68 Percent of US Leisure Travelers are Skeptical about Company’s Claims on Sustainability!

According to a study conducted by Mandala Research, 60 percent of US leisure travelers consider themselves “sustainable travelers”.  These travelers say they are concerned with how their travel impacts everything from a destination’s local economy to the environment.

But, the study also found that 64% of survey respondents were unsure of what sustainability means when unaided by any definitions; another 68% feel “skeptical” about organization’s claims to sustainable practices.

How do you know if the hotel, resort or lodge that you visit is really living up to its sustainability promise?  Certifications ususally don’t work.  We recommend as much interaction with the staff as possible.  How about taking our complimentary “Making Tortillas” Tour at Arenas del Mar Resort in Manuel Antonio?

So, how do we deal with this very interesting information at the Cayuga Collection of Sustainable Luxury Hotels and Lodges in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, where our brand promise is highly focused on sustainability?


We are excited that so many people seem to care about sustainability.  Those numbers are probably significantly up from 1995 when the founders of Cayuga started our first sustainability program in Costa Rica.

Realizing that people don’t understand what sustainability means, we need to work harder on educating them before and during their stay with us.  We found that, especially in the US, most people think of sustainability in terms of energy savings but don’t necessarily take the human factor into account. Two ways how we educate guests:

  • Detailed information on our websites about our sustainability practices.  For example here.
  • At all of our hotels and lodges we offer a complimentary back of the house tour where explain all our sustainable efforts and practices.

We need to help people understand how to identify the “real thing” in terms of sustainable hospitality operations.  Unfortunately, there is just far too much green washing going on.

Going on a guided hike into the rainf forest?  We strictly limit the amount of guests going at one time to eight.  That does not only ensure a better quality tour with more interpretation and the chance to ask questions, but also less “stress” on the wild flora and fauna.  This tour is headed to the Lapa Rios Private Rainforest Reserve on the Osa Peninsula.


  • When you see a certification, ask about it.  How long ago were they certified?  How often do they have to reapply?  Do they have to pay to get this certification?  We have our doubts about some of the certifications out there.
  • Ask a couple of front line employees about their interpretation of sustainability at the hotel and how they contribute directly to being more sustainable.
  • Speak to the manager.  See if there is passion for sustainability.  Ask about “tough decisions” that they had to make in order to be more sustainable.  Ask about use of plastic water bottles, wastewater treatment and irrigation, employment of local staff, etc.
talk to us
Talk to us about sustainability.  What is on your mind?  We are happy to share our success stories and our continued challenges.  Sourcing sustainable seafood continues to be one of our biggest challenges.  Ask any of our chefs.  We probably do it best here at Latitude 10 Resort in Santa Teresa where we buy directly from the local fishermen.

Sustainable travelers spend more and are therefore attractive to companies.  These travelers tend to be more educated and earn more; they also put more value into their travel experiences. At the Cayuga Collection, we are looking to attract these guests by walking the talk and showing every guest that we are making our best possible effort to be more sustainable.

Experience is part of Sustainability.  Teaching our guests how to create their favorite cocktail is a great way to connect with guests.  These one on one experiences are most likely hard to create at larger hotels.  It happens every day at the Cayuga Collection, like here at the 9 room Jicaro Lodge on an isleta in Lake Nicaragua.

We look forward to your visit and your honest and constructive feedback on our operations and how we can continue to improve in terms of sustainability.

We were inspired to write this blog due to a publication by Dan Peltier in Skift Magazine in May 2016.  “U.S. Travelers Like Sustainable Tourism But Love Transparency From Brands”

Processed with VSCOcam with e2 preset
Many of our nature tours are outsourced with third parties.  They only have the capacity to take small groups on unique and special adventures.  This horseback riding tour is offered at Kura Design Villas in Uvita.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *