Monday, August 9, 2010

Environmental Group: A Rainy Goodbye

We finally made it to Manuel Antonio! The Pacific coast is one of the most visited areas of Costa Rica by tourists of all ages, especially Europeans and Americans. We spent four nights at hotel Divisamar and we went down to Quepos every night for dinner. Quepos is like the downtown of Manuel Antonio, the locals are very friendly and everyone seems to know one another. It’s really interesting how the locals are aware of the tourists that come to stay the night or even several nights, and they are always expecting those groups to come by and visit. The whole idea of tourism in Manuel Antonio continues to grow but when we visited the hotel Si Como No the speaker, Mateo Villalobos, explained that it is becoming a problem. He says that the hotel infrastructure continues to grow while the biodiversity and environment shrinks. Si Como No is doing an exceptional job in regards to sustainable tourism and strategizing to find new and better practices to conserve the environment. They have earned five leaves from CST and they are a leader in sustainable tourism (something we haven’t seen in any other hotel). Yesterday we ventured Manuel Antonio National Park and the beaches were like nothing any of us have ever seen….the whole make up of the beach was relaxing with smooth waves, warm water, and a beautiful view! The white faced monkeys were very anxious, sneaky, and kind of creepy because they would snatch anything they would see especially food. Then it poured on us, yes it had not rained on us throughout the entire trip, what a bummer! Sunday, “the day before” our flight back home, consisted of attempting to see the animals at the zoo until it started raining once again. Later, we went out and explored the market and went “souvenir shopping”. Many of us waited so that we could make the best purchases but sometimes we had to spend a few extra “hundreds” (500 colones equal 1 dollar). Overall the past four days fulfilled all of our expectations and more….We will miss this country but it’s time for us to go home! :(

While all of us are anxious to get back home to see our family and friends, it is a clear consensus that everyone will miss this beautiful place where the air is clean, weather is perfect, and the locals are friendly towards us as if they have known us for years. The professor and staff members on this trip have stressed that we have learned more than what a student taking this course at UNT would have learned over the course of a whole semester. We have taken in a lot of information and knowledge from this trip from the lectures we attended and talking to some of the local people here. Being here is really an eye-opener because sometimes people tend to take in information but don’t apply the knowledge because we don’t see how much our actions impact our surroundings, but here in Costa Rica we were surrounded by a completely different world and were able to experience some of the activities many Costa Ricans do on a daily basis. After being here and witnessing this experience, it is only natural for us to come back with a new perspective on the environment and how we as people shape it. We cannot create an instant transformation on the way people around us choose to live, but if we change our ways, then people will start to catch on.

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