A Hidden Paradise: Vistas del Cielo Wildlife Refuge
I feel like a tourist everyday when I am inside the refugee. Everyday I marvel at the forests. Everyday I am blown away by the animals. Everyday I fall in love a little bit more with Vistas del Cielo Wildlife Refuge.
Mauricio Oviedo, Administrator Vistas del Cielo Wildlife Refuge.
In Tobosí in Cartago at 1890 meters above sea level there is a little piece of heaven that the founders have called: Vistas del Cielo Wildlife Refuge. The property is located high in the mountains with a view of the city of Cartago that is absolutely exceptional.
The facilities have shared bathrooms for the Gramping and Camping area, there is also a ranch with an exceptional view that has water, tables, chairs and electricity to charge cell phones or connect the kitchen and prepare your meals. If you do not want to prepare your meals you can pay for a stay with food included from the restaurant. Everything is delicious and with the costarican touch!
How Vistas del Cielo Refuge Began
3 years ago this property was abandoned, and its surroundings were being cleared. When Don Mauricio and his partner found the farm, they saw that it had a “touch of God”. Since then this project was born, its vision is to be one of the most beautiful places in Cartago, but its true purpose is to be able to reforest the area and return to Mother Earth so much of what has been taken from her. Since this project began, they have planted around +5,000 trees and +3,000 plants, all with a purpose. Some are to attract more butterflies, dragonflies, hummingbirds, and even birds. The trees apart from generating oxygen, they plant them so that more animals arrive in the area, a few months ago sloths began to arrive at the refuge and a few weeks later they saw that they were going around with their young!
They also like to plant plants that are from the Cartago area, and so they did with the “Fruta de Paloma” which is a plant from the Cartago area that even began to be seen as endangered, until they started planting more of them in their lot. They also have the majestic “Water Tree”, which also serves as food. But its most important use is that the tree alone produces water! From one branch you can extract a bucket of water. This is why it is a protected tree. Thanks to the efforts of the owners and workers, black panthers and tepezcuintles have been spoted. Animals that previously did not visit for fear of being hunted.
Planting & Harvesting Water
At Vistas del Cielo Wildlife Refuge they practice what is called water harvesting. This method consists of digging 3 holes in the ground not very big but deep, and in them place sea salt, brown sugar, and dirt. After several months, water begins to sprout from these holes and it becomes a spring of water! In the Refuge they do not have water problems, although in the summer two out of their four water sources dry up. The reason they discovered this method was to search for techniques to reforest. By implementing them, they have been able to make more water springs on the property for the animals and the forest. Along the property on the trails there are even points to drink water that comes from the springs without needing to be filtered. Since they have been proven to be 100% drinkable.
A Family Environment
Inside the Refuge there are several activities to do, such as various trail paths and lounging in a hammock, and much more. But the smallest of the family are not left without things to do: they have a tour of the farm guided by Don Mauricio and another worker from the Refuge. In it you walk for about an hour and a half, and you know the whole property, the plants, the water harvest, you can appreciate spectacular views and it has activities such as making fresh juice out of sugar cane. There is also a bird house, with various species of birds that can be fed. They have rabbits, goats, pigs, chickens, pheasants. And my favorite part: emus!
By having one conversation with the administrator, Don Mauricio Oviedo, it is enough to know that there is a lot of love involved in this project. In his own words: “It is very gratifying to do something that I like. This is not a job, it is a life project.
At Vistas del Cielo Wildlife Refuge you can escape from everyday life to reconnect with nature. Simultaneously you would be helping a local business that seeks to work ecologically and instead of taking from planet to provide services, they seek to provide tourist services by giving back. This is why if you need a break from quarantine and urban life, I invite you to visit the Vistas del Cielo Wildlife Refuge, a small paradise in Cartago.