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Notes from Puerto Viejo De Talamanca

August 6, 2010

The Talamancan Association of Ecotourism and Conservation (ATEC) announces its Weekly Community Spotlight: An Opportunity to Get to Know Talamanca.

ATEC is a small nonprofit organization in downtown Puerto Viejo whose goals are to promote: the development of ecological and socially responsible tourism in the canton of Talamanca; ethnic pride and cultural expression among indigenous and Afro- Caribbean residents; and the initiation and management of locally owned businesses and tourist services.

In an effort to meet these goals, ATEC is initiating a Weekly Community Spotlight featuring different communities or activities in Talamanca. The nonprofit encourages area residents to take this opportunity to support local ecotourism initiatives, to educate themselves about the community they live in, and to have a lot of fun.

On Aug. 12 and 13, the Community Spotlight will feature Tortuguero. Though this community on the northern Caribbean coast is not in Talamanca, the green-turtle season is under way there, so it’s a great chance to participate in an example of real ecotourism.

Tortuguero National Park was established in 1970 and protects 22 miles of the hemisphere’s most important nesting beaches for the endangered green turtle. Leatherback, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles occasionally find refuge on this protected coast as well. Also sheltered in the 19,000-hectare park are 60 mammal, 111 reptile, more than 50 amphibian and over 300 bird species.

The trip features a guided boat trip to Tortuguero through the maze of canals, spotting crocodiles, sloths, monkeys and birds, and a night hike offering the chance to witness the ancient process of green turtle nesting, which takes place here from July to October. The trip includes transportation, lodging in family-owned cabinas, three meals and tours to see the turtles nesting and to visit the TurtleConservationMuseum and the Caño Palma reserve. The price is $160 for tourists or a special Community Spotlight rate of $90 for citizens and residents. For more information or to sign up, contact ATEC at atecmail@gmail.com or 2750-0398.

In other community news, break-dancing lessons for kids will be offered tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Stanford’s restaurant, beachside in Puerto Viejo. Many thanks to San José-based dance group Hand Pro Crew for putting on the event. For information, contact DJ Dave Chopper at studioredstripe@gmail.com.

Eylon Lifshitz and Alison White have opened Pita Bonita Middle Eastern restaurant and bar in Playa Chiquita, just before Punta Uva. They offer delicious fresh-baked pita bread and homemade hummus, falafel, fresh salads and lamb kebab. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner every day except Tuesday. For information and takeout orders, call 2756-8173.

–Alaine Berg

ategmail@gmail.com

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