Whale Watching at Lapa Rios

Whales in Uvita Costa Rica

July 15, 2015

Of all the wildlife in Costa Rica, seeing a whale is perhaps the most exhilarating experience. Luckily, Costa Rica is home to an estimated 25 whale and dolphin species which migrate, mate and live in the coastal waters of both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea.  As a breeding ground for many whale species, Costa Rica is one of the best places in the world for whale watching thanks to its warm waters and protected inlets.

The best time to visit for whale-watching is mid-July to October and December to March as the whales migrate and bread along the coastlines. Both Southern hemisphere humpbacks traveling from Antarctica and Northern hemisphere humpbacks travelling from Alaska pass by Costa Rica. As you can see, the Humpback whales are one of the farthest migrating animals on Earth.

whale tail

Famed for the Humpbacks who spend more than eight months in the waters off Uvita, Kura Design Villas is by far, one of the best places to see whales. The Ballena National Marine Park, visible from Kura’s patio, offers the longest Humpback whale season in the world. This national park, fittingly named after the whales that commonly visit and the whale tail shaped sandbar, is a natural oasis full of pristine beaches and teaming with wildlife such as whales, dolphins, sea turtles, birds and tropical fish.

Humpback whales are easier to spot thanks to their distinctive hump and black dorsal fin. These whales also prefer to spend much of their time on the surface and near the shore and can grow from 12 – 16 meters in length.

Although the humpback whale is seen most often, this area is home to pseudo-orcas, pilot whales, spotted dolphins, spinner dolphins, bottle-nose dolphins and common dolphins. During your stay at Kura Design Villas you may want to take a day trip to maximize your whale watching experience and enjoy the surrounding scenery.  Half day whale watching or snorkeling tours are offered, depending on the season. Visit Caño Island Biological Reserve, the perfect paradise for diving and snorkeling. Here you have the opportunity to see turtles, dolphins, sting rays, moray eels, barracudas, tuna snapper, parrot fish, puffers and more. Deeper diving off the island may present white-tipped reef shark, silky shark, bull shark, with occasional whale shark and the amazing humpback whale. This all day tour includes a picnic lunch and an optional guided hike on the island.

If you chose to travel a little farther down the coast, Drake Bay, is another common breading ground for whales thanks to the calm waters in this area.  If you’re lucky, you’ll see a mom playing with her new baby splashing in the water near the shoreline as she teaches her young how to breach, dive and feed.

If you’re closer to Harmony Hotel, on the Nicoya Peninsula, there are also good places to go whale watching. The Tambor and Pochote beaches are places where humpback whales are most commonly seen.  While whale-watching tours are not common in these areas, snorkeling and scuba diving are the best options for spotting marine wildlife. Sightings in this area include humpback whales, bottle-nose dolphins, spinner dolphins, common dolphins and sea turtles.

Isla-del-Cano_1-450x225snorkelling

If you love animals and the ocean, then going whale watching in Costa Rica will be an activity you definitely shouldn’t miss out on. It’s an amazing experience to see these impressive creatures and reminds us just how much we need to protect our nature and earth.

Why we avoid the Recycling of Plastic Water Bottles at all Cost

August 25, 2014

We realize that sustainability is a process and a continuous effort.   One is never really 100% sustainable and it takes making some tough choices.  Topics like serving responsible seafood, working with an exclusively local staff or reducing the use of air conditioning are on our agenda on a daily basis.  But it is what we are all about at the Cayuga Collection Hotels and Lodges.  And we will continue to strive for that symbiosis of sustainability and luxury in hospitality.  Right now we are working on the following challenge:

How to avoid the use (and therefore the recycling) of plastic water bottles at our hotels?  

Recycling Center
Cayuga Corportate Team and Hotel Managers at the Florida Ice & Farm Recycling Center. Concerned about so much plastic.  Is recycling really the solution here?

Don”™t get us wrong here, we are not against recycling of plastic bottles in general (we have been recycling at our hotels for over 20 years), but it should be the last option to consider after going through all other alternatives.    Here is our ” hierarchy” of how to best deal with serving water to our guests.

