Posted: April 19, 2016
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Experiencing Rural Tourism on Ometepe Island

Costa Rica

Ometepe is a beautifully unique island composed of two massive volcanoes rising from Lake Nicaragua. Each semester we travel here from Costa Rica to explore the abundant natural and cultural diversity. Our SFS group is not alone in taking note of the Ometepe’s unique habitat and indigenous artifacts. In just 10 years the number of tourists has jumped from 20,000 to nearly 50,000 per year. Visitors now exceed the local population and tourism revenue has surpassed that of the traditional mainstay of agriculture. This massive shift raises the crucial question, what type of tourism is present on the island and who will reap the benefits?

Fundación Entre Volcanes is a local NGO which develops community initiatives to connect rural women and youth to opportunities arising from tourism. These groups provide services, from rural home stays to tours, and produce goods used by local restaurants and hotels. One women’s community initiative provided a class on tortilla-making for our group, as maize is a key component of the local diet. We learned a culinary skill that we can hopefully replicate once we return home but, more importantly, we had a chance to connect and learn from a wonderful group of entrepreneurial women.

A home the in the village of Los Angeles with Volcán Concepción in the distance.

Costa Rica SFS group learning about Fundación Entre Volcanes’ rural tourism initiatives.

Dona Tina, member of the community collective and tortilla-making master.

Learning how to prepare the maize.

Students bringing their own personable style to the grinding process.

Having fun while learning to mold the tortillas.

Tortillas being grilled over a wood-fire stove.

The finally product, embellished with locally made beans, sour cream and cheese.

→ Sustainable Development Studies in Costa Rica

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