The People of Mastatal
Mastatal and the surrounding communities depend on ranching, agriculture and to a lesser extent silviculture for their livelihood. The dependence on tourism continues to grow in importance.
Locals tend cattle; grow corn, beans, rice, papayas, pineapples, cacao, coffee, bananas, and plantains; and plant teak and other marketable wood species. Other fruits and vegetables are sown on a
smaller scale to supplement their diet and income.
New businesses related to tourism continue to pop up as lands get tired from overgrazing and intensive farming and the realization that families can make a living off of tourism. There has been a newfound sense of the importance of keeping the surrounding rainforest intact and many see the La Cangreja National Park as a critical player in the long-term health of the local economy.
Other projects in town include:
The locals of Mastatal and the neighboring villages are kind, gentle, funny and hard working. A strong sense of community is essential to both their health and survival. The historically depressed local economy forces many younger residents to flee to the cities in search of low-paying service, construction and manufacturing jobs in an environment that is often worse than the one they leave.
Fortunately, for a number of reasons, we are beginning to see a reversal of this trend.
We are confident that our activities help strengthen the local community by creating and providing healthy work opportunities for many community members, and by demonstrating to people that they can survive economically via non-traditional means. Since arriving to Mastatal in 2001 nine local families have established their own small businesses in town, including La Iguana Chocolate, Villas Mastatal, Soda Paso de Las Lapas, Pulperia La Uruca, Seco's Bar, El Cameleon, and Finca Siempre Verde as the region starts to flourish and mature.
The people of Mastatal are involved in every phase of our project. They are greatly responsible for its success. We are honored to work and live amongst and share with such special people.