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 a few of the hotels we use on this tour and the sustainable tourism methods they employ.
Pacuare Lodge is a good example of how a very comfortable lodge can be built in a remote forested location with a strong commitment to conservation, improving life in nearby communities, and mitigation of their environmental impact through recycling, using organic ingredients and reforestation, to offer you a carbon-neutral stay. Accessed by white water rafting Pacuare's eco-friendly bungalows are nestled between the river and their private nature reserve, which conserves 300 hectares (740 acres) of primary rainforest. The buildings are made of wood from tree farms and palm thatch collected in the rainforest by their Cabecar Indian neighbours. Each bungalow combines sustainable practices such as solar-heated water and low-impact septic systems with comforts such as orthopaedic mattresses and spacious bathrooms. They assist three primary school located along the river route used to access the lodge and a jaguar research study in the Pacuare Protected Zone. They have attained level 5 certification - the highest possible under Costa Rica's COST sustainable tourism rating system which is verified by Rainforest Alliance.
Volcano Lodge & Gardens has a very different location situated in the popular resort town of Arenal but is involved in a number of outreach projects in its local community. Their buying department is pledged to do everything in their power to locate and purchase products which are biodegradable, returnable, reusable, recycled, or recyclable. The hotel's rubbish is separated and packed then given to a local women's association Z13 who can sell the glass, plastic, aluminium. Profits are used to assist low income families and a local orphanage and safe house put in place to educate and protect abandoned children. They sell T-shirts the profits from which are used to promote urban beautification and cleaning work along local rivers and roadsides. They have a reforestation project offering guests the opportunity to plant an endemic tree at the base of Arenal Volcano.
Capitan Suizo on the coast at Tamarindo supports a non-profit organization which works towards the improvement of national parks. It carries out the responsible disposal of rubbish, produces and uses only organic fertilizer, carries out environmental awareness education in schools, financially support various local committees and have signed the Code of Conduct for the protection of children and young people from commercial sexual exploitation in Costa Rica. They regularly host events so that guests can get acquainted with Costa Rican culture. There are atmospheric evenings with Marimba music, folkloric dance performances by local students, and sometimes host local handicraft demonstrations when the artisans have an opportunity to showcase and sell their creations.
On this trip you will visit National Parks at Arenal volcano reserve, Rincon de la Vieja and Monteverde. The entrance fee goes toward the conservation of these protected areas.