Costa Rica private reserve eco lodge

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Costa Rica private reserve eco lodge


A group of twenty three local families came together to protect the land from deforestation and formed a community association called ABIPA (Asociación Bijagueña de Productores Agrícolas). With determination and commitment ABIPA was successful and stopped the imminent deforestation of 73 hectares (about 175 acres) of primary rainforest in 1991. IDA assigned the land to ABIPA as a new model of conservation in Costa Rica whereby rainforest is protected in private reserves and managed by local communities.

The community association own the land and the rainforest. We received a government grant for protection of the rainforest given certain conditions.

Staff:Employees are trained on how to be guides and are shown educational presentations from various organisations and experts that visit. Staff have opportunities to combine study with work.

Set aside projects: Much of the money gets reinvested in the rainforest and conservation projects that help the community. We have run environmental courses for the local children. All the food is purchased locally. All employees are from the local community.

Environmental programmes: Planting trees through local youth cooperative, engaging and promoting carbon neutral tourism and educational and environmental activities (all ages) based at the lodge.

• Construction materials for many buildings are recycled and have been sourced locally.

• Heliconias Lodge and Rainforest actively engages in recycling tourist and internal waste.

• Tourists are encouraged to offset their carbon emissions by plating trees with the local youth cooperative COOPEJUBI.

• The private reserve is managed and maintained to ensure no hunting or tree felling takes place.

• Sustainability (social, economic and environmental) guides all management decisions.

• Heliconias Lodge and Rainforest has connections with the National Institute of Biodiversity (InBio), the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), The Volcano Miravalles and Tenorio Biological Corridor (FUNDESTEMI), Arenal Conservation Area (ACA) and Tenorio Volcano National Park.


Social programmes: English language courses, training on how to start and maintain a cooperative and purchasing environmental books and material for the local school.

Social pride: Maintaining and protecting primary rainforest and being a leader for conservation research and guidance.

Local benefits: Tours to traditional local farms and homes. Provide locally produced meals. Provides direct and indirect employment to locals keeping the tourist dollar in the local area facilitating community development.

Tourists involvement: Building projects, tree planting and other volunteer opportunities.

• Successful in preserving and protecting the natural environment in the reserve and engaging in eco tourism for many years

• Raising the profile and importance of conservation in the community.

• Supporting the local community by providing employment and business development.

• Opening the door for tourism to develop in Bijagua.

• Facilitating tourism to Rio Celeste and the Tenorio Volcano National Park.

• Working with many Costa Rican and international organizations.

• Inspiring members of the local community and tourists in regards to conservation and protection.

Your visit to the Heliconias Rainforest and Lodge will contribute in the development of our ecotourism and conservation projects, and at the same time, it will help the socioeconomic development of Bijagua. Your tourist dollar stays in and supports our local community!

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