Ballena Tales Magazine and Travel Guide History, a decade of success!
By Dagmar Reinhard
In 2007, after a long journey through other countries, I came to Uvita invited by a friend to be his assistant manager at the Whales and Dolphins Hotel (today Vista Ballena). He left after a short period and I was left in charge of personnel, reception, and accounting – with very little staff. I labored weeks in a row without a day off and finally decided that I definitely had not come to Costa Rica to work my “butt off” for this job. A customer offered me a position at his development company, which was a fantastic opportunity. He provided a house at the heights of Escaleras and a car. Until…, the guy suddenly disappeared with the money of his clients.
What to do now? Thanks to being a member of the Chamber of Commerce I had made plenty of acquaintances. In 2007, the chamber and the then Minister of Tourism, Carlos Benavides, had baptized the area from Dominical, Uvita to Ojochal as Costa Ballena.
At this time there was no printed means of communication between the three villages. In Ojochal not even phone service was functioning. Advised by the ex-president of the Chamber, I started to edit a little brochure dedicated to the area, interviewing pioneers, business people, and tourists. From the very start, Ballena Tales was a hit. Everybody wanted to read about his neighbor and what people came to visit.
In 2008 the repercussion of the real estate crash in the United States reached Costa Ballena and many local agencies closed down. Never minding the Pura Dura Vida (our edition #5) and always belonging to the Chamber, in 2009 we organized the first Dominical Expo and a year later the first exhibition of Costa Ballena, working together with local business and environmental organizations.
This same year the construction of the Costanera between Quepos and Dominical was concluded opening the area to the “world.” More people traveled from San José along the coast to the South, and additional establishments needed to be present in Ballena Tales. Our growing editorial team went on telling the tales about the business owners, a minister’s visit, traditional Costa Rican Fiestas, the new police station, the asphalting of a road, an upcoming music group, the theatre show, bike races, surf competitions, nature, tours, the Envision Festival, Borucan Indians, whales, spheres and many beautiful initiatives. As well, we interviewed neighbors making them famous for one edition. Ballena Tales became the magazine that united the people along the coast, at the same promoting the area to the world. Costa Ballena suddenly was becoming a hot spot.
In 2011 we celebrated our third anniversary at the Papa Kilo airstrip. We organized fashion shows, covered the embellishment of Bahía when volunteers painted the village. Ballena Tales Magazine has been collaborating for many years with the Costa Ballena Lifeguards, DAWG Animal Welfare, the Animal Sanctuaries, the Chambers of Tourism and Commerce, and Security organization.
In 2012 www.ballenatales.com was registered, providing Costa Ballena with an even greater visibility and connectivity to the World Wide Web.
Today we have integrated the magazine with a strong presence on the internet. In just the last 90 days we received more than 600,000 views and more than 24,000 clicks, with a CTR of 3.6. Considering the presence on the web and social networks, with an audience to 15,000 followers, we currently have a monthly traffic of more than 300,000 views.
Our team has grown. On board from the very start has been Philippe Chapuy, our French-Ojochalean Art Director, Carlos Leon, our brilliant marketer who is Tico, and North American and longtime resident in Costa Ballena, lady Annie Drake, our content writer, and proofreader. Moreover, we have the support of an international marketing company and are proud to have opened our new office at Cabinas Gato in Uvita. We are looking forward to your visit!
To all those who have accompanied us on our 10 year journey, we express our heartfelt gratitude. Thanks to your confidence in us, we proudly celebrate a decade of success.
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