As an in depth specialist tour operator to Costa Rica responsible tourism is at the very heart of what we do. To us, this means much more than a simple donation to a charity for each client. We try to build long and constructive involvements with local guides, guest houses, wildlife lodges, and hotels, in the course of which we, and our clients, can make lasting wide-ranging contributions to the wonderful places and people we engage with. In this itinerary we use several lodges that fit with this philosophy perfectly, employing local guides and bringing long-term benefits to the local community. We are the first tour operator in the UK to form a partnership with the Rainforest Alliance to work towards the implementation of best management practices in sustainable tourism. In real terms this means that we are working with hotels who are making a positive impact on their local community – socially, environmentally and economically.
Outlined below are hotels we use that employ sustainable tourism methods.
Trogon Lodge employs energy saving tactics and contributes the local economy, helping to demonstrate that ecotourism is a more sustainable long term way to earn income than destroying or altering habitats for short term gains. The Lodge employs interpretive nature guides who are either trained in biology or have significant local knowledge of the habitat and provides books, posters, maps, photographs and other ways to inform guests and visitors about the biology of the area. It helps train and employ local people at fair wages and informs guests, staff and visitors on the importance and value of a healthy ecosystem and describes how to best enjoy the area without impacting it.
La Quinta de Sarapiqui Country Inn provides jobs for people in the local community (95% of their positions go to local workers). They have developed collaboration programs with local schools, consisting of cultural exchanges with their guests and including donations for improvements to installations and the acquisition of educational materials. They sponsor local cultural and sports activities. They grant four scholarships to students from the local high school. They are involved in community development and local environmental associations and in all the activities meant to improve quality of life in the community of Sarapiquí. They have adopted environmental protection measures through programmes for recycling, saving resources, and the use of non-contaminating products, and they educate tourists about these programmes.
Hacienda Guachipelin is focused on being a self-sufficient community, using energy production methods that are ecologically correct. For example, the water heaters use solar energy and electricity is produced by a water wheel. The property comprises 1600 hectares of land, of which 700 hectares are set aside for the conservation of the tropical dry forest; 575 hectares are used as pastureland; and 325 hectares are being reforested with species in danger of extinction. They are currently working on a methane gas biodigestor. It's a system to process sewage water, grease from the kitchen and other organic residues. Out of the process methane and liquid fertilizer is obtained. The gas is being used on the workers kitchen on the first stage. On the second stage, gas will be used in the hotel's kitchen. This way they are reducing the need for petroleum bi-products. From the effluent they obtain liquid fertilizer. This is used to fertilize the pastures of the Hacienda.
On this trip you will visit National Parks at Sarapiqui and Carara. The entrance fee goes toward the conservation of these protected areas.