Hotel Tropico Latino
Tripadvisor - Certificate of Excellence - 2016

Want to make a difference to the planet when you travel? Stay at sustainable tourism hotels like Tropico Latino in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

sustainable tourism Santa Teresa Costa RicaYour travel choices make a difference in the world. Hotel Tropico Latino knows that and it’s why the Santa Teresa, Costa Rica beach hotel is happy to celebrate this month’s World Tourism Day 2017 focused on sustainable tourism.

“Tourism can contribute to all three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental … it also improves the quality of people’s lives. It can bolster environmental protection, champion diverse cultural heritage, and strengthen peace in the world,” states the World Tourism Organization.

Tourists from all over the world come to Santa Teresa to enjoy the spectacular beaches, beautiful jungle and warm tropical climate, and Hotel Tropico Latino operates as sustainably as possible to protect its remarkable setting.

sustainable tourism Hotel Tropico Latino Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Hotel Tropico Latino beachfront in beautiful Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

Noteworthy Sustainable Tourism Efforts by Hotel Tropico Latino

  • Tropico Latino Hotel is the flagship for Costa Rica’s National Plan for Sustainable and Healthy Gastronomy, and hotel Chef Randy Siles is Costa Rica’s international ambassador in the program.
  • The hotel hires mostly local residents as staff, ensuring sustainable employment in the small community of Santa Teresa.
    Hotel Tropico Latino
    Chef Randy Siles and his team at Hotel Tropico Latino in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.
  • Hotel Tropico Latino implements an initiative called the $5 Check Out Program that allows their guests to add an optional charge on their bill at the end of their stay to fund community and environmental initiatives in Santa Teresa. For the price of a smoothie in Santa Teresa, guests can help keep area beaches clean and assist other community initiatives.
  • Hotel Tropico Latino supports Costa Rica’s Ecological Blue Flag Program for Santa Teresa’s beaches through their $5 Checkout Program. It’s easy to see that area beaches have been awarded Costa Rica’s Ecological Blue Flag for environmental purity.
    Santa Teresa Beach, Costa Rica
    Santa Teresa Beaches fly Costa Rica's Ecological Blue Flag for environmental purity.
  • Hotel Tropico Latino operates an intensive recycling program, collecting and separating waste from special bins in the hotel’s guestrooms, offices, restaurant and kitchen, and public areas.
    • Cooking grease is collected and sent to local company Viogaz, which uses a biodigester to turn the grease into cooking gas for the local Tourism Police precinct.
    • All organic waste is composted into fertilizer for the hotel’s gardens.
  • The hotel is working toward eliminating all disposable plastic such as plastic bottles, straws, etc. They use biodegradable bamboo straws for smoothies and drinks in the restaurant.
    sustainable tourism Hotel Tropico Latino
    Hotel Tropico Latino in Costa Rica operates an intensive recycling program.
  • They use only biodegradable soaps, shampoos, laundry detergents, and cleaning products throughout the hotel.
  • Microorganisms in hotel septic tanks help control odors, degrade waste better and make the system more efficient.
  • Energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances help reduce electricity use.

Now in September and October, Hotel Tropico Latino is offering big savings of 50% off all room rates with breakfast included. It’s the perfect opportunity for a much-needed vacation in Costa Rica.

Article by Shannon Farley

Hotel Tropico Latino hopes to inspire Santa Teresa businesses to join them in regular monthly cleanups to keep Santa Teresa beaches trash free.

Santa Teresa beaches Hotel Tropico Latino Costa Rica
Hotel Tropico Latino wants to preserve the beautiful Santa Teresa beaches where it is located in Costa Rica.

Hotel Tropico Latino wants to ignite a movement to keep the beaches of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica clean.

They propose that Santa Teresa businesses unite together to donate an hour of their time each month to go with their employees to pick up trash and debris from Santa Teresa’s beaches.

“Together we can do a big cleanup to leave the beach completely clean, and create community awareness while conserving our natural resources. We hope that everyone will unite with us to keep Santa Teresa clean,” states a hotel video message.

Santa Teresa beaches – Playa Carmen, Santa Teresa, Playa Hermosa – consistently win Costa Rica’s ecological Blue Flag award. And tourism runs the economy, with tourists from all over the world coming to enjoy the breathtaking pristine beaches, beautiful jungle and sunny tropical climate.

However, like all tourists everywhere, they generate trash from consuming items. Add to that the normal waste from the community and businesses, and it multiplies radically. Then there are the random flotsam and jetsam that simply come ashore from ocean currents.

Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Beach cleanup at Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

In past years, Hotel Tropico Latino helped spearhead a beach cleanup program with area businesses, hiring a person to pick up trash five days a week. In 2012, a whopping 10,515 kilos (23,190 pounds) of garbage was collected during the year. The group put out garbage and recycling bins with signs on the beaches, and worked to educate the community and visiting tourists about environmental conservation.

