Cuba & Costa Rica Blog
About this blog
Written by Cuba and Costa Rica expert Christopher P. Baker, this blog will update readers on life in these two diverse and exciting countries.
- Last blog post on Costa Rica and Cuba
- First-ever group motorcycle tours of Cuba successful
- Cuba’s Mariel port readying for Panama Canal expansion
- Musings on wildlife encounters on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula
- Cuba’s Steam Trains puffing their last gasp
- My top five thrilling activities in Costa Rica
- Cuba’s fun February festivals include Harleys, Books, Cigars
- Five top volcano viewing experiences in Costa Rica
- New road along Costa Rica / Nicaraguan border mired
- Cuba’s Hotel Campoamor at Cojímar to be restored?
- Cuban revolutionary Celia Sánchez honored in new book
- Christmas challenge for Costa Rica’s sexually abused girls
- Costa Rica opens Chinatown in downtown San José
- David Soul films Hemingway’s car restoration in Cuba
- National Geographic Expeditions receives license for Cuba tours
Costa Rica's Certification for Sustainable Tourism points the way
It took a few years to gain traction, but Costa Rica's Certification for Sustainable Tourism has finally firmly rooted among the nation's tourism providers and is now the standard by which to compare hotels (and other tourism entities) according to rational criterion.
The CST seeks to categorize and certify hotels and tour companies according to the degree to which each comply to a model of sustainability. Each entity is graded according to environmental, socio-economic, and other attributes, with 150 variables judged by independent investigators on a level of one to five. They are then awarded one to five "leafs" according to the total score, in much the same way that hotels worldwide are categorized by the well-known "stars" system.
The program goes well beyond merely categorizing hotels etc. by whether they recycle water, etc. While previous attention was given solely to ecological aspects of sustainability, little attention was given to the impact of tourism on the quality of life and sociological and cultural integrity of local communities, and/or the level to which each hotel or tour company honored those aspects. CST rectifies that deficiency. Unscrupulous companies – "greenwashers" – can no longer jump on the ecotourism bandwagon by simply adopting a self-appointed label.
The great thing is that CST certification is now so widely recognized and coveted that hoteliers have been provided a real incentive to improve their practices, with an eye to earning the maximum leafs and therefore a competitive advantage.
Only four hotels in the country have received the maximum five leafs:
Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn
Hotel Si Como No
Lapa Rios Rainforest Ecolodge
Villablanca Cloud Forest Hotel Spa & Nature Reserve