Touring Ecovillages in Costa Rica, Jan 2024 - Only 4 Spots Left!
Hello everyone and welcome to the webinar all about exploring ecovillages in Costa Rica. Thank you for your patience while we just finished a few technical details to get underway. I'm so happy that you're here and I'm really excited to be sharing it with you as much as we can about all of the different intentional communities in Costa Rica and especially about our upcoming tour there with Eco Village Tours. My name is Cynthia and I am the founder of Ecovillage Tours, where we bring groups on incredible transformative journeys to ecovillages all around the world.
So we do have more tours lined up for different locations, but today is specifically focused on Costa Rica. I don't live in Costa Rica. I live in Vermont in a small intentional community here, and it's getting quite chilly this time of year. Definitely fantasizing about the warm tropical weather, which is where Jason is living. And I'm just really honored to be partnering with Jason to put on these tours. He has been essential, truly, for figuring out which communities to go to.
I think when I initially approached Jason, I'm like, well, this is my list of communities. And he's like, oh, no, no, no, we got to do this one and this one. I have contact here and there. And It's just been really, really a joy to work with Jason.
Yeah. And I'll let you introduce yourself and say hi. All right. Well, yes, my name is Jason Thomas.
I have a podcast called Regeneration Nation Costa Rica. And for the last few years, I've been, you know, traveling around. I've been in Costa Rica for 14 years. I had my own community permaculture education center for most of these years. And yeah, So I started the podcast just to find out what more of these permaculture centers, intentional communities, eco centers were doing well.
And it's been an awesome ride. I've really learned a ton and networked a bunch and met lots of great people and projects. And when Cynthia contacted me for doing this trip with her, I was already underway reaching out to these communities for another program that I was putting together. And getting to know them on even another basis, like what's tough about building community? What's the hard stuff, you know? And so I've really had an awesome opportunity to connect with lots of these places and doing these tours has just deepened that. I'll mirror that. Working with Cynthia on this has been an absolute pleasure.
And we're almost sold out. So it's all really happening in a good way. And we are going to have an amazing trip. And I'm excited to learn even more and meet these people that many of them I've only met over Zoom calls that I get to meet in person. So expanding the network is upon us.
Beautiful. Yeah, so our intention for today with our webinar, we're going to be together for about an hour. And we're definitely going to be talking about the EcoVillage tour. And I know many of you had submitted questions wanting to know about the logistics and pricing and also about...
know what we're going to offer potentially in 2025 so we'll get into all of that but even more so i think jason and i just wanted an opportunity to speak about more generally what it is like to travel to intentional communities to visit communities offering our tips from you know the the dozens and even hundreds of communities that we have collectively visited around the world And then specifically focusing on the unique situation in Costa Rica, which is definitely an emerging has been for a while, but it feels like is increasingly. a hotspot for intentional community initiatives. So we'll dive into all of that. And many thanks to everyone who submitted your questions in advance. That was really helpful as we were designing this session. We'll certainly be touching on all of those points.
And additionally, if you're joining us through the actual webinar link and you registered, you can put your questions into the chat. And we'll be sure to cover all of them at the end. So that said, I was thinking for the first part, Jason and I can share. We'll tackle your questions for the second half of the webinar. And I thought it would be nice for Jason to go a little bit deeper into his story of initially road tripping to visit communities in Costa Rica. And just because, Jason, you're on the ground there.
You have your pulse, truly, more than anyone else I know, on what's happening with the movement down there. And I would love just to get... hear your stories and get like a report from you of what you're seeing in the landscape and anything that you want to share from your perspective. Okay. Well, so I came down here in 2009. I left Minnesota at the end of 2008 in a veggie oil school bus and we threw our young kids and whatever else we could fit in the thing.
And we just escaped minnesota with a blizzard on our tail looking for a new place to live in the next three months we ended up traveling through mexico and the rest of central america and you know this was 2009 things the the world climate was i mean the the economic crash of 08 had created a Fairly safe to travel at that time, not as disrupted as things are now. And yet still, and it wasn't my first time traveling. My first time traveling through all these countries was in 2003 and 2004. But the difference after traveling through all these other countries and the checkpoints and the young men with guns that wanted to come on the bus and check out all the herbs that we had in the kitchen and see what we had under the bed and whatever else, just the unwelcome feeling that we got in every other country between the states and here was so starkly contrasted by what we received arriving in Costa Rica. And everything from the way... I'll definitely say through the rest of the countries, the people of Mexico and Nicaragua and Guatemala, the people were generally quite kind and welcoming. I'm talking about the police, the checkpoints, the government.
Costa Rica has such a welcoming... feel to it. And I think largely because it's the one country that the U.S. wasn't able to send guns to, pitting them against their neighbor during the times of our youth, that there's less of that animosity to foreigners than you find in some of the countries north of here. And and the people here are just really curious.
