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Sustainability in Central America

Properties throughout the world are seeking ways to enhance their sustainability efforts. Whether that be through minimizing their footprint on the ground (using local materials in building, minimizing waste, etc.), employing area residents or educating visitors about the region, its culture and how to support and enhance the livelihood of those living there, nurturing sustainability is vital to our planet’s future.

Many areas in Central America are leading the way in sustainability and sustainable tourism. Countries like Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama and others offer amazing experiences that support this important mindset.

Pique Travel partner Cayuga Collection revolves their entire business and service model around sustainability. Here is a little more about some of their properties and what they’re doing to impact the areas they serve:

Arenas Del Mar – Costa Rica

Arenas Del Mar is set within 11 acres of private nature reserve where rain forest meets the Pacific Ocean. This beautiful beachfront property in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, believes that sustainability and luxury can co-exist. It’s important to them to positively impact the surrounding communities through educational initiatives by creating opportunities for growth and by supporting local supply chains.

Visitors are encouraged to take their Easy Being Green Tour at the resort. Their on-site efforts have been led them to receive the coveted accolade of Earth Changers in the 2017 National Geographic World Legacy Awards.

Isla Palenque – Panama

This exclusive island resort is set on 400 acres of enchanting jungle in the Gulf of Chiriqui, Panama. In fact, Isla Palenque has only eight beachfront casitas, a wonderful, peaceful way to enjoy the natural surroundings.

The philosophy of sustainability runs deep at Isla Palenque. They utilize renewable materials for sustainable and low-impact construction. They use locally sourced biodegradable products and serve all organic foods. As for staff, they employ local staff and educate them, the local community and their guests in an enjoyable and inspiring way.

Jicaro Island Lodge – Nicaragua

Jicaro Island Lodge is Nicaragua's best luxury nature resort, located on a private island in the Granada Isletas of Lake Nicaragua. A member of the exclusive National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, this five-star hotel is located just a short boat ride from the colonial town of Granada with spectacular views of the Mombacho Volcano across the lake. Nine luxury casitas provide the perfect setting for romantic escapes, honeymoons, tours, and activities as well as wellness and yoga retreats.

Jicaro’s sustainability efforts started during its construction. Built entirely from timber reclaimed from trees blown down by hurricane Felix, the buildings and furniture are made of tropical hardwoods, which provide a solid and beautiful environment in harmony with the natural setting. Here are just a few other ways the property lives up to being sustainable:

  • Water is filtered for drinking, so no plastic bottles going to landfill.

  • Water is heated with solar panels for guest and kitchen use.

  • No air conditioning is installed on the island. Cross ventilation and ceiling fans create enough of a cooling effect to ensure guest comfort.

  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. While there is a strong recycling program installed, the focus due to the island location is on reducing. Bring as little trash to the island as possible.

  • Wastewater is treated on the island with a treatment plant complying not only with Nicaraguan but internationally accepted standards.

  • Hiring of a local staff is essential to the success of the lodge. We want to spread the potential wealth that tourism brings to Nicaragua by hiring locals as employees, subcontracting services locally and buying and producing locally.Help Us Give Back

  • Use of organic and biodegradable soaps, cleaning detergents and spa products.

  • Chlorine free systems to clean water in the pool.

  • Energy efficient lighting and illumination throughout the island.

  • Underground electricity system that does not interfere with the surrounding wildlife.

Lapa Rios Lodge – Costa Rica

Touted as “the rainforest experience of a lifetime,” Lapa Rios Lodge lives up to its standing as one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World. In fact, long before the pillars of sustainable tourism had been established, owners John and Karen envisioned Lapa Rios as a project whose objective would be to protect its endangered surroundings. Today, the 17-bungalow lodge preserves more than 1,000 acres of primary and secondary rainforest, and assists in the development of the local community.

The entire team at Lapa Rios strives to use tourism as a means to acquire and protect the surrounding endangered rainforest instead of allowing it to take a toll on this precious and finite resource. Read more about the many ways they are impacting nature, the community and education.

For more information about the Cayuga Collection or sustainable tourism, email Erin Green at Erin has a passion for sustainability and holds her Masters Degree in Sustainable Tourism.

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