Certification for Sustainable Tourism
(CST) Level 4, Costa Rica Tourism Board
Calypso Cruises has obtained the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST).
Our mission is to raise awareness about the importance of environmental conservation and part of that goal is remembering our own impact.
The Certification for Sustainable Tourism program evaluates each tourism company based on the degree to which its operations comply to a model of sustainability.
In order to meet their criteria, our staff is constantly evaluating our physical-biological parameters, service management, interaction with external clients and relationship with the community.
We hold each of these criteria to the highest importance and are proud to uphold the ideals of Certification for Sustainable Tourism.
Information about Costa Rica’s Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (CST)
The concept of “ecotourism”, going “green” and building “sustainably” in the tourism industry has exploded over the past ten years. These terms are well known in Costa Rica at most hotels, restaurants and with tour operators,
There are varied definitions for these terms but simply put - finding ways to satisfy the requirements of today’s society without making it impossible for future generations to satisfy their own.
Sometimes finding truly “sustainable” tourism operations has become extremely difficult for consumers. With the advent of “green washing”: the practice of using terms such as “ecotourism” or “green” are used as a marketing ploy to attract a more socially and environmentally conscious customers. Not necessarily as real operational plan or commitment.
How are customers supposed to know the difference between a hotel that is truly sustainable (making substantial contributions to the environment and surrounding community) and one that simply says that it is “green” for the sake of attracting customers?
Environmentally and socially conscious persons who visit Costa Rica have a great tool for assuring that their money is spent in a way that will truly make a positive contribution. This is the Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (CST) administered by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT).
This complete and rigorous, certification system (which is the only certification endorsed by the Costa Rican government) awards hotels “leaves” on a scale of one to five based on their sustainability achievements (much like the mobile star rating which evaluates hotel services). The CST bases its judgements on four factors:
- 1. Biological-Physical: How does a property impact and/or protect its surrounding environment?
- 2. Services and Infrastructure: How do the property’s operations (including product use and disposal, water and energy management, etc.) affect the environment?
- 3. Social-Economic Environment: What impact does the property have on nearby communities to promote/provide education to its staff and community and to work with community service providers?
- 4. External Client: How does the property promote and teach responsible tourism with guests who visit.
Currently, the CST is not mandatory for all properties in Costa Rica. For this reason, it is imperative that the consumer take an active role in looking for properties that are participating in the certification process. By supporting CST certified organizations, you not only know where your money is being spent, but are showing your support for fair, honest and above all, truly sustainable business practices. When you travel in Costa Rica, inquire about CST certification, ask questions and demand answers. Your travel decisions and your “colones” can truly make a difference.
If you would like more information, please visit: www.turismo-sostenible.co.cr
Environmental Tips for Travelers to Costa Rica
Calypso Cruises participates in Sustainable Tourism Policies and follows environmental guidelines and programs to protect our environment.
Calypso Cruises encourages you to be an active member of our environmental policies and programs to protect our environment here in Costa Rica. It is very important for us that you minimize your impact while in our country.
Here are some tips and information that you should try and remember. Some of this advice may be more difficult to accomplish while traveling than to incorporate it into your daily lives. But remember, if you only put into practice some of our suggestions, it will certainly contribute to reducing our impact on the planet.
All these environmental tips will assist you in contributing to the well being of our communities and to the conservation of our planet - whether exploring the city, visiting our National Parks, having adventures, hiking into the rainforest or simple enjoying your vacation in luxury while in Costa Rica.
Plan: Responsible travel begins with planning. Before your trip, research the internet, consult guidebooks, ask questions or make contact with your tour operator to obtain as much information to make informed choices before your trip.
You can be a responsible consumer by seeking information about sustainable tourism or ecotourism, responsible travel and knowing more about your destination’s social, political and environmental issues.
While on Tour:
RESPECT the local environment, culture and traditions. PROTECT nature and the natural treasures. PRESERVE local resources. You can accomplish this by follow these suggestions:
- 1. Use plastic bottles which can be recycled. Some plastic bottles are not recyclable. Try to use glass bottles (returnable) for sodas etc. Aluminum cans are the next best option as they can be recycled.
- 2. 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. If you have to buy bottles, buy the biggest you can and just refill.
- 3. Try not to waste water when you are not using it i.e. don’t leave the faucet open while you brush your teeth.
- 4. If you shop in a local market take your own bag(s) or have them place everything in one large plastic bag instead of numerous small ones.
- 5. Use a digital camera instead of using film camera (the process of developing film and printing photos can produce a lot of waste and unwanted photos just end up in the trash).
- 6. Consider reusable containers for your soap. Avoid using the small hotel soaps which come individually wrapped. The unused portions will just be thrown out.
