Pioneer of the jungle

thumb_IMG_8075_1024In 1971, Don Walter Odio returns to Uvita after having studied Animal Science at Louisiana State University, and becomes part of the family enterprise of El Rancho La Merced. Due to his newly acquired know-how, he doubts about the returns of some of the cow pastures and starts growing a secondary forest, which we can enjoy in the present.

He tells us that his father, Enrique Odio Herrera, was one of the first national tourist traveling Costa Rica from coast to coast. It was in 1970 when he bought what was at that time a cattle farm with an extension of 368 ha. To his wife Mercedes’ honor, he called it Rancho La Merced.

At that time, they already employed biological control (instead of pesticides), prohibited hunting, tree falling for firewood and the extraction of objects from indigenous cemeteries.

In 1995 the National Refuge of Wild Life La Merced was established as a mixed category since it has several habitats, a maritime-terrestrial  zone, swamp land and mangroves near to the reforestation, howler and titi monkey, macaws, pacas, ocelots, anteaters and about 360 bird species have returned to the area.

Rancho La Merced offers about 21 km of hiking trails through primary and secondary forests, horseback riding tours to the waterfalls over the Morete River, along the beach, open areas and the forest as well as to the famous whale’s tail in Ballena Marine National Park. Rancho La Merced is an important part of the well-known Biological Corridor of the Tapir. Tapirs, Don Walter tells us, can no longer be seen here, but you can watch them in Corcovado National Park.

The legendary Farm House and a little cabin offer accommodation to the visitors who wish to stay overnight.

When we asked Don Walter about his future plans, he mentioned a water treatment and a recycling plant as well as an ecologic residential area where residents can enjoy of the Rancho as if it were the “backyard of their house”.

Congratulations, Don Walter and “Muchas gracias”.

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