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 Sustainabletrip.org 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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Nicuesa Lodge honors Golfo Dulce on World Oceans Day

Golfo Dulce Costa Rica
The beauty and life of the world’s oceans will be celebrated June 8 on World Oceans Day. The annual event by the United Nations calls people to action around the planet to protect our oceans and the amazing life that lives in them. This year’s theme is “Healthy oceans, healthy planet” with a special focus on eradicating plastic pollution.

Here in our corner of the world in southern Costa Rica, we at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge honor and protect the beautiful calm gulf of Golfo Dulce where we are located. We recently received the Ecological Blue Flag Award for the fifth time for keeping one of the cleanest beaches in Costa Rica.

 

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Daydreaming about snorkeling at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge

Spotted eagle ray in Costa Rica

I’m sitting at my desk, meant to be working. What I’m really doing is daydreaming about snorkeling at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge.

I’m remembering the feel of that delicious water – not bath-water warm, but not cold either. I’m thinking about how clear the Golfo Dulce water is, and how vibrantly it changes color from deep jade green next to the shoreline where it reflects the jungle, to bright blue where it mirrors the immense sky. I’m remembering the thrill at seeing wild dolphins splash and play near us. And most of all I’m thinking, I need to get back to Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge and go swimming and snorkeling in Golfo Dulce!

Beach at Playa Nicuesa in Costa Rica

Costa Rica eco-lodge Playa Nicuesa sits on the Golfo Dulce (“Sweet Gulf”) in southern Costa Rica, next to the Piedras Blancas National Park and across from the Osa Peninsula. It is an area of pristine tropical wilderness – something you don’t see every day.

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Costa Rica joins six countries in pledging to reforest 20 million hectares of Latin America.

Great news for our country and Latin American forests: Costa Rica joins six countries in pledging to reforest 20 million hectares of Latin America.
Costa Rica continues to make news around the world. What a best way to start the year with such great news, not only for our beautiful country but for all of Latin America.

It turns out that Costa Rica among other 6 Latin American countries  (Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador and Chile) have commited themselves, and according to AFP reports, in pledging to reforest 20 million hectares – about the size of Uruguay – of degraded land by the year 2020. This statement was made during the 12-day talks amongst the world’s nations taking place in Peru under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN FCCC).

It is of great importance for all of these nations to commit themselves into such a responsibility that will make the whole world become even more aware of the actual climate changes and damage it has been resulting due mainly because of deforestation.

This group, now known as the “20×20 Initiative, has come to the following hectare amounts each:

Costa Rica and Chile: 50.000 hectares each.
Mexico 8.5 million hectares
Peru 3 .2 million hectares
Guatemala 1.2 million hectares
Colombia 1 million hectares

The Ecuadorian Minister of Environment, Lorena Tapia, expressed that  “with funding and support from the national government we will succeed in restoring 500,000 hectares by 2017” during the meeting in Lima, Peru.

As for Costa Rica interests, according to Mr. José Joaquín Campos director of the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (Catie), its main priority is  to reestablish the lands of Puriscal, Turrialba and some of Guanacaste´s zones.  In order to achieve this, Mr. Campos mentions that it will be necessary to have a joined work with the Ministry of Environment and Energy (Minae).

It is hoped that all this effort doesn´t stay only on paper and that the people involved will accept the challenge and assume their responsibility. In this way, not only our most important natural resources will benefit but also our next generations for years to come.

Green tourism, also called eco-tourism and sustainable travel, is what Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge in Costa Rica is all about. The Costa Rica eco-lodge by the Osa Peninsula is one of only three dozen hotels in Costa Rica that have received the highest rating in the Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program (CST). Created by the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT), the CST program rates and certifies tourism businesses based on their compliance with natural, cultural and social resource management.