Santa Teresa now has a monthly recycling program. And some of that plastic ocean trash washing up on Santa Teresa beaches this year is being converted to high-fashion clothing by designer/retailer H&M using Bionic Yarn – polyester made of recycled plastic waste. Bionic Yarn is made from plastic that washes up on beaches and waterway shorelines that is of too poor quality for traditional recycling, and usually ends up in landfills.

Conscious Exclusive Collection, photo courtesy of HM
High-fashion clothing made from recycled plastic ocean trash, photo courtesy of H&M.

On World Oceans Day 2017 earlier this month, the Costa Rican government pledged to fight marine pollution in the form of single-use plastic and also created a new marine protected area near Santa Teresa.

Costa Rica added an 800-square-kilometer marine conservation area at Cabo Blanco at the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, an important area for dolphins, whales, sea turtles, sea birds and other marine life. The country now protects slightly more than 15 percent of its territorial waters under conservation, joining The United Nations Environment Program in its goal to preserve one-tenth of all oceans by 2020.

Santa Teresa beaches
Beautiful Santa Teresa beaches in Costa Rica.

After joining the global UN Clean Seas campaign earlier this year, Costa Rica promised to replace single-use plastic – which can take hundreds of years to degrade – with renewable and compostable materials in at least 80 percent of the country’s public agencies, municipalities and businesses by 2021.

Article by Shannon Farley

Eco-hotel Tropico Latino in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica dedicates its operations to environmental practices and helping the community offset tourism’s impact on a pristine area.

Santa Teresa Costa Rica

Tourists from all over the world come to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica to enjoy the breathtaking pristine beaches, beautiful jungle and lovely tropical climate. While here, like all tourists everywhere, they generate trash from consuming items like food, drinks, sunscreen, insect repellent, etc.

This is completely normal. But when this waste gets left where they vacation, and then the pattern is multiplied by thousands of tourists, do you ever wonder what happens to all of that trash?

In the case of small towns like Santa Teresa, which are completely dependent on tourism, the community has been forced to deal with the huge influx of solid waste, without much infrastructure or funding.

Luckily, organizations and people in Santa Teresa have stepped up to help.

Recycling Costa Rica
Community recycling program in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. Photo by Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper.
Hotel Tropico Latino joins a group of concerned citizens who gather the town’s recycling on the first Thursday and Friday of every month at the Santa Teresa soccer field. The initiative began a few years ago led by Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper, a local NGO, the local government and the Santa Teresa tourism chamber.

“We accumulate all of our recycling during the month and then send two pickup trucks with all of the materials separated and organized,” said Tropico Latino hotel manager Roberto de la Ossa.

Recycling Santa Teresa
Recycling at Hotel Tropico Latino in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.
Hotel receptionist, Evelyn Gonzalez, and Yoga & Spa Natural owner Maria Quesada Vargas ensure that all recycling waste from special bins in Tropico Latino’s guestrooms, hotel offices and public areas is gathered and separated in a back area of the hotel, and brought to the recycling collection point every month.

“The effort is challenging and constant to keep on top of recycling,” said de la Ossa. “But this is a sustainable effort for the community, and it’s not a choice anymore in the world to recycle or not. We live and work here in this beautiful, natural place and we want to keep it that way.”

At the beginning of February, 1,190 kilos (2,623 pounds) of recycling waste was collected in Santa Teresa, instead of it going to the regional trash dump, according to the Waterkeeper organization. The top three items collected were glass, cardboard/paper, and plastic.

Recycling at the beach
Recycling in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. Photo by Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper.
“The regional trash dump in Cobano is so overloaded that the local government supports any effort toward recycling,” said de la Ossa. In fact, the dump in Cobano has been condemned and ordered to be shut down for the last two years but remains in use.

All recycling collected in Santa Teresa goes to Molina Recycling in the Nicoya Gulf port town of Paquera, where it is distributed among private companies in Costa Rica that recycle these materials.

Eco Turism

Other Green Practices at Eco-Hotel Tropico Latino

Recycle kitchen waste. In Hotel Tropico Latino’s Shambala Restaurant kitchen, staff separate all waste into color-coded barrels which goes to recycling and other waste disposal. Cooking grease is collected in special bins for local company Viogaz, which uses a biodigester to turn the grease into cooking gas for the local Tourism Police precinct.

Composting. Organic waste is composted to become fertilizer for the hotel’s gardens.

Recycling at Costa Rica
Kitchen guide to recycling at Hotel Tropico Latino in Costa Rica.
Less plastic. “We use bamboo straws for smoothies and drinks in the restaurant,” said de la Ossa. Purchased from a vendor in Costa Rica, the cost is higher than plastic but the bamboo straws are biodegradable. De la Ossa said the hotel’s goal is to completely stop using disposable plastic like plastic bottles, straws, etc.

