Women Eco-preneurs in Costa Rica and Nicaragua

These international women are putting their power behind eco-friendly, sustainable tourism experiences

Women account for more than half the world”™s population and the majority of consumer purchasing decisions, and are now bringing their influence to bear on environmental issues of sustainability and ecotourism development.

Below are hotel owners for the properties that Cayuga manages in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.   These female eco-preneurs have combined conservation, compassion and life”™s little luxuries to offer new solutions in sustainable tourism and business experiences.

Teresa Jampol, Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn

Teresa Jampol is co-founder and co-owner at Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn above the beautiful Central Valley of Costa Rica. She is often found harvesting organically grown produce from her gardens, when she isn”™t sharing sustainability strategies with other hospitality operators or teaching guests about the local environment and culture. Jampol was instrumental in Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn becoming the first certified sustainable hotel in Costa Rica, and its evolution over the past 20 years into the highest ranking member of the prestigious Sustainable Tourism Certification program (CST.)   With husband Glenn, Jampol went on to design and build Arenas del Mar Nature and Beach Resort, in Manuel Antonio, which opened in 2008 and is the first five star and five leaf resort in Costa Rica.

Karen Emanuel, Jicaro Island Ecolodge

With a degree in genetics, and a background in music and media, successful London-based business woman Karen Emanuel found herself on an off-the-beaten-track vacation to Nicaragua five years ago.   She discovered Jicaro Island after seeing a notice posted in a restaurant proclaiming “Island for Sale”.   It sparked an idea. In 2010, Emanuel opened Jicaro Island Ecolodge, built with minimum impact to the island and careful attention to water conservation, wastewater treatment and electricity usage.   Since opening, Jicaro Island Ecolodge has been on international ” hot lists” introducing Nicaragua to eco-tourists world wide while helping to grow tourism within the region.

Karen Lewis, Lapa Rios Eco Lodge

Twenty years ago Karen Lewis and her husband John liquidated their assets in Minnesota to finance the purchase and preservation of a large tract of lowland rainforest in Costa Rica and build a small, supporting ecotourism project. Their Lapa Rios Ecolodge sits upon the 930-acre Lapa Rios Reserve, overlooking a pristine point where the Golfo Dulce meets the wild Pacific Ocean. The reserve helps buffer neighbouring Corcovado National Park and serves as a wildlife corridor. Their efforts have been awarded Costa Rica”™s highest certification in sustainable tourism (CST), and a conservation covenant through The Nature Conservancy and Centro de Derrecho Ambiental y de los Recursos Naturales (CEDARENA) ““ the Centre of Environmental Law and Natural Resources ““ ensures this first growth forest will be preserved in perpetuity.

Andrea Bonilla, Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality

Born and raised in Costa Rica, Andrea Bonilla spent most of her youth at her parents’ farm where she developed a strong relationship with the environment and local culture. After graduating from Cornell Hotel School in Ithaca, New York, and working in hotel management in Africa and Central America, she founded Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality, a sustainable tourism management firm focusing exclusively on small, upscale, sustainable hotels and lodges in Latin America. Bonilla is now managing director at Cayuga in charge of the operation of hotels in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and was instrumental in founding Earth Equilibrium, a non-profit that funds and creates educational and biodiversity conservation programs where Cayuga Hotels operate.

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