They're like, Hey, what you got, what you got going on? What do you bring in? You know? And there's just, so anyhow, we, we decided we're going to stay here instead of keeping on moving to Ecuador. And that, I think that right there is one of the reasons that this eco village scene here in Costa Rica is so prominent because of just the welcoming social and political environment. It really feels different. Like, Way different.
And you really can only know that so starkly after traveling through them all. So we spent about three months traveling the country. We checked out all the different sides. We visited a bunch of places. And, you know, 2009, the Internet wasn't what it is today.
And it was harder to find places. There wasn't really much directories besides IC.org, which even then was quite outdated and not quite updated. And, you know, that we were just... at the mercy of whoever had a savvy SEO expert or website, but we, we traveled and we checked it out and decided that by the sell it on this part of the country here was where we want to raise kids, bought a farm and started a permaculture education center and had people live in their community living style.
And yeah, You know, that journey, those months traveling down here looking for a place to land, to join, we were really looking for a community to join. And then the three months we traveled around the country looking for a place to join, I didn't realize what a bad job we did trying to join a community until we were a few years into our project, overwhelmed with having to do everything ourselves and realizing like we didn't spend enough time. We didn't go to enough places. We didn't really... take the time to arrive before just being like in a hurry to get our place and i think that that's like one of the biggest pieces of advice i'd offer anyone looking for community is definitely go ahead and fast track and run through some options but then if there's options that are like almost good but they're not quite meeting some of your like ideals on this mural that you painted for yourself of what community is supposed to be i encourage people now to just kick back and maybe rent in the area for a while and like really integrate and see because most community seekers i find are looking for this mural, this ideal that we definitely did. And it's good.
It's good to know what you're looking for and have those criteria. But man, community is not a list of features. It's relationships.
it's a process of integrating and there's a whole movement right now of like nomadic community people that like to show up to a place for a few months and feel welcome and part of the community. And that's great. I lived that way for many years of my early life. And it's just really not, it's, It's not the deep essence of community. Feeling comfortable around people for a short period of time is not community.
Community is sticking it through, doing the hard stuff, having the meetings that when people show up and they're like, oh, this place is having conflict in their meetings. They're not a harmony. It's like, man, those are the places that are actually doing the work.
those are the places that are figuring it out. They're, they're, they're sticking around and committing. And so I think people looking for community are looking for this utopia mural and they're missing it when they find it because they, they're, they're, um, they have, they're coming with a lot of projections and expectations.
And so I did that and my years running a place and watching other people come vet us to buy into our community. I saw them also misunderstand the, uh, the reality they were seeing because it didn't meet up with the list in their notebook of what they were supposed to find when the perfect place would arrive. Yeah, yeah, that's so true. Thank you for mentioning that because as inspiring as these ecovillages and communities are, and they are inspiring in so many ways, They're also not perfect utopias. And we have to remember that, especially when a lot of us are coming from this crazy world and our own stressful lives.
And we're just imagining this beautiful dream off on the hill. And then we think we're going to get there. And we have that whole list of expectations. Yeah, actually, one of the exercises I have people do when I work with folks, helping them find communities, is first making a wish list of what you want. You know, wish lists are super helpful, getting clarity on your vision. And then you try to find a community that matches that as closely as possible.
However, as I've been spouting this and people are showing up at communities with their lists, sometimes they're holding onto the lists a little bit too tightly and not having the realism and the flexibility to discern when a community is maybe not perfect, but good enough, and also thinking about what they can contribute. To further enhance and support this community and its development, not just what they can get out of it, but also how they can support the further development of a community project. Yeah.
No, that's so also top of the list mentions that I have for people is like they go to a place and like, oh, they don't have my favorite thing. but maybe you're the one who's supposed to bring it. That's your part, you know? So don't, don't run away looking for somebody else who's already done your part.
Yeah. That's, that's such an important thing for people to keep in mind. Like, you know, that's those, those gaps that we see are actually invitations to Yeah. Yeah.
Well, I found it really interesting as you were sharing your story about traveling to visit communities in 2009, and how the internet wasn't quite what it was today. And there maybe weren't as many communities with websites. I often hear from community travelers today, they're just super overwhelmed.
Like there's so many places and some of them are easy to find. Some of them are not so easy, but then you look on the website and you're not sure, is this actually a community? Is this just a founder with a vision? Or is it even just a development company that's using the branding of intentional community, but not fostering more of that genuine community spirit? So I think there's something, To be said, some education that could happen around the different types of communities and for visitors to have that skill set of discernment when they're researching about knowing what a community is before they show up at the front door, just so those expectations can be tampered and we can all get more educated about the variety of community types that exist. So this is a really big topic. And I'll just mention, I guess, one aspect that I find most critical. This was a question that we had somebody submit to us asking, where is it here now? How can we understand which are genuine intentional community ecovillages and which are more green minded housing associations? And, you know, and this is a little bit also of some of the pushback I've gotten as I've been talking about intentional communities in Costa Rica and doing events with some of these communities.