Biodegradable products. Hotel Tropico Latino uses only biodegradable soaps, shampoos, laundry detergents, and cleaning products throughout the hotel. “Nowhere in the hotel do we use anything that is not biodegradable,” explained de la Ossa. “That is a big key because there is a big volume of water leaving the hotel every day, between guests and cleaning.”

Microorganisms. They use microorganisms in hotel septic tanks to control odors, degrade waste better and be more efficient.

Energy efficient. The hotel uses energy efficient light bulbs and appliances.

Blue Flag Program. Hotel Tropico Latino supports the Costa Rican Blue Flag Program for Santa Teresa’s beaches through their $5 Checkout Program.

Bungalow
Eco-friendly Hotel Tropico Latino in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
If environmental conservation is important to you, keep up your practices wherever you go in the world by staying at hotels that responsibly deal with waste, water and energy, like Hotel Tropico Latino, voted No. 2 on TripAdvisor for hotels in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

As Gandhi so eloquently said: “We have to be the change we wish to see in the world.”

Article by Shannon Farley

Plastic ocean trash collected on beaches by Santa Teresa, Costa Rica is being used to create an exclusive clothing collection by H&M.

HM Conscious Exclusive Collection 2017 uses bionic yarn photo courtesy of HM
H&M Conscious Exclusive Collection 2017 uses Bionic Yarn made from recycled plastic, photo courtesy of H&M

Plastic ocean trash washing up on the beaches in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica is now being converted to high-fashion clothing by famous clothing designer/retailer H&M for their new Conscious Exclusive Collection 2017, launching this month on April 20 in their online store and in 160 of their stores around the world.

H&M is using Bionic Yarn – polyester made of recycled plastic waste – to create their special fabrics that are changing the world’s stigma about eco-minded clothing. Cofounded by Tyson Toussant, Bionic makes thread from plastic bottles, bags, containers, etc. that are recovered from waterways and shorelines around the world.

The environmental and recycling implications with Bionic Yarn are huge, since normally plastic that washes up on beaches is in too poor of quality for traditional recycling and ends up in landfills.

According to MarViva Foundation, 8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans every year which comprises 80% of the trash in the world’s oceans.

Beach cleanup by Edward Ortega at Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Trash being picked up on the beach in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

In Santa Teresa, the local non-governmental organization Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper spearheads the town’s recycling program. It was during one of their monthly recycling campaigns last year that Toussant of Bionic, who was vacationing in Santa Teresa, became inspired by their work and made the connection for his company’s Bionic thread. Bionic donated a truck to continue collecting plastics and recyclable materials from Santa Teresa.

Unlike other plastic-based fabrics, Bionic Yarn is super soft and can adapt to almost anything you want to make, from jeans to cocktail dresses to rucksacks. For example, the poster piece in H&M’s new Conscious Exclusive Collection is a sweeping blush-color gown with swirling ruffles and a billowing pleated skirt.

HM Conscious Exclusive Collection photo courtesy of HM
H&M Conscious Exclusive Collection 2017, photo courtesy of H&M.

Being Eco-Minded in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

While enjoying the breathtaking beaches, beautiful jungle and lovely tropical climate of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, tourists – like all travelers everywhere – leave behind a lot of trash from what they use and consume … food, drink, products, etc. This is completely normal. But in the case of small towns like Santa Teresa, which are dependent on tourism, the community has been forced to deal with the huge influx of solid waste on top of residents’ trash.

Recycling at Hotel Tropico Latino in Costa Rica 2
Recycling bins at eco-friendly Hotel Tropico Latino in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

At the beginning of February 2017, 1,190 kilos (2,623 pounds) of recyclable waste was collected in Santa Teresa, instead of it going to the regional trash dump, according to Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper.

Founded in October 2012, Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper is dedicated to improving the quality of water in the Santa Teresa area, and helping the community properly deal with its waste waters and water waste. The NGO is part of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a global network of more than 200 organizations working to protect major watersheds around the world and equitable use of water resources globally. Costa Rica is the only Central American nation with a Waterkeeper organization.

Eco-friendly Hotel Tropico Latino helps in the recycling efforts in Santa Teresa, and follows environmental practices for responsibly managing waste, water and energy in its daily hotel operations. Be eco-conscious on vacation in Santa Teresa – stay at Hotel Tropico Latino, voted No. 2 on TripAdvisor for hotels in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

Article by Shannon Farley

More and more travelers want to feel they are contributing in some way to the place where they vacation. Giving back while on vacation
has become a global movement sparking volunteerism and community outreach with tourists.
In Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, two top hotels share a heartfelt program that lets their guests feel good about supporting the community there.