Tárcoles

The school year is wrapping up here. We have just one more week of regular classes and then students and staff start preparing for their final exams. The last few weeks have flown by! It feels like just yesterday I was writing about my Semana Santa trip, but maybe that is because yesterday I was at the beach again!IMG_5966

I joined up with a student trip to Tárcoles, which is a small village on the Pacific Coast in Puntarenas. In the 1960s there were about 1,000 people living in the village, now there are around 5,000. As the village began to grow they noticed a need to protect the traditional fishing methods (and fish) of the area. Lots of conversations and decisions were made and in the end the villagers of Tárcoles decided to form a sustainable fishing cooperative. If you’d like to know more, there is a little information on their website CoopeTárcolesIMG_5972

In the morning we learned about the history of the cooperative and the struggles they have faced throughout the 20+ years of trying to keep traditional (they call it “artesenal”–or handmade) fishing a way of life and to keep the shoreline free of shrimp trawlers. They showed us some of the most common fish caught for local consumption and export, using either long line fishing (more later), hand fishing (no rod) or net fishing. Net fishing and long line fishing are the most common, hand fishing is probably just for the tourists. Some of the common caught fish (I can’t remember the names):

IMG_5950 IMG_5952 IMG_5955

After the fish demonstration we were greeted by this lovely man, who is one of the original founders of the cooperative. He took us down to the beach area to show us some of the “everyday” activities of the fishing community.IMG_5961

Some young fishermen fixing the nets on the beach.

Some young fishermen fixing the nets on the beach.

This is the "long line" fishing. It is one lone line (about 2 miles) and there is an "arm" with a hook (you can see the hooks here) every so often. On the beach it is someone's job to organize the lines and hooks in a barrel so they can be easily replaced in the ocean. The person who does this job works about 2-3 hours and will receive about $10 (USD) per barrel.

This is the “long line” fishing. It is one long line (about 2 miles) and there is an “arm” with a hook (you can see the hooks here) every so often. On the beach it is someone’s job to organize the lines and hooks in a barrel so they can be easily replaced in the ocean. The person who does this job works about 2-3 hours and will receive about $10 (USD) per barrel.

Here is the motor storage area. This area is locked and guarded so the locals can keep their motors safe when not in use. It is just about 50 meters from the beach where most of the boats are.

Here is the motor storage area. This area is locked and guarded so the locals can keep their motors safe when not in use. It is just about 50 meters from the beach where most of the boats are.

Then we got to try our luck with a little hand fishing. Basically you have a line, a weight and a hook baited with shrimp and you just toss the line overboard and hope for the best.

Heading out to do some fishing. If you look closely you can make out a trawler. They are now required to fish in areas with 15km or more depth. Previously, they would come nearly up to the shoreline.

Heading out to do some fishing. If you look closely you can make out a trawler on the horizon. They are now required to fish in areas with 15km or more depth. Previously, they would come nearly up to the shoreline.

The bait, nice big prawns. And if you can see it, our captain is using his big toe to hold his line so he can text on his phone!

The bait, nice big prawns. And if you can see it, our captain is using his big toe to hold his line so he can text on his phone!

After our 20 minutes of unsuccessful fishing (except for the boat captain, who caught two pufferfish–or maybe the same one twice!) we headed to a nice beach for some swimming, homemade ceviche (my favorite!) and a little relaxation. Afterward we enjoyed a nice lunch and then headed back to Santa Ana. It was a good day out and fun to hang out with the students in a different environment.

Only thing anyone caught all day. Puffer fish, had to be thrown back in.

Only thing anyone caught all day. Pufferfish, had to be thrown back in.

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About Andrea

I am teacher and traveler blogging my experiences living as an expat from the USA. From 2007-2012 I lived and worked in Oregon, USA. From 2012 (when I started blogging) to 2014, I lived and worked in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. In August 2014 I begin living and working in Santa Ana, Costa Rica.
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4 Responses to Tárcoles

  1. Louise says:

    Hi Andrea,

    I stumbled across your blog by accident, as I am moving to Abu Dhabi in August to start a teaching job. I just wanted to let you know that I have really enjoyed reading about your adventures! They’ve given me a great insight into what life is like in the UAE. I have followed your blog and look forward to reading more!

    Keep up the good work!

    Louise 🙂

    • Andrea says:

      Thank you! I am glad you are finding it helpful. If you have any questions, please do let me know. If you are going to be working for ADEC there is another great blog you should check out. But if not, then it won’t really apply. 🙂

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