The Rainforest Blog
Everyday at Nicuesa we are grateful for being living in such a wonderful paradise. Just by being in the Osa Peninsula and Golfo Dulce, you can tell that you are in a very special place. The breathtaking scenery of the Osa Region is more than enough to feel Mother Earth’s power.
But… What is it about this place that makes it so extraordinary?
|Rio Esquinas Mangrove|
Osa region of Costa Rica is a true biological treasure. It is the healthiest
primary rainforest on the whole pacific coast in Central America. In this
entire region it is the forest that contains the tallest trees and supports
some of the biggest populations of endangered fauna. There is an exceptionally
high number of endemic species, meaning that they occur only in this place in
ACOSA, or the Osa Conservation Area, there is a cluster of protected areas, 17
in total, including the Corcovado National Park and Piedras Blancas National
Park. This patch of protected area represents only 3% of the country’s
territory, but is home to half of the Costarican plant and animal species. That
is an extremely high level of density of species, considering that Costa Rica
contains 4% of the world’s biodiversity.
factors. A very wide variety of ecosystems can be found here, due to
variability in conditions of elevation, rainfall, temperature and morphology of
territory. There is abundant rain (5-6 meters per year) and sunlight, and like
the rest of the country, it is the very bridge between North America and South
America, thus it harbors flora and fauna from both land masses.
|Playa Nicuesa’s view to Golfo Dulce|
“Golfo Dulce” (literally, “Sweet Gulf”) is the marine equivalent of the lush,
pristine jungles in the area. Commonly called a gulf, it is actually a fjord,
one of the only four tropical fjords in the world. With a maximum depth of 700
feet, it contains very different habitats that range from warm, shallow marine coral
formations where little fish abound, to the cold depths that only cetaceans can
Cetacea comprises whales, dolphins and porpoises. Surprisingly, their closest
terrestrial relatives are ungulate mammals, which include horses, cows, tapirs
and deer among others. It was a long evolutionary way to adjust a terrestrial
mammal for life in the ocean. Some of the most obvious adaptations are the
transformation of hind limbs into a flattened tail, the fusing of cervical
vertebrae that allows no neck movement whatsoever, and the shift from front
nostrils to blowholes at the upper part of the head.
marine mammals, cetaceans and manatees are the only ones that spend their whole
life in the ocean. These are truly amazing animals, it is a very remarkable
fact that terrestrial mammals evolved to go back into the ocean, from which
their ancestors had emerged many millions of years ago.
|Bottle nose dolphins|
two suborders within the Cetacea order, Mysticeti and Odontoceti. Mysticeti, or
baleen whales (also called toothless whales) have mouth plates instead of teeth
and have two blowholes. All members of the Odontoceti suborder (which includes
all dolphins and toothed whales) have teeth and only one blowhole.
the waters that surround the Osa region, biologists have reported as much as 23
species of cetaceans, including the Sperm Whale, Orcas, Bryde’s whale, and
several species of dolphins. Among
the more commonly seen cetaceans around the Golfo Dulce, are the spinner
dolphins, spotted dolphins, bottle nose dolphins. All these are resident and
can be seen year round. Humpback whales on the other hand, seasonally come to
breed and nurse the calves. Populations from the south arrive from August
through November, and populations from the north arrive from November through
June. This overlap in breeding seasons makes the Golfo Dulce an extremely rare
spot where different populations meet, promoting genetic variety of this
April 23rd is a day to honor Earth for giving us life. Even though Earth Day should be everyday, it is a good opportunity to remind people that Earth is everybody’s only home, therefore is our duty to take care of her.
|Anderson family helping with our Sign-Design!|
|Discovering the message behind the code…!|
|Nicuesa Sign in the way to Puerto Jiménez!|
Look in our Facebook page for more pictures of this day!
Everyday we have to keep our eyes open to find pleasant surprises in the waters of the ‘Sweet Gulf’ (Golfo Dulce), where Playa Nicuesa is located. During this past month, our guests and guides spotted something usually big coming from our tours in the Golfo Dulce… Whale Sharks swimming very close to their boats!
At Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge we are committed to the protection of our home: the Golfo Dulce and the surrounding rainforests. Reforestation, recycling, saving energy and water, using solar panels, and using biodegradable products for our daily living; are some of the practices we do to help the environment.
