In December of 2015, our partner hotel Olas Verdes opened its doors to the public. Touted as the world’s first L.E.E.D. Platinum rated surf hotel in the world, the project has received wide acclaim for its innovative design and management approach. I spoke recently with General Manager Luis Pardo, who has been at the helm of this noteworthy operation since its inception.
What does ‘Sustainable’ mean?
It’s the ability to run an operation than minimizes the ecological impact, while creating a positive effect to the community and its economy.
“We kept 85% of the original trees, planted over 15 times the amount cut, and added near 3,000 native plants. We strive to furnish everything needed for the operation from local sources; supplies, food products, and employees. That’s not always possible, but it is the goal. We are very active with community organizations and invest a good deal of resources in training and development of our staff. We are proud of what we have achieved, but are conscious that it is a continual learning process and requires periodic reviews of our practices.”
Walking the Walk
“I lived in the United States for 10 years and worked as a manager for a popular casual dining chain restaurant. It was there I had a huge “epiphany” regarding the throw-away crisis our world is facing – plastic drinking straws! I saw that these straws came in huge boxes, and they were each individually wrapped in paper. They are used one time and then discarded. When I thought it through I pondered the foot print to manufacture, market, and ship them, an incredible expenditure of energy and resources, all ultimately destined for the landfill. This realization had a profound impact on me and inspired me to study and implement sustainable practices in my daily life.”
“Costa Rica endorses an ecological/environmental ethic in its developmental and operational policies. We protect our forests, wildlife, and natural resources. This instills pride and participation in our population. It’s cool to be green! The Costa Rica Tourism Boards states: The development of sustainable tourism must be seen as the balanced interaction between the use of our natural and cultural resources, the improvement of the quality of life among the local communities, and the economic success of the industry, which also contributes to national development.”
Olas Verdes – Model of Sustainability
“We are so fortunate to have owners who are dedicated to very high standards of ecology and environmentalism. From day one they insisted on building a state of the art sustainable hotel. It takes longer and costs more to do it right from the beginning, but it pays off! ”
“It all comes down to a commitment on a personal level. My employees purchase and use the same biodegradable products the hotel uses for their homes. There is a sense of pride and personal responsibility in being a part of this special operation. They understand why we do not provide drinking straws, iron the bed sheets, or have hair driers in the bathrooms. They want to leave the world a better place for their children.”
More details on how Olas Verdes is committing to sustainability.
Olas Verdes Press Release
BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE FOR COSTA RICA’S PREMIER SURF SCHOOL
Safari Surf School’s new headquarters to be developed using sustainable design practices.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 28, 2013
Contact: Carl Kish at 866-433-3355 or firstname.lastname@example.org
NOSARA, COSTA RICA – Safari Surf School, Costa Rica’s premier surf school and surf camp, will begin construction of its new headquarters — Olas Verdes — in November of this year.
The beachfront property is located on the edge of a 200 meter setback from Playa Guiones in adherence with the protection of the Ostional Wildlife Refuge. Local architecture firm, Prendas Loria, in collaboration with Safari Surf’s Sustainability Director, Carl Kish, will ensure Olas Verdes complies with internationally recognized sustainable design and tourism standards.
Safari Surf’s longtime base of operations,the Hotel Casa Tucan, and the surrounding property was purchased by the owners of the The Harmony Hotel, a local sustainable resort. While Safari Surf School’s owners, Tim and Tyler Marsh, are saddened to part with the hotel that has been their headquarters for over a decade, they are eager to push the envelope for sustainable tourism with Olas Verdes.
“What excites us the most is this entire project will be built with sustainability in mind. From the architecture, to the water reclamation, to solar, grey water systems etc. Our facility will be built with Sustainable Certification as a top priority from the country’s highest standard (CST), as well as certification from the Center for Surf Research.” — Tim Marsh, Co-Owner/CEO.
Hotel Casa Tucan has long been a central part of the growing surf community of Playa Guiones as well as Nosara, and has been a “second home” to thousands of Safari Surf School students who have come to Costa Rica to learn to surf and experience the Costa Rican “pura vida” firsthand.
Tim Marsh’s full story on the Casa Tucan and more details about Olas Verdes are available here: https://safarisurfschool.com/2013/05/28/ciao-to-the-casa-tucan/
About Safari Surf School
Founded by brothers Tim and Tyler Marsh in 1999, Safari Surf School is an official Billabong Camp and is Costa Rica’s premier surf school. In addition to surf lessons from ISA certified instructors, Safari offers complete vacation packages including a range of accommodations, dining, transportation and numerous other activities. The school is located at Playa Guiones near Nosara on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. Business and administrative operations are based in San Diego, CA, U.S.A. Specific businesses include Safari Surf School, Safari Surf Adventures, Safari Surf Vacations, and Women’s Surf Adventures. For more information about Safari Surf School, go to https://safarisurfschool.com/, https://www.facebook.com/safarisurfschool, https://twitter.com/safarisurfer.