And some of them definitely are more developer driven. Yeah. So this is like a distinction that I'll make for you.
developer-driven versus community-driven. And a lot of this has to do with the origin story of a community project. Was it a group of people who are out to do good in the world, but also make a profit? Or was this a group of people who wanted to live together? That's often a key way that you can be looking at a community and asking those questions about how it came to be.
That might give you some clues into the culture of the community today. So that said, it's not like these different approaches of development are good or bad. There's certainly pros and cons to both.
Often I'm really impressed by developer-driven communities in how they're able to get started a lot faster, more well-resourced, and if it's thought out intentionally and especially if the developer decides to live in the community that he or she is building or that the company is building, that's a good sign. But if they have some way to transition the ownership so that it truly is a collective model of ownership and that there's shared decision-making and empowerment among the members, that's what you're going to be looking for if you're wanting to avoid more of the greenwashed communities. And then certainly if it's started by a group of people and they're developing the project on their own or maybe they're partnering with a developer, right there you're going to have a lot more of that shared intention at the forefront. And you can see that sometimes when you're looking at a website of a community. You can see the communities that are community driven talk about their vision and their values.
Whereas the communities that maybe have more of the developer driven focus talk about their feature list and the swimming pools and the hot tubs and what amenities you can get. So, you know, I think it's, it's tricky, but those are just some general reflections that I have around the different types of communities and curious Jason, if you would agree with that or what you're seeing. Yeah, I would. That's, that's all a really good assessment and, You know, in the couple months that I spent talking to, I don't know, more than 20 founders of projects around Costa Rica specifically, it was really a great snapshot for me. And what I realized is that one, community is a loaded word. It's a huge gray area.
It means something different to everybody. They're especially anybody who's judging a community as not being community enough or less community than my ideal or something. It's like just really to release the idea of what community is, because we could sit here for an hour. You and I can just talk, just talking about what is a community and we would flow the spectrum of, of different considerations.
And it really is different for everyone. Like for instance, many of the places that I talked about are very much about trying to like get their governance system and their group processing and their decision-making and their conflict resolution dialed in. And that's like a big focus. And then there's a bunch of other places, even ones that have been around for 20 years and are full of members that are happily living there year round.
They don't want to tell nobody what to do. They're not trying to dictate people's lives. They're into sovereignty.
And sovereignty is actually a value of a lot of people that want to live in community. So where is that? Whoa, how is that? What does that mean? Where's the gray area between sovereignty and community? You know, that is the experiment. And that is the, that is the, that's what gives us such an array. That's why there's no book that says, this is how you start a community. The book that says, this is how you started a community says, well, You start a community by sitting together with the people that want to share space and you start asking a lot of really basic questions and wait to be surprised at how out of alignment everybody's vision of this is and sit with it long enough so that you can come to common vision and let half of those people just go. Because that if you want to start from like that kind of community where everybody's making decisions together and whatever, like even people that form a community group before buying land and moving into it, if they go through the processes like, you know, in creating a life together, Diane Leaf Christian, she talked about these exercises and she described like you're going to lose half your people doing these exercises.
And it's it's the way it's supposed to be because everybody has a different idea. And these development communities, like there's a lot of people. I've been in Costa Rica 14 years. People don't live here year round. Like foreigners, the foreigners who have money to buy into these projects, most of them live in their home country.
at least half the year making money to be able to afford to be here because you can't just get a job here. There's no jobs to get here. There's no, you know, there's, it's, there's, there's so many complications in being a foreigner living here that it's just not reasonable for people to live here year round. And a lot of people, they have their clans, their, their, their families, their tribe, then the, in whatever other country that they want to spend summer with. And there's really little reason to judge that as I mean, it's tough for the people that are here year round holding it down. It is tough to have most of your community leave for several months of the year.
But that's just how it is. That's the statistic. So as much as we might want to judge it or say, oh, it's not a real community because the members aren't there year round like sorry that's just even in the most like i was talking to matthew human at taco tal and that's you know one of these places where the people are you know they're there most of the year or brave earth you know or or um You know, even even Rancho Mostatal, a small community, you know, Tim leaves for a few months, you know, like just people leave. And then and then that person's holding a strong position in the community and. The changes.
And that's something that maybe you don't get in some other countries where it's easier for people to set up their professional life and everything within the community. And they can really hunker down like in the United States or something and aren't tempted to leave for half the year. But that's, that's something that I'd say about these developing these like regenerative neighborhoods. I've been calling them that are, I guess you could say developer driven neighborhoods. They're really just being honest about the way things are. And they're, they're, they're appealing to people that they're like, I love the idea of investing into a regenerative neighborhood for my plan B for my vacation, for my half the year snowbird thing.
