This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Responsible tourism: Costa Rica adventure vacation, jungle and beaches
We believe tourism should be educational and sustainable, as well as entertaining. We designed this trip to contribute minimal impact to the local environment with positive benefits to the local communities. All guides follow strict “green ethics”. Reusable water bottles are provided in an effort to encourage less waste and discourage the need for plastic throw-away bottles.
Our local tour operator was among the first in Costa Rica to receive the Certificate of Sustainable Tourism designation, awarded by the Costa Rican Tourism Board. This award is given to companies who consistently achieve or exceed their standards of environmental sustainability, business ethics and cultural sensitivity. They support conservation projects in Costa Rica ranging from rural development programs to sea turtle nest protection and community education programs. Their efforts have been recognized with an Ecotourism Excellence Award from Conservation International. Local personnel participated in a Sustainable Practices workshop given by Rainforest Alliance to learn how to minimize their carbon footprint.
All activities included on this itinerary are ecologically responsible and low-impact: snorkeling, hiking, river rafting, canopy tours. Guides always practice ‘Leave No Trace’ ethics and give clear and committed instructions for interacting with nature and wildlife with efforts to preserve and leave undisturbed the beauty for generations to enjoy.
The Pacuare Lodge is dedicated to sustainable tourism, which means limiting the negative impacts of tours while supporting conservation and providing benefits for nearby communities. Aventuras Naturales, the operator of the Pacuare Lodge, was the first adventure travel company in Costa Rica to acquire parcels of primary forest in this area solely for the purpose of conservation. They have purchased 340 hectares of primary rain forest along the Pacuare River for conservation and in order to offset the atmospheric carbon created by our vehicles, which makes all tours carbon-neutral. The Pacuare Lodge was built with a minimum impact on the surrounding forest and river. No trees were cut to accommodate the bungalows and main lodge, which are built of lumber from a reforestation project run by small farmers. The thatch roofs were made by local Cabécar Indians in their traditional style using palm leaves collected in our forest reserve. Howler monkeys - which were wiped out in the area by indigenous hunters years ago - are being reintroduced to the forest reserve. The lodge’s bathrooms are equipped with biodegradable soap and shampoo and the water for their showers is solar heated. All the lodge’s wastewater flows into state-of-the-art septic systems to avoid pollution of the nearby river. Bungalows are illuminated with lanterns and candles and what little electricity used at the lodge is clean energy generated by a turbine in a nearby stream. Organic products are used as much as possible in meals served at the lodge and on rafting tours. With the help of guests, they are reforesting former pastures in the Pacuare River watershed with native tree species to offset carbon emissions by vehicles and to improve the area’s environmental health. As those trees grow, they will absorb tons of atmospheric carbon while providing habitat for an array of wildlife. A rigorous recycling program extends from the main office to the lodge. At the lodge, they compost organic waste and separate recyclable materials for transport to recycling companies. For lunches served during Pacuare River trips, reusable plates, cups and cutlery is used rather than the disposable plates and cups used by other rafting companies.
The local airline we book for domestic flights, Nature Air, was the first airline to be carbon neutral, which means that they compensate for 100% of all their carbon dioxide emissions by planting trees on the Osa Peninsula. Their ground vehicles use biodegradable and renewable bio-diesel.
Sustainable tourism should improve the lives of local people. This ensures growth to the local economy and support to the community. For instance, the Pacuare Lodge makes regular donations and initiated projects in the communities nearest to the Lodge. The visit to a local family in the indigenous community of Watsi not only allows our clients to interact with the family members but helps the community with direct financial support. Additionally, we demand that our clients are educated by and receive information from guides that are from the local communities and experts in their chosen fields.
Hotels selected for this trip are small, locally-owned and share our environmental approach and beneficially involve the local people. They practice ethical business standards and are committed to environmental preservation through various local projects such as tree planting, trash clean-up, building community structures, and sourcing food locally for their restaurants. They provide economic support to schools and orphanages, national parks, local artisans.
Pacuare Lodge staff is currently helping biologists to study jaguars in the forests along the Pacuare River by providing them with food, lodging, and logistical support, and by the purchasing digital cameras that researchers place on game trails to photograph those shy animals. All Pacuare Lodge staff is from nearby communities and 95% of rafting guides are from Turrialba, the closest city to the lodge. They donate school supplies and other materials to three primary schools in the communities nearest to the lodge and accept donations from guests. They are helping an isolated Cabécar Indian community near the lodge to install a potable water system. The lunch spot on the Pacuare River is rented from a Cabécar family, who feed the organic waste to pigs. Environmental education stressing sustainable practices if offered to local people, staff and guests. They purchase food and other goods from local providers and support organic agriculture.
As members of the IGLTA (International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association), we promise to only work with partners and guides who are conscious and conscientious of the various backgrounds of our globally diverse travelers.