Las Brisas, a
residential and eco destination
Finca Las Brisas is a sustainable
ecological type of Costa Rica real estate community located in the hills
Samara on the northwestern coast of Costa Rica, in the state
This part of Costa Rica is called a dry
tropical forest with about 80 inches of rain each year.
the region has been used for ranching in recent decades. The
landscape may remind you a bit of Marin and Sonoma
Counties in northern California - rolling hills that are
golden and tan during the dry
season, and a lush bright green during the rainy season (May
The tropical dry forest is native
to the lower elevations of Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula.
Where we are located was nearly all destroyed as the original
forests were clear cut and then burned to create pasture lands.
As recently as the 1970s a "Wild West" spirit reigned in this
region and pasture land was growing as quickly as the forests
could be clear-cut and burned.
The wild west mentality still
prevails in the region. This world view is often translated by
the many gringos and internationals that have migrated to the
area as, "Hey man, no rules. It is Costa Rica."
Our property clearly bears
the scars of this deforestation. This remarkable property
however, with its two rivers, numerous streams and over seven
sets of waterfalls, has not only maintained its beauty but it is
now on the path to healing and restoration. With our help, we
will aid in the healing process and protect this truly unique
property for future generations.
This property (Finca or "family farm"
in English) is very diverse
and features ocean views,
pastures, rivers, streams. waterfalls, steep hills, trails, and
more level land where two rivers join and then meander as
far as we have followed.
A wide variety of native plants and trees call the Finca
horses, iguana, exotic birds, and occasionally a person
(usually on horseback) can be seen in the distance.
We have really just started
in our efforts to heal the land, but this recent photo taken
during the rainy season, illustrates a stark difference in the
property from when we purchased it a few years ago. Nature, with
a little help is working miracles.
This photo of the Turquoise
-browed Motmot taken down in our valley where our rivers join is
a bird whose habitat is exclusively the dry forest. The
White-throated Magpie-Jay is another such bird.
Synonyms: Tropical Dry
Forest, Tropical Seasonal Forest or Tropical Deciduous Forest.
Altitude: We are 750 to
Rainfall: 80 inches. Heavy rains August and September.
Dry Season: 6 - 8 months
(October through April). Trade Winds come from the NW with
November typically transitioning from the rainy season.
Deciduous vegetation, or leaves falling during the dry season,
it an adaptation to the dry weather.
Canopy Height: 80 feet
in a mature forest. In our river corridor we have a strong
Deforestation, human fires, unsustainable human development,
pollution, hunting, US style tourism (gringolandia), farming,
The year 2011 has been
declared the International Year of the Forests by the United
Most of these photos were taken
before development or re-forestation began. See
Property Rivers, Falls
& Streams for more photos of the property.
Two of the greatest man-made
disasters in history were the Dust Bowl and the deforestation of
the great North American forests. When the first colonists came
they wanted pasture, farmland, barns and fences. They saw
nothing but trees. A natural wonder was destroyed in a just a
few decades. But with western expansionism came better farmland
and the farmers and ranchers moved on and they left their fields
and pastures to be reclaimed by the forests. The New York Times
reports in Oct. 2011, in an article titled With Deaths of
Forests, a Loss of Key Climate Protectors, "By the mid-19th
century, the Erie Canal and the railroads had opened the
interior of the country, and farmers plowing the thin, stony
soils of New England could not compete with produce from the
rich fields of the Midwest. So the old fields were abandoned,
and trees have returned. Today, the-growing forests of the
Eastern United States are among the most important carbon
sponges in the world. "
The destroyed forests of the
Nicoya Peninsula today provide marginal economic value to the
people living there in terms of pasture and farmland in
comparison to the growing strength of eco-tourism. This is the
time in history to help these forests begin to grow back. With
reforestation comes year around streams and rivers as the rain
percolates through the soil rather than running off the bare
hills, cleaner water, and the return of many animals rarely seen
today. As quickly as we destroyed these forests, we can help
them start again. With the nearly year-around growing season in
the tropics this will happen must faster than it has in North
Ocean view during the dry season when the hills were cleared each year for few head of cattle
of our property, where our community center is located, looks down on an area where the Rio Frio, a
large stream and the Rio
merge in a valley in the
center of our property. There is a
rural house structure on the west side of the property that we would like to convert into
an environmental educational center.
Another former rural
house is located north of the property. We peeked under this structure one day and saw thousands
of bats hanging from the floor! We speculate that it is the
bat population in Costa Rica which explains the absence of
mosquitoes and other flying pests.
We have planted hundreds of
fruit trees in order to help build a sustainable food forest
model in our community living areas, we have removed the cattle and we have been
reforesting the property. Because of the numerous streams and
rivers the finca is rich in flora and fauna.
The Finca is about 5 kilometers in from the main road. At
about 4 kilometers is a plaza where there is a small school
for about 10 young children, the school teacher's house and
a soccer field. Recently we visited the school and found
Alberto teaching a group of 6 boys and 1 girl in an outdoor
classroom. Alberto welcomed us warmly and the children found
us most interesting. We thought the high-five was a
universal greeting among children but not in this part of
Costa Rica. We got a list of supplies to purchase for the
school and dropped off a bunch of soccer balls.
There are two or three other smaller homes in the plaza
area and just past the school. There is also a back road
that heads up to the mountain village of Zaragoza where they
grow coffee. In January of 2007 we improved this existing
road for the locals and ourselves for better access through
the mountains and over to Nosara. Rafa lived at the start of
this road (a caretaker lives there now) and he is the rancher who sold us a strip of land
that connects our property to a public road (really just a
trail at this time). He also provided us with the
easement on which we put in our new driveway with direct and
more easy access to the entrance of our property.
At this time there is no electricity to any of these
places including the school. Currently on the finca we are
reliant on solar and at times we run a diesel generator to
charge the batteries.
One of several horses on the finca when we arrived