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:
Xandari’s goal is to diminish the environmental impact of their hotel operations and to protect the invaluable natural resources of the area. Xandari has a comprehensive recycling program. Waste byproducts are composted and used to fertilize the gardens. Fruits and vegetables are to a large extent grown organically. Laundry is dried outdoors in the sun as often as possible to conserve energy. They have a program to encourage and preserve the local culture of the surrounding villages. When the land where Xandari Resort is now located was purchased in 1989, the property was almost entirely planted with coffee, except for those areas too steep to harvest. There were few birds or butterflies as there were no trees, bushes or flowers to attract them. Slowly, they began to replace areas of coffee with trees and tropical plants in an effort to return the land closer to its natural state. As part of this effort, guests are invited to plant a native tree during their stay. As the many varieties of plants have grown and the gardens extended, increasing numbers of birds are now nesting. They research which trees, bushes and flowers especially attract, feed and provide shelter to the various types of birds and butterflies that inhabit Costa Rica and are constantly adding new varieties to their gardens. As part of their dedication to preserving the environment, a large area of the 40 acre property is being set aside in perpetuity as a nature reserve.
Hotel Punta Islita has pioneered a Responsible Tourism programme that encourages the preservation of local cultures and rational use of natural resources. Community, art, responsibility and environment all underpin the Punta Islita Model. These are pivotal to the hotel´s unique charm and character. Many of these initiatives are important "regional firsts" and include a public library, a composting station, and a recycling programme. The most innovative feature of the Responsible Tourism Model is the visionary emphasis placed on creativity and the Islita Contemporary Art Museum. Self-expression has fostered a heightened sense of empowerment, optimism, and entrepreneurship. The nearby beach of Camaronal is the natural nesting area for hundreds of sea turtles. Threatened by poachers, their numbers had been dwindling at an alarming rate. In collaboration with the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment (MINAE), the Hotel provides resources to guarantee a safe haven during the egg-laying ritual and hatching period of these endangered creatures. The 50 acre area of tropical dry forest situated at the northeast of the Hotel’s property has been designated as a private reserve to promote the conservation and rehabilitation of local species, including the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macau), the Toledo bird (Chiroxipia linearis), and the Pochote tree (Pochota quinata). Hotel Punta Islita participates in the Costa Rican tourism board’s Certification in Sustainable Tourism program (CST). This initiative evaluates travel services companies according to their level of compliance with responsible tourism practices.