Our vision is to be worldwide leaders in sustainable hospitality, consistently exceeding the expectations of our stakeholders and guests alike. We redefine the symbiosis of luxury and sustainability through the concept of “Experience, Learn, Connect and Relax.” We create legendary and authentic service experiences for our guests, sustainable development for our communities, and financial viability for our clients.
Sustainability: All of our decisions are based on our commitment to the triple bottom line model: people-environment-economics. We follow the highest ethical standards and take responsibility for our actions.
Change: We embrace change. We constantly learn and look for opportunities to grow on a professional and personal level. We are enthusiastic and determined to make things happen.
Attitude: We are proactive and have a positive attitude. We value diversity and integrity. We treat everybody with respect.
Quality: We are committed to being impeccable in everything we do. We set high standards and stand up for our mission and goals.
Unique and Authentic Lodging Experiences combining Luxury with Sustainability
When we ask our guests what they consider to be the most important amenities during their stay, often times their response is not about shampoo bottles or room service. Rather, our guests are instead seeking authentic and meaningful experiences to replace the standard amenities and services of a typical tropical holiday.
The combination of luxury and sustainability is summarized in our philosophy of Experience, Learn, Connect and Relax. We look to create unique and memorable experiences at all levels of our operations, always providing a sense of place that takes into account the local environment and culture.
Experience and interact with nature & wildlife in close proximity, similarly to a safari experience in Africa. Often you don’t have to go far, as our hotels and lodges are built within natural habitats and the local flora attracts animals. Wake up with the sound of howler monkeys, marvel at beautiful tropical flowers or catch a wave at sunrise.
Learn how to prepare authentic Costa Rican dishes and cocktails or acquire a new skill, whether at our free Spanish lessons or Salsa and Merengue classes. Educate yourself about a whole variety of topics, ranging from coffee to culture to history, and feel immersed in your experience through the interpretation of the flora and fauna and our sustainability efforts by our enthusiastic local guides.
Connect with our staff and local community by joining them in a soccer game at the beach or accompanying them on an improvised fishing trip. Most likely they will also share with you the best place to surf or the best place to get cold beer and local food. Visit local schools to learn about our efforts to improve rural education or reconnect with yourself during one of our yoga classes or wellness treatments.
Relax and don’t forget that you are on vacation. Hammocks are the key for this; settle into one of your own to find peace and decompress. Leave the electronic devices behind. Meet other guests at the bar and sip a tropical cocktail or glass of organic South American wine.
We at Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality are continually striving to create the perfect combination of a guilt-free luxury lodging experience that does not negatively interfere with the surrounding natural flora and fauna, nor with local communities and people.
Guests at Cayuga Collection Hotels and Lodges can expect authentic and unique experiences. We are recognized as world leaders in sustainable tourism and have received numerous awards and press coverage for our efforts. However, we maintain a distinct interpretation of the concept of luxury that goes far beyond golden faucets, Italian marble and exotic food and drinks served in air-conditioned restaurants. Here are some examples of what many of our guests can experience as the “new” luxury.
- Being awoken by howler monkeys in the rain forest canopy at sunrise and later sipping a cup of locally grown organic coffee on your private deck.
- Trading air-conditioning for the sounds of crashing waves while sleeping in 600 thread count organic cotton sheets.
- Participating in an improvised cooking lesson with the local chef because you really enjoyed that fresh fish ceviche dish on the menu and would like to learn how to prepare it at home.
- Bringing school utensils to a local school and having your children interact with local children in the classroom or for a soccer game during the break.
- Making a conscious decision to pass on non-sustainable seafood (endangered species or not caught in a sustainable manner) and instead enjoying local delicacies that are 100% fresh, local and sustainable.
- Drinking refreshing well water in reusable bottles instead of commercially bottled water shipped needlessly from thousands of miles away.
- Stretching beyond your comfort zone and engaging in a new activity. Take a surf lesson, do a yoga class, go on a zip line or waterfall rappelling tour.
- Taking a cool shower in your private outdoor bathroom with organic and biodegradable bath amenities (A howler monkey might be watching you from the trees above!)
- Connecting with the staff members that serve you at the hotel and together visiting a local market or meeting up for a soccer game at the beach.
The “sacrifices” you make will be more than compensated by the authenticity of the experience and especially the warmth and friendliness of the staff that will take care of you.
Read more below about the specific sustainability initiatives and projects currently underway at each of our hotels and lodges in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
In the past several years, we have helped to set up a non-profit, public charity called Earth Equilibrium (www.earthequilibrium.org) and currently channel our donations and community support efforts through this organization. We implement projects that show that we can live more amicably with our planet. Equilibrium has 501c3 status, which means that all US donations are tax deductible. Donations made by Costa Ricans are also tax deductible since the organization is also duly registered in Costa Rica.
Equilibrium implements one particular project in partnership with the Cayuga Collection Hotels and Lodges entitled Building for the Future. Its goal is to:
- Provide school supplies for students and classrooms
- Provide textbooks for students
- Provide small infrastructure like desks, chairs, shelves
- Improve current infrastructure like bathrooms, playgrounds, dining halls
Some of the schools where such projects are well underway are:
Las Delicias School (Nosara, Costa Rica)
With our partner The Harmony Hotel we are rebuilding this two room school to improve ventilation, lighting, and overall safety of the structure. We will equip the kindergarten classroom with supplies and provide textbooks for grades 1-6. The longer term goal is to turn this into a sustainable school that can demonstrate responsible practices for the community.
Sabalo School (Manuel Antonio , Costa Rica)
With our partner Arenas del Mar Resort, we are refurbishing and rebuilding classrooms, restrooms, and library space. We are also building a recycling storage center and implementing a solid waste management plan for the community.
