rainforest!
Exceptionally high demand arising from the USA for electric power has the Costa Rican monopoly electric company, ICE, envisioning $$ signs in their eyes! ICE defined a very ambitious project to create three major dams scheduled to flood vast rain forested areas, and this will impact particularly important and fragile areas in the most sensitive area of the Terraba River near Ojochal and Sierpe in the OSA, effecting the wetlands and the indigenous way of life of the Indigenous peoples. ICE’s plan will include dumping hot water used in the electric process into the wetlands. These wetlands stretch out to the main breeding grounds of the humpback whales who come to the National Marine park in the hundreds every year between July – Oct.

The most insidious part of ICE’s project is to dedicate in place 4 high voltage power lines with high electro magnetic fields upon a few hundred towers right through parts of the Path of the Tapir right into the rainforest canopy and stretch these beyond Manuel Antonio to Parrita where the electric power will then be routed into already existing lines all the way to Mexico on route to the USA – the power’s final destination for consumption. There in the USA, an unknowing population with a high demand for power is about to alter the most precious gem of rare and diverse rainforest on the planet.

The diagram shows the areas that are in the Path of the Tapir ( Paso de la Danta in Spanish)

The Waterfall Villas is in the bright blue area near Dominical right in the Path of the Tapir – although not directly effected in the ICE project, the entire area will eventually decline. All of these areas that are not directly in the parks will be effected by this high voltage electric power – unless ASANA’s members and friends can raise enough funds to hire lawyers to fight this giant corporation ICE in Costa Rica, to mitigate this threat . These planned power lines can be moved over to the grey area on the map outside of the migratory path and the populated areas to circumvent a tragedy to the Costa Rican rainforest. In the grey area no conservation dangers exist. However, this would cost about $50 million more to ICE so as to not damage the most fragile rainforest. This is the cost that has been put on the preservation of the most incredible biodiverse corridor in the world.

The new website of ASANA will be released in April, and will have a place where you can donate to this well worth cause to save rare animals and indigenous peoples through the already established International Community Foundation (ICF) acting as the fiscal agent in the US with the “Friends of ASANA” fund. In the USA, this donation is tax deductable because of the ICF’s 501(c)3 status to receive donations.

If you are a friend of the rainforest, please do what you can to help ASANA in this effort to keep the great strides of the last 10 years continuing so that the rain forests of this area will be completely resorted to their former splendor for future generations and not destroyed by corporate giants.
For more information about Cascadas Farallas Waterfall Villas: Cascada Farallas Waterfall Villas

Red Mangrove proudly presents: DELIGHTFUL ECUADOR

Red Mangrove Galapagos & Ecuador Lodges introduces a superb 8 days / 7 nights program: Delightful Ecuador. This is an exotic fusion of the warm and colorful Costal Lowlands with the majestic and beautiful Andean Highlands. A mixture that will take your breath away!
We choose the most comfortable and secure facilities for this adventure through Ecuador because we want our guests to live an enjoyable experience that will last in their memories forever.
Our guests will discover amazing destinations such as Guayaquil, called the Pearl of the Pacific, for its beauty and dynamism. Our guests will also embark upon a journey through la Ruta del Sol to taste its essence through pristine beaches, fishermen villages and exciting activities – A la Carte -.

At the Highlands guests will enjoy of World Heritage Cities, indigenous markets, the unique Avenue of the Volcanoes and an exciting rail road trip in the heart of Ecuadorian Andes: The Train to Nariz del Diablo (Devil’s Nose). This program runs all year around and includes accommodations, most meals, all ground, air and water transportation plus activities, guides and airport transfers.
It suits perfectly from one person to a party of 12 people. Families, honeymooners, seniors, all will be captured by the refinement of a program that truly shows how Delightful Ecuador is!. Families, honeymooners, seniors, all will be capture by the refinement of a program that truly shows how Delightful Ecuador can be.
A special introductory price of $1590 USD, will be applied per person in double occupancy for early bookings.
Contact us now at sales@redgalapagos.com or visit our site: Red
Mangrove Galapagos

Bali Eco Stay’s Responsible Travel Information

We will change the way you think about eco-tourism. Wander through rice fields & food forests. Trek in the jungle, or up the mountain. Frolic under our waterfall, swim in the stream.

On an island of beautiful locations, we stand out, as one of the most beautiful. The views are breathtaking, a Balinese paradise. If you don’t do any activities, you’ll still have a great time. Our focus is on sustainability. Spring water, local timbers, hydro-electricity, non-chemical housekeeping, proper waste management, organic rice, fruit and vegetables, active social programs & environment projects. We are just a few, modern, timber bungalows, set in a panoramic landscape, nestled in a gentler climate, in central Bali. It is Balinese graciousness, and fabulous villa standards, in a gorgeous setting, with environmental care and a social conscience.

