A view of Chirripò Mountain from the forests of Longo Mai.

Rio Convento is a fresh water river that is often used as a swimming hole for locals. 

Longo Mai citizens care deeply about their natural world and are strongly committed to keeping control of their land. They have joined together and neighboring communities to apply public pressure to reverse harmful government. For example, Longo Mai citizens lead the resistance to proposed projects to pipe water away from the community to far away real estate development and beach resorts. Longo Mai is also an important part of a region-wide popular movement that has succeeded in protecting about twenty beautiful mountain rivers of the southwestern region of the country from hydroelectric  projects which threaten to dry them up. This includes protecting the two rivers through Longo Mai, the Convento and Sonador, which continue to flow freely from the Talamanca mountain range. These two rivers are known for their clean mountain water, which lacks the sediment accumulation common in other parts of the world. This water, essential for life, provides an increasingly rare opportunity for researchers to come and take samples, as well as to see the flora and fauna living there.   

It is a constant, difficult effort to balance the need for employment with environmental protection, but this leads to innovation that benefits the region. Longo Mai farmers grow sugar cane and coffee, but the coffee crops have been greatly affected by the spread of the roya fungus throughout Costa Rica. This fungus has eradicated approximately 40 percent of the existing coffee and threatens to eliminate nearly all the rest within 5 years. Longo Mai has prepared for the future with research into new practices such as experimenting with a new coffee variety called Obata that is potentially more resistant to the roya.

A pineapple plantation on the outskirts of Longo Mai. Plantations like the one above go on for miles in all directions and cause severe erosion, deforestation, and introduce chemicals to the environment in the form of pesticides.