Finca Saladero is an environmentally sensitive 390 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 360 acres of primary rainforest.
As responsible stewards, we are obliged to take nothing from the ecosystem that surrounds us except 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 as well as providing all of our guests with the opportunity to learn about and even participate in conservation efforts.
General Overview of our green approach:
Energy is supplied by hybrid systems from solar energy and hydraulic power
Generators are seldom used and solely for construction and repair purposes
Hot water is provided by passive solar heaters
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
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
Fruit and vegetables are grown on site without the use of pesticides or commercial fertilizer
Natural juices are made at Saladero from our various tropical fruits
Gardens and landscaping are fertilized with natural compost and manure
Mutual Assistance and Cooperation
We employ local Costa Rican staff from the work improvised area nearby Saladero
All employees are hired knowing personable guest interaction is part of the job description
Employees are given our coconuts (Lots!) 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, vermiculture 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
We directly support the park service of Piedras National Park by providing camping area and bathroom 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
Thanks Susan & Harvey, the previous lodge owners and the good and engaged teamwork with Osa Conservation's scientists and interns, many new programs and projects have been implemented that have raised our awareness and helped our guests.
The first project was implementing Osa Conservation's "wild cat monitoring program" by placing camera traps on all of our trails. We were astounded by the frequency and multitude of species we captured with the cameras. Some extremely rare and endangered. All of the cameras are within 1 kilometer of our home and imagine our surprise and excitement in 2015 when we realized that we had a jaguar on one of our trails and about 200 meters from our house!
Since 2014, photos of all 5 wild cat species that are in this area of Costa Rica have been garnered, as well as wild peccaries, skunks, anteaters, tayras (weasel), agoutis, pacas, great curassow, crested guan and tinamou.
Why is that important? Scientist can use this information to determine the health of the rainforest and when applicable appraise the government of any needed conservation programs to protect it.
Recently a mangrove nursery has been created to reforest the area in front of Saladero. In the future we look forward to participating with Osa Conservation in their new marine program as a marine research station and coral restoration location in the Golfo Dulce.
We believe in educational tourism. As stewards of a unique and biodiverse area consisting of multiple ecosystems we think that education is the key to helping others realize the importance of preserving the rainforest and its occupants.
Over the years, student and adult guests have always expressed a great interest in our tropical ecology. So, in conjunction with Osa Conservation, a "Tropical Ecology" tourism package has been created that is designed for couples and families as well as students. Guests can now learn about and participate in several local conservation programs that can include turtle conservation, mangrove reforestation and monitoring of wild animals.
We encourage scientific and conservation efforts 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. If you know of any organizations interested in creating or participating in tropical ecology programs at Saladero, please contact us.
Osa Conservation Wild Cat Monitoring program
Saladero has worked directly with Osa Conservation () since 2014 as part of their cat monitoring program by purchasing and placing camera traps to monitor the cats and the animals that support their survival. Information on the footprints along with photographs/videos were sent to Osa Conservation every three months for input into their data base.
With the addition of more lodges and private property owners, this 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.
There are now four lodges in Piedras Blancas National Park participating in a new initiative to find out how many Jaguars are left. Along with Osa Conservation, governmental agencies, private property owners and lodges like ours, in February 2018 over 240 cameras have collectively been placed in the Osa peninsula, Corcovado National Park, Los Mogos area, Piedras Blancas National Park and the Golfito Reserve.
Osa conservation Rio Saludables (healthy rivers) program
Increase public awareness
Collect quality baseline water quality data
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
Reforestation at Saladero
Ruthmery Pilco Huarcaya - Botanical Projects Manager - Osa Conservation
Many thanks to Osa Conservation for donating their time and planting 60 endangered tree seedlings at Saladero. Ruthmery and her team acquired the seeds to germinate these seedlings in the rainforest of the Osa Penninsula. Sometimes spending weeks to access the most remote and rare species in an effort to save them from extinction. To learn more about the many conservation programs ongoing and ones you can participate in, here is the link to their website:
Saladero has all primary rainforest surrounding the garden area. A perfect area to plant endangered and rare rainforest trees is adjacent to the forest but in the garden. As they mature they will be close enough to the forest for animals to pass over to the new trees. Animals and birds will then disburse the seeds for germination in another location and thus helping to protect the species.