Best Option:   Use no bottles at all.   Our tap water is just great.   Safe to drink and it tastes great.

Good Option:   If a guest insists on drinking bottled water, serve it in a reusable water bottle made out of glass.

OK Option:   If there are no reusable glass water bottles available, use a glass water bottle that can recycled.

Avoid this Option:   If there are no glass water bottles available, use a plastic water bottle and recycle.

avoid the use of plastic bottles
Plastic bottles to be recycled. If they cannot be avoided, then this is the way to go. But we will try to avoid their use.  Refuse first – then recycle.

In the past years, we have made a strong effort to avoid selling plastic water bottles to our guests. That comes at a cost and we estimate that we have foregone about one million US Dollars in sales per year (see this blog for details on this topic).  As of today, we are very close to being 100% free of plastic bottles at the Cayuga Collection Hotels.   The areas that we are still struggling with is the minibar in our rooms and water that we serve our guests ” off premise”.

You might still find some plastic bottles in our minibars, but we have started to place pitchers with tap water in the minibar and have changed the presentation of bottles from plastic to glass whenever possible.   When guests ask for water to be taken on tours or when we receive guests at the airport and offer water, we are working on a conceptual shift from plastic bottles to reusable tin bottles.   We have been surprised by how open guests are to bringing their own water bottles from home, buying them at cost in our shops or just ” borrowing” them from us for the length of their stay.

water served at lapa rios eco lodge
Water for guests coming back from a rain forest tour at Lapa Rios Ecolodge. No need for bottled water.

There is still a way to go and the most important thing is to work with the local suppliers of beverages to reverse a recent trend from glass to plastic and from multi-use to one time use in Costa Rica.   Last week, the Corporate and Management Team of Cayuga, paid visit to the Costa Rican Beverage producer Florida Ice & Farm (they produce and bottle the local beer, water and juices among other things).  We consider them a partner in this quest as they are a world leader in terms of their sustainability program and we left them with some requests to help us and the hospitality industry in Costa Rica to become more sustainable.

Cristal water bottle
Cristal Water in a reusable water bottle. A sustainable alternative to plastic bottle recycling.

*  Promote Cristal Water in reusable water bottles in the marketplace (it is currently not know at all).

*  Extend the Cristal reusable water bottle line to a presentation in 0.33 l bottles (for mini bars and airport transfers).

*  Encourage the distributors to sell reusable water bottles and create incentives for consumers  to avoid plastic bottles.

During our visit, we found that a lot of the staff at  Florida Ice & Farm is willing to help us find solutions to reducing the amount of plastic bottles used in our hotels and the hospitality industry in general.  After a visit to their recycling center, it became clear to us that we cannot go on like this. There is way too much plastic in this world.   Recycling is good, but it is the last response if all other strategies failed.  Think about this next time you drink water out of a plastic bottle at a hotel.

Our next goal:   Moving from plastic to glass containers for food storage in our kitchens.   Stay tuned”¦

 

If you would like to learn more about the sustainability efforts at our sustainable hotels, resorts and eco lodges, visit our website.   We would love to hear your comments.   Send us a note at [email protected].

Help in how to design an eco tourism project

March 18, 2014

Last week, we received an e-mail questionnaire from a  senior interior design student at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.  She was interested in some industry feedback in order to work on her  senior studio project where she is required to research a topic of her choice and then utilize that research as the foundation of an evidence-based design approach  to a studio project the following term.  We thought it might be interesting to share some of the thoughts and comments we shared with this student.

What is your personal definition of ecotourism?

For us at Cayuga, ecotourism is travel to natural areas where the balance of the impact on the natural environment and the local community is very positive.   It typically has important cultural elements, conservation initiatives, educational activities and improvements of the local economy as part of the equation.   It is also important that the tourism operations have a sense of place.

www.laparios.com
Blending into the natural environment is a key part of sustainable design at Lapa Rios Eco Lodge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are some of the challenges you feel the ecotourism industry as a whole is facing?

