+
Sergio Guido headshot

sergio guido

president

Sergio’s family roots grow deep into the rural areas of Guanacaste and Puntarenas. His contact with conservation matters started at an early age, visiting different National Parks of the Guanacaste Conservation Zone which triggered his interest for Environmental Law. He is a University Professor and practicing attorney in Costa Rica and, after working in Spain and at one of Central America’s largest law firms, he is now a founding partner of Boutique Firm DEXTRA LAW in Santa Teresa. He holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Law from Universidad Complutense de Madrid and a Specialist Diploma in Environmental Insurance Law. Sergio currently lives in Santa Teresa where he is committed to different environmental protection initiatives and has been an active part of Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper since its origins.

Ana María Pinto headshot

ana maría pinto

vice president

Ana is a Landscape Architect and Design Director and Partner at VIDA Landscape Architects & Planners. With projects located throughout the country, Ana is constantly visiting new places, learning about the challenges each area holds and helping clients visualize their dreams to create sustainable projects that balance development with the natural environment. Her love for the Peninsula started at an early age when her family would spend holidays in Santa Teresa. With an office in Santa Teresa and a house in Mal País, Ana is excited to be a part of the Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper Board where she can contribute to a better future for the area and bring awareness to those who visit.

Jennifer Harter headshot

jennifer harter

secretary

Jen is a professional photographer and co-owner at 2 Costa Rica Real Estate, Santa Teresa. Jen fell in love with the Nicoya Peninsula in her teens after learning to surf and do yoga. For the last seventeen years, she has made Santa Teresa her permanent home and has started a family here. Born in Costa Rica to American parents, she likes to bridge the cultural gap between her multicultural clients and her beloved country. Jen is honored to be a part of the Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeepers Organization and is happy to contribute to this community as it grows and develops in responsible ways. She is doing so by raising awareness and providing educational opportunities to the people she welcomes into the area.

Favio López headshot

favio lópez

treasurer

Born and raised in the Nicoya Peninsula, Favio owns a construction company. He is always ready to actively participate and contribute to community initiatives aiming at sustainable development. He knows the area very well and, having been involved in community issues since a young age, he is a strong networker who makes things happen. His passion for the environment resulted in his involvement in Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper’s Board since its early beginnings.

Grey Hecht headshot

grey hecht

vocal

Grey is a green home builder, philanthropist, farmer and restorationist who has been lucky enough to have grown up in the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest in the United States. Tempered by rural lifestyle and a family culture of environmental stewardship, Grey is committed to the Waterkeeper mission of water protection and has been Board member of the Waterkeeper Alliance since 2009. Grey received a BA in Environmental Biology from Southern Oregon University, is owner of Grey & Green, Cloudburst Enterprises, and Small Creek Farm in Oregon, and co-owner/founder of the Ola Honua Restoration Project in Maui. He is husband to Nicoya, and father of two boys, Kadin and Gracen. Grey enjoys ultra-running, surfing, snow sports, rivers and mountains to help keep him sane and enriched.

Roberto de la Ossa headshot

roberto de la ossa

fiscal

Originally from San José, Roberto moved to Santa Teresa on 2009. He has a major in Industrial Engineering at the University of Costa Rica. He has been the General Manager at Tropico Latino Hotel since 2009 from where he has been actively involved in environmental initiatives like the Blue Flag Award from the local beaches and rivers. Roberto is member of the advisory board of the National Alliance of Rivers and Watersheds of Costa Rica. Passionate about water, surfing, and videography, Roberto founded Rio Documentaries which present relevant environmental issues intertwining research, facts, human, and personal experiences in order to explain in a visual, creative, and deep way different angles to a same story. His goal is to diffuse information and provide context enabling education, awareness raising, and a call for action. Roberto’s passion for water drove him to become part of the Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper Board of Directors.

Carolina Chavarría headshot

carolina chavarría

Waterkeeper® & ED

Carolina has a major in International Relations at the Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, a Master’s Degree in International Cooperation for Development at the University of Pavia, Italy, and a Translation and Interpretation Certificate from the University of California-San Diego Extension. From 2004, she has been working with non-governmental organizations managing and designing social development projects and strategies for developing countries, which has taken her to live in Italy, Morocco, the Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, Bolivia, and back to her native Costa Rica. Originally from San José, driven by her passion for nature and water, on October 2012 she moved to the beautiful town of Santa Teresa on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast to initiate the Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper Organization.