Playa Nicuesa sustainability highlights:

  • Lodge buildings are located on less than 2% of property – 98% is a private protected area.
  • Used recycled construction materials, such as: roof tiles on the lodge and cabins made from recycled plastics, including banana bags.
  • Wood came from naturally fallen trees, permitted by the government to be pulled out of the forest by oxen, or from farmed trees.
  • Electricity is provided by solar energy. Panels are located on main lodge structure. Back-up generator runs on recycled vegetable oil.
  • Solar drying room used to dry all of the lodge wash.
  • Hot water is provided by on-demand propane which means that the propane is used only when the hot water faucet is turned on.
  • Received the Ecological Blue Flag Award for clean beaches.

Article by Gabriela Serrano.

Costa Rica is top 10 Green Country in the World

Costa Rica is named the third best Green Country in the World, according to the recently released 2014 Global Green Economy Index™ (GGEI).

The Global Green Economy Index™ (GGEI) measures the green economic performance of 60 countries and 70 cities in the world with regard to leadership and climate change, efficiency sectors, markets and investment, and environment and natural capital. The GGEI also assesses the public’s perception of a nation’s green performance. The fourth edition of the GGEI, published by Dual Citizen LLC, a private U.S.-based consultancy, was released at the end of October 2014.

In the Performance Rank, Sweden and Norway top the list, followed by Costa Rica in third place, and then Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Iceland and Spain for the top 10. Germany leads the Perception Rank, followed by Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, United States, Japan, UK, Finland and Switzerland; Costa Rica comes in at 14th place in this ranking. The Perception index is interesting given that Costa Rica ranks third in performance but 14th in perception; while China ranks 13th in perception and 55th in performance.

This is the first time that Costa Rica has been included in the ranking.

“Covered for the first time, Costa Rica records an impressive result, ranking third behind Sweden and Norway on performance and in the top 15 for perceptions overall, a notable accomplishment for such a small country,” states the GGEI. “Costa Rica’s overall top result on the performance measure is driven by impressive results on both the Efficiency Sectors and Environment and Natural Capital dimensions, making it one of only a few countries to achieve such strong results in both areas.”

Costa Rica performs well most notably in tourism where it is the top ranked country in terms of performance on the five areas assessed by the GGEI, the report notes.

Green tourism, also called eco-tourism and sustainable travel, is what Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge in Costa Rica is all about. The Costa Rica eco-lodge by the Osa Peninsula is one of only three dozen hotels in Costa Rica that have received the highest rating in the Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program (CST). Created by the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT), the CST program rates and certifies tourism businesses based on their compliance with natural, cultural and social resource management.

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is located on a 165-acre private preserve in southern Costa Rica, bordered by the Piedras Blancas National Park and the pristine Golfo Dulce (Sweet Gulf), across from the Osa Peninsula. The region is a critical habitat for migrating Pacific Humpback Whales, hammerhead sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, Scarlet Macaws and jaguars.

The lodge is offering Green season specials through Dec. 15, 2014.

Article by Shannon Farley

 

Harnessing the sun’s energy in the Costa Rica rainforest

A lot of people ask us about our solar drying room at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge in Costa Rica. Given that we are a Costa Rica rainforest lodge – and that it does rain in the rainforest – a frequent comment in our guest reviews is how happy people are to have a place available for drying out wet clothes.

Guests who stay at our Costa Rica eco-lodge receive a cloth cotton laundry bag upon check-in, with their cabin or room name printed on it. Guests are invited to bring the laundry bag with any wet clothes to be dried to the main lodge building in the morning at breakfast time. Give it to a staff member and the clothes are hung up in the solar drying room. Lodge staff does not wash clothes – guests may do this in their sink or shower.

On a hot sunny day, clothes usually dry in one to two hours. Even on an overcast day, guests should receive dry clothes back in the afternoon of the same day.

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is dedicated to sustainable travel and has received the highest rating in the Costa Rica Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program (CST). The lodge dries all of its towels, sheets, bedding, etc. using solar energy. On a sunny day, 24 loads of laundry can be dried in three to five hours!

How does it work?

The solar drying room is located in a natural clearing in the rainforest behind the main lodge buildings, near the tree nursery and compost area. The floor of the drying area is made of gravel stones which heat up quickly, radiating that heat upward toward drying items. The stones also hold the heat if the sun goes away behind clouds.