But I can't live there. I just can't live there year round, or I don't want to live there year round. And they're like, okay, Hey, that's not a problem. We have a rental agency. We'll rent out your house and you're not here.
And some places over lean on that. And those places aren't part of the tour. But there's others that are part of the tour that do mention that and invite that. And I just had to let go in the process of doing this exploration of my own judgments of the difference between a regenerative neighborhood and a community. Because even the most intending communities are struggling with having members who just can't be there. Wow.
Okay. Thank you for highlighting this. It makes perfect sense, but I hadn't thought about how, of course, Costa Rica and having all these part-time members of a community and what that does for the day-in and day-out dynamic of living there. Very interesting.
Yeah. And also what you mentioned about how it's difficult to find a job. So I'm imagining, you know, someone like you, you live there most of the year and you have remote work. And I'm imagining there's just... you know, other ways that people make it work.
Maybe they have a job back home that pays for being in Costa Rica, which, as you mentioned, is not necessarily as cheap a place to live as maybe it was in the past, or certainly compared to other places in Central and South America. And I know that was a lot of the questions we got from people, like, what is a realistic budget for joining one of these communities, it seems like there's a really big cost range. Some of the properties and homes are very expensive, some less so, some are rental models, some home ownership.
And I see Marcelo has asked a similar question about financing a stay in an eco village and the range of costs of living. So any thoughts you have on that, Jason? Wow. You know, cost of living is, anywhere really, but especially places like I experienced this 20 years ago when I was living in Hawaii and I was, I was a vagabond balloon artist, just tying balloon animals for tips and doing work trade at a place.
And my cost of living was so low. And I was spending all my days in this paradise beaches where people would save up for years to get a week's experience of. And, you know, so like the range is so wide as far as, and I was living in Nico villages, you know, as a visitor here in Costa Rica, same thing, like right where I live in this region, you know, I have, I do, I practice Thai body work and I have a very wide sliding fee scale.
On the low end, I charge what a Costa Rican professional would charge in town, which is you know, half what I charge, what I, what most foreigners would expect to pay for a massage. Okay. So the economy here is so vastly diverse and the economy here in the mountains is the cost of living here is so much cheaper than down at the beach. okay and so really the cost of living is this massive scale it depends if you just you know like pensionados people that have a pension that are trying to just live here and then they just they're just living eating hanging out they got a pretty low cost of living if they're not really trying to do much but if you're trying to build something The import taxes on tools and materials and everything else here makes everything double. And there's nothing used. You can't just buy used stuff here.
Everything gets used till it's broken. If you get something used, it's sold in a local chat or, you know, but, and it's usually foreigners because Tico's just gifted to their family members. But yeah, So the cost of living is all over the place. The communities, like just on the call that we had with IC.org, when was it? The other day. Last week.
Last week, we had three different communities, and they were describing buy-ins. One had a low-end buy-in of, what do you say, like $30,000 starting at, and then the other one was starting at $100,000, and the other one was starting at $300,000. It's crazy.
And it depends on if they got investors or if they were able to get it out of pocket or if your lots are a quarter acre or two acres or if there's shared infrastructure. And I'll tell you what, anyone looking at these prices of what it costs to buy into these projects, I will tell you the amount of money to put in a road septic water electricity community gardens a yoga shala all these shared a fruit forest for everyone to just be picking from in their first year and everybody wants this massive infrastructure they don't want to just buy a piece of grass which is what you can buy for a little bit of money. But if you want to buy into a project that's investing into a small city's worth of infrastructure, guess what? That costs money. And to do it fast...
costs more money so these projects that are expensive to buy into it's because they're going from grass to small town in the matter of two years and it's expensive and there's a lot of money that has to go into it and they have to project sustainability because in my years i've seen a bunch of projects close because they didn't project longevity costs And they just close because they put in a bunch of infrastructure. They go broke. Everyone's disappointed that it doesn't have the infrastructure that they expected. Nobody comes to live there.
It just falls apart. And if you don't budget for long-term investments in one way or another, it's what you got to if you want to last. And so that's just something to keep in mind when taking into consideration these prices. There's so many dynamics. But once you got your place... Once you got your membership, your house, and you're not trying to create your own little mini eco retreat center or something, the cost of living here doesn't have to be super expensive unless you want all the fancy imported foods.
You know, myself, my food budget here, I don't know, I probably spend about, 150 bucks a month on my groceries. Yeah. I eat super simple.
My rent, I pay 500 bucks a month to rent my house. I don't go all over the place. I'm not going to all the parties and all the dance things and everything everywhere. So I'm not burning fuel, which is expensive here. I'm not tearing my car up. So those kinds of things, depending on your lifestyle, the range is wide.