Ariadna Sánchez headshot

ariadna sánchez

solid waste project manager

Ariadna holds a degree in Natural Resources Management from Universidad Estatal a Distancia and studies in graphic design at Universidad de Costa Rica. With a background in the arts area at Conservatorio de Castella, and studies of science and nature at the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje and other institutions, she has combined these disciplines creating her own way of doing environmental education for the past 20 years. Ariadna has worked for non-profit organizations such as the Organization for Tropical Studies and Centro de Investigación de Recursos Naturales y Sociales being in charge of the Outreach and Environmental Education Programs. Ariadna has also worked as a naturalist guide for more than 15 years for different educational and travel agencies, mainly in the South Pacific area but also around Costa Rica and other countries. She has had experience working with different groups including young students, teenagers, teachers, decision makers, farmers, indigenous groups, and scientists on a variety of projects about environment and sustainability.

Mariana Cassini headshot

mariana cassini

communication coordinator

Originally from Argentina, Mariana moved to Santa Teresa in 2017 and fell in love with its nature and people. She studied Political Science at the University of Buenos Aires and wants to advocate her career to Environmental Politics. She also studied at Goethe University in Germany where she took courses related to participative innovations and citizen engagement and determined the importance of local governments and civic participation in public policies. Mariana always worked in the communication sector in companies such as Mercedes Benz or AHK Argentina and understands that through a conscious education you can inspire different actors to take action. She is certain that without biodiversity and clean ecosystems the world as we know it doesn’t work, so that’s why she will encourage nature from wherever she is.

Kenneth Alfaro headshot

kenneth alfaro

project coordinator for water pollution prevention

Kenneth holds a degree in Environmental Engineering from the Tecnológico de Costa Rica. He has professional experience in wastewater treatment, community water management and integrated solid waste management, has worked as an independent consultant for the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), Fundación Avina and Marviva Foundation, and has experience in environmental education and political advocacy in water and sanitation from his work at the Suwo Di Foundation of which he is a founder and in the Youth Network for Water Central America as coordinator of Costa Rica, he was part of the board of directors of the Costa Rican Water Resources Association and Environmental Sanitation (ACREH-AIDIS), and currently serves as representative of the AIDIS Joven technical division. Believes in the importance of achieving a true sustainable development in the country to become an example for the world, he promotes the achievement of sustainable development goals (SDGs) especially those that go hand in hand with the work of Waterkeepers # 6 Clean Water and Sanitation, # 12 Responsible Production and Consumption and # 14 Life Below Water.

Cindy Murillo headshot

cindy murillo

project technician

Originally from the north of Costa Rica, Cindy moved to Santa Teresa 12 years ago. She studied Ecotourism Activities in the Agricultural and Industrial Technical School (ETAI). During her first steps into the tourist market, she noticed the huge environmental problems that this field encounters and the few amount of people that lead the change, that is why in 2016 she decided to take action. Cindy began working at an NGO aiming to develop sea turtle conservation programs, restoration of the Caletas-Ario Wildlife Refuge, and the Ecological Blue Flag Beach and Ario River program which are now fully consolidated. Following her call to action, Cindy started working in 2019 at the Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper organization providing support in the efficient solid waste management project in the coastal area of the South of the Nicoya Peninsula.

Beach clean-ups

we want to help you become a guardian of the water

Ocean close-up

100% of your money goes directly to protecting our coastal waters

Poseidon guardians
Waterkeeper Alliance Member logo

Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper is a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance ~ waterkeeper.org, a global network of more than 300 Waterkeeper Organizations dedicated to cleaning up rivers, lakes and coasts through grassroots action. The vision of the Waterkeeper Movement is for swimmable, drinkable, fishable waterways worldwide. The guiding principle of Waterkeepers is that without water, there can be no life, and without clean water, there can be no healthy life.

Water is at the core of today's most pressing issues—security and scarcity, energy and climate change, the cause and spread of infectious disease. Communities are looking for ways to protect our right to clean water, as the quality and quantity of water resources decline around the world.

