Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality S.A. is a company based in San Jose, Costa Rica, dedicated to the management and development of hotels, lodges and other tourism related projects in Latin America and the Caribbean that have an ecological, conservationist or sustainable aspect to it. Currently, Cayuga manages 6 hotels in different regions of Costa Rica and Nicaragua representing sales of close to 7 Mio US$ and offering direct employment to more than 300 locals. Cayuga's staff has been evolved in Ecolodge and boutique hotel management in Costa Rica and Nicaragua since 1999.
The owners of the company are Andrea Bonilla and Hans Pfister, both graduates of the Cornell Hotel School in Ithaca New York and dedicated conservation tourism professionals. Cayuga offers a solution to developers and owners of tourism operations that are looking for qualified hospitality management that will allow them to step back from day to day operations.
General Manager - Irene Morales
Latitude 10 Resort
General Manager - Gabriel Orozco
Jicaro Island Ecolodge
General Manager – Howard Coulson
Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality works to develop and manage hotels, lodges and other tourism related projects in Latin America that have a sustainable aspect to them. We provide service excellence with enthusiasm, agility, flexibility, team work, professionalism and a proactive attitude, based on our knowledge, experiences, development and creativity, to offer integral solutions consistent with our principles and values. Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality is sustainable tourism in action, working to make sustainability integral to common business practices.
Hans Pfister is the President and co-owner of Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality. Hans brings almost 20 years of experience in the hotel business in all capacities from trainee to General Manager, and currently focuses on marketing, finance, strategy and new projects. Born and raised in Germany, Hans' career began with the European tradition of apprenticeship as an introduction to the industry, rounding out his education and training with a degree from Cornell's School of Hotel Administration and experience in various properties in Europe, Asia, North- and Latin America. In addition to his native German language, Hans speaks English and Spanish fluently, and is also able to communicate in French. Hans has been on the board of directors of the Costa Rican hotel chamber (CCH) for five years and served as representative of the private sector (CANATUR) in the Marketing Committee of the Costa Rican Tourism ministry (ICT) for over four years. Hans is a frequent speaker at sustainability related conferences and was invited to share Cayuga's experiences in the field of sustainable hospitality at the Harvard Business School and Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration. Currently Hans is serving a three year term as Regional Vice President of the Cornell Hotel Society responsible for Mexico, Central and South America.
Andrea is Vice President of Operations and co-owner of Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality. She was born and raised in Costa Rica. Her passion for service and the hotel industry in general lead her to Cornell University where she got a BS in Hotel Administration. Andrea brings over 15 years of industry experience to Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality, from training positions and internships from MGM studios, Disney World to the Hampton Inn Costa Rica. As part of her experience, she worked for a year as Operations Manager at Breezes Beach Club in Zanzibar, Africa. She then moved to the Osa Peninsula where she lived for almost five years working as Administrative and General Manager of Lapa Rios and where her passion for sustainability was fully developed. Andrea has been instrumental in the opening process of properties such as the Harmony Hotel, Morgan's Rock in Nicaragua and Arenas Del Mar. Being from Costa Rica, her native language is Spanish, but she speaks fluent English and Italian and is proficient in French. Andrea is also part of Women of the Osa, a group of volunteers supporting the conservation of the Osa Peninsula.
Jorge holds a masters degree in International Business Administration from UIA, Texas and an undergraduate degree in tourism. He has over 15 years of experience in hotel operations and consulting. Before joining Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality, Jorge was a professor of tourism at the Universidad Internacional and served as program director of an internationally sponsored program to increase the level of tourism related skills in rural areas of Costa Rica. Jorge worked at the Lapa Rios Ecolodge as Administrative and General Manager for five years and was then promoted to Director of Operations for Cayuga. He is responsible for sustainability at Cayuga and the supervision of the different hotel operations and of offering support to the property managers.
Maria Jose studied Hotel Administration at the Universidad Interamericana de Costa Rica. As her first assignment, she took on the role of Operations Manager at the Harmony Hotel. She was then promoted to Operations Manager at the Cayuga Corporate level and is currently supporting the hotel managers with the implementation of systems and has become our operations expert with great attention to detail and excellence at the day to day operations. Maria Jose has also developed into a marketing expert for Cayuga and is taking on the opening of new hotels. Maria Jose is fluent in English and Spanish and understands German.
Michelle is Cayuga’s Sustainability Director. Prior to joining Cayuga Michelle worked with The Nature Conservancy developing, managing, and leading conservation programs in several countries around the world. Michelle is in charge of overseeing the implementation of sustainability efforts at the various Cayuga hotels and ecolodges. She has work experience in Latin America, Asia Pacific, and the Caribbean in areas rang ing from local conservation strategy development, stakeholder analysis, and organizational capacity building to managing multicounty, regional conservation programs in Mesoamerica. Aside from her responsibilities with day to day sustainability at Cayuga, Michelle is establishing the Equilibrium Foundation, a non-profit organization that is active in the areas where the Cayuga hotels are located and dedicated to propelling a more harmonious way of living with the natural world. Michelle studied Anthropology and History at Franklin and Marshall College and later received her Master degree in Latin American Studies from Tulane University. She is fluent in Spanish and English.
