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 fincasaladero@gmail.com



Osa Conservation Wild Cat Monitoring program

We have worked directly with Osa Conservation (www.osaconservation.org)  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

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. 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 wellfare 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