Barra Honda Park in Guanacaste has created a collaborative conservation model

In the Barra Honda National Park they are convinced that a protected area can also be a community development model; And that is why, from there, a new tourist route has been created that offers visitors a natural and cultural experience, while contributing to the local economic reactivation.

Dorian Méndez, Administrator of Barra Honda National Park, explained that the project arose out of the concern of park staff and was consolidated with the support of the Association of Guides and Ecologists of Barra Honda National Park, the Municipality of Nicoya, micro-entrepreneurs and local entrepreneurs.

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A new conservation model

“Basically, this is a new model of conservation. Today we are talking about more inclusive and less restrictive conservation. Collaborative systems essentially take people, community leaders, businesses and integrate them into processes to generate and socialize ecosystem benefits. This new form of conservation sees communities as part of the task and as allies in terms of conservation to generate nature-based solutions to socio-economic and socio-environmental problems, ”Méndez said.

The new course offers the unique experience of Cave complex and the beauty of the landscapes of Barra Honda, in addition to sharing with the rural towns one of the 5 blue zones of the world, to enjoy the ancestral cuisine of Guanacaste and its cultural richness through experiential experiences.

In this regard, Andrea Carvajal, member of the Association of Ecological Guides of Barra Honda National Park, said: “We are diversifying this tourist offer and not only offering the natural attractions of the region. Barra Honda National Park, but we also project ourselves to the communities to promote everything that is part of the traditions, customs, beauty and natural resources of the Guanacaste peoples. In addition to the experiences of the companies that are part of our chains ”. These tourism experiences include six businesses from three cities within the park’s influence area, and some are run by senior citizens.

But what do they contain?

“We offer the cave tour in Barra Honda National Park, sunrise and sunset tours in the park, taking advantage of its strategic location to attend these events and guided walks. We also offer experiences such as the corn workshop, the donut workshop, the tanelas workshop; we offer a cultural evening, dance and folklore workshop, and an ephemeral coyol workshop, only in summer. Finally, a gastronomic workshop where we save what is the gastronomy of the communities that represent us: Santa Ana, Barra Honda and El Flor ”, explained Carvajal.

The association of guides also collaborates in maintenance activities, environmental education and support in the event of a forest fire in the park. For the Municipality of Nicoya, the generation of these productive sectors from the natural resources of the canton is very important, and even more so in the context of a pandemic where many people have lost their jobs.

“Being able to research this type of use is extremely important. It is also a way to generate development in the economies of neighboring cities and I believe that it is the richness of this experience, being able to visit different companies that are managed around the park and how there can be a growth of both organizations ; let’s say, the family that has a space, that creates a place that can be a restaurant, or a development in terms of cabins, or that promotes other types of cultural and gastronomic initiatives and how they associate it with elemental value that the park has already done it ”, assured Carlos Armando Martínez Arias, Mayor of Nicoya.

Thus, the community rural tourist circuit offers a new model of conservation where preservation is reconciled with development and generates well-being in the small towns near the park.

The Barra Honda National The park is a protected wilderness area belonging to the township of Nicoya and was created in 1974. It conserves the limestone hills of the lower basin of the Tempisque river, it has systems of collaboration with communities, it is one of the sites recharge the aquifers in the area and protect the ecosystems of this area. The park is open Monday to Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

For more information about the National Park, you can contact the number: 2659 1551 or 8721 2444.

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