Yes, you can have it all…
Special things to do and see here.
We have seven stunning walks that showcase this beautiful area, through the rice paddy’s, up into the forest, along magical streams, through traditional villages, along secluded tracks, guided or unguided its up to you!

There is a fantastic bike ride available that meanders through rice paddy’s and villages that ends up at the coast, it is breathtaking! (4 hours). Our Head Chef Mini has had years of experience teaching visitors how to prepare Balinese Cuisine. We have a purpose built kitchen designed for cooking classes.

We have carving workshops, traditional basket making, kite making and flying, natural rock pools for swimming, fishing in local ponds and streams, Balinese massage, planting and harvesting organic rice on our property (seasonal),making traditional coconut oil for massage, making Balinese decorations in the village, join our weekly children’s Balinese dance and gamelan class, join our twice weekly classes and help the locals speak English, join our twice weekly silat class (traditional Balinese martial art), we also have a children’s play area for under 10’s.

Our eco bungalows in Bali are located on the Southern slopes of Mt. Batukaru (2200 m), Bali’s second highest mountain. Approximately 2 hours from Ubud and Kuta. You will see rice paddies and the southern coastline from your bungalow.

How this holiday makes a difference
Diversifying the local economy We provide free internet access to locals.(24/7) We create small business opportunities for locals, such as car hire, workshop facilitators, and bamboo shingle production. We also support the local banjar (village council) with regular donations. We recently donated Rp 2 million to the village gamelon group to purchase new uniforms. We pay for a teacher to instruct local kids on Silat (traditional martial art) and purchase their uniforms. We teach locals English, twice a week for one hour. We support out side charities like The Sea Shepard Conservation Society, The Tasmania Wilderness Society and Tabo Monastery (Tibetan Buddhism) with yearly donations totaling $750. We have literature on the virtues of these organisations in our library and John is nearly always wearing a Sea Shepard tee shirt. Guests are encouraged to partake in the many activities we have on offer which invariably involve one or more of the villagers in some way. Whether it be guiding, driving, instructing, cooking or gardening. The local community is the main stay of our business. There is no public transport in our area so all transport is provided by the villagers, unless of course, punters have there own transport. Environment Our Eco Stay operations comply with international guidelines for sustainability. We have on site hydro electricity (pelaton wheel). Light bulbs are 1 watt at the most 5 watt. All our refrigerators and freezers are the latest Sanyo Energy efficient models, on site treatment and disposal of sewerage and waste water (septic system) – we have showers only and half flush toilets and we have a grey water recycling system… Every second day, bottom sheet is cleaned, top moved to bottom, clean on top. Towels are air dried in the sun on racks, unless placed in basket in bathroom for washing. We also have on site organic food production, and non toxic pest control and house keeping (we use local Bali Astli products, throughout the property). We practice sustainable landscaping and land management – no forest trees were used for construction, only local farm grown timbers used. We have a system of sorting composting and recycling. Composting: after clearing unproductive chocolate trees for food garden development, we are allowing the carbon rich chocolate (slow to decompose) compost anaerobically in piles with cow manure and rice husk. We had a lot of material to work with and insufficient energy to do this any other way. We look forward to composting aerobically in the near future. Grey water: (wash water) We use the stretch filter treatment technique, the aim is to remove large particles and fibres to protect the subsequent infiltration pipes from clogging, and transferring it as soon as possible for treatment into a biologically active, aerobic soil zone environment where both macro and micro organisms can thrive. We practice: – recycling; organic waste, glass, metal, paper. – eco stay is reintroducing native fruiting trees – we have several ponds that we are preparing for aquaculture. (creating a habitat). – we have numerous areas throughout the property where natural vegetation is allowed to flourish. – our office is as paper free as possible. – we only travel away from home to collect guests and do the shopping and of course go to ceremony’s. Our Eco bungalows are creating a safe haven for native birds and animals We are increasing environmental awareness in the local community. – firstly by being here and showing the locals that outsiders are very concerned for our planet. – providing a rubbish collection and recycling service. – educating the locals on the benefits of growing your own vegetables.(they grow there own fruit) – reintroducing traditional organic rice farming techniques. We have an ongoing commitment to the sustainable management of The Kupe Kupe River System. We are set to implement a study of the river system to ascertain its water quality and viability to villagers who can access the system. Community All our staff (11 full time & 10 part time) are from local villages, either Kanciana, Kumetug, Gump Pinis or Sarinbuana Village. The construction of Our eco bungalows has been carried out entirely by local villagers, from the head contractor, down. Staff are trained in hospitality principles and permaculture practices. As many goods and services as possible are sourced locally and regularly by and from the same people, when ever possible.
For more information: Bali Eco Stay

Special Promotion to discover Galapagos and the rest of Ecuador

Red Mangrove Galapagos and Ecuador Lodges, announces a 15 day/14-night program, Ecuador Four Worlds, that reveals Ecuador’s historical nooks and cultural and botanical/biological quadrants spanning the Equator.