And can you say again the region where you live? Because you had mentioned that as being more affordable compared to the other regions. There were some questions in the chat just to understand the different regions in Costa Rica. Okay. So I live in a region called Perez Zeledon. There's a city here called San Isidro del General.
Okay. And the San Isidro is like it's it's the fastest growing city in Central in Costa Rica and one of the fastest growing cities in Central America. However, it's still a Tico town.
There's there's. foreigner rich neighborhoods on the outskirts of san ysidro but the hub of san ysidro itself is primarily a costa rican town a lot of farmers young professionals students things like that but it's a costa rican city uh the cost of living here is about as low as anywhere else in the country really it's it's it's very efficient town to live in uh in in various respects where i live the neighborhood i live in is one of these foreigner rich so the house that i'm renting for 500 bucks a month i could rent for half that price if i were you know five ten mile or five miles just down the mountain if i wanted to be a little bit further away i could i could get a house this size for half the cost um if i go five miles up the mountain i'll pay double You see what I'm saying? Legit. So it's really prices have gone up so fast all over the country.
And in these little pockets, nobody knows how to keep up. Nobody knows how to charge for anything anymore as far as rentals and all that. Tigger's like, I don't know. It's charged a thousand. Let's try this.
Like, wow, somebody paid that. And then the low season comes. Like, why isn't anyone renting my place? You know, they don't get it that actually there's high season, low season prices. And some people get hip to that and especially if they're using Airbnb and stuff like that. But so that's where I live anyhow and where the range lands. Okay, that's all really helpful.
Wow, so interesting to hear the variety just up or down the mountain or depending on the season. And that's good for people who are visiting Costa Rica to keep all those things in mind about, you know, sounds like you can find more affordable accommodations if you shop around and are a little bit outside of town and more in the mountains and especially focusing on the shoulder seasons. Yeah.
And then Marcello asked, yes, it's close to Dominical. So if you look at a map where San Isidro is, if you go up the mountain toward Mount Chiripo, this is the Chiripo River Valley that I live in. And it's like a straight line down to San Isidro.
And then if you keep going toward the coast, you get to Dominical. So we're up the mountain. And then the prices are double again down at the coast, of course. And then there's the halfway point between San Ysidro and the coast, the Diamante Valley, where Earthwaking Village and Holos and Home Farm and some of these other places that we'll visit on the tours, that area, the price has just doubled and tripled over the last two years.
Wow. So recently. Wow. Yeah. Wow, that's wild.
Yeah, I wonder too, you know, with COVID and everything, people thinking about, oh, maybe it'd be nice to get myself to a warm, relatively safe country and have that at least as a base. So yeah, interesting. Okay, good.
Well, I feel like we've covered a lot in terms of the different budget considerations for traveling in Costa Rica and some tips about identifying the communities and the different landscape of community options. I wonder if we want to dive a little bit deeper into advice specifically for traveling and visiting communities. Shortly, we're going to be talking about the upcoming Ecovillage tour and the opportunity you all can have to travel with me and Jason to Costa Rica. And then I want to get into your questions. So please, please, folks, if you're watching this and have access to put into the chat box any questions that you may have, would love to get to those with our remaining time.
So, yeah, one thing I could say just to start off is when Jason and I were envisioning this webinar and reflecting on some of our experiences traveling to visit communities, it really came up again and again how difficult it can be. Actually, and how not only confusing with the different options, but then once you do manage to go get yourself to a community, you can be disappointed just by the availability of the founder. of the residents you know you put so much effort into getting yourself there and then you you know just people have busy lives and you're not the number one priority um so one thing that i would really recommend for folks is whenever possible don't just plan a visit to a community at a random time. But instead, if that community is offering a workshop or a retreat or an internship or any type of organized program, that is really such an invaluable experience for you to firstly learn whatever it is that the program's offering, but also to have a more quality experience with the residents and the hosts there at the community because they're prepared to greet you.
And they're really wanting to ensure that you have a quality experience with them. And then on top of that, you get all of this bonding and connection with the other participants who are also joining in the program. And I have found through my years of participating in all kinds of courses and workshops and retreats, oftentimes it's the other people who I'm going through that experience with who I end up forming deep, meaningful relationships that last a long time. So that's one thing that I would offer. And then, of course, whenever possible, staying overnight in a community or multiple nights or even like Jason said, rent a place nearby. Like you can't just judge a community after an hour long tour.
It really takes a deeper getting to know phase. However, you don't need to do that on your initial visit. Like you could think about, okay, I'll go visit a variety of communities for quick little visits. And then you can always return to those that you really like.
And I'll just highlight what Jason had said earlier. Finding a community is a lot about relationship building. There's all these metaphors you could equate it to like the process of finding a life partner or getting married. Like there's all of those phases of the first date and the courtship and the deepening commitment and then having this moment of like, yes, we're doing this and you sign papers and you officially join. And it's not like forming a relationship with one person, which is maybe comparatively easier because... Maybe you're forming relationships with many people all at once.
