Around Canoa

The Rio Muchacho Organic Farm is a tropical organic farm where guests and locals get their hands dirty engaging in and learning about sustainable farming practices. The farm is proactive in the community and built a primar)' school that teaches children about reforestation and waste management, in addition to their ABCs.

The farm lies along the river of the same name and is reached by a rough 8km track

288 THE NORTH COAST •• San Vicente«

branching inland from the road north of Canoa. Transportation to the farm is normally on horseback, which is how the local montubios (coastal farmers) get around. After touring the farm, inspecting the crops and learning about permaculture and organic farming, visitors are free to choose from a variety of activities. They can help with farm chores, fish for river shrimp or make ornaments from tagua nuts. Those who want unadulterated nature can take guided hikes, go horseback riding or bird-watching.

Cabins are Thoreau-approved rustic, with shared showers and composting toilets. The coveted spot is a treehouse bunk. Guest groups are kept small, and reservations are a must.

Volunteers are welcome to stay longer and work in the school or on the farm, and are charged $250 a month for food and lodging. Spanish courses are offered and the farm now hosts a month-long apprenticeship in organic agriculture (billed as a course).

For more information contact Guacamayo Bahiatours ((g 269 1107,269 1412; www.riomuchacho .com; packages per person 1/2 nights $64/90) in Bahia de Caraquez (see p290). Guacamayo earmarks 10% of tour fees to support the school and other conservation work.

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