COSTA RICA AND COVID-19

I set up this page to share links and information about ways people can support Costa Rican entities (small businesses, organizations and communities) they care about during the COVID-19 crisis. The health consequences of the crisis are of course primordial, but the economic consequences will be brutal for the country’s most vulnerable communities and could shutter many family business and nonprofits. I am combing social media for more links and ideas and will update this regularly. Last updated Monday, March 23. Newest items first.

  • COMMUNITY EMERGENCY FUNDS: Communities are starting to set up local emergency funds at Amigos of Costa Rica to help them support those most affected by the COVID-19 crisis. You can support Monteverde here and Santa Teresa/Malpaís here.
  • NONPROFIT RESOURCES: There are a whole bunch of amazing nonprofit resources related to the COVID-19 crisis here.
  • SAVE A BABY TURTLE AND ENTERTAIN YOUR KIDS: The nonprofit Latin American Sea Turtles (LAST) is in danger of cancelling all its spring programming because its volunteer groups – which help support the organization financially while also doing the grunt work of protecting baby turtles from poachers and harsh weather – all had to cancel their Costa Rica visits. Therefore, LAST is doing an urgent fundraising drive that can also entertain your kids and transport your family, at least for a few moments, to a Costa Rican beach! Find all the directions in this post.
  • COFFEE: Los Santos community organization Green Communities is asking folks to order coffee from their farmers – for themselves, or to sell to friends – as they confront a huge funding shortfall from cancelled tours. Update Tues. 17: they’ve now sold 800 bags, but need to sell 2,000 if the organizaiton is to survive the coming months, says co-founder Jonathan Cerdas. Learn more here or write volunteering@greencommunities-cr.org. You can also donate to Green Communities’ Emergency Fund.
  • YOGA: Costa Rican microbusiness Downtown Yoga is now an online service where you can take individual or group yoga classes with a live teacher via webcam! Check it out here. It’s been hard hit by this since its sister company, Barrio Bird Walking Tours, has of course had huge cancellations. Update Tues. 17: Owner Stacey Auch is now offering a special discount for COVID-19. You can try the service for free for three days and then pay $59 for the first month, down from $89. She invites you to join her to “talk directly to your teacher… and manage stress and anxiety as we figure out W the F is going on these next months!” Amen. Enroll here or see other pricing options here. 
  • FIND A SMALL BUSINESS: Did you know you can search Costa Rican small businesses (PYMES) online? Check out the ComprePyme directory if you’re in the market for something and want to support the entities that are struggling the most in the current crisis… or browse it on Facebook.
  • IN SUMMARY: Here’s are some general ways to help out during this terrifying moment for a tourism-dependent economy.
  • THE 411: The Democracy Lab is hosting a Facebook Live session with Caja (public health-care system) President Roman Macaya on Wednesday, here: https://www.facebook.com/democracylab. If you’re a Spanish speaker, it is sure to be fascinating.
  • ONIONS: In Costa Rica and need a whole bunch of onions? I’m serious – the cancellation of the Onion Fair has put a whole lotta onion farmers in a bad way. They are willing to do home delivery of Costa Rican garlic or fabulous yellow, red or white onions: you can call 7014-8715 or 8994-1337, or contact Wata Campos on Facebook.
  • DONATIONS: The U.S. nonprofit and 501(c)3 organization Amigos of Costa Rica is a terrific way to donate to more than 80 Costa Rican nonprofits, many of which will be hard-hit by the lack of tourists and volunteers who are key to their operations. Visit the Amigos of Costa Rica site here or contact director Emily Arnold if you have a question at emily@amigosofcostarica.org.
  • AMAZON: Speaking of Amigos, if you find yourself stuck inside buying supplies on Amazon, go to Amazon Smile and choose Amigos as your beneficiary, and Amazon donates a small percentage of the purchase to Amigos.
  • ALL THE THINGS: From jewelry to wellness products, you can buy from Costa Rican microenterprises through Local Keeps and have the products delivered worldwide. (Or, I know some people are saying, don’t make delivery people go to work either – but lining up your purchases and having it ready to go when things normalize a bit would help these business, too!) Here’s my recent piece about them.