Directory 506 was created by three friends, mothers, and community journalism advocates who’ve joined forces to shine a spotlight on Costa Rican communities. We’re building Costa Rica’s first national directory of rural tourism, along with a bilingual media organization that showcases and serves underreported communities through in-depth journalism and travel content.
For travelers, Directory 506 makes it easier to connect with Costa Rican communities before, during, and after a journey. Before a visit, you can browse a wide range of rural enterprises and nonprofits by destination or category, making it easier to put together a trip that steps off the beaten path and explores new destinations. During a trip, you can learn new things about their destinations to enrich their experience. After you leave, you can use our platform to stay connected with the communities that stole your hearts—and, through our digital magazine, El Colectivo 506, you can continue reading about the people who made their visit unique. Oftentimes, the most memorable hosts from a Costa Rican journey are those who don’t have their own blog, website, or Instagram feed. We’re here to bridge that gap and make it possible to stay connected.
For rural businesses and nonprofits, Directory 506 offers an affordable and accessible way to reach potential customers with a particular interest in authentic, experiential travel—and to stay connected with those customers after their visit ends. What sets us apart? Directory 506 subscribers join Costa Rica’s only national platform focused exclusively on rural tourism; the only such platform to include nonprofits, an essential part of rural tourism in Costa Rica; and the only platform that works hand-in-hand with an in-depth news magazine. The COVID-19 crisis showed us that the ability to communicate and tell stories online is essential for businesses and nonprofits trying to survive. Part of our mission is to help them build those skills.
Katherine Stanley Obando, the editor of El Colectivo 506, is a journalist specializing in in-depth reporting on immigration, education, women’s rights, and civil society initiatives. She is the former editor-in-chief of The Tico Times in San José, and is an experienced nonprofit leader and coach with extensive grant development, research, fundraising and project management experience. She is the co-founder of JumpStart Costa Rica and the Costa Rica Corps—both of which focus on engaging volunteers in creating opportunities for rural and low-income rural communities—and is happiest when working to share her skills with nonprofit organizations and small businesses. Katherine lives in San José with her Costa Rican husband Adrián and daughter Emma, for whom she wrote “Love in Translation: Letters to My Costa Rican Daughter,” published in 2016.
Mónica Quesada Cordero is an award-winning Costa Rican photographer with 15 years’ experience in project development across multiple branches of photography, including the fast-paced editorial world as well as other demanding areas of photography such as portraiture, wildlife, food, and architecture. She discovered photography as a college student and changed her life to follow her new passion wholeheartedly. She has complemented her images with writing and editorial experience and a master’s degree in Audiovisual and Multimedia Production from the Universidad de Costa Rica. Monica is very interested in the subjects of healthy aging, conservation and equality; she co-founded El Colectivo 506 because of her deep commitment to in-depth photojournalism that is guided by her belief in the worth of each person’s story. She lives in San José with her husband Thomas, her two toddlers Toby and Kiran, and their dogs and chickens.
Pippa Kelly Varela is a rural tourism entrepreneur, educator and community advocate. Originally from Australia, she first came to Costa Rica as a community volunteer in 2001. She has spent 13 years in Costa Rica and is now a proud Costa Rican citizen. She is the co-founder of the award-winning Casitas Tenorio B&B in Bijagua, in Costa Rica’s Northern Zone, where she lives with her three binational daughters. Pippa works tirelessly to connect her community with new opportunities—through English classes, environmental education projects, trainings, cultural experiences and more—and to raise her voice on behalf of hard-working rural families. She is passionate about sharing the beauty, goodness, and generosity of rural Costa Rican communities with the world, and watching travelers fall in love and make deep connections with the country that has transformed her life.
Our team of journalists brings together decades of experience in generating high-quality written stories, photographic projects, and videos—and a passion for showcasing rural businesses and nonprofits. Since we began publication in January 2021, we have created videos, long-form journalism and more, with and for rural entrepreneurs and nonprofits.
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