Playa Nicuesa receives 5 Leaves sustainable tourism rating!

CST 5-leaves awarded to Playa Nicuesa Rainforest LodgePlaya Nicuesa received Five Leaves!!

All of the dedication to positive environmental practices and community social responsibility by the staff at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge were rewarded last month when the Costa Rica eco-hotel received the highest level rating of the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) program.

This is the second consecutive year that the Costa Rica rainforest lodge has received the highest rating of 5 Leaves in the CST Program by the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT). Playa Nicuesa Lodge is one of only 41 hotels in Costa Rica that have a 5-Leaf certification.

The CST program rates and certifies tourism businesses based on their compliance with natural, cultural and social resource management. CST consists of five levels, called “Leaves”; Level 5, or 5 Leaves, signifies that the company is considered “outstanding in terms of sustainability.” The rating process is very detailed and involves frequent inspections and evaluations; the highest levels are very difficult to obtain.

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The mysterious world of hammerhead sharks in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

Golfo Dulce Costa Rica

Golfo Dulce in Costa Rica is a critical habitat for marine life on Earth. The “Sweet Gulf” in southern Costa Rica gets a lot of attention for being a refuge for migrating endangered Pacific humpback whales. Not only the birthplace for whales but also for dolphins and endangered hammerhead sharks, the 31-mile-long (50 km) Pacific gulf is essentially a big watery “cradle”.

The Costa Rican environmental organization Misión Tiburón (Shark Mission) is lobbying the Costa Rican government to protect Golfo Dulce as the first sanctuary for hammerhead sharks in the world.

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Nicuesa Lodge in the news: Helping save Grecia the toucan in Costa Rica

When naturalist guides Erick Camacho and Jose Garro found the dead toucan below a tree near their staff housing at the Costa Rica eco-lodge where they work, it was an interesting discovery but just another day in the jungle.

However, the deceased toucan – or more importantly, its beak – has given a big boost of hope to saving “Grecia” the injured toucan in Costa Rica that had its beak mutilated by teenagers late last year and has become an international sensation as engineers and veterinarians try to design a prosthetic beak for the bird.

Grecia the Toucan at Zoo Ave in Costa Rica
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How to travel sustainably 10 easy & simple tips

Kayaking on Golfo Dulce by Playa Nicuesa Ldoge
For many travelers nowadays, eco-friendly travel is a priority and so is staying at sustainable tourism hotels – defined by as businesses “that are profitable while conserving natural resources and benefitting local communities”.

CST 5-leaf sustainability ratingPlaya Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is proud to be an eco-friendly hotel in Costa Rica. We are one of the first sustainable tourism eco-lodges in Costa Rica, holding the highest rating in the Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program (CST) by the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT). We are located in the amazing southern Costa Rica rainforest on the Pacific Coast gulf of Golfo Dulce by the Osa Peninsula, where we protect 95 percent of our 165-acre rainforest property. Ask us how to offset the carbon emissions of your trip when you stay at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge.

Playa Nicuesa recently received the important Ecological Blue Flag Award for the fifth time for having one of Costa Rica’s cleanest beaches. The gulf of Golfo Dulce is one of the most pristine ocean ecosystems in Costa Rica. It is a critical habitat for endangered Pacific humpback whales, which migrate here every August to October to breed and give birth to their young, and is also an important home for dolphins and sharks.

Humpback Whale mother breaching in Golfo Dulce
Your travel choices make a difference
. Little things add up and it doesn’t take much effort or time to be environmentally conscious when going on vacation. Here are 10 sustainable travel tips to make every vacation eco-friendly.

10 Easy & Simple Sustainable Travel Tips

  1. Blue Flag Ecological Award Costa RicaRe-use your hotel towels and sheets; don’t ask for new ones every day (you don’t at home!).
  2. Turn off the lights and air conditioner when leaving your hotel room.
  3. Don’t leave the sink tap or shower running water unnecessarily.
  4. Recycle trash whenever possible.
  5. Be respectful of nature by staying on trails when hiking; you will preserve the local plant life for others to appreciate.
  6. Coati on the beach at Playa NicuesaRespect native wildlife by observing animals quietly and taking photos, but not trying to touch, harass or scare them. Don’t feed wild animals; human food is not what they naturally eat.
  7. Don’t touch coral when snorkeling; it can cause irreparable damage to this living organism. Don’t take seashells either; if everyone took shells, there would be none left on the beaches.
  8. Be sensitive to when and where you take photos or videos of people. Always ask first; you would want the same respect.
  9. Eco Friendly travelBuy local when shopping for souvenirs and interact with people of the region; you will have a much more culturally-rich vacation. You can even learn a few words of the local language and use them; your efforts will be appreciated.
  10. Only stay in eco-friendly hotels and lodges dedicated to sustainable tourism.

Article by Shannon Farley

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge offsets carbon footprint with reforestation

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge gardensWhen you stay at eco-friendly Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge in Costa Rica, you can reduce the ecological impact on the planet generated by your trip by offseting your carbon emissions. There are two ways for planet-conscious travelers to do this.

One is to calculate your carbon credits using the Costa Rica National Forest Financing Fund (FONAFIFO) carbon credits calculator, and then purchase carbon credits that will be used to reforest land in Costa Rica. Nicuesa Lodge supports FONAFIFO’s work to reduce people’s carbon footprint by protecting and reforesting Costa Rica’s rainforests.

The second way is to take part in Nicuesa Lodge’s reforestation program by planting a tree when you are there.

Trees - Espavel in Costa RicaPlaya Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, in the southern Costa Rica rainforest on the Golfo Dulce, protects 95 percent of their 165-acre rainforest property in an undeveloped and natural state. The Costa Rica eco-lodge began its reforestation program in 2010. The main goal is to slowly remove the cacao trees – from the former cacao plantation where the lodge is built – that were infected by the fungus Moniliophthora roreri, or “frosty pod rot”, and reforest with trees native to Costa Rica and the local area.

Planting native trees helps re-establish the biological corridor for animals between the Piedras Blancas National Park and the Golfito Wildlife Refuge that border either side of Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge.

Trees - Corteza Amarilla in Costa RicaSo far, approximately 150 trees have been planted by hotel guests and staff: species like Cortez Amarillo (Tabebuia ochracea, Gold Trumpet tree), Roble de Sabana (Tabebuia rosea, Pink Trumpet tree), Cenizaro (Samanea saman, Rain Tree), Espavel (Anacardium excelsum, Wild Cashew tree), and Gallinazo (Schizolobium parahyba, Brazilian Fire tree), among others. Trees are obtained by donations and seeds harvested naturally from the forest.

“Last year, we accepted a donation of 50 Cenizaro starter trees from the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT). We also collect seeds from the forest on our property, germinate them and grow seedlings, which we then plant in an area we set aside for reforestation,” explained Natalia Solis, Sustainability Coordinator at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge. “This project invites and involves our guests to be part of a change that helps our environment and also helps offset the carbon emissions generated during their journey and visit to the lodge.”

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