Archived Articles 01 May 2009  EWR
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Illar Muul, PhD

Perhaps you have thought about living in the tropics part of the year. But, the most attractive places are expensive. Or, perhaps you are not ready to make a large investment. Integrated Conservation Research (ICR) ( has developed a plan for an “entry level” way to “test the waters” to fulfill your dream.

ICR is developing limited home sites on a small part of our property for nature lovers or professional researchers. About 25% of the property supports tall, original tropical rainforest. The remainder is part of a high diversity, native forest reclamation project, which is financed from the sale of a limited numbers of home sites (Eco-acres/Rainforest Residences). Some of these have ocean views; others have pastoral, mountain views, and Carara National Park (CNP). The climate is very comfortable because of the 500m elevation.

We are planning many attractions on the property including picnic and swimming areas on Tarcolitos River, nature trails, bio-park, and a tree-top canopy walkway. Wildlife is abundant and easy to observe. In 8 minutes you can walk to Pura Vida Botanical Gardens, one of the most beautiful in Costa Rica.

We are also planning a small Bed and Breakfast by adding to the existing farm house which is on a ridge with beautiful views. The rooms will have modern, tiled, individual bathrooms and will open to a Spanish-style garden courtyard, which leads to a spacious, covered, observation terrace. Existing fruit and nut trees attract abundant wildlife, which are accustomed to humans.

ICR is offering to sell these rooms at a pre-construction price of US$11,000. If you plan to be a part-time occupant, we can rent out your room when you are not using it. In that way, you can recover your investment in a few years and/or use the income to pay for your travel expenses.

If you change your mind, ICR will buy back your room or you can sell it yourself. Owners will be part of the Carara Conservation Area Homeowners Association and Trust, which provides certain privileges and rights as part of a community of like-minded people. The aims of the Association are to demonstrate how humans and nature can co-exist to the benefit of both. We call this a “Return to Eden” concept.

The proceeds from limited tourism and sale of home sites will go to forest reclamation and demonstration projects that provide economic incentives for land-owners to create “biological corridors” that connect to Carara National Park. Since the forests of CNP are separated by land that is being used for agricultural activities, we are working with the Park staff to demonstrate economic incentives to the local farmers to restore native forests on their lands (agro-ecosystems) that will re-connect the separated forests of CNP.

The Central Pacific area is experiencing growing high-density real estate development. This threatens CNP and other forested areas by creating “islands” of biodiversity that cannot be reconnected in the future. The most visited national park in Costa Rica is Manuel Antonio, farther south. Condominiums and other high density development have already isolated this biological treasure.

In our area, we still have time to permanently protect the natural landscape through restrictive easements, if we provide economic incentives sufficient to accept them. Most land owners want to preserve the natural beauty of the area. But, they also want a comfortable life style. ICR’s strategy attempts to provide ways to benefit both humans and nature. After all, most people are attracted to Costa Rica because of its natural beauty. You can help save it.

Illar Muul, PhD
President & Founder
Integrated Conservation Research, Inc
Web site:
Email: ;
Tel: 301 371 8988
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