As a Raleigh participant travelling to Costa Rica and Nicaragua, it would be wrong to miss an opportunity to tell everyone back home a little bit about this part of Central America that Raleigh chooses to run its expeditions in, and has done since 2001. Raleigh and these two beautiful countries have formed an amazing two-way relationship – with the communities and ecosystems benefitting from Raleigh’s involvement, and Raleigh participants benefitting from all the amazing experiences the two countries have to offer – in terms of culture, history, people, breathtaking natural beauty and wildlife.
Let me not write about Costa Rica and Nicaragua in the same sentence any longer however – as both are very different and the task, challenges and benefits as a result are unique from one another.
Costa Rica, meaning ‘rich coast’, is a democratic, peaceful and relatively well-developed country, however what often goes unwritten and unspoken is the indigenous community who live in remote areas and as a result don’t benefit from the same excellent facilities for education, clean water and sanitation and power enjoyed by the majority of the population. As a whole, it is known as the happiest country in the world, a notable achievement and one they can be proud of – Raleigh’s aim is to ensure that this starts to apply to the whole country including these indigenous peoples with he community projects it runs.
Costa Rica is also one of the most bio-diverse nations on this planet, and as a result is protected by a huge national conservation system and a policy of sustainable development – which we at Raleigh also get involved in on our environmental projects.
Nicaragua, the largest country in Central America, is in contrast the second poorest in the western hemisphere. It is starting to increasingly benefit financially from tourism because of the beaches, scenic routes, the architecture of cities such as León and Granada, and most recently ecotourism and agritourism, particularly in Northern Nicaragua. Despite this, however, many communities are facing extreme poverty and have few basic amenities such as clean water and safe sanitation, hence Raleigh’s efforts in providing school buildings, housing and sanitation in the projects we operate on our expeditions.
It is an honour and a privilege to be here in this part of the world and able to immerse ourselves in a mutually beneficial relationship with both of these nations. Gracias por recibirnos!