Thanks to its efforts to truly become a responsible Costa Rican tourist destination, the Selva Bananito Lodge, tucked in the foothills of the Talamanca Mountains south of the Caribbean port of Limón, has received the highest level of certification for sustainable tourism.
The Certification for Sustainable Tourism program, or C.S.T., awarded the Selva Bananito Lodge five “leaves” for its commitment to sustainable practices, management structure, and community work. The Selva Bananito Lodge is now the 11th hotel with five leaves.
The C.S.T. Program was developed by the Costa Rica Tourism Board’s Sustainability Programs Department and the Costa Rica National Accreditation Commission. The program is regulated by the Costa Rican National Accreditation Commission and consists of a scale of five levels of sustainable tourism achievement.
Hotels are judged by their physical and biological interaction with surrounding natural habitat; energy saving and waste handling; ability to facilitate customer involvement with sustainable practices; and commitment to participating in responsible community growth and development, among many other criteria.
In other words, hotels must prove they are committed to the appropriate use of natural resources, improving the quality of life of local residents, and economic success.
With five leaves, there is no doubt that the Selva Bananito Lodge meets all of these requirements.
In a Jan. 22, 2010 Tico Times article, Steve Mack wrote: “According to experts, green or sustainable tourism operations should not only have a low environmental impact, or ’footprint,’ but they should also have a positive impact on the community and respect the local culture, as well as provide guests with an experience that will teach them about the natural and cultural milieu in which they find themselves.
On all of these fronts, Selva Bananito Lodge is well ahead of the pack.”
Selva Bananito Lodge is “in many ways a throwback to the way residents of the Caribbean coast lived only a few decades ago, before the tide of tourism arrived,” writes Mack.
The lodge, which has been operated for two generations by a family of Costa Rican and German descent, employs friendly workers from nearby towns and carries out important conservation work through its Limón Watershed Foundation. They are also committed to promote the government’s efforts to make Costa Rica carbon-neutral by 2021 (TT, Jan. 22, 2010).