- 7. Try to use biodegradable soaps and organic sun blocks and insect repellents whenever possible.
- 8. Avoid using excessive cosmetic products e.g. hairspray, mousse, aftershave, perfume etc. If you do use them, try and find effective environmentally friendly alternatives e.g biodegradable shampoos, crystal deodorants etc.
- 9. Avoid using disposable products e.g. plastic razors, single use contact lenses.
- 10. Try to use re chargeable batteries or eliminate use of batteries entirely e.g. use a wind up or solar for your flashlight or radio.
- 11. Use recycled paper, toilet paper, etc. whenever possible.
- 12. Remember to recycle whatever you can while you are traveling. Some products that can not be recycled in the country you are visiting can be recycled in your home country. Take them home when possible.
- 1. If your hotel has a policy to minimize laundering or towels and sheets, support it by using them several times.
- 2. Always remember to turn off the lights and air conditioning whenever you leave your hotel room.
- 3. If you are not using it - turn it off! Lights, fans, TVs, radios, computers etc.
Food and Health:
- 1. Never eat foods that you know are from endangered or threatened species (you can research these before you come to the country).
- 2. Try to buy and eat locally grown and processed foods wherever possible, rather than food products shipped from long distances. Fossil fuels are used for transport and generally more packaging.
- 3. Consider using alternative natural medical products for common travelers illnesses. Avoid leaving pharmaceuticals in the local water and soil (this is becoming a detectable problem in first world countries and thought to affect aquatic organisms like fish and frogs).
When in the Natural Environment:
- 1. Never buy authentic archeological artifacts or souvenirs made from materials such as turtle shells, coral or from endangered plants or animals.
- 2. Avoid buying souvenirs that are made with endangered species or species that have to be killed to be made into a craft. Support crafts made from renewable resources.
- 3. Do not collect insects, flora and fauna without permission. Leave them for everyone to enjoy.
- 4. When walking or hiking, stay on the trails and close gates behind you. This helps lessen your impact on the terrain. Try to remain very quiet on the trail.
- 5. Pack snacks that don’t have individual wrappers and pack your lunch in a reusable box.
- 6. Hire a local naturalist guide if possible, when you do not travel in a group. Guides can provide a deeper interpretation and appreciation of the natural areas you visit.
- Avoid feeding, harassing or touching wild animals.
- 8. Avoid wearing perfume or any other strong scents.
Camping and the Proper Use of Water:
- 1. Use toilets where they exist. If not, bury human waste in a hole at least 6 inches (20 cms) deep. Human waste should be buried at least 150 feet (50 meters) from water sources.
- 2. Use biodegradable soaps or detergents.
- 3. Wash shampoo or detergents as far away as you can from rivers or the ocean (at least 15 feet (4 meters) minimum).
- 4. Avoid building fires.
- 5. Use a T-shirt when snorkeling or at the beach as sunscreens or sun tan lotions are harmful to the marine life.
Use of Transportation:
- 1. For short distances, use public rather than private transportation where possible to reduce the use fossil fuel.
- 2. Walk if possible or use a bicycle. It not only helps the planet, but it keeps you in shape too!
Traveling with Children and Babies:
- 1. When visiting the country, try and teach your child about the local environmental issues. Point out good and bad practices.
- 2. Encourage your child to snack on fruit rather than sweets. Explain that fruit has a biodegradable wrapper!
- 3. Try to use cotton diapers if possible. If not available, use biodegradable diapers.
Don’t Forget To:
- 1. Respect cultural differences in language and dress. Always ask for permission before taking someone’s picture.
- 2. Try the local brands for foods and drink. This helps local communities.
- 3. Buy hand crafted goods and souvenirs produced by the local artisans.
After Your Trip:
Think of how all these environmental suggestions have benefited you and our country. Apply them at home and consider participating or contributing in this important effort to protect the Earth.
Try to always learn more about Best Practices for the environment. Sustainable tourism is the key to protecting the livelihoods and natural resources of local communities. Especially those with limited economic resources and whose culture and traditions are also in danger of being lost. Be a part of it. Local Environmental Issues:
Find out what are the important environmental issues in the country. Good environmental practices (e.g. reduce, reuse, recycle!) are often the same in different countries. Talk about these issues with people you meet.
Think about where you are eating and staying and support the more environmentally friendly businesses. If you stay in an Ecolodge, speak with the owners/managers. Ask how do they manage their garbage? Do they recycle? Do they use treatment plants to reuse their water? Do they practice or contribute to conservation? Do they support the local communities in any way? These questions can also be asked at any hotel you visit.
Many countries have interesting volunteer opportunities with environmentally-oriented organizations. If you have the time and interest, support these efforts by volunteering!