We don't see a soul on the gentle 30-minute ride in a chingo, another local type of canoe, hand-carved from wood. Valencia points out birds, crocodiles, and the endemic mangrove species in the swampy saline waters before we jump off and push through a fringe of virgin jungle. He leads us to the paddy fields, our Wellington-clad feet sloshing in the mud as he slices through a tangle of tropical brush with the machete. Suddenly, Valencia stops for a beat and turns around slowly to face us, a thick red and beige snake hanging off his machete—dead. We've fortunately been spared as its second breakfast. Composing ourselves, we press on. "The tradition of growing rice has always been part of our culture," Valencia says. "But we stopped because of the cheaper commercial rice—and this work is hard. But when we produce it this way, it's natural and organic. Why spend your money on rice that is unhealthy?" Knee-deep in mud that sinks unpredictably, Valencia points out the prized baldoceño rice, one of several varieties that thrives here in the humidity. "An education is very important," he says," But all [four] of my sons know how to grow rice too. If I die, they will be able to make a living, like my father and I have."