Eco Rating Finca Exotica

Name of property  Finca Exotica
Person completing this form  Markus Wehrmeister
Position  Just the caretaker, for the few days I remain on this planet
Address of property  Playa Carate, Osa Peninsula,
Country  Costa Rica
Phone number including country code and area code  Satelite phone on site:+1-416-628-9855
SKYPEPHONE: fincaexotica
Web site Finca Exotica
E-mail  info@fincaexotica.com
Type of property  Ecolodge in wildlife reserve
Number of rooms or cottages  6 cabins  + 7 tent platforms
Maximum number of guests  28
Eco memberships  Amigos de parques nacionales
Eco ratings, certifications, awards Eco Rating at Eco Tropical Resorts: 5 out of 5

Do you have a written environmental or social sustainability policy? YES
If yes, please attach.
Do you have a written environmental management system? YES
Finca Exotica adheres to the SAIMIRI Wildlife Refuge Management Plan, which incorporates 100% of our own property and 6 neighboring properties. 95% of the Finca Exotica property is set aside exclusively for conservation purposes, while the other 5% we manage as a producing farm.
The official management plan for the SAIMIRI wildlife refuge is a 70 page document that is too extensive to be attached here. However, it is in our library for every guest is welcome to read it. In summary it describes the flora and fauna, zones the property into 3 different zones of use/conservation, hereby 82% of the total area is declared an area of full protection, going far beyond the minimum requirements of the national refuge program. Additionally, it regulates our rights and obligations as owners as well as the program of monitoring and research by the Ministry of the Environment (MINAET). The law and regulations that apply to us by voluntarily registering the property as a refuge limit the dimensions and methods of construction and the use of designated areas to education, research and ecoturism.
In addition we implement the guidelines of permaculture in design and maintenance of the organic farm and the lodge facilities as postulated by the fabulous Bill Mollison (yes we do love his books!) as well as we can.
Describe the property – aim, size, facilities, amount of land owned and leased
Our aim is to develop the three areas of ecotourism, education and research within the terrestrial and marine realms while protecting 125 acres of pristine rainforest and regenerating 90 acres of former cattle pasture. We accomplish this by running a sustainable business on only 12 acres of the property, providing visitors with an aunthentic nature experience and organically farming to provide as many fresh ingredients to our kitchen as possible.

All constructions are designed for a smallest possible footprint using as much bamboo and palm thatch as possible, as little wood as necessary and cement only for the 2 kitchens to secure hygiene. The hotel includes 6 cabins and 7 tiki tents housed in protective bamboo shelters.
Describe the location, including distance to nearest town and size of town. FINCA EXOTICA is the closest lodge to Corcovado National Park, accessible by car in the small community of Carate. Finca Exotica is the main part of and was the founding member of the “Refugio Saimiri de Vida Silvestre Mixto” that was established in 2007 to protect over 300 acres of land that is home to most of the species that live on the Osa Peninsula: 400 species of trees, 160 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, 25 species of reptiles, 30 amphibians and 1000’s of insects making this one of the most biological diverse places on the planet. The continuous biological corridor between our property and the National Park ensures sightings of the same diversity of flora and fauna, as the animals have not yet been given the map with borders. Lacking a school, church, soccerfield or any kind of store, this is a far off the grid place at the end of the road, where community is what you make it. The next town is Puerto Jimenez, about 2 hours with a 4 wheel drive vehicle or 47 km away.

Describe WHY you made the decision to develop an eco resort:

I have been longing for a sustainable lifestyle for myself and sharing it in this way is quite rewarding. Every time I gather someone is getting an inspiration or even a key experience out of his/her stay with us, I feel like we are making sense. There is profound satisfaction beyond the cliche of happy paradise trying to live up to the maxim:
Happiness is when you got all you need . Nothing less and nothing more.

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.

Eco Rating Finca Exotica 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 (or led 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:
__ x solar?___ wind?__x hydro?___ generator?___ public utility?Other energy sources? Please list:
The percentage of energy received from our two renewable energy souces depends on the season. In the rainy season there is an abundance of water to feed the hydro system while the solar panels do not receive sufficient sun to produce a lot of energy. In the summer season we receive a lot of sun and less rain. Thus, in the summer season we regulate down the water flow to the water turbine in order to reduce withdrawal from the creek and depend more on the solar system.
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).
A few examples of our policies:
• Obtain all electricity from renewable sources – a combination of water turbine and solar.
• Source the majority of food from our own farm and neighbours.
• Dry all clothes, sheets and towels using only sunlight.

