We are very much looking forward to having you here soon. Preparations are going well and we are working furiously to have everything ready for your arrival. I'm sure you will all have a million questions, but you should find the answers in your welcome pack - if there is anything else you need please do not hesitate to get in touch with David Winterflood at Head Office (or with Jodie for now until Dave gets back from driving a tuk tuk across India on the 23rd!!). Another excellent way to prepare yourself is by having a good look through this blog / watching some of our end of phase slideshows. Undoubtedly, the biggest question you will have will be about the projects you will be doing... so here they are, the projects for Expedition 12L. See you soon!
First of all, the community projects:
Agua Fria, Miraflor, Nicaragua - Disaster Relief Housing Project
The Miraflor reserve is 206sqkm of beautiful mountainous terrain with various different ecosystems such as tropical savannah, dry tropical forest and mountain cloud forest. Within the reserve there are a number of communities living through subsistence farming and gaining income from coffee growing, cattle farming and some small tourism initiatives. However the people have fewer resources and lack access to some basic services such as health and education. On this project the participants will be working on a disaster relief project to rebuild houses in communities affected by hurricanes in the last few months of 2011.
Los Loros / Monte Frio #1, Achuapa, Nicaragua - Water Project
Close to the town of Achuapa, in one of the poorest most remote areas of Nicaragua, Raleigh will be working on a gravity-feed water project to bring clean and safe drinking water to 40 families in two communities. At present the local people get their water from the river which often dries up in summer or comes from polluted water sources. This project is a multi-stakeholder partnership with the local community, the Cooperativa Juan Francisco Paz Silva and Raleigh. The group will be working with the local population to dam small streams, build tanks to collect the water from where it can run through pipes to all the local houses. The benefits of clean water will be felt by many generations to come. The participants will be living directly with families in the village and will help out with their day to day tasks.
The Coast to Coast Trek - Costa Rica
This trek has taken various forms over the past few years, but Expedition 12L features a new outing for this particularly exciting version that starts at the Caribbean Sea and ends on the Pacific Coast. It starts out close to the port of Limon, heading along railway tracks and through small communities to Barbilla National Park. From here the groups walk through Chirripó Indigenous Territory to Bajo Pacuare. They then head to the beautiful Pejibaye river and over to Tapanti National Park. The groups ascend to nearly 3000m through the park before descending down to the Pacific Ocean via the Cerro Dragon peak. The trek ends at the beautiful Playa Palo Seco, where the groups make a final dash into sea having walked an amazing 270km, with each trekker having crossed not only a country but a continent also.
Miratombo Volcanoes Trek - Nicaragua
In the far north of Nicaragua, close to the border with Honduras, this Raleigh group will walk along a mountain ridge through the pine forests above Esteli. From here you will head along a ridge that passes by the Estanzuela waterfall and protected areas going through remote communities. The trek heads towards the Momotombo Volcano from which the trek takes its name before climbing up Volcan El Hoyo with fabulous views over Lake Managua. The trek finishes at the crater lake of Asososca – a beautiful crystal clear lake that was once a volcanic crater.
The Guanacaste Trek - Costa Rica
The setting for this trek covers a huge variety of different ecosystems from cloud forest above 3000 metres down to one of the last remaining stands of primary dry tropical forest left in the Americas. The group will start close to the Arenal volcano and see its lava run down the sides at night before circumnavigating Volcan Tenorio via the Caribbean slopes visiting turquoise waterfalls and moist rainforest. After passing by Volcan Miravalles the group will head to Rincon de la Vieja national park to climb one of the volcanoes and to witness steaming mud pots, geysers, and hot sulphur springs. After several days of walking through the forest you will arrive at the foot of Cerro Cacao in Guanacaste National park where you will steady yourself for a climb up the volcano. The trek will finish at Playa Junquillal to relax by the beautiful calm waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Playa Hermosa – Turtle conservation
Playa Hermosa literally means ‘beautiful beach’ and on this one, thousands of olive ridley and black turtles, plus some rare leatherbacks, come to lay their eggs each year, making it a place of huge ecological interest. The eggs however are at risk from both natural predators and poachers, who steal them to sell.
This project contains three aspects. Firstly, the groups do nightly turtle patrols, collecting the eggs and placing them safely into nests in a hatchery that they build. Secondly, when the eggs are hatched the groups are responsible for releasing the baby turtles into the sea at a safe time to give them the best possible chance of survival and helping to conserve this very important species. The third aspect involves building a protective wall to protect the hatchery from the sea. This is an exciting and very important conservation project that Raleigh have been proud to run for many years with our partners at MINAET.
Carara National Park – The ‘Lago Meandrica’ trail / infrastructure
Carara is one of the oldest national parks in the country and an extremely important one. It holds large areas of primary tropical rainforest with high densities of mammal and bird life – as such it is one of the most visited national parks in Costa Rica. The Lago Meandrica trail is one of the most visited trails in the park as there are great possibilities for seeing mammals and abundant birdlife, however currently the trail is closed as there is no proper control at the entrance and the first half of the trail often gets flooded in the rainy season. So the national park approached Raleigh with the task of building a new trail out to the lake which starts at the visitor centre and avoids flooded areas. This important project will re-open up the park to thousands of visitors each year upon which the local economy depends. You will be continuing the good work of expeditions 12G&H who were based in the park from July to September.