Going Green in Luxury
Costa Rica's reputation for eco-friendly practices doesn't mean you have to sacrifice luxury. Eleven of the country's finest four- and five-star resorts and boutique hotels also bear the distinction of five leaves – Costa Rica's top honor for environmental and community sustainability. These hotels do their part to reduce waste, economize resources, and use green products while employing locals, thus protecting the environment and giving back to their communities.
Arenas del Mar (*****)
Located in Manuel Antonio, Arenas del Mar is a thatched-roof paradise of ocean view hot tubs, spa indulgences and first-class cuisine. The hotel uses solar panels to heat water, utilizes chlorine-free ionization to clean its pool, has an onsite recycling program, offers a tree planting program to guests, and supports local artists and entrepreneurs at its gift shop and spa.
Barcelo Langosta Beach (*****)
Sprawled along the coastline south of Tamarindo, this Barcelo resort features a casino, expansive Pacific views, and beautiful swimming pools. The resort participates in recycling, energy conservation and water management, and supports the community by employing local workers.
Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge (****)
Secreted away in the Osa Peninsula's jungles, Casa Corcovado is located close to the treasures of Corcovado National Park. Home to a 170-acre private reserve, the lodge boasts swimming pools, delicious cuisine, and posh suites with stocked minibars, and comfortable hammocks. The bungalows favor fans over air conditioning, and Casa Corcovado uses alternative energy, including solar panels and hydroelectric to fulfill its needs.
El Silencio Lodge & Spa (****)
This 16-unit resort is secluded in the mountains of Bajos del Toro, just north of Zarcero. Guests are treated to indulgent spa treatments and delectable fusion cuisine, much of it produced from organic ingredients grown in the lodge's gardens. Over 90% of El Silencio's grounds are designated private reserve, and each of the luxe cabins is built on stilts to minimize environmental impact. El Silencio utilizes natural cleaning products, like vinegar and baking soda, and uses electric golf carts for internal transportation.
Finca Rosa Blanca (****)
One of Costa Rica's eco-friendly airport hotels, Finca Rosa Blanca is perched on the verdant slopes of Santa Barbara de Heredia. The hotel's name is Spanish for "White Rose Farm," and the property is indeed a working farm, producing delicious, organic coffee. Colonial-style architecture, personalized service, and panoramic views await guests at Finca Rosa Blanca. The hotel conserves water with one-gallon flush toilets, re-purposes coffee pulp for use as fertilizer, and has buried its electrical systems to protect resident wildlife.
Hotel Punta Islita (*****)
El Silencio's sister property, Hotel Punta Islita, is situated on the sunny Nicoya Peninsula. Featuring fabulous coastal views, private terraces, and outdoor hot tubs, the hotel delivers an array of delightful amenities. The resort not only practices energy conservation, recycling, and water management, but also takes an active role in the local community and environment. Their most recent endeavor is the Ara Project, a partnership among Punta Islita businesses to breed and release endangered red and green macaws.
Lapa Rios Rainforest Ecolodge (****)
Lapa Rios leads the way for rainforest luxury on the Osa Peninsula, as lodge guests enjoy elegant bungalows, haute cuisine, and garden showers. The ecolodge produces its own energy through methane gas from food scraps and livestock, uses non-chlorinated ionized water in its swimming pool, and educates the community on environmental conservation. Lapa Rios also supports the local Wild Cats Conservation Project, which works to save endangered felines.
Parador Resort & Spa (****)
Overlooking the spectacular beaches of Manuel Antonio, the Parador Resort & Spa has opulent touches like ocean view swimming pools, miniature golf, and concierge services. The resort's sustainable practices include purifying rainwater for use throughout the hotel, a diverse recycling program, use of biodegradable cleaning and bath products, and protection of a private secondary rainforest reserve.
Ramada Plaza Herradura (****)
Five miles from the Juan Santamaria International Airport, the Ramada Plaza Herradura boasts tropical gardens, three outdoor pools, Jacuzzis and access to the Cariari Country Club's golf course and tennis courts. The hotel stays green by washing all linens in cold water, using organic ingredients in their restaurants, and printing on paper produced from sugar cane, not tree pulp.
Si Como No (****)
Billed as the ultimate in barefoot luxury, this boutique hotel is one of Manuel Antonio's finest. From private hot tubs overlooking the Pacific Ocean to natural wood finishes, Si Como No focuses on balancing sustainability and beauty. The resort earns its five leaves with natural cleaning practices, organic produce from onsite greenhouses, and energy conservation through solar panels, gray water systems, and recycling programs.
Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel (****)
Surrounded by the Los Angeles Cloud Forest near San Ramon, Villa Blanca offers eco-conscious travelers country-style hospitality along with luxe comforts. Often shrouded in cloud forest mist, this five-leaf hotel has private casitas with ensuite Jacuzzis and fireplaces, and a wellness spa known for its tantalizing treatments. Villa Blanca stays green by recycling hotel waste, composting, growing its own organic produce, and employing residents of the local community.