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Histoire et développement durable

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La propriété de la Jungle du Jaguar a été découverte par Susan et Lon Ramsey au début des années 1970 à l’époque ou avoir une propriété si reculée dans la péninsule d’Osa était tout sauf un luxe. Isolés sur la péninsule, ils cultivaient et péchaient au harpon pour survivre, échangeaient du poisson contre du riz avec les locaux en canoé, et construisirent leur première cabane avec les matériaux disponibles sur place (arbres tombés…).

Ils ont protégé leur morceau de forêt avant que le Parc National du Corcovado soit créé en 1975, faisant de leur propriété l’une des dernières forêts primaires d’Amérique Centrale, et la seule forêt primaire (rainforest) en bord de mer du monde. Ce sanctuaire est à présent préservé par leur fils, Leonidas, qui a transformé la propriété en la Jungle du Jaguar telle que nous la connaissons aujourd’hui.

Vivre dans un lieu tant isolé rend les pratiques de développement durable indispensables. Nous n’avons pas de service de ramassage de déchets, nous faisons donc du compost que nous utilisons dans notre jardin pour faire pousser notre nourriture puisqu’il n’y a pas de supermarché proche. Nous devons aussi limiter les déchets que nous créons car tous ces déchets doivent être acheminés par bateau pour être traités correctement. Finalement, la majeure partie de nos déchets provient du nettoyage des plages car les courants marins nous amènent des déchets du monde entier. Nous devons aussi nous alimenter à l’énergie solaire car nous ne sommes pas ralliés au réseau local, et la majeure partie des matériaux que nous utilisons pour nos bâtiments provient d’arbres tombés ou de pierres que nous trouvons sur la propriété. Pour ce qui est des protéines, nous proposons à nos clients du poisson que nous chassons nous-même au harpon. Cette pratique est la plus durable pour s’approvisionner en viande car nous pouvons choisir le poisson que nous tirons, et nous n’avons pas besoin de filet ni de transport réfrigéré. Nous continuons d’utiliser les pratiques que Lon et Susan avaient développées dans les années 1970 tout en les développant.

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Leo, 1989

 Main Building Jan, 2014

 Main Building Jan, 2023

In the beginning there was no website, social media, or internet marketing. Even if there was, it would have been difficult to market such a rustic experience. There was no public boat system to the area, so all the first guests were people that Leo met in Drake Bay and drove them in on his little 4 seater boat with a 30hp motor. A motor that small made the ride to Drake Bay from the lodge take more than 45 minutes.


Since almost every building material must be brought in by boat, the building and renovation projects here are quite slow and expensive. Any time tiles or mirrors are brought, at least a few of them are broken during the boat journey. Sacks of cement have to be individually wrapped to keep them from getting wet, but during big wave days there are always a few that rip open. All furniture and structures are made by hand. The first project that had to be done was rebuilding the loft floor that had been eaten away by termites. Bunk beds were built, and mattresses were piled high onto the tiny 4 seater boat, then laid out to dry from the wet journey. Leo then installed a basic solar system and a water tank with filtration. Both of these necessities were the most difficult to develop. 

Leo spent a lot of time entertaining people with the things that he grew up doing by himself, like fishing, climbing trees, opening coconuts, calling everyone in for dinner with a conk shell horn, and many other unique and corky experiences that visitors found fascinating. This lead to a word of mouth chain of visitors before he even had employees, ample electricity, or reservation systems in place. 

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"When I came to the hostel in 2016 for work exchange, he was having us write down  reservations and food charges on little pieces of paper. We stored the money and handwritten bills in an old, lime green tool box. People didn't spend much money since we were offering shacks and basic meals. At the time there were 12 dorm beds and 3 private rooms. They all had shared bathrooms and contained nothing but a bed. 'Reservations' were made by sending emails at the last minute to see if there was space. As you can imagine, it was total chaos, but almost everyone loved it.

It felt like you had gone back in time, and yet, time didn't really exist there."

Organic growth is a slow process, especially in the most remote rainforest in Costa Rica. It requires a high level of endurance for situations that aren't ideal, and a problem solving mindset.

"The only thing that is guaranteed here, is that nothing is guaranteed."

- Trey, 2016 Work Exchange


Living in such a secluded location makes sustainable practices a must. We do not have a trash pick up service so we must compost and use that compost in our gardens to grow much of our own food since there are no grocery stores near by. We must also limit the garbage we create since all garbage must be boated out to be properly disposed of. In fact, most of our garbage comes from beach cleanups since the ocean currents bring us garbage from all over the world. Much of the protein meat that we feed our clients and staff are fish that we spearfish ourselves. This practice is the most sustainable way to provide meat as we can choose exactly what we shoot, and there are no nets or transport refrigeration involved. 

Our solar power system is a necessity to have electricity since we are completely off the grid. We have separate solar vacuum systems on every cabin to provide us with hot water.

With tourism, has come huge successes in conservation. When Leo was a child he never saw a tapir, peccaries, and other mammals. Now we see them on a weekly or daily basis and the conservation efforts made by the national park and surrounding areas has been completely funded by tourism.

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