Padre Nello School (Granada, Nicaragua)
Schools in the isletas of Granada lack potable water and most do not have electricity. With our partner Jicaro Lodge we are installing a water filtration and pump system, and a solar energy system for students to have access to safe drinking water and electricity. This potable water will be available for the 600 community members who also lack clean drinking water.
Puerto Jimenez Community and Area schools (Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica)
We are working with five area schools on repairing and rebuilding very damaged infrastructure. We will continue to support classroom needs by supplying materials and textbooks. This year we will also build a playground for the community in Puerto Jimenez. Our partner in all of this is Lapa Rios Eco Lodge, a long time supporter of community development.
Should you be interested in supporting the work that we do:
Click here to visit our website: http://www.earthequilibrium.org/
Click here to make a donation: http://www.earthequilibrium.org/donate_now.html
Click here to contact us: http://www.earthequilibrium.org/contact_us.html
Your Travel Choices make a difference
Responsible travel is travel with a purpose. When choosing a destination, accommodation or tour operator, consider choices that work to protect the environment while benefiting local cultures and communities. Sustainable lodging and tours come in a range of prices, depending on remoteness plus level of comfort and convenience you desire. Regardless, everyone has the potential to be a responsible traveler!
With some careful planning, you too can improve the quality of your trip while making a real difference to the people and places you visit. Research, ask questions, and choose wisely!
Some Quick Tips
- Look for information and resources on responsible travel, ecotourism, or sustainable tourism. Search The International Ecotourism Society for sustainable travel practices and good solutions.
- Choose guidebooks with information about your destination’s environmental, social and political issues. Check out websites, do your own vetting to accommodation and tour companies.
- Find out a destination’s commitment to environmental and social certification. Travel and tourism certification programs have been created to rate and rank the environmental and social impacts of tourism businesses. Certification programs use outside, independent auditors. Their programs’ tools distinguish genuine ecotourism, sustainable products and services from those that merely use “eco-” as a marketing tool to attract consumers.
- Before you confirm your booking, inquire on social and environmental policies, such as: What is your environmental policy? Your social development policy? What percentage of your employees are locals? Do you support projects that directly benefit the local community and area’s natural resources? Do you have eco-label ratings, or have you won credible eco-awards? Contact lodges, hotels and operators and verify facts with those who have firsthand knowledge of the places and companies.
With the right choices, you can have a memorable and unique trip while leaving as little a negative impact as possible on an area’s culture, economy or environment.
Easy ecotourism advice to follow to become a more sustainable traveler
Take only what you need—mix and match clothing is fashionable. Don’t pack anything that will become waste. Consider packing 1 K (2 lbs.) of school supplies to donate.
Minimize air travel: choose to stay longer at one destination rather than taking several short duration trips. Long haul flights are the most polluting aspect of travel, contributing upwards of 10% to worldwide greenhouse gases emissions.
Opt for environmentally friendly public transport:take trains, buses and ferries as much as possible. Or better yet, bike and walk more – it’s good exercise as well!
Offset your carbon footprint: contribute to credible programs that support conservation or renewable and/or alternative energy projects; consider organizations such as TerraPass
Re-Charge, Re-Use, Reduce
Bring a refillable water bottle and use it whenever possible; read here to learn more about why this is important. For travel accessories such as flashlights, cameras, razors, alarms, etc., use rechargeable batteries, solar or kinetic energy powered products. Pack out and do not leave the hotel or lodge responsible for your trash.
Be Water Wise
Use only the amount of water needed when bathing, showering, brushing and washing clothes. Use the “second day” option for bed linens and towels, and stick to one pool towel daily.
Turn off lights and unnecessary household appliances while you are away from home. Lower the house thermostat and water heater to ‘stand by.’ Turn off lights, fans, air conditioners and/or heaters when not in your hotel room.
Know Your Environment
Culture: Before traveling, read about the area’s culture, its history, people and food, and about flora and fauna unique to the region. Learn words and phrases in the local language—use them.
Nature: Respect the natural environment. Do not touch, harvest or poach flora or fauna. Never buy crafts or products made from protected or endangered animals. Always follow designated trails and do not trespass beyond signs. Support conservation by paying full entrance fees at parks and protected reserves. Ask about the hotel’s environmental policies and practices.
People: Talk with staff about working conditions, extra benefits or training they receive, or how their families and community benefit from tourism. Meet and talk with local people. SLOW DOWN. Be Present.
Select locally owned or locally supporting lodges, hotels and B&Bs. Dine at locally owned and operated restaurants. Choose locally grown food that features regional recipes—likely unfamiliar yet part of the adventure! Shop markets to support area farmers and artisans, and attend or participate in regional festivals, events and sporting activities. Hire local guides and ask how they were licensed and trained, if they grew up in the area where they interpret. Some of the world’s best naturalists were poachers or hunters before sustainable tourism provided job skills and a steady income.
Be respectful of local citizens’ privacy. Ask permission before entering sacred places, homes, or walk on private land. Be mindful of local touching (or not) practices. Read about local conventions and cultural taboos. Dress appropriately—in many countries modest dress is important and a sign of respect. Be sensitive to when and where you take photos or videos of people, religious or tribal sites, etc. Always ask before taking pictures. Pay the fair price, remember many whom you bargain with make a living from that trade and selling their goods.
Sustainable tourism businesses assist locally-based social and environmental projects. These businesses aid projects that need your financial and material support. Travelers’ Philanthropy projects offers guests an opportunity to get involved, to give back in your travel destination. Be counted as a traveling steward: Contribute by supporting the travel companies that help make positive changes for its local hosts. Your participation enriches your own travel experience, forever linking you to the well-being of the people and resources you visited.