The definition of ecotourism has been diluted and is misunderstood by a lot of people.   Often massive nature tourism with little benefits to the local community is considered ecotourism by the broad public.   Green washing by mass tourism organizations has also taken away credibility form the industry.   Another challenge is the fact that there are less and less natural habitats available for ecotourism development. This is especially true in coastal areas.   Finally, it is often difficult to compete for clients with massive tourism operations.

How large a role do you feel architecture and interior design play in ecotourism?

It plays a very important role and is the basis for a successful ecotourism project.   But it is not everything.   I have seen great architecture, but there was no passion for the people and the environment in the operation of the hotel or lodge and that does not work.   It is one part of the equation and can make a big difference, but it needs to be supplemented by sustainable operations.

www.latitude10resort.com
Open air showers. An important element for a luxury/sustainability experience at Latitude 10.

In your experience, which sustainable strategies are the most important, or have the most positive impact, when designing an eco-resort?

In the design process, getting to know the land, its history and its story is key.   Getting to know who lived here and who the neighbors are.   That will create a unique sense of place that will carry throughout the design and the operation.   Of course energy efficiencies in design are very important, i.e. natural lighting and cross ventilations.       It is also very important to create a strong connection with nature.   Eco lodges should be built in harmony with nature and not creating a strong separation between humans and nature as we do in cities or big resorts.

What are some of the most significant challenges you have faced on any sustainable project?

Working in remote areas always creates challenges. Communications, access, adequate labor pool, supplier access, etc.   But all of this can be overcome if the concept is adapted to those conditions.   Also getting the ” buy-in” from neighbors and the local community can be a challenge.   Since we are operating mostly in the luxury eco segment, the availability of skilled labor staring on day one is probably the biggest challenge -especially since we are committed to work with local staff only.

www.hotelgranodeoro.com
Open air spaces reduce need for air conditioning at the Grano de Oro Restaurant

What certifications or standards, if any, did you seek to achieve with this project?

We have certification for our hotels and lodges by the Costa Rican Government”™s CST certification.   We also have participated in the Long Run Certification provided by the Zeitz Foundation as well as certifications offered by the Rainforest Alliance.   We are currently struggling with the topic of certifications.   Do they really work?   Is it worth it?   How to eliminate the bureaucracy part of things?   How important are they to the consumer.   No answers yet, but lots of questions”¦we are working on ideas for the future.

How do you balance sustainability and luxury in regards to an eco-resort? Do you find it necessary to make compromises between environmental initiatives and creating a luxury product?

This is one of our most discussed topics right now.   We are working hard to find that perfect balance between sustainability and luxury.   We have done research on this and continue to learn.   High quality guest experiences AND sustainability are at the same priority level at Cayuga.   We look to do both and yes, once in a while we need to compromise. We try that the compromise is usually in favor of sustainability and not luxury.   Take seafood.   We try not to serve shrimp and tuna.   But if it is from a certified sustainable source, we will consider.   We don”™t offer plastic water bottles in our hotels and lodges.   We ask guests to bring, buy or lend reusable bottles.   We avoid A/C installation and if it is available to guests, we try to convince them that it is not necessary and try to sleep with the door open and the ceiling fan on.   I could go on and on and on about this topic”¦

www.jicarolodge.com
No Air Conditioning and Great Views at Jicaro Lodge in Nicaragua

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What programs or initiatives, if any, are in place to give back and/or involve the local community?

With our strong commitment to working with locals and buying local, we try to keep the money we generate within the communities where we operate.   Studies that have been done by a renown Latin American Business   School   say we are doing this with great success.   Besides that, we finance or support different projects in the areas where we operate through our Non-Profit Organisation Earth Equilibrium.   The focus on those projects is usually Education and Biodiversity Conservation.

Is there anything else on the topics of ecotourism and/or sustainable hospitality design that you feel is particularly important that you would like to share with me?

