Drake Bay Backpackers in Osa Peninsula
The Osa Peninsula is one of the last great frontiers of unspoilt wilderness in Costa Rica, and indeed the world. As more and more travelers discover this beautiful region, the importance of genuine eco-tourism is also growing.
In many rural areas of Costa Rica, biodiversity is threatened by illegal logging and poaching, unsustainable methods of farming and fishing, the spread of agriculture, and pollution. With little access to infrastructure and markets, local communities often engage in these activities as a matter of survival. Even those who are aware of the value of their surrounding ecosystems may have no other options for earning money to feed their families.
Choosing sustainable local operators when planning your vacation can make a huge impact. Not only will you be contributing to the economies of small communities and underprivileged families; but you will also be promoting a future of sustainable development. Providing basic human needs for locals without destroying the environment.
In the quiet village of El Progreso, Drake Bay, you can find just one example of genuine eco-tourism. Drake Bay Backpackers
is a small non-profit hostel, owned and operated by the Corcovado Foundation
, a Costa Rican organization which has worked with local communities on conservation projects throughout the Osa Peninsula since 1996.
The hostel was previously the base for the foundation’s sea turtle conservation program, and opened six years ago for international volunteers participating in the project. The foundation soon noticed that this tiny local economy was energized by visitors. Shopping at local stores, staying in local homes and sharing diverse languages and cultures with each other.
Three years ago, the camp was expanded to receive tourists, students and volunteers all year round. At the same time, the organization helped local land owners to develop micro-tourism projects in the village. Horseback riding, waterfall tours, lagoon tours, night tours and bird watching are all available for as little as $35. And all of the money goes directly to the local family.
The hostel is not only a place for tourism, but a place for local people to meet, hold training workshops, environmental education activities with children and private tutoring. Many afternoons, locals can be seen here playing volleyball or just hanging out- providing a safe and healthy space for socializing.
The staff also strive to educate guests on best-practices for diminishing their impact on the environment. A rain water storage system and carbon filter provides water for the property and a biogarden is used to filter soapy water from sinks and showers. Recycling is separated, organics are composted, and all cleaning products are biodegradable.
These practices have also been shared with other local communities in the region. Public recycling stations, and biogarden systems have been installed by the foundation in the villages of El Progreso, Rancho Quemado and Agujitas. Additionally, the hostel employs local chefs, gardeners and cleaners and always makes an effort to buy local produce.
If you are planning on taking a trip to one of the most biodiverse places on earth this year, Drake Bay Backpackers
provides an affordable alternative for responsible travelers. Experience the unique nature of Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula, while contributing to local communities and helping to protect wildlife and rain forests for future generations to enjoy.
By Charlotte Rogers and Alejandra Monge