Costa Rica homestay holidays



Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Costa Rica homestay holidays


San Gerardo de Rivas is a model in Costa Rica in reforestation, recycling, organic farming and clean water.
All our host families have committed to participate in our local recycling programs and to promote the use of homegrown vegetables and fruit in our meals. All our families grow their own foods and do so without using chemical fertilizers. Fruit and fruit juices are produced locally, salads, and cooked vegetables such as chayote, squash, green beans and plantain are plentiful and featured in our menus.
Our guests are provided with information about how to respect wildlife and their habitats every day when enjoying the outdoors by using marked trails for hiking and horseback riding, not removing any specimens and not leaving any garbage. We are promoting the sloth repatriation program at Cloudbridge Reserve and we are proud to say other species such as peccaries, puma and spider monkeys are returning to the area.
We conserve energy through promoting many of our tours on foot although a car is available for elderly visitors or difficult access is necessary. San Gerardo residents are avid walkers and homestay guests will inevitably be invited to participate in family hikes and visits to local sites on foot.
San Gerardo de Rivas is a five star winner of the Bandera Azul program that promotes environmental protection. Local spring water is fully potable and garbage collection is just once a month - mostly because we don't produce much garbage as we do not consume packaging or support processed food products.


The organisation is owned and managed by Jenny Moss, Directora of Proyecto San Gerardo - a community-based program providing access to skills acquisition through classes (computer skills, English, cafe apprenticeship program to name some), local scholarships for high school and university students to keep young people in school, employment opportunities through Cafe Bambu and the community website:

As such CRHH works as a social enterprise i.e. we provide higher than normal payments to families for hosting our guests and work with a number of small tour operators, local artists and guides to increase their business. Our tours include visits to a local craft gallery where visitors can support artesania of the area and we provide each visitor with a free copy of San Gerardo Recipes: a local cookbook written by the women of San Gerardo de Rivas and translated into English to share our delicious homemade recipes and support local projects.

We are focussed on supporting women as frequently the main breadwinner of the family and as such our family payments are made only to the woman of the family.

All our guests are provided with a homestay package before they arrive with hints on local cultural norms and traditions to make their stay easier and encourage them to respect local cutoms. Our families have likewise received training in inter-cultural awareness and communication so that CRHH sustains a culture of mutual respect and cultural interest.

Our staff all volunteer with Proyecto San Gerardo as well as other local organizations (UPIAV, the church) and have been responsible for developing the apprenticeship program at Cafe Bambu as well as managing overseas fundraising for the project.

Reviews of Costa Rica homestay holidays

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 08 May 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

I enjoyed every moment of my stay but being taught to dance Bachata by my
host family would have to be the highlight.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If possible, ask to be placed at Dona Leila's house. She was the most
wonderful host - incredibly friendly, very patient with my basic Spanish and
an amazing cook.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Definitely. I was immersed in the local small village community and the money from my homestay and other tours and activities was helping the locals sustain their traditional way of life. The environmental impact was minimal due as I was staying in a homestay and mainly using public transport, and I was able to donate towards local reforestation projects when hiking in the nearby nature reserve.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Wonderful - such friendly people, a beautiful location in the mountains and surrounded by cloud forest, and a fantastic way to experience authentic
Costa Rica.

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