So there's a lot to it, but those are some just basic pieces of advice. And I think this is why we're offering the tours that we do at Eco Village Tours, because we want to make sure that your time is well spent. Because Jason and I, we're doing the legwork for you of building up that relationship with the community. And we're going to guarantee like when you go on that tour, it's going to be with somebody who's really knowledgeable, who really wants to spend time answering your questions. So my hope is that through EcoVillage tours, people can have a more fulfilling and rewarding experience traveling to communities. Yeah.
Yeah, I'll I'll back that up. You know, the relationships piece and the amount of time that you get. Like when I when I had my place, we had we had just hundreds of people come through. And I remember one play one moment that just stuck with me.
It was a young couple with a baby and they'd been there for a few weeks even. And they were helping out their volunteers or, you know, this and that. And we you know, we had. weekly check-ins every other week was either a logistics meeting with everybody or like an emotional check-in and so it was like about his third week there and we were having just the emotional check-in meeting and And this guy really had beef with me.
He was really super disappointed in me. And I was just like, huh? I didn't give him enough time. I didn't give him enough of my... He didn't feel like he was in my community. And...
And that's when it really hit me. Like we're, we're so entitled. Our, our, our sense of our tendency toward entitlement in our cultures is so high. And when P especially with communities, because of this word community and this idea that people are, because relationships is such a strong part of it, that.
Everybody who comes in for any amount of time is supposed to automatically get as much time as they want with anybody that they want. And honestly, I had three kids. I was managing several employees.
I was managing a team of volunteers. I had my own relationship. I had bills that I needed to pay. And here's this guy who I was teaching how to do carpentry so he didn't have to pay to live in my place. And he was complaining because I wasn't giving I wasn't like hanging out in the hammock with him enough asking him about his backstory. And.
while i can have compassion for that that's what you know he's looking for in community i also asked him to have compassion for you know like you're gonna be gone like any minute now like any day now whatever however even any week or any month now and like you and it's it's not to say that you're unimportant but you know we're when when we go to these places even just to give somebody an hour's farm tour to stop everything I'm doing, to give a new person a tour around the farm for one to three hours. Like that's a huge part of my week. And what we did with this tour is tremendous to, to be able to go to place after place after place and have these people put aside and three, four more a whole day aside for us to welcome us in and show us around and tell us all about their process and everything else. Like, wow, man, that's, that's so generous.
And yes, we're paying them to do that. We're paying them to, to get, to guide us and give us that time. And, and most people, they want that for free. And they, they, they, you know, and it's, and it's just like, Anyhow, just the contrast of why it's so hard to get that kind of attention and just to know that it's going – if you try to do something like this yourself, expect for the people at these places to be busy, to be really, really more busy than most people because it's hard. Right.
And and what we're offering in these tours to get this kind of attention and for our group is it's it's really phenomenal because we're not some of these people would value their time beyond what we're able to pay them. you know, in, in everything else that they might be able to do with that day. And so, uh, uh, not to disvalue anyone's time or, or anything else, just to say that, to understand that the, what we've put together to be able to get so many hours of true community leaders attention over the course of nine days or, or 18 days, if you're on both trips is, um, It's just so invaluable. Like you, there's no other way to get it. There's no other way to do it. It took me months to align this schedule.
Yeah. Because just even getting these people on the phone for one hour on a zoom call. Oh, put me off week after week after week.
Yeah. Oh, sorry. This came up.
Oh, sorry. This came up just to get on a call to plan the visit three months out. Yeah. So if you want to do this alone, expect it to be challenging. Yeah. You're going to have to put in some serious time and energy to make it work.
But the good news is you don't have to because we've created these tours. Yes. So I want to share with you all because we've been mentioning them, but I want to share all of the details about our ecovillage tour to Costa Rica. And then I want to get into your questions because there's some really good ones coming through in the chat. So I'm going to head over to the website and I'll just put the link here.
The link is ecovillagetours.com slash Costa-Rica. So Costa Rica tours, and you'll be able to see on the website are other tours that we have planned, but I'm going to dive in now to just sharing about the upcoming one in Costa Rica. And at the time of this recording, we only have two spots remaining for the January, 2024 tour. And we've been getting a lot of, you know, deposits coming in very quickly. So no guarantees by the time I end this, we may indeed already have filled those two remaining spots.
So if you're thinking about joining, this is your final chance. Yeah, because it's not going to be here too much longer. to join us for our January 23rd to the 31st. January 23rd to the 31st, 2024. That is the tour that we have two spots left on.
And if you've been following our story, we actually started this with two offerings. So two nine day long tours, one in earlier in January and one in later January. And the first tour is now completely full. but you can still register for the second tour. And because of the popularity of these tours, we do have the ability to put a deposit down to get on the wait list for if we have an opening on the 2024 tour or to put down a wait list deposit for our tour in 2025 because we do hope to offer this tour again Next year, likely in January, we'll likely do the same thing of offering two nine-day tour options. But those dates have not been confirmed yet.
