For over 20 years, Greentique Hotels CEO and General Manager, Jim Damalas, has been commitment to protecting nature and developing responsible tourism. Since the late 1980s, Jim’s vision was to have a role in sustainable hospitality in Costa Rica, helping the country expand its efforts in Eco-tourism His first tourism project in Costa Rica was to build Si Como No Resort Spa & Wildlife Refuge in Manuel Antonio, almost than 18 years ago. The design and operational vision for the hotel was to be a leader in green practices and economic sustainability for the local community. In 2004, a second hotel, Villa Blanca, was acquired and along with Aguila de Osa in Drake Bay, came under the “umbrella” brand of Green Hotels of Costa Rica, now called Greentique Hotels. The mission was to integrate best green practices, including operations, community support and the creation of nature-based experiences owned and operated by the hotels that would engage and educate tourists, involving them in unique experiences that are an extension of the original Si Como No philosophy.
Greentique Hotels & Si Como No Resort Spa & Wildlife Refuge is committed to maintaining a high level of quality in our current projects, including organic green houses, production of bocacchi (organic compost), and the use of laundry and cleaning products free of chlorine. We will also continue to invest in community awareness and education through workshops with elementary schools and high schools. Our goal is to make green living and green operations seamless, ubiquitous and easy to practice. It is a continuous process of improvement, education and commitment to make the right choices in every aspect of our business that we possibly can. Our reward is helping sustain a country that our guests will recognize as an example of what is possible when respect for both people and nature becomes a national commitment as well as a personal choice.
Change needs to be comprehensive to have the most impact on the environment, which means both small and large-scale initiatives are needed to create sustainable behavior. Small changes, such as low consumption light bulbs, recycling and using biodegradable products as well as larger scale initiatives like solar panels, gray water systems, energy management and recyclable building materials, are all necessary to have an impact. Si Como No does all these things and therefore, helps build awareness amongst guests and employees alike as to the impact we can all have through sustainable practices. Additionally, we involve local school children and community leaders in educational programs offered free of charge by the hotels.
Creating and expanding green practices across our hotel group is how we are helping Costa Rica pursue its goal of carbon neutrality. Tourism is a destination and experiential business. That means we have to build, operate and transport people to destinations for them to experience the country. Energy is the common denominator. No other single resource touches every aspect of tourism, from hotel and tour facility construction to transportation, to efficiency and sustainability in operations. So our industry needs to change how it uses energy. Costa Rica won’t achieve carbon neutrality without alternate energy availability, energy efficiency by design, and a comprehensive policy, including tax incentives, that reward innovation, compliance and good energy management. We pursue continuous improvement in energy management through conservation, new technology and education of our staff and guests.
Si Como No engages its local communities by using local vendors for produce, meat, and supplies wherever possible, as well as having maintained the practice of hiring local people and helping them develop their skills via training and even outside education support. Also, we have created cultural tours in Manuel Antonio area, in addition to our nature tours. We integrate with the municipality, associations or organizations in these areas, helping support different activities that promote the region, such as shows, sponsorships, and meetings in addition to supporting new housing projects, community centers and schools.
In terms of the community, we have made a definitive impression on our employees’ and neighbors’ attitudes and behavior regarding sustainability. Many take these ideas and practices home and therefore, benefit the larger community as they influence the next generations of family members. Helping communities better understand short term versus long term costs of green has also begun to get traction. As green products are often more expensive, staff see the hotel making these choices and now have a context in which to assess their own decisions at home. We believe that with time, those decisions for green products will become the regular choices and that price disparities will lessen. We embrace this responsibility to be pioneers and celebrate both the small and the large victories as people put into practice new behavior. We also have employees representing the second generation of Si Como No staff who are in positions from maintenance, to restaurant operations to property management. This aspect may be one of the most rewarding examples of the commitment to sustainability for people as well as the environment.
Our C.S.T. Guarantee Our C.S.T. guarantee of commitment!
Although we do not claim to be perfect, Si Como No Resort Spa & Wildlife Refuge, Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel & Spa as well as Aguila de Osa Inn management and staff are making a sincere effort to adhere to our programs to sustain “The Magic of Nature” that is in our own backyard. Your comments and suggestions are much appreciated. Please fill out our C.S.T. Survey at the front desk. If you can provide legitimate observations regarding our efforts to meet our C.S.T. Mission Statement, our guarantee is to respond quickly to remedy or improve these observations and report back to you. Find out more about the CST here
Si Como No is an active member of C.S.T (Certification in Sustainable Tourism) , a conservation program created by the Costa Rican Tourism Board (I.C.T.) for a select group of Costa Rican hotels. We are incorporating several of their policies to our goals to diminish the environmental impact of our hotel operations and protect the invaluable natural resources of the area, including promoting the local culture of Quepos and its surrounding farm villages in the Canton de Aguirre. To achieve some of our objectives we recycle all the aluminum, glass, paper and plastic that we possibly can. Our housekeepers and kitchen staff separate waste and recycle those by-products that can be properly recycled into compost for our gardens and animal feed for a local pig farm. We also reduce the amount of waste that we produce by switching from plastic shampoo containers and shower soap bars to shampoo and soap dispensers whenever possible. You also will find some printed cards that will help you to control our environmental impact. Help us to reduce our energy consumption by turning off the lights, ceiling fans, and air conditioning when you leave your room. Please keep your doors and windows closed to conserve the a/c atmosphere and perhaps make the choice of having your sheets changed every second day instead of everyday with the instruction cards located on your bedspread. Again, we welcome your feedback on any of our services and policies that are included in both our Hotel Guest Surveys and the printed information you will find in each hotel room. The Concierge Desk and our Hotel Website can also provide additional information on our CST and Green Hotel Mission Policies. We invite you to get more informed about the hotel and surrounding communities by talking to our staff. Let us all help make a difference by practicing good conservation habits for Costa Rica and the world we all share here on Planet Earth. Best regards, Jim Damalas General Manager Green Hotels of Costa Rica