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Eco Rating/Butterfly Club at Eco Tropical Resorts

Name of property

Arenas del Mar Beach and Nature Resort

Person completing this form

Millay Kogan

Position

Sustainability Coordinator

Address of property

 

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Country

Costa Rica

Phone number including country code and area code

(506) 2777-2777

Web site

www.arenasdelmar.com

E-mail

mariajose@cayugaonline.com

Type of property

Nature Resort

Number of rooms or cottages

38

Maximum number of guests

74

Eco memberships

Member of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) and the Costa Rican Association of Ecotourism (CANAECO)

Eco ratings, certifications, awards

Soon to be rated by Costa Rica´s Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (CST)
Eco Rating at Eco Tropical Resorts: 4.2 out of 5.

 

  • Do you have a written environmental or social sustainability policy?     YES/NO

If yes, please attach.

  • Do you have a written environmental management system?              YES/NO

If yes, please attach.

  • Describe the property – aim, size, facilities, amount of land owned and leased  (150 words max)

Arenas Del Mar is a beach and nature resort located adjacent to Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. "Unique and spectacular beach and nature experiences combined with highest levels of comfort and sustainability in a local Costa Rican setting" define the concept of Arenas Del Mar Beach and Nature Resort. It offers 38 guest rooms, apartments and suites offer spectacular ocean views, upscale dining in two hotel restaurants with a focus on fresh local products and personalized service that exceeds expectations.

  • Describe the location, including distance to nearest town and size of town (100 words max)

Arenas Del Mar is located in Manuel Antonio, on the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica, and is minutes away from one of Costa Rica´s most popular national parks: Manuel Antonio National Park.

  • Describe WHY you made the decision to develop an eco resort (100 word max)

Arenas Del Mar Beach and Nature Resort, one of the first truly sustainable resorts in Costa Rica, was built in accordance with Costa Rica’s prestigious Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (CST), which works to certify hotels based on their level of incorporating elements of sustainable tourism within the operation.  The resort itself seeks to demonstrate that sustainability can be incorporated into a resort-like setting (where typical practices tend to be both destructive and damaging to the local environments and communities) by combining elements of conservation, luxury, community development and innovative building techniques. 

Introduction to the Butterfly Club’s Eco Rating

The Butterfly Club Eco Rating has five equally-weighted categories:

  • Energy;
  • Water;
  • Recycling and waste;
  • Land and nature conservation; and
  • Community.

Each category has five levels, designated by one to five butterflies.  Through self assessment, resort operators completing this rating will determine their own levels within each category based on their responses to items listed below.  

Two categories – energy and water – have similar rating systems with Levels 1 and 2 addressing conservation of existing resources, and Levels 3, 4 and 5 addressing creation of renewable energy or capturing water. 

Level five in every category also requires written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record consumption; (2) test and apply additional conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific targets.   We require a copy of your policies if you achieve level 5 in any category.

Energy

Levels 1 and 2 - conservation: Check all that apply:

_ x__  use natural air circulation and fans, not air conditioners
_ x__  use natural light during the day
_ x__  minimize use of fossil-fuel powered vehicles, machines and equipment
_ x__  use “on demand” or solar heating for hot water
_ x__  air dry clothes/linens
_ x__  wash dishes by hand
_ x__  use energy efficient appliances and electronics
_ x__  use low wattage fluorescent light bulbs
_ x__  change linens, tablecloths, napkins upon request
_ x__  switch off lights when not used
Other energy conservation activities? Please list:

Level 1 = four or fewer energy conservation activities

Level 2 = five or more energy conservation activities

Levels 3, 4 and 5 - renewable energy: Indicate proportion (%) of energy from each source:

_5__solar (for heating hot water)
___  wind
___  hydro
_ __ generator
_95_public utility
Other energy sources? Please list:
100% TOTAL
How were these proportions developed?

Level 3 = renewable energy is employed and is less than 1/3 of all energy

Level 4 = renewable energy constitutes 1/3 – 2/3 of all energy

Level 5 = renewable energy constitutes 2/3 or more of all energy.  In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record energy consumption; (2) test and apply additional energy conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific energy targets.  

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Energy Level 5 (required).

Your Energy Level (select 1 – 5) =   3

Water

Levels 1 and 2 - conservation: Check all that apply:

_ x_  low flow faucets and showerheads
_ x_ low water use toilets
_ x_ change linens, towels, tablecloths, and napkins upon request
___  use table mats that can be wiped and not laundered
_ x_ use biodegradable laundry detergent, dish soap and hand soap
_ x_ treat swimming pool with chlorine-free processes
Other water conservation activities?  Please list.

