Whether abroad in Costa Rica or at home, here is a list of eco-friendly habits. The beauty of sustainable practices is that saving money and saving our planet are great reasons to change. The health of our earth is at stake and it’s up to us make sure future generations can enjoy a clean, intact and healthy environment. These small changes in your daily routine can make the world of difference for the environment when practiced long-term and by many.
- Use plastic bottles which can be recycled. Try to use returnable glass bottles for sodas, etc. Aluminum cans are the next best option since they are recyclable.
- To avoid buying more disposable bottles, carry a water bottle and always check if there is somewhere to fill it up at your hotel/restaurant. At Blue River's mountain hotel, the water is fresh and clean. Bottled water is unnecessary and wasteful.
- If you have to buy bottles, buy the biggest you can and just refill.
- Consider purifying your own water to avoid creating garbage. Do not drink direct from the mountain river water.
- Try to avoid excessive wrapping and plastic bags, which are too readily thrown out for each small purchase.
- Try not to waste water when you are not using it, e.g. do no keep a faucet open while you brush your teeth.
- If you shop in a local market, bring your own bag or use one large plastic bag instead of numerous small ones.
- Use reusable containers for your soap so that you can use your own soap and avoid half using the small hotel soaps which come individually wrapped (if you use hotel soap, use one and take the remainder with you! It will just be thrown out.) Keep in mind that at Blue River's Costa Rica mountain hotel, the water is returned to the river after going through its treatment plant.
- Use biodegradable and natural products for your soap and sun block and bug repellent.
- Avoid using excessive cosmetic products e.g. hairspray, mousse, aftershave, perfume and if you must use them, try and find effective environmentally-friendly alternatives i.e. biodegradable shampoos, crystal deodorants which last longer etc. (most containers for these products are non-recyclable).
- Avoid using disposable products e.g. plastic razors, single use contact lenses.
- Try to use rechargeable batteries or eliminate use of batteries entirely e.g. use a wind up, solar torch or radio.
- Where available, use recycled paper for letters home, trip diaries, toilet paper, etc.
- Recycle whatever you can while traveling. Some products that cannot be recycled in the host country can be recycled in your home countries, so take them home when possible.
- If your hotel showcases a policy to minimize laundry especially for towels and sheets, support it. At Blue River's Costa Rica mountain hotel, there are signs in the bathroom directing you on ways to save.
- Lights, fans, air conditioning, TVs, radios, computers - if you are not using it - turn them off!
What You Consume and Your Health
- Don't eat endangered or threatened species (research these before you come to the country).
- Buy and eat locally-grown and locally processed foods wherever possible, rather than food products shipped from long distances, which use more energy (fossil fuels for transport and generally more packaging). At Blue River, we fill lagoons using water running down from the mountains to the hotel and grow tilapia.
- Consider using alternative natural medical products for common traveler's illnesses. Avoid leaving behind pharmaceuticals in the local water and soil (this is becoming a detectable problem in first world countries, thought to affect aquatic organisms like fish and frogs).
When on Vacation
- Never buy authentic archeological artifacts or souvenirs made from coral or endangered plants or animals i.e. turtle shells. Along the Costa Rica mountain hotels there are also archeological artifacts- don't buy any.
- Avoid buying souvenirs made from endangered species or species that have to be killed to be made into a craft. Support crafts made from renewable resources.
- Do not collect insects, flora and fauna without permission. Leave them for everyone to enjoy.
- When walking, stay on the trails and close gates behind you. It helps to lessen your impact on the forest. Remain very quiet on the trail. In the Costa Rica mountain rainforest hotels like Blue River we like you to take a guide.
- Try to pack snacks that don't have individual wrappers, or pack your lunch in a reusable box.
- Hire a local naturalist guide when you do not travel in a group. Guides can provide a deeper interpretation of the natural areas you visit.
- Avoid feeding, harassing or touching wild animals at all times.
- Avoid wearing perfume or any other strong scents.
- Do not move whenever you are observing animals in the wild.
- Use toilets where they exist, if not bury human waste in a hole 20 cm deep. Human waste should be buried at least 50 m from water sources.
- Use biodegradable soaps or detergents.
- Do not wash shampoo or detergents off directly in rivers or the ocean, but as far away as you can
- Avoid making fires.
- Use a t-shirt when snorkeling or at the beach, since sunscreen or sun tan lotions are harmful to the marine life.
- For short distances use public rather than private transportation, where possible to reduce fossil fuel use.
- If possible, walk or use a bicycle. It not only helps the planet, but it keeps you in shape as well!
Travelling with Children and Babies
- When visiting the country, try to teach your child about the local environmental issues. Point out good and bad practices.
- Encourage your child to snack on fruit rather than sweets, explain that fruit has a biodegradable wrapper!
- If traveling with a baby, try to use cotton diapers. If cotton nappies are simply not an option, you can always use biodegradable diapers.
- Respect cultural differences in language and dress. Always ask for permission before taking someone's picture.
- Try local brands for food and drink, this helps local communities.
- Buy hand crafted
By following these easy steps, both the Costa Rican environment and you will benefit. Our Costa Rican mountain resort may be far from where you live, but you can carry over the same efforts when your return home to decrease your imprint on your local environment. There is much to learn here at Blue River Resort & Spa's mountain rainforest hotel in Costa Rica. We are making many positive impacts on our environment through daily decisions. Using best practices for the environment is the key to protecting livelihoods, culture, natural resources and local communities. Blue River Resort & Hot Springs fully supports and practices sustainable tourism policies and follows the CTS environmental guidelines and programs to protect our environment. We hope you enjoy your holiday at one of Costa Rica's best “green” mountain hotels in the rainforest.