Carate residents seek a small dose of modern life

There still are places in Costa Rica where the telephone and the Internet have not intruded.

Life moves at a slower pace, and the antics of animals replace YouTube.

That is until there is an emergency.

One such place is Carate on the southern edge of the Osa Peninsula and the gateway to Parque Nacional Corcovado.

The transport ministry is opening up the tiny community somewhat. The road from Puerto Jiménez is being prepared, and the plan is to install five bridges in the next six months to make the roadway an all-weather one.

Residents do not want many changes. They are not even asking for electricity. But a cell tower would go a long way toward making them more secure.

“Some would call Carate paradise because it’s where the rainforest meets the ocean,” said Jim Burgess, a snowbird from Toronto, Canada, who has a home there. “The proliferation of wildlife in the area is incredible, basically any type of animal you might hope to see in Costa Rica is there, including all the cats and perhaps the densest population of scarlet macaws in the country.”

“I built this place 20 years ago and have seen 10- to 15-percent increase in people traffic and wild animals too,” said Terry Conroy, owner and operator of Lookout Inn. “There is no cell service out here, and it’s a very huge park and beach where I caratemap022315think we should secure a cell tower for safety and security reason for us the locals and the tourists.”

Lookout Inn is one of four major ecolodges in the community. The Internet, when it comes, is by expensive satellite. Electricity is solar. And emergency service is many miles away.

Conroy noted that cell service also would provide security for tourists who visit the park, an undeveloped jewel. He noted that Cody Roman Dial, a tourist from Alaska, vanished in the area last July.  If Dial were injured and in the park, he might have benefited by access to a cell tower.  Dial has never been found.

A former environmental minister also was lost in 2006 for some time in the park after he was attacked by a mother tapir and knocked head over heels.

Burgess said he hopes that the road and bridge work draws attention to the lack of cell service and that the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad will break down and install one.

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