However, it is not enough to ensure a sustainable development in Osa. That is why we have partnerships with different conservation and cultural groups, which we help through donations and collaboration. Our efforts towards conservation are greatly expanded due to the support of our guest’s donations. Now that this year is coming to an end, Playa Nicuesa is proud to say that we collected $3555 in contribution thanks to our guest’s kindness. These funds will be distributed to a variety of community and environmental organizations in the upcoming year to continue supporting our program that has resulted in over $18,000 in contribution to groups from donations received from our guest and Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge.
Non-governmental Organizations that fight for the preservation of the natural resources of the Costarican South Pacific have been given donations with these funds. Te NGOs include MarVIva, PRETOMA, Yaguará, Coalición Ambiental and Nature Conservacy. With our help, organizations like PRETOMA can work on successful campaigns such as No Tuna Farms in Golfo Dulce, which makes a big difference for the preservation of the Gulf. PRETOMA undergoes all kind of efforts towards the conservation of endangered species like turtles, whales, and much more in this bio-diverse Gulf.
MarViva is also conscious of the treasure of the Pacific Ocean, and that is why they are committed to its conservation. This NGO works in Costa Rica, Colombia and Panamá. In Costa Rica they take care of the Golfo de Nicoya (North Pacific), Golfo Dulce (South Pacific) and Coco’s Island. MarViva’s goal is to extent the protection areas of the ocean, because as they say “the ocean is reborn in the protected areas”. They also promote the sustainable use of the marine resources by supporting the control and surveillance efforts as well as educating people on sustainable practices of fishing and tourism. The MarViva team often comes to our Lodge to share with our guests and employees information about conservation, sustainable fishing, and other topics of interest.
Not all of the South Pacific richness is only beneath the ocean; it is also in our jungle. This lush forest is the home of one of the three biggest wild cat of the world: the Jaguar. Playa Nicuesa supports Yaguará organization on its efforts towards the preservation of this big feline. This NGO fights against the extinction of the Jaguar and other felines of this area. Here at Nicuesa we have many of their cameras on hand to help monitor and protect the wild cat population.
On the other hand, Nicuesa also tries to support local communities. This past year, part of the donations were given for local associations that for the development and preservation of the cultural life in the area. One of these is the Folkloric Dance Group Yuré, from Puerto Jimenez High School that teaches youth native folkloric dances. The group is not only about learning to dance, one of the goals is to foment a respect and understanding of Costa Rican values and traditions at a time when the nation is struggling to conserve them.
But not only we support conservation and local culture with donations, we also make in kind donations, which means that the workers of Nicuesa donate their time and effort through their participation in campaigns, meetings, events, beach cleanings and others. In September of this year, all Nicuesa employees went to Puntarenitas beach (right in front of Golfito) and after a hard day work, it was left as clean as our own beach at the lodge that was awarded the blue flag award for maintaining a clean beach. This program was conceived by the national water utility, Aqueductos y Alcantarillados, in conjunction with the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo, who began evaluating, and ranking water and environmental quality in coastal communities in 1996. Those that achieved a 90 percent score were awarded a Bandera Azul Ecológica (ecological blue flag) to fly as a symbol of excellence.
In this New Year that is among us, we hope to continue supporting all of these organizations and more, so that this pristine beautiful Gulf and jungle can maintain its magic and diversity. Again, thank you to our guests for your contribution to our efforts.
A tuna farm is a floating cage in the open ocean, were tuna is born and feed until they reach the commercial size needed to be exported to Japan. The wasted produced by such a large quantity of tuna generate over nutrification of the water and red tides, reduces dissolved oxygen amounts, causes fish kills and damage to other resources of the gulf.
After all the protest and opposition to the farm, Costa Rica’s Environmental Secretariat (SETENA) stated it would no longer consider Granjas Atuneras de Golfito SA’s petition to construct a yellow fin tuna aquaculture project, or tuna farm, at the mouth of the Golfo Dulce. SETENA’s decision permanently closes the case on Granjas Atuneras, meaning that finally justice is done.
The gulf now is protected against tuna farm pollution, preserving the rich waters of Golfo Dulce. We can be certain that community efforts on keeping the health of this paradise will never stop, and the Nicuesa family is going to support these efforts every time!