Meeting Federico, owner of Bosque de Paz
As I pull up in my 4x4 in Bosque de Paz’s car park, a large, smiley-eyed man comes to greet me; the lodge’s owner, Federico González-Pinto. After some small talk we sit to talk about what he does here up in the hills of Bajos de Toro...
Federico explains that he bought the site and Bosque de Paz reserve with a vision. Birds from the north were unable to connect to the southern regions before, due to the forest being taken down. However, with his 1500 hectare reserve, although it’s taken the last three years to see a considerable difference - his vision is coming to life. He funds and donates to Parque del Agua Juan Castro Blanco, which connects to Arenal and his own reserve, Bosque de Paz. This connects to Poas National Park and Baulo Carillo National Park, making a huge wildlife corridor, which is what he dreamed of.
Federico isn’t here to make any kind of profit he says, or for any fame or applause. He keeps the lodge simple, with no pool or TVs, just good honest food and comfortable rooms, so that people who come here can connect with the nature all around them. He wants them experience what is on offer, to resonate with the forest and the land, and leave feeling different or touched in someway - in the hope that they will become more aware of how we must protect our precious environment.
This is a haven - a verdant, bird utopia. Even as I sit and write this, hummingbirds are darting too and fro past me, curious as to whether I am a source of sweet nectar.
The projects here at Bosque de Paz are ongoing and involve all sorts of flora and fauna, from increasing numbers of the endangered Pacas, to protecting orchid populations - there is one variety that is found nowhere else in the world other than right here. The global significance of this little corner of Costa Rica is reflected in its name, Bosque de Paz, the peace forest.