Helaine Wemple is the Live the Osa, LLC owner and program director. She presently lives in New Hampshire, but her second home is Costa Rica where she lived for a total of 9 years. She spent 3 years in Puerto Jimenez, working with U.S. High School student groups and presently is a High School Spanish teacher continuing to lead yearly group trips to the Osa Peninsula. She has many connections and friends in the community, which make this program possible.
Marlene Salazar Cordero is the internship coordinator and the owner of Hospedaje El Ceibo, a family-run lodge in the Osa Peninsula. She grew up in this region and her large family also lives in the area. Her husband, Luis is also from Jimenez and has extended family in the area. These invaluable connections make this program possible. Marlene has 4 children, two of whom live with her at El Ceibo. Sagri and Konsi are both young adults, and welcome international guests into their home and their lives.
Hospedaje El Ceibo is run by Marlene Salazar Cordero and her family. Marlene grew up on the Osa Peninsula and has a large family in the area. With her connections, this program is possible! The lodge, Marlene's family's home, is used for student groups, some drop-in clients and Live the Osa interns. She welcomes people into her home and daily life, and therefore this is not just a lodge, but a "homestay". Live the Osa participants should make every effort to become part of the family, help in the kitchen, converse with Marlene and the family, and assist in their daily activities. At the same time, we ask participants to respect the guidelines for El Ceibo, the family's privacy needs, and other clients at the lodge. For the sake of total immersion, if you would like to stay with another local family while other student groups are at the lodge, please let Marlene know and she can make those arrangements.
The program takes place on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica in the town of Puerto Jimenez. Lodging is at El Ceibo in the town of Ñeque (4kms from Jimenez) and most internships are located in the town of Jimenez or surrounding villages.
Costa Rica, located in Central America, is truly an amazing country. With wonderful people, beautiful landscapes and bountiful nature, it is a place you don't just go to once. Use your guidebook or the Internet to gain as much background information as possible before arrival. The more you know, the more you can immerse yourself into this rich country and culture.
According to National Geographic Society, the Osa Peninsula is considered "The final frontier on Earth and the most biologically intense place on the planet". Home of Corcovado National Park, the Peninsula is the "off-the-beaten track" tourist destination, with breathtaking views of primary rainforest leading to white-sand beaches. The two largest towns on the Peninsula are Drake Bay (Northern end) and Puerto Jimenez (Southern end).
Puerto Jimenez, with a population of about 2000, is considered the largest town on the Peninsula. Although it is only comprised of one main street with a few unpaved side roads, the town has supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, an elementary and high school, a health clinic, a pharmacy, banks, tour operators, a bus stop, an airport, a public boat dock, and most anything you need. However, it is a small town, isolated from the rest of the country, and you will get to know people quickly.
There are several small villages out of town in both directions along the coast. The road out of town to the North is paved and excellent for biking. El Ceibo (Live the Osa homestay / lodging) is located in the small community of Ñeque and takes about 10 minutes by bike from Puerto Jimenez. Other nearby villages with internship options include Bambú, Gallardo, Sándalo and Cañaza.
San José, the capital, is comprised of several "barrios" or neighborhoods. It is located in the Central Valley, either a 1 hour flight to Puerto Jimenez, or a 7 hour bus ride (see Travel section for more information). You will fly to the international airport, Juan Santamaría, which is in Alejuela, about 30 minutes from downtown San José. There are some interesting things to see in and around San José, but I do not recommend it for longer stays and I do not recommend walking around the city alone or after dark. Please see your guidebook for more information. Live the Osa offers a homestay and/or personal guide in San José, as well as a "trusted" taxi driver.