A clear polycarbonate roof absorbs and reflects the sun’s heat, creating an “oven effect” with the stone floor. The roof is slanted at an extreme angle to create a circular air flow. Sides of the drying room are open for air ventilation and circulation. Lastly, aluminum rods are used for hanging wet items, because the aluminum also heats up quickly and helps with the drying process.

The entire system is very efficient. You can learn about our solar drying room on our Sustainability Tour when staying at the lodge.

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is located on a 165-acre private preserve in southern Costa Rica, bordered by the Piedras Blancas National Park and the pristine Golfo Dulce (Sweet Gulf). The only way to get there is by boat across the Golfo Dulce from either the towns of Golfito or Puerto Jimenez. The lodge is offering Green season specials through Dec. 15, 2014.

Article by Shannon Farley

 

A special place on the planet: Playa Nicuesa

Sometimes the places most worth visiting require a little more effort to get there. Like Playa Nicuesa.

I’ve taken a small 19-passenger plane 50 minutes south from San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, to the pancake flat coastal town of Puerto Jimenez. We disembark into the sweltering tropical heat of the near-equator and quickly jump into the air-conditioned taxi waiting to drive us five minutes to a rickety, dubious-looking boat dock. All smiles, we are greeted by our very friendly boat captain and guide, who assist our little group to clamber down the dock steps into the little panga boat – thankfully outfitted with a canopy roof.

As we zip across the calm blue-gray waters of the Golfo Dulce (“Sweet Gulf”) for our 25-minute boat ride to Playa Nicuesa – the only way to get there – I am mesmerized by the scenery. The horizon is filled with dense green forest and mountains; the Gulf stretches on and on like a giant mirror to the sky. There are no buildings to be seen, not even another boat. And I wonder if this is what Costa Rica must have looked like hundreds or even thousands of years ago.

Soon, we are pulling up to the long, very solidly built boat dock at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge. Here, the clear water looks like liquid jade, reflecting the endless shades of green of palm trees and jungle that crowd the edge of the pebble and sand beach. We are helped off the boat by smiling, friendly staff, and as we walk down the dock toward shore, I nearly expect to see Ricardo Montalban of Fantasy Island come out to greet us.

The extraordinary Costa Rica eco-lodge was designed for sustainable travel. Lodge buildings and bungalows are tucked into the forest, preserving the beautiful coastline. Everything is constructed from naturally fallen or farmed trees and recycled materials, like the roof tiles made from recycled plastic banana bags and other plastics. Lights and electricity come from solar panels and a biodiesel generator that burns recycled fast food oil and other vegetable oils. All water on the property is potable, being piped in from a mountain spring and filtered. The Costa Rica rainforest lodge is one of only three dozen hotels in Costa Rica that have received the highest rating in the Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program (CST).

Guests are spread out around the lodge area – located on a 165-acre private preserve that borders the Piedras Blancas National Park – in six private cabins and the four-room two-story Mango Guesthouse. Beautifully built accommodations are very comfortable, and feature bathrooms with a high-walled open-air garden shower.

Over the next three days at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, I enjoyed dolphin and whale-watching to see migrating Pacific Humpback Whales that come into the pristine Golfo Dulce to give birth and breed – we saw a mother whale and her calf. I hiked in the rainforest on lodge trails; kayaked in the mangroves of Esquinas River; enjoyed a yoga class; sat at the beach and relaxed; swam in the warm Golfo Dulce; and had fun socializing with other guests at happy hour every night in the bar, and while savoring delicious, fresh, creative dishes from Nicuesa’s commendable kitchen.

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is located by the Osa Peninsula on Golfo Dulce in southern Costa Rica. To get there, drive or fly (NatureAir or Sansa Airlines) to either Puerto Jimenez or Golfito. Nicuesa Lodge will pick you up by boat and transfer you to the lodge (about 30 minutes one-way). Included in lodge rates are all meals, boat transfers, all taxes, all meals and snacks, unlimited self-guided hikes on preserve, use of kayaks, snorkeling and fishing equipment.

Article by Shannon Farley