Costa Rica is on a mission to prove that the rainy season may in fact be its best season. By Stacey Leasca
On May 28, Oropopo Experience and Funga Conservation launched Costa Rica’s first “Fungi Trail,” intending to help travellers find, identify, and explore one of Mother Nature’s coolest offerings: mushrooms.
“Costa Rica is traditionally something of a ‘mycophobic’ country. In other words, up to now, we’ve been afraid and averse to mushrooms and even unaware of the diversity of the wild fungi all around us,” Luis Francisco Ledezma, founder of Funga Conservation, shared in a statement provided to Travel + Leisure. “Our objective is to start changing that mindset, little by little.”
This Costa Rican hiking trail will explore one of nature’s coolest offerings
To help change hearts and minds around these tiny but rather important members of the natural world, the team designed the trail, which features recreational and educational activities to promote the conservation of wild mushrooms at the local level through responsible and sustainable tourism. Beyond the mushrooms, the team is also ensuring local communities are involved and integrated into the tourism experience.
“For instance, we are working to rescue the knowledge the Indigenous people of Costa Rica [have of these mushrooms] while bringing the public closer to this fascinating kingdom, about which we have so much to learn,” Ledezma added.
The Fungi Trail will likely be at its best during the nation’s rainy season, the team working on the trail shared in the statement. This is also when the country’s more traditional tourism offerings tend to decrease, making this a unique opportunity for domestic and international tourists.
Events on the Fungi Trail have already begun, but visitors can join in on guided explorations now through December. Some events even include the opportunity to forage and cook what you find.
As for upcoming excursions, on June 25, Oropopo Experience and Funga Conservation will host Bosque del Niño, a day-long walk on this Costa Rican hiking trail focused on discovering more about a mature Central American oak forest and the specific fungi associated with these trees.
In August, visitors can join in the La Selva Biological Station event from August 20-21, which is an experience focused on searching for fungi that host insects and spiders. And on August 27-28, visitors can join The Fungi Festival, a free event to document the fungi of Bijagua alongside members of the local communities.
See more about the Fungi Trail, along with all the events you can take part in this year, on the two groups’ social media pages here and here.
(This story first appeared on travelandleisure.com)