This little island is famous for having an environmental responsible growing community. I went there with a sea turtle project because we where exploring new foraging grounds for hawskbill turtles and because of a satellite transmitter on a adult sea turtle and some reports from the locals, this sounded like one. On my perspective, this is the kind of place you visit if you are into community support tourism, responsible fishing strategies and in general, if you appreciate local people and how they work, their artisan crafts, their way of living, etc. Lets call it, social tourism.
This is a really small island in the middle of the Gulf of Nicoya. To get there, you need to take a boat (read getting there for more details), and in the island itself, just walk, rent a bike or ask a local for a ride. It is very arid and dusty, with not so much to do, besides admiring the work of this really responsible community, go bird watching or take a boat tour around the island, which is surrounded by mangroves and that gives you a wild feeling.
Don’t ever get in the water, it is dangerous because they have tons of crocodiles, and besides, the water is brown so it isn’t very appetising. I know at the beginning I told you about how I went there to see sea turtles, that is true. It is possible to see them, but it is really hard and you can only do it on a boat because they are just swimming around. So if you are planning on visiting only to see them, I will recommend you to go elsewhere (El Jobo in Guanacaste is a great place to do so).
On the other side, if you like community relationships, this is a great place! This people have organised themselves to become the first environmental responsible growing community in Costa Rica. They have fishermen associations for responsible fishing practices, the women association is cultivating piangua, restoring their mangroves and they build cabins for tourist that want to get to know all of their work, one on one.
Being there gives you a really nice feeling, the people have great attitude, and their work is wonderful. The place is rural, with basic commodities but great fresh food cooked by this women! You don’t find much to do besides that, so I would recommend that if you are interest in going, do so for a couple of days and not more, but I do recommend it as a ¨social tourism¨ place.
To get there, I know you can take a public boat that departs from Puntarenas at 12:30 pm (except Sunday-it departs at 7 am). Also, as it was my case, you can hire a local to pick you up at port near the island, maybe Chomes or Thiel.
This are the accommodations I know and found out of. I went to Posada Rural La Amistad (the one from the Women Association) which was beautiful… it has wooden craft cabins and little gardes. If it isn‘t what you are looking for, you can also find Hotel Las Vegas, Cabinas Los Ela, Campo Bocana and Cabinas Jireth (but I don’t know how them personally).
Where to eat
All of the cabins listed above offer meals on-site. Again, I only tried the food from La Amistad, but they should all be really good. There is one small supermarket really close to the port if you want to buy snacks and fruits, and there is a lady that sells Imperial beers (you have to ask a local for instructions to contact her). According to a news I read, on the floating deck of the restaurant and bar El Camarón, you can catch an unbelievable sunset.
Want to read more? There are plenty of news about this community, you can google it. But here is one I like (it is in spanish).