Beach Eco-lodges

With 125 miles of Caribbean coast and a Pacific coast that measures over 700 miles giving Costa Rica over 800miles of Coastline in a country just the size of West Virginia you can imagine that there are plenty of spots for the perfect beach ecolodge. Costa Rican beach eco-lodges can be anything from a tent camp knocking at the famous Corcovado national park door or you can be in a luxurious eco-lodge for the perfect honeymoon.

A Costa Rican ecolodge is made up of a concern for the local community and environment including the waters of the nearby ocean. It is very important for beach ecolodges to do their part because they have the largest transit operator on the planet at their doorstep, the ocean. The moment a beach eco-lodge starts to make mistakes this can literally start to have its effects on the other side of the world through ocean currents that make up the water-cycle in our oceans.

The Costa Rican coastlines are all very different from each other. There’s canals in Tortuguero, white sandy beaches in Cahuita, dry lowland beaches in Guancaste, and where the mountain meets the sea in Dominical. The beach ecolodges must do their part as Mother Nature has done. Just as ecolodges develop ways to protect the environement so does our planet. One example of this is through mangroves which work as nature’s filter between salt and fresh water and controlling tides as waves come into shore. Mangroves are most commonly seen on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and are a perfect example of convergent evolution. This means that there are seven different species of mangroves from four very different plant families and they all look and act similar. Convergent evolution is when totally unrelated organisms have evolved into behaving and shaping their lifestyles to best suite the environment they are in as have the different species of mangroves have adapted to high salt and low oxygen levels to survive together. They are different plants but developed the same tools to survive in this type of condition.

As the mangroves adapt, it is just as important that the beach ecolodges adapt to the very different beaches of Costa Rica. If one ecolodge is running their lodge one way because the tides do not change much on the Caribbean that is fine. But on the Pacific side of Costa Rica you find much more significant changes in tides so it might be necessary for a beach eco-lodge to operate differently. Beach ecolodges, mountain ecolodges, and what should be every hotel and human habitat should be able to adapt to living conditions to co-exist with other species as the mangroves have.

A beach ecolodge can be an educational impact on the environment and the way the world looks at the living in a sustainable manner and co-existing with nature and other species. Costa Rica beach ecolodges are more common than any other type of ecolodge and they receive the largest number of clients allowing their voices on conservation to be heard by more people.  80% of all travelers decide to visit the beach during their Costa Rica vacation. It is vitally important that the beach ecolodges get it right on how to be a true ecolodge because they are often seen as the ideal place to spend a Costa Rica vacation.

Mountain Eco-lodges

Costa Rica is an ideal country for eco-lodges. Eco-lodges always involve the community and Costa Rica  is made up of very delightful, friendly local people in nice humble communities not to mention they were voted the happiest people on the planet. Along with the people Costa Rica has the natural beauties and these natural beauities inlcude two beautiful but very different coasts of beaches. In between those beaches are tall almost untouched mountain ranges. These mountain ranges start at sea-level and rise to above 13,000ft making for different types of forest and vegetation along with different types of temperature and fauna.

The Costa Rica Mountain ecolodges are a perfect escape from the city or from the hot beaches. A mountain in Costa Rica is where much of the wildlife is. It is the last frontier in many places and a place of splendid peacefulness where the rivers start their journeys winding down the mountains in search of the coast.

A mountain ecolodge can have a positive impact on the local community and environment because it is located above many other communities and ecosystems.  This means that your waters and everything you do to the environment affects everyone down the mountain which ultimately ends up in the oceans and beaches. You can see here that there is a connection of ecolodges in the mountains and ecolodges on the coast which is a smaller example of the larger connection between all living things in ecology. The Costa Rica ecolodges in the mountains are a perfect blend of mountain ecotourism in a peaceful setting and bringing peace to the environment at the same time.

When a Costa Rica mountain lodge is very isolated it is almost forced into many characteristics of being an ecolodge. Being isolated requires a “survival” tactic to kick in which involves the community as a whole to fix a problem in a lodge. If you have lived in Costa Rica you will hear the world “Macgyver” and this is named after the famous TV show and it basically means we will fix it with what we have method as compared to calling a expert. This is a perfect example of a Costa Rican ecolodge. Many times you have to find a Macgyver method and more times than not your Macgyver method is coming from ideas in the local community that have had the problem before. This is similar to ancient survival knowledge being passed down from generation to generation just on a bit of a small scale.

