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Turning our Sustainable Vision into Values

manuel antonio hotelOur quest to deliver exceptional Costa Rica vacation experiences the vision of Greentique Hotels founder and CEO, Jim Damalas, who first came to Costa Rica in the mid-1970s. The impression made on Jim during his first visit to Manuel Antonio, eventually led him to play a critical role in the expansion of Costa Rica’s then emerging eco-tourism industry, by helping lead it into the area of sustainable lodging. Starting in 1993 with a single hotel, Si Como No, Jim set out to not only capture the natural wonder of the Manuel Antonio area, but to help sustain it as well by creating a hotel and restaurant concept rooted in the culture, cuisine and congenial spirit of the Costa Rican people.

The design and construction of Si Como No reflected a commitment to set the bar for sustainable lodging in Manuel Antonio, including green operational practices and the investment in educational, environmental and community programs in the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area.

During Si Como No’s construction, only one tree was removed from the hillside. Its initial gray water management system, solar panels and comprehensive recycling programs were industry leading. Today, as a CST 5 Leaf Certified property, Costa Rica’s highest sustainability industry rating, Si Como No continues to be a model of sustainability within the country and in the world. As the concept of sustainable lodging evolved, Jim remained convinced that quality, comfort and convenience did not have to be sacrificed to achieve more responsible tourism.

What would be required was scalable green practices and social/economic sustainability that could be seamlessly woven into the guest and staff experience. That meant not only the continuous expansion of green operational practices, but rethinking the kinds of tours, food, entertainment and amenities Si Como No would offer its guests. Key to the success of the hotel would be the training and education of its employees so that green ideals could be turned into values-driven behavior both on and off property. It also meant creating more sustainable lodging in other parts of the country and including the local communities in the benefits of sustainable tourism. While guests might not know how green they were being, the environment would.