LETTER FROM THE EDITOR :
There is only one tiny, final refuge in the world where the beautiful Red Necked Parrot has survived the depredations of man.
And that's on the Caribbean island of Dominica, where it is known as Jaco. At one time, like the Caribs themselves, they were found in their thousands from South America and up the island chain. But now, though a 'threatened species', they can only survive in the mountainous, unreachable terrain of Dominica. Amongst the high cascades and impenetrable rainforests of Morne Diablotin, Morne Trois Piton and the Central Forest Reserve the Jacos wing their freedom.
Oh yes..and in my garden.
In quite large, noisy numbers. Perched high up in the grapefruit trees these mannerless birds hurl abuse at each other across the orchard. They stuff themselves with citrus, stripping the fat juicy grapefruit from its outer skin with their claws and beaks, an inherited skill of millennia. Standing on my verandah at treetop height, I can almost reach out and touch them.
They are almost too tame, these gorgeous-plumed raucous birds, and their survival on our planet lies in the hands of one small visionary Forestry Commission and an under funded Planning Department.
Recently an innovative company started up commercial helicopter rides to the famous Boiling Lake. Visitors could get airlifted over the World Heritage Site Mountains, and hover over the Boiling Lake in return for a large fee. It was'nt long before it was spotted that the parrots were disturbed by this monster bird crashing through the air above their safe habitat. And so the company was forced to close its doors and take its helicopters to another island. An island where the authorities could'nt care less about wildlife habitats. The future is encouraging for the Jaco if these are the types of anti-commercial decisions that this small country will continue to make.
Dominicans' first language, the language of their childhood, is Creole, and there are myths and legends told in Creole for every single tree, leaf, animal and insect in their world.
Jaco and Wamye (the scaly-naped Pigeon) disagree and can be heard to argue sometimes in the rainforest, so the Creole legend goes. Jaco, whenever he is disturbed or startled, looks up to see where the danger is coming from. He learnt to do this because it was a falling leaf from the Bwa Kanno (Trumpet Tree) which killed his unsuspecting mother.
But Wamye argues back, no no you silly bird, you must always look down, because your most dangerous enemy is man!
This may explain why Wamye is not on the endangered list and Jaco is!
In the magazine this month....
Hot of the Press has a number of unmissable news items, including a Beauty Competiton in Grenada from Paradise Bay, (take a look at some of the contestants!), LiveNevis sponsors a new cricket series in tiny Nevis with a team that promises to match up to the biggest in the region, a Medellin company receives private investment capital from the US and The PanamaTeam announces that growth is expected to hit a surprising 10% this year. A Cruiseship Development in Jamaica is meeting resistance from Environmental Groups and we get updates from hurricane-hit Yucatan.
Colombia is the new new 'hot spot' for expats, transpats and investors sniffing out new interesting places to invest in a second home or even relocate to start a new business and a new life. Its no longer adventurous to go to Colombia, tourism is up, returns are quantifiable, and its now a fine place to make new friends and establish a new lifestyle.
This month we focus on Columbia, both in Medellin and in some little known tropical Caribbean islands owned by Columbia and not yet discovered by the rest of the world. Tim Hickman writes about living in San Andres and Providencia, and gives us some good inside advice about banking for the expat. Esteban Rada is a young lawyer from Medellin who works with expats regularly, and gives a brief summary of the legal requirements for expats moving to Colombia. Another Colombian contribution comes from Mitch Tyndal, an American who tells his story of renovating an 11 bedroomed hotel and starting a new life in Medellin .
For anyone thinking of buying property in the Caribbean, there is nothing more effective to help make a wise decision than a comparitive tour, with professionals on hand showing you the property and delivering all the facts and figures on the spot. MexicoLive is currently running a Series of Discovery Weekends in Puerta Vallarta which are excellent value, since they cost you nothing!
An Italian expat tells us why he loves living in the Venezuelan Andes , and we have a wonderful story from a Californian Berkeley professor who after 20 years of growing coffee in Guatemala , is retiring 'again' at over 80.
The Caribbean is rich with pirates and apocryphal tales of treasure. Our Pirates of Roatan article is truly filled with treasure, and if you care to take up the challenge and compete in the Glittering Getaway Competition, you can win a FREE weekend in the Bay Islands.
Caring for our Climate is a responsibility of our everyday lives. Climatecare.org have a Carbon Counter where you can find out how much carbon your next air journey will create , and buy credits to fund a project which removes an equivalent amount of carbon from our planet. A zero carbon footprint is a hard goal, but little steps keep that footprint shrinking for each of us.
Trinidad is the industrial and commercial engine that drives the Eastern Caribbean, but Reg Block tells us that it still retains an impressive biodiversity.
And finally one of those armchair tales from a medical officer on a tall ship , the type where you can hear the wind rattling in the top gallants, and feel the keel way below your bare toes, responding to the spinning wheel beneath your sunburned fingers.
Pick of the Month for this Columbian Focus issue is a stunning mansion not far from the capital Bogota . A hugely successful Fishing and Dive Business in Cozumel goes onto the market, one of those businesses that has outrun its creators.
And our special favourite this month is some very affordable condos in Belen, Costa Rica . These are probably the scoop of the month. Look at this..."Buy the two side by side condos for $150K, live in one and rent the other out for $600 p/month. That will cover all your living expenses here in paradise."
Pour yourself a rum punch, or make yourself a ginger and noni herbal tea, (much kinder on the liver), settle back comfortably and read on.
Dont forget you can print copies of this whole issue, or just the articles you are interested in. Scroll to the bottom of the page you are reading and click on Click Here to download this article in PDF format and then click print.
We take a look at the US Virgin Islands, hear about Rainforest Ecotherapy, get expert advice on how and why to buy property in Belize, find out about a private Community in Turks and Caicos, and hear of expat life in Antigua.
Until then - Happy reading
editor at caribpro dot com