And Jason and I are just beginning to speak about the possibility of doing even more tours in Costa Rica in other times of the year, maybe more in the low season or potentially in the spring, summer. So stay tuned. I would say the best thing you can do to stay up to date is to join our email list. If you've registered for the webinar, don't worry, I have your contacts so I can send you information about the tours. And then if you're feeling like ready to make a commitment, go ahead and put down a deposit. So I'll just run through briefly more about the tours and also about the pricing because I know that was a question that many of you had.
So briefly here, it's a nine day, eight night tour. We do start quite early on the first day, 9 a.m. We're meeting at a hotel not too far from the airport and we are taking off to go visit communities. We'll be traveling in three vans with four wheel drive so that we can make it through some of the more rugged areas afterwards.
And Jason has helped us lined up to even have Wi-Fi on the vans. And I know that was something that many of you are excited about so that you can be entertained and messaging with family and not have to worry about getting a SIM card while you're traveling with us. So we intend to visit seven communities on each tour. So if I just scroll down here, both of the tours have different communities, completely different ones that we'll be visiting. And I would say this second tour, January 23rd to the 31st, is a little bit more geared towards communities that have openings for members. So both tours, very inspiring projects, but certainly the second tour has communities that are maybe in an earlier stage of development and are really actively looking for people to join the project, to buy land, to build a house, or to buy an existing house on the property.
Jason, anything you want to highlight about these communities that we'll be visiting? Oh man, we don't have any kind of time for that, but everyone is just so different. And I definitely, anybody who's jamming on what we're talking about and you're just not able to make it or whatever, because we're about sold out. get on the mailing list, definitely be one of the first in line to come on the next trips that we do.
The more feedback we get from people when they'll be able to do a trip, whether it's in January or if at the halfway point through the year is a better time for you. Like I'm, I, I, I think this is just a great service that we're providing. It's a win for the communities to be able to get so many visitors in a condensed period of time. It's a win for the visitors because you just couldn't do this on your own. And I would love to just keep doing this. But as far as each individual community, wow, they're just so different.
And that's something about coming on these trips. It is not – it's super valuable for anyone who actually wants to come to Costa Rica and move into a place. But this is just powerful, powerful education experience for anyone interested in community because you're going to get this – Shotgun array of so many different perspectives on what community means to different types of people and how it's being built in different stages of development from first year to 20th year. And so, yeah, I don't know. Yeah.
Yeah. That's good. It was a big question. And I know we don't have time.
I'll just briefly mention folks. So I know many of you had questions about pricing and some of the practical details. If you just scroll down, I know there's a lot of information on the webpage, but if you just scroll down to this practical details section, that's where you can see the pricing for the tour. We do have a child ticket rate. If you wanna bring your child with you, that's for kids between four and 12 years old.
Any children under four are get able to join for free. And we did earlier have two volunteer positions available for the tours. Those are now full, but that is an option for future tours for 2025.
And we're scheming away at how we can make this even more possible for folks who may not have the means to otherwise join us through offering some scholarship opportunities. But yeah, all of the practical details are here. We even have the full tour itineraries posted and a map of the communities. And if you have any other questions or want more information, you can just write to me at info at ecovillagetours.com and I'll be sure to put that in the chat for you. It's just really simple though, info at ecovillagetours.com and I'd be happy to answer your questions. And I'll also just share briefly.
Let me scroll back up here. While you do that, I'd like to answer a question real quick. Somebody is asking about talking about the different communities specifically.
I know you have it on the waiting list page. So I know anyone wanting to get this resource, you can go on the waiting list and you'll see it. But Cynthia, you put together a book, a small ebook describing each of the communities that I don't know if you have a direct link you can share or maybe even add that to the landing page for people that don't make it to the waiting list page. But you put some time into gathering info about each individual place we'll be visiting. Yeah, I did. And I put together also some travel information about Costa Rica and different tips.
So thank you for that suggestion. I'll put that link in so folks can access the guidebook. And I'll also mention we have some other tours lined up for the rest of 2024. We're intending to go back to Slovenia, where we were this year. And we're planning a tour in my home state of Vermont.
and then also one in North Carolina in the United States, because it's a very popular destination in many communities in North Carolina. And honestly, this is growing really rapidly. We have a lot of people reaching out saying they want to host ecovillage tours in their home states and countries. So definitely stay tuned to learn about more tours coming up. Yeah, and I'll go ahead and put all of these links into the chat for you. And we can just spend the remainder of the time answering questions.