Costa Rican mountain ecolodges are often known for their hiking and birding. There are often beautiful rivers in the area but high mountains bring the cold weather and it would make a Costa Rica whitewater rafting tour seem like you are in the Colorado River in December if you fall in.

Another common characteristic about the Costa Rica mountain ecolodges is that elevation brings clouds and when you rise to around 7,000ft or higher you get into what is known as the cloud-forest. This is a part of the New World tropics where you will experience the true difference between New World Tropics of the Americas and the Old World Tropics of Africa and Asia. This difference is seen from the Costa Rica mountain ecolodges located in the cloudforest as you look all around and see different epiphytes growing on tree branches all around in the search for higher elevation to try and find sunlight. The science and learning of ecology is endless in a Costa Rica mountain ecolodge and the rest and relaxation makes for a perfect blend of Costa Rica vacation with having an positive environmental impact.

Blue Flag Ecological Program

Costa Rica is one of those lucky countries that has both the deep blue pacific and the clear blue waters of the caribbean sea. These two different coasts make Costa Rica a perfect area for pristine beaches that can be home to many different types of ecolodges from rustic to luxurious.

If you are visiting on a Costa Rica vacation the last thing you want to see is a beautiful beach in a brochure and then filled with trash in real life. The Costa Rica coastal communities are taking steps to try and educate the local people on ways to keep beaches beautiful. The Blue Flag beach program is what has made the biggest impact and communities and hotels have been on board making some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches some of the cleanest and eco-friendly in all of the Americas.

The Blue Flag Program is an incentive for Costa Rican ecolodges and hotels to take action in making the beaches clean. The blue flags for beaches are given for a number of different reasons starting with keeping the beaches clean and being alert that no contaminated waters are being let out through rivers or other sources into the ocean. The area near the water is another concern, keeping it clean and safe for those visiting. The safety starts with being able to inform visitors on the currents of the ocean and having vigilance of the beach and it’s waters.

This program has been in affect since 2002 and has had a very positive impact on the coastal communities. There’s been a good deal of education is the schools of the area as to the importance of keeping beaches clean and waters in and around the coastline.

Construction of a Costa Rican ecolodge

Construction of a Costa Rican ecolodge is where the respect to the ecology and environment begins. It is known in the ecolodge industry that when building, supplies and labor should come from nearby communities or the same property you plan to build on. This can be seen in many different Costa Rica ecolodges. One example of this is the Lapa Rios Lodge where the actual steps on the hotel grounds are old pieces of the nearby railroad. They might not be the most beautiful looking steps but it is recycled wood, from a nearby abandoned railroad, built into their project with local labor.

One way to find out how much an ecolodge followed the “Golden Rules” of ecolodge-construction is to ask how long it took to build the lodge. Real ecolodges are projects that take time to build. When all labor and supplies are local this means that creativity and thought must take place and takes a lot more time than your conventional construction. It is important when using local labor that the wages are fair and time off is important. Giving your employees proper time off and not working them like slaves is a simple reminder of “community service”. The best service to a community is giving family members time to be with each other and building a community atmosphere. When people are over worked the money might come in but the principles of family and community are eventually lost. Indians of ancient times worked on food and survival just two hours a day and the rest was considered time for spiritual practice or just socialize time with family. This all goes to show that building an ecolodge should not be a rush to get finished and how long it takes is a good indication of just how eco-friendly a lodge might be.

When the building gets going and supplies come in, the main idea is to use wood as it is a complete renewable source. If you can use recycled wood from other projects that would be best and replace any trees that had to be removed to offset your constructions. The construction of a Costa Rican ecolodge should have all of the modern day technologies of operating a business in a “green” manner and this is not just pretty badges and signs on your brochures and websites. The most important modern day technology which few people seem to be able to afford because they are drowning in debt from the “Time Bank” is education on building and living eco-friendly. The construction of an ecolodge should be done by the owners. Building an ecolodge is meaningless if the owner is just writing the check and not mandating eco-friendly construction policies and following through on a lifelong commitment to the principles of eco-tourism.

With all this mentioned above you should be on your way to enjoying a real Costa Rican ecolodge, most of which, at least on this site, are what we consider real Costa Rican ecolodges and suitable for your next Costa Rica family adventure.

