Green Travel: Green Resorts: Hotel Punta Islita


| 8/31/2009 2:41:42 PM


Tags: green traveler, eco tourism, green hotels, green resorts, green vacations, costa rica, sustainable tourism, Hotel Punta Islita, rainforests, waste water management, beach resort,

Having just spent a nearly sunless month soaking in the rain at the beautiful yet formidable and cold coasts of Northern Ireland, my mind is stuck in a fantasy of white sandy beaches, crystal blue water and warm beams of sunshine packed with vitamin D. Although I have neither the time nor money to travel to a beach resort, this hasn’t stopped me from daydreaming about—and researching—eco-friendly beach resorts in semi-nearby Central America. Join me in my armchair (or desk chair) travels to Guanacaste, Costa Rica to the Hotel Punta Islita.

Hotel Puna Islita 1
Natural beaches and rainforests teeming with wildlife surround the Hotel Punta Islita. Photo Courtesy Hotel Punta Islita. 

The Hotel Punta Islita holds many awards, including a prestigious four-leaf rating from the Costa Rican tourism board’s Certification in Sustainable Tourism (CST) program. The CST evaluates the company’s interaction with its natural surroundings, its management policies and operational systems, the company’s interaction with the local communities and how much the company invites its clients to be active in its policies of sustainability. The program rates companies on a scale of 0 to 5, with 5 being the highest level attainable.

The hotel has many eco-friendly features and amenities, including:

• a strict recycling policy
• waste water management
• electric golf carts, and
• low-flow showerheads

What is perhaps most impressive about the Hotel Punta Islita is how it interacts with and supports the local community. The hotel opened in 1994 in an economically depressed area that had been overexploited by unsustainable cattle ranching and wood extraction. Fifteen years later, the area looks quite different. By providing alternative economic and professional opportunities, the hotel changed the life of the locals and the state of the surrounding rainforest. Of the staff, 85 percent are locals, and 50 cents of every dollar spent at the hotel stays in the community in the form of salaries, contributions, taxes, social benefits and local purchases.




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