Level 1 = three or fewer water conservation activities

Level 2 = four or more water conservation activities

Levels 3, 4 and 5 – capture and treat fresh water and manage waste water. Capture water: Indicate proportion (%) of water from each source:

 ___ spring
___  river
___  rain
___  reuse gray
_100_  public utility
Other water sources? Please list.
100% TOTAL
Fresh water treatment: how is captured fresh water treated?
_ x__  naturally.  Indicate method: charcoal, ultraviolet light, other?                             
___  chemically.  List chemicals used:

Waste water management:
_ __  septic tanks
___  cesspools
_ x__  other? List methods:  Wastewater treatment plant

Level 3: Water is captured (from springs, rivers, rain or prior use) and constitutes less than 1/3 of water from all sources.  Water is treated chemically.  Water disposal does not minimize damage to coral reefs and rain forests

Level 4:  Captured water constitutes 1/3 to 2/3 of all water.  Water is treated naturally. Water disposal minimizes damage to coral reefs and rain forests

Level 5:  Captured water constitutes more than 2/3 of all water.  Water is treated naturally. Water disposal minimizes damage to coral reefs and rain forests.   In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record water consumption; (2) test and apply additional water conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific water targets.  

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Water Level 5 (required).

 

Your Water Level (select 1 – 5): 3

Recycling and waste

Check all that apply:

_ x _   use durable service items, e.g. cups, glasses, dishes, tableware, storage items
_ x__   buy fresh and local to reduce packaging and emissions from transportation
_ x__   purchase in bulk to reduce packaging
_ x__   recycle paper, glass, plastic, aluminum
_ x__   minimize emissions from fossil-fuel powered vehicles, machines & equipment      
___   zero waste in the kitchen
_ x__   serve local water, not bottled water
_ x__   cleaning products are biodegradable
_ x__   compost organic matter
Other methods to recycle waste? Please list.

 

Level 1 = four or fewer recycling activities

Level 2 = five recycling activities

Level 3 = six recycling activities

Level 4 = seven recycling activities

Level 5 = eight or more recycling activities.  In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record recycling and waste; (2) test and apply additional recycling and waste conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific recycling and waste targets.  

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Recycling and Waste Level 5 (required).

Your Recycling and Waste Level (select 1 – 5): 5 

Land and nature conservation

Check all that apply:

_ x__   minimize tree removal when building
_ x__   use only botanical (plant-based) herbicides & pesticides in garden & grounds
_ __   maintain organic gardens as food source for resort
_ x__   use biodegradable cleaning products
_ x__   minimize external illumination
___   take additional specific actions to preserve the local habitat.  Please list actions and projects:
Arenas Del Mar Beach & Nature Resort currently owns an 11 acre private reserve that is used solely for the use of conservation.
 
Level 1: one or two land and nature conservation activities

Level 2: three land and nature conservation activities

Level 3: four land and nature conservation activities

Level 4: five land and nature conservation activities

Level 5: six or more land and nature conservation activities.  In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record land and nature conservation activities; (2) test and apply additional land and nature conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific land and nature conservation targets.  

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Land and Nature Conservation Level 5 (required).

Your Land and Nature Conservation Level (select 1 – 5): 5

Community

This category addresses policies and activities regarding staff, guests, suppliers and other members of the community. 

Check all activities that apply:

_ x__  hire staff residing near the resort          _100__% local nationals
_ x__  use local suppliers                               _10_% purchased goods produced locally
_ x__  re-invest resort income locally            _75__% income re-invested locally
_ x__  pay above local prevailing wage
_ x__  pay into local social security
_ x__  provide health insurance or coverage
_ x__  use regular staff meetings to educate staff about sustainable processes throughout the resort, in the garden, with waste disposal, etc
_ x__  provide educational awareness programs for staff, guests, suppliers and other members of the local community
_ x_  provide sustainable transport to work for staff
_ x__  take additional specific actions to support the local community. Please list actions and projects.

Level 1: one or two community activities

Level 2: three to five community activities

Level 3: six to seven community activities

Level 4: eight to nine community activities

Level 5: ten or more community activities.  In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record community activities; (2) test and apply additional methods to support the community; and (3) work towards specific community targets.  

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Community Level 5 (required).

Your Community Level (select 1 – 5): 5

YOUR OVERALL ECO SCORE (add your level for each category and divide by 5and enter the result with the decimal point, e.g. 3.6):   4.2

We have three final questions which are not part of the eco rating: 

  • Please describe your single most important eco achievement:

Implementation of the Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (CST).  Arenas del Mar has not been officially certified to this date, but we plan on being certified in the next few months and to receive a five-leaf rating (the highest rating available from the CST).