The phrase eco-friendly does not just apply to ecolodges

This is a phrase that was developed for the consumer. It is suppose to be a guideline into products and/or places that are having a very low to no impact to the environment. Although in recent years the International Organization for Standardization which gives credabillity to words and phrases said this phrase was too vague to be meaningful when shopping for products or when planning your Costa Rica ecotoursim adventure.

The phrase eco-friendly does not just apply to ecolodges and can be used in any type of business from retail, food industry, and many different parts of Costa Rican toursim such as Costa Rica whitewater rafting tours, Costa Rica Spanish schools and almost any type of activity you can imagine.

Eco-friendly is something that all businesses in ecotourism strive to have as a label. The difference between being truly eco-friendly or just using it as a marketing phrase comes down to if the friendship you have with ecology will affect future generations to come of if your friendship with ecology will only help fill your rooms for the next couple years.

Being a friend to the environment is a simple way of saying that you are being natural. Because anything harmful to the environment is not natural. The phrase eco-friendly is a phrase that has developed for societies detatchment from nature. There are many events in modern societies that are quite eco-enemies doing much harm to the natural world and taking for granted many of the natural resources we exploit just to fill the need of powerful corporations. The eco-lodges of Costa Rica are eco-friendly in the fact that they make their way of business in a minimal or non harmful way to the environment but the real friendship to ecology comes by making friendships with people from abroad and sharing and educating the interconnectiness of the consuming world and the developing countries where many ecolodges are located. This friendship between two human species from two lands far apart and the sharing of the importance of spreading their friendship down the ecological web of life is the true meaning of being eco-friendly.

With 99.999% of the species that have ever roamed the planet Earth now extinct, it is only fitting that we hold on to the friends we have left and the only way of doing this is to live eco-friendly. Staying at an ecolodge in for you Costa Rica family vacation can make all of the difference in our world.

What is Bioneers

If you are interested in staying in a Costa Rican ecolodge or even interested in a Costa Rica vacation than you might and should be interested in Bioneers. Bioneers is a term coined by founder of Bioneers, Kenny Ausubel. This is an organization that has seen amazing growth in the last few years. It is made up of people from all walks of life who are looking to help the planet through looking deep into the heart of nature and seeing it for it’s amazing beauty. It is also out to get the point across that humans do not know everything and that nature holds many answers to questions that assist us in many social and environmental problems.

Basically a bioneer can be you and me all we have to do is join. It is in a sense similar to a Costa Rican ecolodge in that Bioneers are trying to preserve native traditions which hold the conservation answers to many of our problems. Bioneers are trying to allow everyday people see the parts of nature that our western society has seperated ourselves from. This is all similar to what a Costa Rican ecolodge looks to do.

There is a conference every year in California on the Bioneers and thousands of people show up. There is amazing literature in the Bioneers series on education and medicine. This is a movement and organization that is headed in the right direction.

If you are interested in learning more about the bioneers you can visit there website and if you are interested in a Costa Rica vacation with the concept of trying to follow the ideals of the the bioneers than you can find some Costa Rica family adventure tours here.

Costa Rican Resource

www.crrtours.com

Toll Free: 1-855-CRR-TOUR

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Bottled Water

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Biomimicry Soccer Stadium

With the goal of Costa Rica ecolodges being to blend into nature and the native community it is now being seen that you do not have to be tucked away in the jungle but you can do this almost anywhere in the world. All it takes is a little biomimicry and some clever green design.

If you are familiar with Central America than you know that it is a land covered with volcanos. Chances are if you plan on visiting Costa Rica for a Costa Rica vacation you will see many volcanos many times you will be driving by and not even know it. Well this was the goal of the French architect who was put to the test to design a soccer stadium that blended into nature. Ok, maybe a Costa Rica ecolodge can blend into nature but how in the heck do you make a soccer stadium. Volcanos were the answer.

If you come to visit us on a Costa Rica family vacation and we take you to the famous Arenal volcano chances are you will see it clear and chances are you will see it in a cloud also. Well that is what the soccer stadiums design was trying to mimic. A volcano with a cloud sitting at the top of it. This is a beautiful design with cone-shaped slopes that will be surrounded by trees. The stadium has all the modern features of being green along with literally grassy green slopes.

