Sustainable Tourism

 
 

Finca Saladero is an environmentally sensitive 480 acre private preserve set in the undeveloped Golfo Dulce and the seldom visited Piedras Blancas National Park. It includes ½ mile of coastline on the Golfo Dulce, 30 acres of gardens and 465 acres of primary rainforest. Established in harmony with the natural environment, our goal is to provide to travelers seeking a unique location and experience, the opportunity to observe wildlife and natural wonders in a pristine and sustainable fashion while enjoying the comfortable and spacious accommodations.


As responsible stewards we are obliged to take nothing from the ecosystem that surrounds us excepting photographs and memories.
With this in mind we have implemented certain policies and standards to ensure its continuance with minimal or no impact to the environment.

General          Overview of our green approach.

  • Energy is supplied by hybrid systems of solar power and hydro. Generators are seldom used and solely for construction and repair purposes.
  • All organic waste is composted and used in our gardens.
  • All efforts are made to purchase only products that can be recycled.
  • All sodas and beer are purchased in returnable bottles.
  • Drinking water is UV treated and we provide guests with reusable aluminum water bottles.
  • Hot water is provided by passive solar heaters and backup propane heaters that only heat when the water is turned on.
  • Grey water and black water are separated.
  • Energy efficient refrigerators and freezer.
  • Energy efficient lighting.
  • Use of fresh vegetables and fruit instead of canned products.
  • We provide organic chickens and eggs from our farm at Saladero. 
  • Fruit and vegetables are grown on site without the use of pesticides or commercial fertilizer.
  • All natural juices are made at Saladero from our various tropical fruits.
  • Gardens and landscaping are fertilized with natural compost and manure.


Community             Mutual assistance and cooporation.

  • We employ local Costa Rican staff from the work improvished area nearby Saladero. All employees are hired knowing personable guest interaction is part of the job description.
  • Employees are given our coconuts (many!!) to make coconut oil to sell to guests or local businesses.
  • Sales of locally made Costa Rican artwork and the handicrafts of local indigenous tribes benefit them directly.
  • Education in best practices to all employees. Waste reduction, recycling, energy management, composting and water conservation are some of the subjects. This in turn influences not just our employees but the attitudes and social habits of their extended families.
  • Direct financial support to the park service of Piedras National Park by providing camping area and facilities when working in our area. 
  • We invite guests to interact with our employees and their families to learn about the people and culture.

Conservation at Saladero Ecolodge

All of our cabin guests are shown our Power Point presentation on our sustainability and conservation programs. It includes:  What is an ecolodge?, sustainable living, healthy rivers program, wild animal montioring and information on several ongoing marine programs in the Golfo Dulce. These include ongoing studies of the dolphins, whales, sea turtles and the newly discovered yellow sea snake. A new and exciting program starting this fall is the coral restoration program. Coral will be grown in front of Saladero, monitored by students and when large enough, placed in selected areas in the Golfo Dulce.


We believe in educational tourism. Our student and adult guests generally have a deep interest in our tropical ecology. So, in conjunction with Osa Conservation, we have created a "Tropical Ecology" tourism package that is designed for couples and families as well as students. Guests can now learn about and participate in local conservation programs.


We encourage scientific and conservation efforts on at Saladero Ecolodge to study the unique flora and fauna in the primary rainforest of Piedras Blancas National Park, the Golfo Dulce and the Rio Esquinas Mangrove estuary. 

                                                Contact us for information about available facilities for research groups at [email protected]

Osa Conservation

Wild Cat Monitoring program

We work directly with Osa Conservation (www.osaconservation.org)  as part of their cat monitoring program by purchasing, placing and camera traps to monitor the cats and the animals that support their survival. Information on the footprints and photographs/videos are sent to Osa Conservation every three months for input into their data base. 

With the addition of more lodges and private property owners we can obtain a much better idea of the wild animal population and in general the health of the primary rainforests. 

Food sources for the large cats are in abundance and with the top predators present, this would be an indication of a healthy ecosystem.

At present we have the only cameras in Piedras Blancas National Park and are excited that we have taken the first photos  of all 5 native cat species. We are hopeful to involve other lodges in Piedras Blancas National Park to participate in this important program.


Here is a recent article written by one of our guests on the Osa Conservation Cat Program that was published in the New York Times:

New York Times Article Saladero Ecolodge Cat Program 

Osa conservation

Our participation in the Rio Saludables (healthy rivers) program


•Program Goals
•Increase public awareness
•Collect quality baseline water quality data
•Gather observations
•Encourage partnerships between citizens & local government
•Provide tools & training

Ultimate goal:

To create a Water Atlas for the ACOSTA region

Why are Watersheds important???


•Drinking water source
•Ecologically important habitat (fish, birds, reptiles, mammals, invertebrates, plants…)
•Transports nutrients and sediment
•Outflows into ocean impacting other ecosystems

center for the study of dolphins and whales (CEIC)

We support and have offered our facilities for volunteers from Earthwatch through the CEIC Centro de Investigación De Cetaceos Costa Rica (http://cetaceansgolfodulce.blogspot.com/p/golfo-dulce.html) to monitor marine species in front of Saladero and the mouth of the Rio Esquinas.

The CEIC has been studying the dolphins, whales and supporting species since 2005 with the intent of protecting the marine life and creating a marine sanctuary.

Long-term goals:

  • Monitor coastal and oceanic cetaceans, particularly Spotted and Bottlenose dolphin populations and migrating Humpback whale groups and individuals within Golfo Dulce 
  • Determine the role of coastal and oceanic cetacean, particularly spotted and bottlenose dolphins as indicators of a marine biodiversity in Golfo Dulce, and Osa Peninsula 
  • Monitor the impact of human activities near shore 
  • Identify Areas of Conservation Importance within Golfo Dulce 
  • Support the establishment of regulations that mitigate coastal development and control key alternatives to consumptive activities such as eco-tourism 

Short-term goals:
  • Identify cetacean feeding, breeding and calving critical habitats within the outer and off shore areas (i.e., Golfo Dulce entrance and transitional habitats off the shelf edge) 
  • Monitor relative abundance of Spotted and Bottlenose dolphins off the inner basin. 
  • Document behavioural alterations as a possible result of the impact of human activities within the coastal-marine environment 
  • Identify prey species of the Spotted and Bottlenose dolphins; 
  • Documenting Accoustically and through behavioral observations the breeding population of Humpback whales in the outer basin of Golfo Dulce 

 

YOU CAN HELP.  

 

All conservation efforts are privately funded. With your donation we can continue to expand ongoing projects and implement new projects aimed at helping scientists study the rainforest, mangrove reforestation and planting of corals. 

We are happy to send quarterly reports of ongoing projects with photos from our wild animal camera traps to all donors.



Future Goals

  • Reassessment and improvement of our best practices program on a continual basis.
  • To educate and promote awareness to our guests and employees of the importance to our continued health and wellfare that the rainforest biodiversity provides.
  • Work towards a goal of 100% no waste.
  • Increase our onsite organic food production.
  • Offer our facilities to scientists as a research center to study the Piedras Blancas area, Golfo Dulce and the Rio Esquinas mangrove estuary.
  • Create modules of tropical biology classes to offer to student groups and other guests. These will be designed for people that want more of an in depth knowledge of the regions biodiversity and conservation efforts.