In the Galapagos our guests will stay in three of its five multi-island lodges. In other locations guests will enjoy the hospitality of boutique hotels and eco-lodges, their colorful hosts and the area’s most popular activities. All have been meticulously sourced by Red Mangrove Galapagos and Ecuador Lodges.
The four distinct worlds of Ecuador are explored, including the Andean Highlands with the World Heritage capital city Quito, the Equatorial Monument, historic Cuenca, and the best-preserved Inca complex in the country, Ingapirca.

The second quadrant takes in the bio-diversity in and around the Galapagos Islands with snorkeling with sea lions, a visit to a private preserve where giant Galapagos tortoises freely roam, exploring pirate lore and legend on Floreana, hiking in the caldera and visiting lava caves on Isabela.

The third quadrant includes the Amazon Basin where guests stay at a remote jungle lodge accessed by dugout canoe with hikes to a native village and a canopy tower adventure.

Quadrant number four encompasses the Coastal Lowlands and includes tours of historic Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest commercial center, a yacht tour along the Guayas River and shopping at artisan markets.

The tour can be enjoyed as a solo traveler, couple, family or in small, private groups of up to 12 and is offered twelve months a year. It includes accommodations, most meals, all ground, air and water transportation between island and mainland locations, plus activities, guides and airport transfers.
A special fixed departure is set for April 12 and will have 50% discount on the domestic flight to and from Galapagos.

Contact us to request information: mainland@redgalapagos.com
Red Mangrove Galapagos

“It was my greatest adventure in my life!” review of Turneffe Flats green hotel in Belize

The most active my past vacations have been are touring churches, towns, restaurants and wineries throughout Italy. When my husband told me he had enough and it was time for “his” type of vacation, well, I was pretty disappointed. He came home one night and said we are going to Turneffe Flats on the Turneffe Atoll in Belize. No discussion. I pouted for two months after this announcement, until I started to do research on the country and the resort. My mood changed to eager anticipation, but I wasn’t a diver nor a fishing addict, so I thought I’d be laying on the beach every day reading, while he fly fished. Not my idea of a great vacation. I couldn’t have been more wrong! I signed up for the Atoll Adventure and it was the best adventure of my life! I spent 6 days with Abelino Coe- the creator and guide for the package, and everyday was a blast. Abel taught me how to snorkel – please note, I have fear of being over my head in water!! He started me out in the shallow flats looking at amazing coral beds with over the top tropical fish. Every day Abel took me to another location with different offerings, getting a little deeper each time. One day 4, we traveled with the divers to the Blue Hole – and Abel and I snorkeled our way to the edge with the coral reefs. That was an amazing time – and definitely one for the bucket list! Visiting Half Moon Caye that same day to view the Red Footed Boobies and to snorkel the island was another great adventure. During that week, Abel and I traveled to different parts of the Atoll and sought out manatees, sand/shore creatures, crocs, birds, butterflies, flora and fauna. Visiting Half Moon Caye for the Red Footed Boobies and to snorkel the island was another great adventure.

I really enjoyed meeting others from around the world. Sharing breakfast and dinners was great fun – and the food was excellent every single day. The chefs in the kitchen, and the wait staff, received standing applauses on our last evening. I even bought the TF cook book and the special Belizean spice mix so that I could keep reliving my great Belizean adventure at home.

I wasn’t prepared to snorkel so I came with nothing and used the resorts’ equipment. I came home with a long sleeved “skin” that I bought in the TF gift shop- which was the best buy of my vacation. Saved my back from getting burnt while snorkeling in the water. I ended up wearing white ankle socks with my fins, as I couldn’t stop snorkeling!

The resort only accommodates a small number of guests so getting to mingle with everyone was a real bonus. And each staff member was most accommodating, most respectful and genuinely pleased that we selected Turneffe Flats for our vacation. Sharing meals with the staff was a bonus, as I learned more about the Belizean culture.

Our room was very comfortable – the bathroom plush actually – and who can beat an ocean / sunrise view?

Snorkeling (and fishing) is great right off the pier, as the coral reef runs right out in front of the resort. So you can continue the adventure on your own in the late afternoon. Also drinking Pantie Rippers and Beliken Beers under the thatched deck in the late afternoon is pretty good too.

And I just learned that Turneffe Flat is putting in an Infinity Pool at the water’s edge. This will be of great use after you come home from your adventure in the late afternoon, and evening as well, especially under clear starry and moonlight nights. How romantic!

Additional information:
The country/culture is so diverse, so plan to add several days before or after Turneffe Atoll. Guides can take you to the Mayan ruins and into the jungle areas – so worth it. Tubing down Stann Creek while visiting Cockscomb Jaguar Preserve was great fun. In my next trip I’ll visit San Igancio and Ambergis Caye. And I plan to come home with more Belize Rum and Guatemalan coffee!

To visit Turneffe Flats website: Turneffe