Biodiversity is what has made Costa Rica famous

Biodiversity is what has made Costa Rica famous. Costa Rica is home to 5% of the world’s biodiversity. What is biodiversity? Well, it is all living things in an ecosystem and guess what, we humans are living and part of an ecosystem. There are an estimated 500,000 species in Costa Rica and more bird species in Costa Rica than all of Canada and North America combined. One reason for so much biodiversity in Costa Rica is its position around 9 degrees above the equator putting it in the tropics. Costa Rica also has 25% of its land protected which is well above the 8% average of other developing countries.

Costa Rica’s ecolodges play a very important role in biodiversity because by their design nature ecolodges have a low impact on the environment. If you look closely at the role biodiversity has, you will see that the phrase “no-impact” is a misnomer. If there were really no-impact among species and different biodiversity in an ecosystem, life would not flourish the way it does and your visit to a tropical ecolodge might seem like a walk in the desert. Every animal in the web of life plays its natural role in helping biodiversity. Some forms of biodiversity are small mushrooms which help in the decaying process of dead tree trunks which then return nutrients to the soil which allow for the next growth of oxygen producing trees that give us humans air to breathe which flows through each and every cell in our body allowing us to have life. Another form of biodiversity that impacts one one another is the symbiotic relationships you see in so many places in the tropics. Symbiotic relationships are all around us and are a front row seat in the process of evolution as different parts of biodiversity try and adapt to changing environments. One you see in all parts of the tropics is the symbiotic relationship that ants have with different species of trees. Some trees produce a nectar to attract the ants that they may feed on and in return the ant protects the tree from ground predators eating its fruits. There are even opposite cases where strangler fig trees take over and kill other trees for nutrients but you will notice the forest is not full of strangler figs because nature has its way of balancing out and certain mammals eat the and fruits and seeds of these strangler figs.

It is through the study, understanding, and conservation of this amazing balance of nature that we have

seen biodiversity flourish. It is through isolation and ignorance that we have seen biodiversity also struggle to survive. The Costa Rican ecolodges serve as an example of how ecotourism can offer visitors an unforgettable Costa Rica vacation and the visitors in return can leave a positive impact on the communities of these natural paradises.

Visit a Costa Rica ecolodge and chances are you might see one of the four different types of species of monkeys, or the two different species of sloths, the 850 different species of birds, thousands of different plants, and thousands of other species of insects, amphibians, and reptiles. A Costa Rican ecolodge is a place where life is at its full form and co-existing. So many different species make for the perfect place for a Costa Rica honeymoon or just your next Costa Rica family vacation.

 

Water Treatment Plants for Ecolodges

Did you know that only 3% of the Earth’s water is fresh and of this 3% most of it is made up of the glaciers and frozen ice. This leaves us with less than 1% of our Planet Earth’s water as drinkable. This is why a true ecolodge must give it’s undivided attention to protecting all water and wasting none.

The ecolodges of Costa Rica have a responsibility that every hotel, lodge, home, farm or any such facility that will take in water or dispose of water for living purposes. Doing this in a friendly way to our environment which includes the nearby communities is only possible through water treatment plants. When out in very rural areas it is easy to take the easy way out and go along with the sang that “well they are doing it so I guess it doesn’t matter if we do it”. That is the exact reason why there is a need for eco-friendly lodges, ecotourism, and sustainability. We have to re-treat our minds just like the water, to what is eco-friendly and how we should behave in and around our environment.

The waters that are made in our everyday lives that need to be treated before returning back to the environment can come for cooking in the kitchen, organic waste from washing plates, shower water, brushing your teeth, and anyother type of water related activity. This type of treatment is especially important in Costa Rica where heavy rains and flowing rivers can transport waste very far distances in just a short but strong afternoon shower. When the rains come they can soak into the Ecolodge grounds and mix with waste water. This all has to have a very careful and constant eye of being looked at.

What does Water Treatment Plants do for the Water?

The waste water that is produced by an ecolodge can do harm to local communities affecting humans and ecosystems. Three of the main functions of water treatment plants is to remove solid waste such as plastics, rags, and smaller particles such as sand and dirt. The second main function is to reduce organic matter in the water. This process is done by naturally occurring bacterias that help break down the organic matter. The third function of water treatments is to restore oxygen. If water does not have enough oxygen it is not suitable for life. By restoring oxygen through a water treatment plant the water is ready to go back out into the natural environment and sustain life. These are just the small things to look for when visiting an ecolodge and maybe a good thing to educate the family on when you decide to take a Costa Rica family vacation and try and learn about the different ways to protect the environment.