Sustainable Tourism


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. 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 as well as providing all of our guests with the opportunity to learn about and even participate in conservation efforts.

A 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 (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

Before Susan and I began partnering with Osa Conservation in 2014 we had a very vague idea of the flora and fauna that surrounds us.  That changed immensely. Many thanks to the very hard working and dedicated scientists and interns at Osa Conservation for their untiring efforts to help us implement new programs as well as educate us and our guests.

Our 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 trail #2 and about 200 meters from our house!!!

Since 2014 we have garnered photos of all 5 wild cat species that are in this area of Costa Rica 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.

All of our guests and some day visitors are offered our Power Point presentation on our sustainability and conservation programs. It includes information on  What is an ecolodge?, sustainable living, Osa Conservations healthy rivers program, our participation in the regional wild animal camera trap program and information on several ongoing marine programs in the Golfo Dulce. These include studies of the dolphins, whales, sea turtles and the newly discovered yellow sea snake. 

Recently we created a mangrove nursery 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.  

Our student and adult guests over the years have always expressed a great 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 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.

                                           For information about available facilities to host research groups contact us at

Osa Conservation Wild Cat Monitoring program

We have 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 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.

We now have three other 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 we collectively placed in February 2018 over 240 cameras in the Osa peninsula, Corcovado National Park, Los Mogos area, Piedras Blancas National Park and the Golfito Reserve. In June we will collect all of the cameras and hopefully have a better idea of how many Jaguars are left.

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 

Want to learn more about the program? Here is a link to Osa Conservations Wild Cat Monitoring page.

Osa conservation 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

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. 

So why are they endangered?

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 disbursers 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 Purple heart. 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.

Other Uses

We have seen no specific reports for this species, but the brightly coloured 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: 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.

          Dr. Andrew Whitworth - Executive Director.                           Eleanor flatt - Conservation coordinator 


                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. 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.


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 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