  • Indicate additional sustainable practices that you plan to institute within the next 6 months.

In the next six months, we will be looking to implement a number of sustainability practices, including the creation of a biogas system to cook in our employee eating area, the creation of a small organic garden for both employee and guest use, the installation of solar panels, and much more.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add to this eco rating?

Sustainable Tourism at


Arenas Del Mar Beach & Nature Resort

Arenas Del Mar Beach and Nature Resort, one of the first truly sustainable resorts in Costa Rica, was built in accordance with Costa Rica’s prestigious Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (CST), which works to certify hotels based on their level of incorporating elements of sustainable tourism within the operation.  The resort itself seeks to demonstrate that sustainability can be incorporated into a resort-like setting (where typical practices tend to be both destructive and damaging to the local environments and communities) by combining elements of conservation, luxury, community development and innovative building techniques. 

Conservation

The total construction of Arenas Del Mar covers less than 25% of the property itself; the rest will become a private nature reserve that will act as an ecological corridor to expand the area surrounding Manuel Antonio National Park (one of Costa Rica’s most popular national parks and home to monkeys, sloths, rare birds and other creatures of the rainforest).  In the next few years, Arenas del Mar will be participating in an extensive reforestation program, planting over 7000 native species of trees on the property.

Best Practices and Sustainable Development

At Arenas Del Mar, sustainability has been a key feature since the planning and construction phase.  A few of the sustainable features of the physical property and operation itself include:

  • Solar panels to heat hot water coupled with energy saving auxiliary heating systems
  • Underground electricity systems that do not interfere with surrounding wildlife 
  • Organic coffee in menu offerings
  • Ionization systems to clean swimming pool water
  • An advanced vermiculture-based compost system to recycle organic waste 
  • Energy efficient light bulbs and equipment
  • Organic chocolates for guests during turndown service
  • The use of biodegradable cleaning products
  • Extensive recycling and waste monitoring programs
  • An advanced wastewater treatment plant  
  • A policy of only allowing electric cars on property 
  • Biodegradable personal care products and amenities in guestrooms
  • Roof tiles made from discarded plastic bags from the banana industry 

Highlighting Local Culture and Flavor

Guests who stay at Arenas Del Mar are immersed in local Costa Rican culture and given the chance to connect with unique and authentic experiences, thereby preserving local heritage and customs.  A few of these features include:

  • Tortilla-making classes and demonstrations
  • Traditional dances performed by a local dance troop
  • A menu made up of typical dishes and locally sourced fruits and vegetables
  • Live nightly music
  • Costa Rican art in our giftshop, including a items made with recycled materials

Supporting Local Communities

Arenas Del Mar works rigorously to improve local communities, offering unique opportunities and training to employees, as well as supporting local projects that work towards environmental improvement and a more sustainable future for Manuel Antonio and Costa Rica.  Some of our work in community development includes:

The Blue Flag Program
Since 2006, the beach located in front of Arenas Del Mar (known as Playitas) has coveted the prestigious Blue Flag (Bandera Azul Ecolgica) award. This program, based on a similar model developed in Europe, works towards the sustainable development of Costa Rican beaches through strict criteria dealing with water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and other services.
The Bandera Azul is a volunteer certification that incorporates both private and public sectors. In the case of Playitas Beach specifically, Arenas Del Mar has taken a leadership role in obtaining certification, and continues to encourage others to work towards Blue Flag Certification.
Kids Saving the Rainforest
Arena Del Mar is aware of the current situation of the wildlife of the Manuel Antonio area and, as a result, has chosen to support Kids Saving the Rainforest (KSTR), a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting wildlife and educating others about the importance of environmental stewardship. By contributing to this program, and offering guests the opportunity to do so as well, Arenas Del Mar has formed a powerful alliance that will contribute to the sustainable development and protection of Manuel Antonio. 
Carbon Offsets

Carbon offsets are voluntary donations made by individuals, companies, or governments that compensate, or offset, greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, electricity use, and other sources. In an effort to promote sustainable development and tourism, the Costa Rican Ministry of Environmental Affairs has created a program in which tourists can compensate the carbon emissions caused by their international flights by investing in programs that preserve and reforest natural areas within Costa Rica.

Guests who stay at Arenas Del Mar are given the opportunity to offset their carbon emissions caused by their flight to Costa Rica, assuring the conservation and sustainable development of the country.

 

For more information on sustainable tourism at Arenas Del Mar, visit www.arenasdelmar.com

 
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