Cerro Arenal: A Family History
In Costa Rica, the land is passed down from generation to generation, with all the love it requires. Discover the Mistico Park in Cerro Arenal!
A Story of Love and Nature
It begins with a love story between Doña Landelina Rodríguez and Don Adrián Castillo. They live and work the land that their parents left them, near Cerro Arenal. Until a few years ago, no one was interested in these lands because they were too far from civilization. This allowed the Castillo Rodriguez family to cultivate and conserve an ecosystem rich in biodiversity. In 2000, they decided to open the doors of their paradise so that the whole world could contemplate it.
The reserve has been developing progressively over the years. Now, the sanctuary consists of 600 hectares, of which 250 hectares are protected. The most athletic will be able to walk the 3 km trail and discover all the levels of the forest. Thanks to the suspension bridges, the height becomes perfect for observing the different species that live in the heart of the trees: epiphytic plants, birds, mammals, butterflies, and many others. The nature tour allows you to learn more about the fauna and flora of Costa Rica, both by day and by night. The adventure tour offers the discovery of the forest on horseback to see all its density or to contemplate it from the inside using canyoning and zip lines.
Deep Values and Commitments
The opening of the sanctuary was established in two parts. First, the family hired a company to create an ecotourism project: Los Puentes Colgantes del Arenal. The initial agreement was to return the project’s operation to the landowners. This became a reality 12 years after the beginning of the adventure. Today, Tadeo Morales Gómez manages the Mistico Park. Grandson of the Castillo Rodriguez family, Tadeo is also a member of Canatur, the National Chamber of Tourism of Costa Rica, which defends the lands of his ancestors and participates in the development of the tourism industry of the country.
The mission of Mistico Park is “that each visitor has an encounter with a natural sanctuary, in a comfortable, safe and emotional way”. The park can be visited by people of all ages and with limited mobility. The park’s values fall into three categories: synergy, empathy, and consistency.
“I practise synergy so that my actions add up to those of those around me. I seek to understand the feelings of the people I interact with. My behaviour is a reflection of how I think.”
Tadeo’s vision is defined as being ambassadors for the protection of nature while applying sustainable and efficient business practices to raise awareness about natural resource management. The government, Canatur, and Tadeo ensure both the well-being, education, and health of its community, but also of all people who come to visit Costa Rica.
Sources: Mistico Park Arenal Hanging Bridges, Interview Tadeo Morales Gómez
Credit photos: Mistico Park Arenal Hanging Bridges
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