In August 2020, in the middle of lockdown, Costa Rica announced its 30th national park. And while nations around the world have taken an approach similar to that of Costa Rica, perhaps nowhere else do citizens play as important a part as authorities. We source mussels and other shellfish from Palito on Chira Island, through a women-led collective supported by the University of Costa Rica. When I was 25, I came to Costa Rica for the first time and met my wife Mareike. ‘Costa Rica was not always this model nation.