If you are interested sustainable hospitality, you need to have passion for it.   It is not easy and can get frustrating at times.   But if you stick to your values, it can be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.   To see local people grow and move ahead as professionals and see endangered species make a comeback in the ecosystems around the hotels and lodges where we operate is”¦ priceless.

www.harmonynosara.com
Simple but funcional beach design at the Harmony Hotel in Nosara

The Cayuga Collection consists of  ecolodges, resorts, and sustainable hotels  throughout Costa Rica and Nicaragua. All Cayuga properties specialize in creating the symbiosis of sustainability and luxury, always providing a sense of place by taking into account local culture and customs.  To Cayuga, sustainability is about more than reusing your towel twice and passing on plastic. The luxury hospitality group earned aCondé Nast TravelerWorld Savers award in 2010 and 2012 for its social responsibility, and aTravel + LeisureGlobal Vision award for Environmental Leadership in 2010. Cayuga works with local communities to train and employ local people and improve local living and learning conditions. Each of its properties is involved in conservation and community development, and the company even created a public charity called Equilibrium to further its reach and impact.

 

Meet Cayuga’s Interns

September 25, 2013

Earlier this year, Cayuga invited two recent MBA graduates to visit and consult with three properties to help assess our social and environmental programs, talk with staff about their visions for the sustainable future of each hotel, and create an annual sustainability report for each property. Throughout the month of September, Soraya Dossa Shattuck and Jen Sotolongo will spend a week each at Lapa Rios Eco Lodge, Arenas del Mar, and Jicaro Island Eco Lodge and provide updates about their experience throughout their stay on our blog.

Soraya and Jen recently earned their MBAs in Sustainable Systems from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI), the first school to offer an MBA that focuses exclusively on sustainability, incorporating triple bottom line practices (people, planet, profit) into traditional business school education. Passionate about sustainable tourism, Soraya and Jen are eager to learn more about the challenges and opportunities that come with operating a hotel in a sustainable manner.

 Soraya spent the first fourteen years of her life in Kenya, after which she moved to the Pacific Northwest with her family and made Washington State her beloved home. Whilst completing her B.A. in Manufacturing and Operations Management at Western Washington University in Bellingham, she took a mountaineers course and fell in love with the beauty and challenge of climbing the enchanting Cascade peaks. Since then, her passion for travel and exploring nature’s playground has grown exponentially. For the past five years, Soraya has been working for a non-profit consulting company helping businesses in the state of Washington integrate lean, environmental, and energy savings into their processes. This experience led her to Bainbridge Graduate Institute where she enhanced her knowledge about the role of sustainability in systems thinking, social justice, and corporate culture. With her Sustainable MBA focus in Organizational Leadership and a Certificate in Sustainable Built Environment, Soraya is excited to inspire positive change and drive increased environmental and social responsibility within the tourism industry.

Jen has a tough time staying in one place for long. She grew up in the Seattle area where she developed a love for the outdoors and perfect summer weather. After enduring the bone-chilling winters and sticky summers while studying     journalism and Spanish at Boston University, she ventured to Santiago, Chile to teach English to university students. From Chile, she headed to Wellington, New Zealand, where she worked for a government organization and explored the beauty the country had to offer. After    returning home, Jen moved to Tarrytown, New York and worked in development for conservation organizations. She eventually returned to the Pacific Northwest, settling in Portland, Oregon.  Realizing that the business world needed more leaders in sustainability, she went on to earn her MBA in Sustainable Systems from Bainbridge Graduate Institute, with a focus on Organizational Leadership and a certificate in the Sustainable Built Environment. Jen can be found running long distances in the woods, hiking in the mountains, and she is always planning her next adventure.

Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality is a world leader in sustainable hospitality management.   We manage and market hotels, resorts and eco lodges in Costa Rica and Nicaragua with a focus on high end experiences and sustainability.

Costa Rica’s National Parks

July 15, 2013

Costa Rica is one of the world”™s leaders in green initiatives and conservation.   Realizing the importance of tourism for the country, Costa Rica tries hard to maintain and support the natural growth and existence of the many ecosystems throughout the country.

These are some of the most popular National Parks within Costa Rica:

  • Arenal Volcano National Park
  • Corcovado National Park
  • Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Marino Ballena National Park
  • Poás Volcano National Park
  • Tortuguero National Park

As you explore the rainforests you can see birds, insects, monkeys, sloths, whales, dolphins, and much more.   With the National Parks being protected and untouched, each day is different.   The animals will always put on a show!