Silvia was born and raised in Costa Rica´s Central Valley. At a very young age she developed a strong bond with nature and the environment through extensive travel throughout Costa Rica. After graduating in tourism from the Universidad Latina in San Jose and an internship at Walt Disney´s World College Program in Florida she started to work as Project Coordinator with Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality. She has a strong passion for the hospitality industry as well as sustainability issues. Silvia is fluent in Spanish and English and conversational in Italian.
Maria Laura was born and raised in Costa Rica and graduated in tourism with an emphasis on hospitality management at the Universidad Latina. She is very passionate about sustainability and did her internship working with Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality focused on human resources projects. Impressed with her performance during her internship, Maria Laura was hired by Andrea and Hans as Project Coordinator and is currently working on various projects at the Cayuga properties. We consider Maria Laura the third generation of Costa Rican hospitality professionals that are not only interested in topics like quality and service but bring the strong urge to make Costa Rica a more sustainable country for future generations of tourists and Costa Ricans.
Fabian studied hotel and restaurant management at the ULACIT University in San Jose, Costa Rica. He has been working in the hospitality industry for over 10 years. He started out as an entrepreneur in the restaurant business and has a strong Food & Beverage background. He worked as the hotel manager for Cruise West on board of the Seattle based Pacific Explorer cruise ship and re-launched the Harmony Hotel in Nosara as General Manager as his first assignment for Cayuga. Fabian has become an expert in Hotel openings as he was also responsible for the opening of Arenas Del Mar Beach & Nature Resort located in the rain forest of Manuel Antonio where he currently serves as General Manager.
Jairo, our Guest Service Manager at Arenas Del Mar, was raised an born in San Carlos, Costa Rica which is known for its dairy industry and the Arenal Volcano. He has almost 10 years of hospitality experience and is a great example the possibilities of a fast career path in the hospitality industry. Starting as a receptionist, he worked his way up to management positions in Mexico and now Costa Rica. He is passionate about customer service and his great strength is the connection with the staff at the hotel.
Juan joined Cayuga as the General Manager of Lapa Ríos in the Osa Peninsula, after two years of being responsible for the agricultural department of the touristic theme park PANACA. Juan graduated as an agronomist from E.A.R.T.H. University with an ample knowledge on Costa Rican fauna. He is authentically fascinated by nature and wildlife and is genuinely committed to conservation and sustainability. Juan is a unique manager in the way that you might very well see him holding a snake to show to guests at the ecolodge and trekking behind a heard of howler monkeys in the rainforest. Having been born in Costa Rica his first language is Spanish and he is also fluent in English.
Marijke was born in Golfito, a small port town across the Gulf from Lapa Rios Ecolodge. She grew up in Belgium and came back to the Osa Peninsuala when she was 16. She started at Lapa Rios in a junior position at a very young age and worked her way through different departments showing great dedication to sustainability and customer service. Marijke has spent months at a time travelling around the world but was always brought back to the Osa’s natural beauty. She taught at local schools and volunteers for community groups like the scouts and sports teams. In 2008, Marijke started to work in management positions at Lapa Rios and since December 2009 is part of the executive management team as Operations Manager. Her dream is to become Lapa Rios’ first “local” General Manager. In addition to Dutch and Spanish, Marijke is fluent in English and is able to communicate in French and German.
Before joining Cayuga, Irene’s career has been mostly focused on conservation. She has worked with the Nature Conservancy for over five years and among other things was in charge of the implementation of projects in protected areas with a focus on biodiversity conservation as well as community based organizational capacity building. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Costa Rica in Business Administration and Marketing and a Masters degree in Forest Resources from Penn State University. Irene is fluent in Spanish, English and French and 100 percent committed to sustainability. The challenge of heading the Harmony hotel in Nosara is her first assignment in the hospitality industry and she has been very successful in raising the bar and making Harmony the most distinguished and sustainable hotel in Guanacaste.
Gabriel graduated from University of Quebec in Montreal, (U.Q.À.M) in Visual Arts and acquired a second Bachelor from The International Business School, HEC, in Business Administration (B.B.A.) with an emphasis in accounting and finance. After 13 years of experience in hospitality management and the culinary arts industry, he left the north to pursue a new endeavor in Brazil as the Marcopolo Operation manager of South America. Many travels convinced him that Santa Teresa Beach in Costa Rica is his ideal place to live. He is passionate about nature and sustainability as well as surfing. Now General manager of Latitude 10, Gabriel is truly living his dream. Gabriel is fluent in Spanish, English and French.
Howard was born and raised in the northern Nicaraguan town of Estelí. He has a degree in Hotel Management and Tourism from INTAE and over 10 years of management experience in hotels and restaurants in Granada, the city he now calls home. The management of Jicaro Island Ecolodge is Howard’s first assignment with Cayuga and he is excited to learn from his colleagues in Costa Rica about the sustainability aspects of the operation. He is fluent in Spanish and English and able to communicate in basic French.