Tobago eco retreat hotel


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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Tobago eco retreat hotel


This eco retreat was established firmly on green initiative and principles which were at the forefront of the building process and upheld in the day to day running of the retreat.

-In the pre-construction phase, we removed as a few trees as possible from the property. As a result the buildings are kept naturally cooler by the surrounding forest.
-The buildings themselves enjoy a bio-climatic design, taking into account the natural wind direction, positioning of the sun and rainfall directions. The private balconies therefore play a practical role in keeping rooms cool.
-No air conditioning is used.
-Green technology was implemented into the building of the accommodation- floors and external walls are made of clay tiles to help keep the buildings cool, and window and door frames are made from local hard wood.
-All rooms are well lit during the day time with natural light, eliminating the need to use electricity.
-Use of low energy fluorescent bulbs throughout the buildings.

-A permanent rain-fed water system which eliminates the use of chlorine for purification. Instead, a charcoal filter is used to filter the water before pumping it into the taps.
-A swimming pool which utilizes salt instead of chlorine and which was built above ground deliberately to avoid the need for excavation.
-Short-flushing toilets which save water.
-Timers on the pool pumps which are run by electricity.
-Signs are displayed in the rooms asking guests to turn off lights when leaving the room and to indicate the need to have their towels changed by leaving them on the railing of the shower enclosure. This last measure in particular has saved a great deal by cutting down dramatically on energy and time use in the laundry area.
-A composting system by means of which most of the kitchen waste goes into the ground and from which crops sometimes emerge on their own: papaya trees, pumpkin vines, tomato plants.
-We don't use canned products thus eliminating the need to dispose of non-biodegradable containers in a context in which there is no formal re-cycling of products.
-As a result of the above policy, only fresh and frozen perishable products are utilized in the preparation of meals.
-We recycle plastic bags and containers wherever practical and possible.


Community-wise, we support activities in the villages of Moriah and Runnemede. We do so via the provision of donations upon request as well as membership and/or participation on Village Committees. Regina is a member of the Greater Moriah Improvement Association (GMIA) and has been approached to be an advisor to the Moriah/Runnemede Youth Club. Donations both in cash and in kind have been made to both these organizations as well as to the Child Welfare League of Moriah.

At the level of the wider community, we host groups of school children, usually brought in under the auspices of the Tobago House of Assembly and last year during the August vacation, the Agricola Credit Union brought a group of children and their parents for the day to acquaint themselves with the nature aspect of Tourism. The Faculty of Agriculture of the University of the West Indies each year also usually brings their students who are studying Sustainable Tourism for a lecturette and indoor and outdoor tour of the facility so that ideas in this regard can be generated. The session is usually followed by a question and answer period.

In the past we have also assisted the Geriatric home situated in the neighbouring village of Mason Hall by providing a monthly outing for its residents to some place of interest as a means of bringing some light to the lives of these shut-ins, guests are not usually involved with this.

But perhaps most importantly, the workers for the construction of the lodge were in the main recruited from the villages of Moriah and Runnemede (in immediate proximity to Cuffie River Nature Retreat). Although they were largely unskilled, it was felt to be an important principle to have the immediate community receive the greatest benefit from the project and thus the unskilled were trained on the job. It should be noted that now that the property is up and running, all of the workers are from the villages of Moriah and Runnemede indeed most have been here almost from the commencement of operations. Training is ongoing, both on the job and from courses offered by the Tourism Division of the Tobago House of Assembly.

There is also an ongoing and conscious effort to support entrepreneurial activity in the community. Thus chickens, eggs, vegetables, fruit are purchased from local farmers; taxi drivers from the village are employed for the transport of workers and guests; construction workers and mechanics are employed for relevant jobs in these areas.

The lodge offers a variety of nature tours within and outside of the Cuffie River environs to help guests experience the beauty and diversity of Tobago rainforest, wetlands, reefs, and beach tours with the help of specially selected and well-trained Tobagonian guides. Guides introduce guests to the historical sites on the island, to the wildlife to be found in the dry and wetlands, and to the cultural / culinary reality of the island: fresh coconut water, cocoa from the pod, sugarcane from the stalk just to name a few.

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