You never know what you will see in the Costa Rican National Parks!

Creating exceptional family travel experiences, Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality manages family friendly hotels in Costa Rica.

The Evolution of Sustainability in Hospitality

July 1, 2013

We are very privileged to live and work in Costa Rica.   It is considered one of the world”™s leaders in sustainability.   It is far from perfect and we all know that sustainability is an ongoing process.   You may not be aware that:

–                   Almost 25% of its Territory is protected in National Parks or Reserves.   The Park system was created over 40 years ago.

–                   It holds almost 5% of the world”™s biodiversity in only 0.3% of the world”™s landmass.

–                   Costa Rica has no military and focuses its resources on education and public health.

–                   It has received the honor of being named the happiest country in the world two times by the Happy Planet Index published by the New Economics Forum out of the UK.

Through the work we do at Cayuga, we are considered leaders in Sustainable Hospitality in Costa Rica.   So we are the leaders in sustainability in one of the world”™s most sustainable countries.   This is a great honor, but it also puts a lot of pressure on us and forces us to continuously evolve.     Here is where we see things going in the future”¦

When we started our careers in hospitality in the early 1999s, the focus was almost exclusively on the environment and the revolutionary things we did back then that are standard practice today.   Most hotels today have energy saving light bulbs, an opt-out linen and towel change program, some kind of recycling program and to lesser degree amenities dispensers instead of small individual bottles.

We found that since 2000, things got a bit more sophisticated in terms of helping the environment and a few sociocultural elements made it into the mix.   Pools at sustainable hotels now are treated without using chlorine, treated ” waste” water or ” gray water” is used for irrigation, solar panels are used for water heating, and biodegradable cleaning and cosmetic products have been introduced.   Guests often were asked for contributions (i.e. add a dollar to your bill upon checkout) and some very progressive operations have hired a person who is in charge of sustainability.

The bigger hotel chains and the majority of businesses still are at this stage or finally getting to this stage.   We have taken this to the next level in the last few years and are in the process of really stepping up our game.   The focus now is on combining concerns about the environment with sociocultural elements and focusing on local communities.    This is all about lifestyle choices and there are some tough decisions to be made.   There is also a factor of guest expectations as we know that guests are looking for this new level of sustainability in their hospitality experiences.

We have been focusing on the local component in the sustainability mix for years and consider this element to be one of the most important ones.   The idea is to make a true difference in the local economy, local community and local environment. For example:

–                   We believe that a local staff is an important part of the sustainability equation.   While it is sometimes difficult and requires great levels of patience, the long term results are overwhelmingly positive.   We are proud to have local staff in leadership and management positions across our hotels and lodges and other staff that have been with us close to 20 years making a true difference in the communities in which we”™re located.

–                   We source almost all of our food locally.   With small exceptions such as olive oil, certain spices and wheat products, almost all of the ingredients we use in the kitchen are grown, raised or caught in Costa Rica and most of them within a 200 mile radius of the hotel.   Most of our hotels grow (hydroponic vegetables) or raise some of the food on site (organic pork, for instance).

–                   All organic cosmetic and biodegradable cleaning products are produced locally by young entrepreneurs in the local communities we operate.

–                   We try to avoid imported fixtures, furniture and equipment as much as possible.   A lot of our furniture is designed and built locally and in some hotels, we are currently replacing imported furniture with local products.

–                   Our gardens feature almost exclusively local species of plants that create natural habitats for local wildlife.   We are very careful not to introduce exotic and invasive species due to our proximity to protected areas and National Parks.

Through our concept of Experience ““ Learn ““ Connect ““ Relax, we manage to engage the guests in the local experience as well.   They are not just observers, but participate and interact with our staff and the local communities.   Employees are much more than just ” servers”; they interpret the local culture, flora and fauna and become teachers or facilitators for interaction with the locals.  Every staff member at the Cayuga Collection Hotels and Lodges lives the concept of sustainability through their interactions with the guests.   Some examples of how we interact with our guests include:

–                   Soccer matches between hotels and lodges where we invite guests to participate or cheer on the local team.

