Small steps on the way to a big plan: Guanacaste tries hard to reach sustainability

Every big movement is small in the beginning, maybe that’s how it’s going to happen with the sustainability of Guanacaste. Step by step even bigger companies start to follow the quite simple trend of acting sustainable. Local products, recycling and processing – those words could make up the new slogan for the region.

It starts with a small group of farmers from Santa Elena; They exchange tips about how to manage nutrition without the help of environmental unfriendly and for local farmers quite devastating imports. The answer is actually quite simple: cultivate locally, buy locally. A sustainable nutrition doesn’t only lead to a better ecological overall picture, but also to a strong, local community. Because when participating in the latest trend of buying local you do know who is your farmer, after all he’s the person providing you with the ingredients for your environmental- friendly dinner – that’s how you incidentally help the local economy as well. Well, that’s how Guanacaste pictures its best-case future.

People want to distance themselves from mistakes of the past, and are willing to make up for them by preserving the region as good as possible, so that the following generations are able to enjoy the same, beautiful Guanacaste, as the present generation does. A feeling of remorse is growing in small groups of the population and spreads its way through the region, because the present wish for sustainability hasn’t always been as present, as it is right now. A few years ago, the leatherback turtles of Tamarindo have been driven out. Main reason of that was the place getting more and more popular as tourist destination, what led to more people, a higher demand for various resources, more trash and – most of al – less sustainability. While the new interest in this place was economically helpful, the concept of sustainability and the environment had to suffer. Another part that had to suffer under the tourist invasion were the wells, a lot of them have been overstressed and thus drought out.

But from now on people of Guanacaste want to take care of their future and their lives in a consistent environment. Well, at least that’s the great aim. A lot of big companies are trying to participate in this plan. Water is processed and recycled, organic waste is used as fertilizer and people buy local crops – if possible. For example, there

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Mango and banana growing in the garden

are a lot of hotels trying to obtain their food in a sustainable way. Among them also is Hotel Paraíso del Cocodrilo at Playa Buena Vista, not far from the tourist town of Samara. In the huge gardens of the hotel various fruits and herbs are cultivated, which later are going to be used in the kitchen. Among them you can find mango, mapaya, banana, lime, cilantro and a lot of other plants, which can be easily cultivated in this region. Furthermore, the hotel staff also runs a small farm, so that they have daily fresh eggs from their own chicken. Fish and meat is exclusively bought from local vendors, fishermen of the next village for example. That way those people make sure that the dishes of the restaurant are always prepared with fresh and sustainably obtained ingredients, so the guests feel good to come back to spend their next holiday at this small piece of paradise. All of that sounds so simple, but it still is something quite progressive within an environment, that is strongly influenced by big consumer nations such as the United States.

We definitely do think that the efforts of Guanacaste to build a sustainable community are a great start and a good role model for other regions. Let’s just hope that this trend among small groups spreads quickly in a great extent, so that the following generations will be able to see the beautiful sun region of Guanacaste the way native citizens and visitors do right now.

 

By E.F.

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