At Wildland Adventures, we design trips that will strengthen our own humanity along with building the kind of intercultural bonds that enhance rather than exploit the people and places where we travel. One of my favorite cultural exchanges in Costa Rica is a trip to Arenal Vida Campesina.
We frequently take guests to Arenal Vida Campesina for a farm visit to experience life in the Costa Rican countryside with a farming family that is practicing newer sustainable agricultural techniques. Jose, one of the owners greets visitors and shares about their history. He talks about how the land plots were assigned to them in the early 60's as part of a land reform project. Each family was given a plot of land at low interest rates to cultivate a small farm. They had to hold on to land for 15 years and work the land. At Vida Campesina they have been involved in different govt programs to support and spread organic farming and they have a wide variety of farm products they cultivate. The visit includes a demonstration of sugarcane juice production using a manually-operated sugar mill and learning about common Costa Rican crops such as coffee, bananas, plantains, sugar cane, etc. Visitors also get to meet various animals on the farm, whose organic waste is converted to biogas and an organic foliar fertilizer. At the end, visiters enjoy a traditional lunch with freshly harvested vegetables and a hands-on demonstration on tortilla making!
In additional to the farming aspects, and various uses of medicinal plants, Jose and his family are also very active with local schools and environmental education. Many Alumni families we have taken here were so interested in what Jose and his famiy are doing with the local community that they often send a contribution to the local schools that are been helped after their visit.
"The two hours on the farm brought us close to the people of Costa Rica. This and similar opportunities to explore countries and meet the people who live in them is very dear to us. I would tell others that this is what separates Wildland from other tour companies. As they say in Costa Rica, "Pura Vida," which generally translates as "It's cool!" - La Magna Family (Read about their experience here)
I am proud to be Costa Rican and I love arranging special cultural exchanges for our travelers to learn about and celebrate Costa Rica! A visit to Vida Campesina is built into our Costa Rica Active Family Adventure but I can also customize most trips to include this experience. You can also read about another great cultural experience in Costa Rica in my other blog Into the Jungle or learn about the Costa Rican way of life in What is this Pura Vida thing?
Your friendly Central America expert,