–                   Surf sessions with employees during their time off showing our guests the best spots and breaks.

–                   Improvised shore fishing hoping to catch a few snappers that could be shared at dinner time.

–                   Trips to local markets, fairs and community events that help guests understand how the locals live, work and play.

–                   Invitations extended to local artisans to display their products at the lodges and hotels and interact with the guests.   Many artisans can be observed creating their art right on site.

–                   Spanish lessons, salsa and merengue dance lessons, local specialties cooking lessons, coffee tours and tastings, presentations on local flora and fauna and presentations on local culture, tradition and events.

–                   Interaction with local school children and donation of learning supplies.   We encourage our guests during those visits to share part of their culture through music, dance, sports or other presentation.

Through those activities and interactions, guests learn about the area and create strong bonds with the locals.   They appreciate not being confined to a big resort and enjoy the opportunity to connect with the local culture.   If they are able to take part in a sustainability tour, which is a back-of-the-house tour with a manager or guide, typically their overall satisfaction rating with their vacation experience increases exponentially and they becomes raving fans of the Cayuga Collection Hotels and Lodges.

We have not reached our sustainability goals yet.   Sustainability is a process and poses many challenges.   We often get asked to go 100% vegetarian, but our guests very much appreciate the freshly caught sustainable seafood that we serve.   While we”™re committed to working with a local staff, it can be extremely frustrating and the ever growing expectations of our guests in terms of service, amenities and food push us to our limits.   We have almost completely eliminated bottled water from our properties, but once in a while we receive guests that cannot live without it.   Our bamboo straws have become iconic, but they represent a significant cost for us.   Having guests branch out to explore other restaurants in the area, take tours with members of the local communities and buy their souvenirs directly from the local artisans means less revenue for our hotels and is something that any traditional hotel consultant would strongly be against.

But we believe we are on the right track and look forward to continuing to be leaders in the evolution of sustainability in hospitality.   It”™s what we know best.   It is in our DNA.   It”™s our passion.   It”™s why we get up in the morning.  Please contact us if you have an idea or suggestion that will contribute to our efforts. My email is [email protected].   I look forward to hearing from you.

A Costa Rica Travel Experience Like No Other

June 25, 2013

Expect a different experience when planning a trip to an Eco Lodge like Lapa Rios. It won”™t be the same as those air conditioned hotels with elevators and WiFi that you may be used to!

You will be walking, you will be sweating, and you will encounter bugs here and perhaps lizards there; however, it”™s nothing unbearable or overwhelming. In addition the benefits of this kind of trip heavily outweigh those potential inconveniences: you will be adventuring like you never have before, you will be vacationing sustainably, you will be disconnected from technology, you will see incredible amounts of biodiversity (especially if your destination is Lapa Rios), and you will be learning something new everyday””perhaps some things that you can take back home and apply to your daily life.

Staying at an eco lodge may be a little less convenient than an ordinary, modern, perhaps luxury hotel, but you are guaranteed to grow as a person and connect with the people you spend time with there (whether it be those who travel with you or the people/employees at the eco lodge) during and after your time at one. We hope you take a chance and do it!

Create lasting memories on your honeymoon at any one of Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality”™s eight eco resorts and lodges.

Enter to Win the Ultimate Eco Luxury Costa Rica Vacation

June 22, 2013

Coati Travel is offering the ultimate eco-luxury travel experience in Costa Rica for one lucky winner and three companions during a 7 night / 8 day amazing adventure!

The prize includes:

    • A stay at the luxurious Alta Hotel in San José,
    • 3 nights at Cayuga’s exotic Lapa Ríos Eco Lodge near Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula,
    • 3 nights at Cayuga”™s amazing Harmony Hotel in Nosara, Playa Guiones,
    • Ground transportation and adventure tours provided by Coati Travel.
    • Click to view the full prize itinerary

Click here to enter.

  • Domestic air transportation provided by Nature Air.

 

 

Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality is a world leader in sustainable hospitality management.   We manage and market hotels, resorts, eco lodges and Haciendas in Costa Rica and Nicaragua with a focus on high end experiences and sustainability.