Many species are tropical hardwoods that have been over logged for their beautifully grained wood. Other species require specific animals, birds or insects to pollinate and other birds or animals to disburse the seeds. With the loss of any one of these pollinators or disburses the symbiotic relationship is broken and that species cannot reproduce.
Some of the trees planted:
1. Williamodendron Glaucophyllum
Extremely rare species in the Laural family. Only 41 trees confirmed in Costa Rica. There is very little knowledge of this particular tree.
2. Peltogyne Purpurea (Nazareno) or Purpleheart
Purpleheart wood is heavy (0.8-1 g/cm3) with a medium to fine texture. The sapwood is gray-yellow, whereas the heartwood is bright purple with dark stripes. The wood is difficult to work with and has a high natural durability. It is popular for manufacturing floors, furniture, structural elements, and architectural finishes due to its physical and mechanical properties. It grows up to 50 meters tall and 1 meter in diameter. It has a rounded crown and typically short buttress roots that occasionally reach 3 meters tall. In Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia, Peltogyne purpurea has been declared a vulnerable species.
3. “Escobo” “Amarillon”
Sometimes referred to as Buchenavia. Another very rare species very little is known about and rarely found.
4. Copaifera Camibar
The largest known population in the country is in the Mogos region, Osa Peninsula, where in some places it becomes common. Floristic studies in that locality have registered up to 20 individuals in one hectare.
Curiously, the species has not been found in the Corcovado National Park and the northernmost known locality is the Nara hill near Quepos. Unfortunately the largest population is being seriously affected by forest exploitation since the category of protection of the area where it is located does not ensure its conservation.
The species is known locally as "camibar" for its oil that is extracted from the trunk for medicinal uses, especially used as a healing agent. Its wood is used for both firewood and construction.
This species has recently been discovered in Venezuela, (the only other location in the world other than Costa Rica) State of Amazonas (Berry, Aymard & Romero, 1997). The authors point out that it is one of the most common species in certain forests of the State of Amazonas, known locally for its multiple uses, such as a source of medicinal oil, wood for construction, bark for the manufacture of furniture and ropes.
5. Ormosia Macrocalyx “Nene Rojo”
This is an evergreen tree that can grow around 40 metres tall. The straight, cylindrical bole can be 50cm in diameter; becoming buttressed at the base when larger.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use of its wood. The plants, but especially the seed and perhaps also the bark, of many if not all species in this genus contain alkaloids and are toxic. The brightly colored seeds of various members of this genus are so commonly used as beads that the tree is known as the necklace tree.
Children in Peru wear bracelets of the seeds to prevent all manner of witchcraft, whilst in Costa Rica wearing the seeds is believed to guard against misfortune and bad luck. The heartwood is light brown; it is clearly demarcated from the yellowish white sapwood. The wood is hard and heavy. When freshly cut it has the aroma of pea pods. It is used for general construction and sometimes for making canoes.
6. Couratari Scottmori “Copo hediondo” “Condon de Mono”
Common names in Costa Rica: cachimbo hediondo, copo, matasano. Large trees, 40 m tall, the trunk buttressed for 50-80 cm. The seeds, surrounded by a circumferential wing, are dispersed by the wind. The wood is used in general construction. It is on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
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 to study the rainforest, mangrove reforestation and planting of corals. 100% of all donations will be applied to conservation programs.
We are happy to send quarterly reports of ongoing projects with photos from our wild animal camera traps to all donors. Thank you!
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 welfare that the rainforest biodiversity provides
Work towards a goal of 100% no waste
Increase our onsite organic food production
Continue to offer our facilities to scientists as a research center to study the Piedras Blancas area, Golfo Dulce and the Rio Esquinas mangrove estuary
In cooperation with Osa Conservation, continue new initiatives in other areas of tropical biology and marine research