Boca Chica is a quiet village on Panama’s Pacific coast and a favorite launch point for sport fishermen casting out into the waters of the Gulf of Chiriqui, an emerging adventure travel destination. This tiny town consists of approximately 250 residents, two paved roads lined with houses, a school, a shop or two, and a few lodges to accommodate the area’s growing number of visitors. It is also badly in need of a clean-up and better strategies for handling trash. Pending a few improvements, Boca Chicans could benefit greatly from growing tourism in the area, a fact that hasn’t escaped local business owner Donna Skinner.
Skinner, proprietor of the Gone Fishing Panama Resort, is launching a new community project called Orgullo en Boca Chica (Boca Chica Pride) on October 23, 2010. This project will bring together local residents to implement a new recycling program and take part in a mass clean-up of their streets, stores, and homes. The goal of the project is to encourage a sense of pride in the community and foster an ongoing desire to sustain the natural beauty of the town.
Benjamin Loomis, President of Amble Resorts and developer of The Resort at Isla Palenque, an eco-luxury residence community on a neighboring island property, is a principal supporter of Orgullo en Boca Chica. “When searching for Panama real estate we found this pristine corner of Panama in the Gulf of Chiriqui, and we want to help it grow sustainably,” says Loomis. “We support Boca Chica in its efforts to grow and help the people here feel proud of their home and invested in its future.” Culturally-conscious business owners like Loomis and Skinner believe that true sustainability doesn’t stop with protecting the land, but also preserves the livelihoods and lifestyles of local people, preserving the entire character of the destination.
“The need for this project was obvious,” says Skinner, who began her advocacy in Boca Chica’s elementary school where she teaches English. She began stirring up interest in recycling there, and went on to seek donations from local businesses and the participation of residents. The children were the first to get on board, thanks to the dedicated work Skinner has put into improving their school facilities. The kids call themselves ambassadors of the “O” (for orgullo) and paint recycling bins to encourage the rest of the community to recycle.
Despite funding from expat-owned businesses, Skinner is firm about the project’s local focus. “Long term it’s up to the residents,” she says. “It has become my drive to teach them methods and foster their pride, but it’ll be their job to keep it going.” The response of the townspeople has been overwhelming; they are excited to have the town looking great for the upcoming holidays. Skinner hopes Orgullo en Boca Chica will become an annual event to support yearlong initiatives.
About Amble Resorts
Amble Resorts develops and owns unique, upscale resorts and residences which provide ecologically and culturally sensitive travel experiences. Those who want more out of travel, amble with us. http://www.amble.com
About Isla Palenque
The Resort at Isla Palenque will be a secluded and sustainable residence community opening in 2012 with a unique boutique hotel, ingeniously designed residences, and sumptuous amenities.
Orgullo en Boca Chica contact: Donna Skinner, firstname.lastname@example.org.