This community-oriented rural tourism initiative was born out of the necessity to find sources of employment while conserving the natural environment of Rancho Quemado, a town located 15km east of Drake Bay in the scenic Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve, in the heart of the Osa Peninsula.
For many years, this community was characterized by its agriculture and cattle activities; however, as prices for these products fell and production costs rose, its citizens had to find other activities to make a living. Many chose tourism and emigrated to nearby tourist destinations like Drake Bay and Puerto Jimenez. Meanwhile, in the area around Rancho, high levels of unemployment resulted in a series of environmental problems such as poaching, cutting of trees, and more.
Then, in 2009, the Development Association of Rancho Quemado along with the support of PiOsa-UCR (University of Costa Rica) and others proposed to unite the forces of the community and help design and construct a community hiking trail which would be administered by the Development Association. This was an attractive idea because Rancho had 25 toursim projects in 3 areas: Food/Lodging, Production, and Tours/Services. These had the aim of improving community entrepreneurship, promoting Rancho Quemado as a tourist destination, working as a community to achieve its initiatives, increase the income of the families, and reduce the environmental problems caused in recent years.
Next began a series of steps to gain the appropriate permits to be able to use the land for the development of the Osa Trail as well as to coordinate trainings of business administration and tourism by PiOsa, the Corcovado Foundation, INA, and the Neotropica Foundation. Further, the community was able to receive funds from various NGOs like the Corcovado Foundation, FACOSA and CRUSA. Another important development was the program “advancing women” INAMU-IMAS in the community during 2012 which strengthened 16 women entrepreneurs which constitute the Women’s Hope Committee of Rancho Quemado.
These projects are the result of 2 years of trainings given by the Neotropica Foundation and the Corcovado Foundation financed by the debt for nature swap fund between Costa Rica and the USA. Some of the entrepreneurs are founders of the first rural tourism cooperative in Osa: COOPERTURIC.
It is a result of this that the majority of the entrepreneurs’ projects are already in operation, have tourism experience, and have a clear vision of sustainable development, which will help Rancho Quemado become a new tourism destination in this part of Costa Rica.
- The few of the first roads to Rancho Quemado were the road from Sierpe by Estero Guerra to Rancho Quemado, road from Rancho Quemado to Los Ángeles to Drake, and the road from Rancho Quemado to Vanegas
- Oscar Ureña and Roger Ureña were the first born in Rancho Quemado in 1973
- The first car in Rancho Quemado was a Chevrolet nicknamed "The Powerful"
- The first year children entered into the school of Rancho Quemado was in year 1979 with 7 students
- The first two institutions to involve themselves in the community were ITCO and MIRENEM
- Trino Ureña owned the first general store of Rancho Quemado that opened in 1971 out of his mothers house
- Rancho Quemado has had three sports plazas to date; The first constructed in 1971, the second in 1978, and the current one which was constructed in 1980