The Refugio Tinti is a conservation project based in the south of Costa Rica.
Located near the Piedras Blancas National Park, 40km from the border to Panama, the Refugio Tinti was founded in 2016.
What used to be a rice monoculture contaminated by agrochemicals was turned into a wildlife sanctuary for an ever-increasing number of species. The Refugio is built on 24 hectares of swampland, the most endangered type of habitat worldwide.
Our aim is to guide communities to operate in harmony with nature.
The development of modern technologies over the last 200 years has led to an ongoing exclusion of humans from natural cycles. This has disastrous consequences for our biosphere, which is why we dedicate our work to reconcile human societies with natural environments.
In this excerpt from our presentation at the 9th World Conference on Ecological Restoration, we summarize our view of this challenge.
We observe and mimic
natural systems to restore habitats.
In recent decades, interdisciplinary research has succeeded in getting closer to explain the principle of life as a network of relationships. This systemic approach forms the basis of everything we do in the Refugio.
To illustrate how we implement this approach, we developed an interactive map for you to explore the Refugio. Have fun!
Using these methods, our soil has been restored in record time. The failure rate of young trees in our reforestation is not more than 3%. The ever-increasing biodiversity on our land is also considerable. Not only plants but also numerous endangered species of anials have found new homes and are breeding in the Refugio.
Meet our team.
Alexander was born in Vienna, Austria. After studies in art and natural sciences in Vienna he worked as a director and stage designer for the theater in Austria, Germany and New York City. Concerned by the rampant destruction of the environment he changed course and studied soil biology and permaculture. 1998 he moved to Asia, where he was involved in various environmental and artistic projects. 2016 he moved to Costa Rica to develop the Refugio Tinti, a wildlife sanctuary and permacultural farm. Apart from that, he develops concepts for the diversification of monocultures into profitable food forests and actively participates in the government project AMISTOSA, the biological corridor between the Osa Peninsula and La Amistad National Park. In his free time Alexander likes to paint and write.
Max Mena Castillo
Max, from the nearby town of Rio Claro, has a vast array of skills. Apart from running his own organic farm, his experiences are ranging from reforesting to construction, repairing cars and building technical equipment, assisting in office and administration, and, last not least, he carried over a lot of valuable traditional knowledge from his grandfather. He has a big love for nature and a strong sense for perfection in whatever he does. Having lived in Germany for some years Max speaks fluently German.
Mauricio Garita Mendez
Mauricio is from our village and works almost since it’s beginnings in the Refugio. He is in charge of maintenance and his specialty is heavy work and heat composting. Together with Esteban he also takes care of our pair of water buffalos. Mauricio has a passion for English which he picks up very fast just by listening.
Esteban Corrales Cruz
Esteban also grew up in our community. He joined our team in 2019. Before that, he worked in palm plantations. Now he is in charge of maintenance and takes care of our vegetable gardens and our beloved chicken. Together with Mauricio he also tends to Mario and Leonie, our awe-inspiring water buffalos.
Rene Diaz Flores
René, originally from Nicaragua, moved to Costa Rica many years ago. He is our loyal and reliable night guard who keeps us and our animals safe while we are sleeping. Up all night, he reports every morning about animals that we rarely see, such as the crab-eating racoon, kinkajous, anteaters and many others. Rene has a beautiful daughter Nicole.
Mario comes from Vienna and joined the Refugio Tinti team in March 2020 during a three-month stay in Costa Rica. He currently studies Statistics and works in Neuroscience research at ETH Zurich. Previously he graduated from the University of Oxford in Economics and Management. He is responsible for public relations, fundraising, and supports the development of new projects at the Refugio.