Coastal and marine water resources in the southern end of the Peninsula face threats which Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper addresses through research, field work, education, and advocacy.

meet our team

board of directors

sergio guido

Sergio Guido headshot

president

ana maría pinto

Ana María Pinto headshot

vice president

jennifer harter

Jennifer Harter headshot

secretary

favio lópez

Favio López headshot

treasurer

grey hecht

Grey Hecht headshot

vocal

roberto de la ossa

Roberto de la Ossa headshot

fiscal

staff

carolina chavarría

Carolina Chavarría headshot

Waterkeeper® & ED

ariadna sánchez

Ariadna Sánchez headshot

solid waste project manager

mariana cassini

Mariana Cassini headshot

communication coordinator

cindy murillo

Cindy Murillo headshot

project technician

kenneth alfaro

Kenneth Alfaro headshot

project coordinator for water pollution prevention

Ocean graphic

where we work

Wher we work green map

area description

There is one main river in the area, the Ario, as well as numerous streams and seasonal waterways.

The Ario joins the Bongo river approximately 1.2km before flowing into the Pacific Ocean. The Ario River, born inland in the northern most part of the Cóbano District, has been identified by GRUAS II (Proposed Zoning for Biodiversity Conservation in Costa Rica) as one of the major gaps in ecosystem representation and has proposed this watershed as a protected area of 10.023,23 ha.

higher ario watershed

The Higher Ario Watershed is characterized by broken terrain part of the central peninsular mountain chain which currently forms part of an important regional biological corridor. The grazing pastures give way to less altered environments such as gallery forests. A more thorough recognition of this area needs to be done in order to assess its main problems/opportunities comprising the communities that have a strong relation with the river.

The Lower Ario Watershed comprises tributaries (Caño Seco, Ceritral, Negro and Seco rivers) as well as the surrounding land from Cerro Villalta downwards. The lower watershed of the Ario is a mixture of riparian areas, gallery forests, agricultural land, pastures for cattle grazing and small rural towns. Near the coast, approximately 1.2 km inland, Ario joins with the Bongo River forming an estuary of environmental relevance currently protected through the Caletas Ario National Wildlife Refuge. Artisanal fishing and recreational activities such as bathing and camping also occur along this river.

caletas-ario national wildlife refuge

The Caletas-Ario National Wildlife Refuge is located along the coast of Ario and Caletas, with a total of 9.36km of coast. The Refuge’s total area is 20.179 hectares, of which 332 ha. terrestrial and 19.846 ha. marine. This Refuge includes areas such as mangroves, marshes, rivers, estuaries, marine rocky reefs, and beaches that serve as nesting grounds for 4 different species of marine turtles. The Caletas wetland is an area that has been severely affected by the creation of illegal rice fields, causing great environmental damage. Regrettably, this wetland received the 2010 Grey Globe Award, given by the World Wetland Network for inadequate management of wetlands.

bajos de ario

The Bajos de Ario community is located just before the junction of the Ario and Bongo and in the outskirts of the Caletas-Ario National Wildlife Refuge. The people of this community work mainly in the cattle and agricultural sectors with a minority traveling to the neighboring tourism communities to work. The lack of job availability in the community is forcing the locals to move elsewhere. Bajos de Ario relies on private water wells for their water supply.

bello horizonte

Bello Horizonte is a small town 2kms inland from Manzanillo. The area is home to many locals whose primary source of employment is tourism and construction in the neighboring towns of Hermosa and Santa Teresa. The majority of the area is owned primarily by local Costarican families in small cattle farms. Many of these farms are slowly being broken down into smaller parcels and sold off to either foreigners or to Costaricans from other areas of the country.

manzanillo, hermosa, santa teresa, carmen and mal país

Manzanillo, Hermosa, Santa Teresa, Carmen and Mal País communities are very renowned touristic destinations in Costa Rica. Having a very distinct high and low tourism seasons, the population of these communities doubles at the peak of the high season (December through April). The majority of the accommodations are small hotels or bed and breakfasts that cater all types of tourism, from adventure, sports, surf and environmental-driven tourism to leisure, relaxation and yoga. There are a few high-end resorts in the area which maintain a small number of rooms.

The maritime-terrestrial zones in these communities are managed as state concessions and are controlled by a land use regulation plan. Land use outside the maritime-terrestrial zones is not yet regulated.

cabo blanco absolute nature reserve

The Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve was Costa Rica’s first protected national park and was the first conservation area with a management category and that included a marine component in all of the Central American Region. This Natural Reserve serves as a shelter for marine flora and fauna and its surrounding unprotected waters have seen an increase of biodiversity that has benefitted the marine health as well as the income for small artisanal fishers of Cabuya and Mal País.