Your Energy Level 5
Eco Rating Finca Exotica Water
Levels 1 and 2 – conservation: Check all that apply:
__ low flow faucets and showerheads ?_x_ low water use toilets?x__ change linens, towels, tablecloths, and napkins upon request?_x__use table mats that can be wiped and not laundered?_x_ use biodegradable laundry detergent, dish soap and hand soap?__ treat swimming pool with chlorine-free processes
x Other water conservation activities? Please list.:
We have no swimming pool at all, the ocean and a creek offer wonderful alternatives.
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:
__100%_ spring?__ river?___ rain?___ reuse gray?___ public utility?Other water sources? Please list.
100% TOTAL
Fresh water treatment: how is captured fresh water treated?
The spring water is always clean , no filtration needed.
___ naturally. Indicate method: charcoal, ultraviolet light, other? List: ?___ chemically. List chemicals used:
Waste water management: ?__x_ septic tanks?___ cesspools?___ other? List methods:
There are several septic tanks with a auxilary leech field at each one that ensures that all water is naturally filtered and returned into the ground.
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).
A few examples of our policies:
• Always maintain mulch around the base of trees in the garden to keep them moist.
• Minimize necessity to irrigate, and when necessary apply directly.
• Towels and linens are changed once every three days unless guests request otherwise.

Your Water Level (select 1 – 5): 5

Eco Rating Finca Exotica 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 ?__x_ 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. Our organic waste gets seperated 3 ways: pigfood, compost in the chicken cube and an extra bucket for acids such as chillieseeds, coffee, lime-and pineapple peels that go in a hole. This way you avoid the ph of the compost going too sour
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).
A few examples of our policies:
• Utilize fresh fruits and veggies from our own gardens or neighbours for most meals.
• Provide cloth napkins at dinner rather than paper napkins.
• Provide fresh juice drinks at every meal rather than bottled drinks. Anytime we are requested to provide bottled drinks, we obtain them in reusable glass bottles.
• All plates, cups, dishes and silverware is reusable.

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

Eco Rating Finca Exotica 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 ?_x__ maintain organic gardens as food source for resort?_x__ use biodegradable cleaning products?__x_ minimize external illumination ?_x__ take additional specific actions to preserve the local habitat. Please list actions and projects:
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).
A few examples of our policies:
• Plant ground cover plants like manicillo, bamboo and vetiver grass anywhere the soil is exposed to prevent erosion.
• Maintain 95% of the property as wild nature without any human interference.
• Utilize minimal wood and cement in construction of the lodge, focusing on sustainable bamboo – a large portion of which came from our own land. Wood was primarily sourced from branches, end cuts (costillones) or cleaning cuts – all of which are generally disposed of and wasted as fire wood.
Your Land and Nature Conservation Level (select 1 – 5): 5

Eco Rating Finca Exotica 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 100% purchased goods produced locally
__x_ re-invest resort income locally 100% 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).
Below a few examples of our community involvement:
• Assist neighbours in any way possible that will improve their lives and the community interconnectedness. (ex. Help a neighbour build a chicken coop and sell the chickens and eggs within the community, accept organic wastes from a neighbouring hotel with little space)
• Participate in regular beach clean-ups in collaboration with various community members.
• Participate in a community watch type organization, working with neighbours to ensure security of our small town.

Your Community Level (select 1 – 5): 5
YOUR OVERALL ECO SCORE (add your level for each category and divide by 5): 5

We have three final questions which are not part of the eco rating:
Please describe your single most important eco achievement:
Having created the SAIMIRI wildlife refuge that includes 6 neighbouring properties besides Finca Exotica.

Indicate additional sustainable practices that you plan to institute within the next 6 months.
1. Installing a biodigestor, attaching it to our pigstable to produce methane gas for our kitchen and become independent from propane gas.
2. Install a weather station and little by little establish a research center welcoming scientists interested in the surroudings of Corcovado and providing basic facilites such as a database, library, microscope, etc. (anybody like to donate a microscope?)
4. Build a bugproof greenhouse for more fresh organic herbs and salads.

Is there anything else you would like to add to this eco rating?
We feel this ecorating is straightforward, fair and public which is a very smart strategy for credibility.