And I know many of you have put some good ones. Some of you were even able to like thumbs up when you liked a question. So that's really good for us to be able to see what are the popular questions. I think there was one from Matt here about if on the tour we'll be spending any time volunteering in the communities that we visit, helping in the gardens, natural building projects, even preparing food together with residents. Jason, do you want to speak to that while I put some links up? As of now, the only two places that I really have confirmation of that kind of experience are going to be on the first trip, and those are Rancho Mostatal and Verde Anarjia.
We have some of the places we're going to be just visiting for a half day, and that's going to be enough to give a tour and a presentation. But yeah, as we come closer, the places that we have more spacious schedules, we'll look for a little bit more of that opportunity. But it's not a massive focus of the tour. There will be a few places where we'll be able to interact in that way, but not at every spot. Great.
And what other questions? Spanish is not going to be a problem. I'm fluently bilingual and I'll be with, and really this country is loaded with bilingual people, both foreigners and locals. So that is not likely to be any kind of problem. Somebody else asked, do we hire Ticos? Yes, on the second trip, our third driver is going to be a Tico friend of mine.
So at least there's one Tico that we're hiring for the adventure. He wasn't able to make both trips, though, so the driver for the first trip will not be Costa Rican. Okay. What advice do you have for a starting entrepreneur who would like to buy land and start an ecovillage? Don't do it. is my advice.
Don't do it. Sorry, but there are so many amazing projects that are started that are looking for your juju, that are looking for your entrepreneurship, that are looking for your magic and your passion. And there are so many different types of places available for you to plug into.
Unless you have spent a long time living in another community and other communities and really interact, do not start your own community. It is a recipe for... There's overwhelm and challenge that is going to keep you from realizing the reason that you did it in the first place. That is some real talk. Thank you, Jason, for saying that and letting people know that there's a lot of projects already underway. And I'm always surprised some of these communities, even ones that were visiting on the tour, they have job opportunities.
Like you can get paid to help them manage the project and do, you know, all kinds of support for programs. Like you don't necessarily need to reinvent the wheel. There's a lot underway and it's just a matter of you spending a little bit of time to make those connections, do that research, but ultimately it's going to save you years of of headaches and trouble and difficulty to make something new when you don't necessarily need to. Yeah, good advice.
Hey, so I found, so here's the link to that travel guide that we were talking about earlier. If you're interested, ecovillagetours.com slash travel-guide-Costa Rica. And I'll go ahead and put that in the chat now too. But yeah, this is a fun guidebook that hopefully will be helpful for some of you who are planning your trips to Costa Rica. Yeah.
I also dropped in the chat the link to my website. And man, you guys interested in Costa Rica, like check out Regeneration Nation Costa Rica. I have been interviewing owners of interesting projects around the country.
I've got a podcast RSS feed if you do podcasts. Otherwise, you can watch everything on my website or the YouTube channel. I've got a lot of extra stuff on my YouTube channel, which is just YouTube. dot com forward slash at regeneration nation CR. And you, there's just so many cool projects that I've already interviewed and done like farm tours and, and gotten really close with the founders that you can learn about. And so I highly recommend checking that out, subscribe to the podcast, subscribe to the YouTube channel and subscribe to my newsletter.
One of the things that you'll get from my newsletter is I, For me, one of my big passions is cultural bridging. I think that foreigners in this country or any other country like it that are moving, trying to find their paradise are bridging. have a tendency to stay in their bubble and not interact enough with the local population. And so in the welcome series of emails, if you sign up to my newsletter, I'm gonna share a lot of both my personal opinions, my personal stories about cultural integration and bridge building, and a ton of resources of podcast interviews and blogs and other people that I've talked to or have on the YouTube channel, lots of resources about this topic of cultural integration and really connecting with the people in place outside of the property lines.
So I invite anyone who's attracted to that topic to join the adventure there. Yes, yes. Folks, definitely check out what Jason has been creating at Regeneration Nation Costa Rica. It really is a treasure trove of resources and information. It's been very helpful for me to learn about Costa Rica. And I just appreciate you, Jason, for doing that work and being this network weaver, bridge builder there on the ground and helping to share this important information with folks.
And I'm so excited to meet you and be together in January and go on this crazy adventure. It's going to be awesome. Many thanks to those of you who have also signed up to join us.
I'm so excited to adventure with you too. And yeah, I think we're just about time. So yeah, thank you folks again for all of your good questions.
Feel free if you have more questions or you didn't get enough out of this, just write to me at info at ecovillagetours.com. We'd be happy to help you. Jason, anything you want to share to close out? Hey, I just want to thank everybody who showed up live and is dropping in the chat and keeping the conversation going. It's really special to feel you guys here. Actually, that's what's alive for me right now. Yeah.
Yeah. Me too. Beautiful. All right, folks. Well, I'll be sending out the recording to everyone who registered and thank you so much for taking the time today. I hope you got some helpful information out of it and looking forward to potentially seeing you on a trip really soon.
Okay. Take care. Ciao.