Make Your Next Vacation Green with LEED Hotels and Destinations

June 19, 2013

A guest blog post by Cliff Barre:

Travelers who like to travel the world in style sometimes find that it is hard to find hotels and tourist sites that prioritize energy efficiency and reducing waste. If you consider yourself a ” green traveler” who also likes the comfort and aesthetics of luxury hotels, then  you know what a challenge it can be to marry these two ideas. Sometimes, however, all you need is a little information. This quick guide of tips will lead you to LEED buildings. Known as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED is a rating administered by the U.S. Green Building Council who honors buildings and homes throughout the United States, that make green building and energy efficiency a priority.

Before Destiny USA underwent a major green renovation and changed its name from Carousel Center in 2012, it was known as an environmental eyesore. Today, Destiny USA boasts major energy efficiency for a shopping mall of its size.  Destiny USA is built on what was formerly known as ” Oil City,” a Brownfield or environmentally damaged site, consisting of massive, unsightly oil drums that caused pollution to the land. Additional contamination on this site stemmed from the Marley Scrap Yard adjacent to the oil drums. Destiny USA is now a LEED Gold Certified building as a result of this cleanup as well as many other green initiatives taking place on site.

If New York City is in your travel itinerary, then make a stop at the LEED-certified Empire State Building. This towering skyscraper of more than 100 floors will give you citywide views up top and a breath of fresh air.  One of the few National Landmarks recognized as LEED certified, the Empire State Building has reduced its energy consumption by 38% and will reduce its carbon emissions by an estimated 105,000 metric tons over the next 15 years!  Be sure to take a ride up to the observation deck and see the city!

If you are planning to be in Las Vegas, then make sure to book a night or two at the Vdara Hotel and Spa. This hotel has lead the way in Las Vegas for buildings going green.  They have gone as far as having a fleet of limos that run exclusively by the clean burning compressed natural gas.  Furthermore, they upgraded many of the utilities in order to increase energy efficiency and decrease its energy usage by 30%.  This LEED-certified hotel is known for its luxurious accommodations and full-service spa. Relax and rejuvenate in the midst of the craziness of Las Vegas!

Take in gorgeous San Francisco Bay views at the Inn at Presido.  The building features modern, energy-efficient heating, plumbing and electrical systems and appliances, and was designed to maximize natural ventilation and lighting. ” Green” materials have been used throughout the building, from the carpets and rugs, to the paint on the walls to the insulation inside them””which is made from repurposed cotton denim. The most advanced architectural and construction techniques and materials were used as historic Pershing Hall underwent an environmentally sensitive rehabilitation that transformed the stately brick building into the park”™s first lodge. You also will get a charmed, personal experience because this charming inn has a little over 20 rooms. Relax and sleep well, and wake up to the calmness of the cool bay.

As far as places I would like to visit in the future, Costa Rica is on top of the list.   I have heard nothing but good things and it falls right in line with the eco-friendly lifestyle I lead.   As I began to research the trip and figure out where to stay, many of the reviews I have read lead me to Cayuga Collection Sustainable Luxury Hotels and Lodges.   They specialize in the ecological, conservational, and sustainable aspects of hotels that I seek out to stay at when I travel.   I really look forward to my visit there, I just need to figure out when that will be!

Start planning your green getaway right now! By using our easy-to-use guide, you can begin planning quickly and efficiently. Do not miss these LEED-certified buildings in the city where you choose to stay!

A leader in ecotourism, Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality manages luxury and boutique hotels in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

Running Sustainable Luxury Hotels, Eco resorts and Eco lodges in Costa Rica and Nicaragua

June 13, 2013

We often get asked to explain our philosophy and how we are looking to provide our guest with a unique symbiosis of sustainability and luxury.   This short video helps to understand what to expect when traveling to the Cayuga Collection Hotels and Lodges in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.   We would love to get your feedback on this as this is a process and we are always looking to improve.

Watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ugnjy4V7jSI

Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality is a world leader in sustainable hospitality management.   We manage and market hotels, resorts, eco lodges and Haciendas in Costa Rica and Nicaragua with a focus on high end experiences and sustainability.