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Heliconias and Las Pumas Tour

Heliconias Lodge and Rainforest has developed as an ambitious project proudly owned and operated by a group of ten determined local families. The people of Heliconias Lodge and Rainforest are pioneers in ecotourism in the Northern Region of Costa Rica (in the zone of Bijagua Upala between Volcan Tenorio and Miravalles).

In 1985, the land was destined for deforestation and land distribution by IDA (Instituto de Desarrollo Agrario). However, a group of twenty-three local families came together to protect the land from deforestation and formed a community association called ABIPA (Asociación Bijagueña de Productores Agrícolas). In 1991, with determination and commitment, ABIPA was successful and stopped the imminent deforestation of 73 hectares (about 175 acres) of primary rainforest. IDA assigned the land to ABIPA as a new model of conservation in Costa Rica where the rainforest is protected by private reserves and managed by local communities.

The objectives of ABIPA are to conserve the incredible biodiversity in the reserve, improve the quality of life for the members of ABIPA and the local community, and to increase environmental education and awareness for conservation in the local community. As a result, ABIPA received the support of several national and international organizations to create a private reserve and develop an eco-tourism project.
The income generated from the lodge helps supports many small businesses in Bijagua, including local farmers who produce vegetables, meat and dairy products, the local supermarkets, hardware shops, and taxis.



Las Pumas Rescue Center

The Las Pumas Rescue Center began in the early 60's, when deforestation was booming Guanacaste. The habitat of many wild animals declined and many of these were captured by the locals to keep as pets in the house or traficarlos illegally.

Mrs. Lilly Hagnauer Lilly Bodmer, Swiss lady who always had a vision conservation of native species, beginning the "Center" receiving, by national agencies such as the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (MINAET), and sometimes buying animals wild neighbors, to save their lives and give them proper care. In a few years there was a large "Zoo" with more than 160 animals (60 species), all Guanacaste area.

In 2001 Mrs. Lilly dies, and to give continuity to his work is created in 2003 Hagnauer Foundation, a non-profit Organization that AIMS to counteract the effects of hunting, deforestation and captivity of wild animals in the Guanacaste area. The Foundation is registered with Decree Law No. 3-006340049, and is in charge of the administration and financing of Las Pumas Rescue Center and its programs.