Our hotel is set in eleven acres of nature with private nature trails filled with wildlife and access to two beautiful beaches. Inspired by the natural beauty that surrounds us, we at Arenas del Mar are committed to demonstrating that a world class resort can successfully combine the highest levels of sustainability, rigorous standards in environmental stewardship and social responsibility, all while operating completely carbon neutral. Learn more about our other programs below and be sure to take our complimentary Easy Being Green Tour when you visit. Arenas del Mar is a member of the Cayuga Collection of Sustainable Luxury Hotels and Lodges – learn more about sustainable practices and policies of this group of hotels here.
We are proud to share that our years of dedication to sustainable practices have been recognized beyond the property: the Costa Rican Tourism Board’s Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) Program recently evaluated our practices based on a set of four rigorous evaluation criteria on “sustainable models of natural, cultural and social resource management” and awarded us with Five (out of a possible five) Leaves for our pioneering initiatives in sustainable hospitality. For more information on this renowned program, please click here.
All transportation on property is run on clean-burning, electric-fueled golf carts. These golf carts help us to drastically reduce our carbon dioxide emissions and also help us to maintain a quiet atmosphere so that guests can enjoy the pristine natural areas surrounding the property.
We also have:
- Solar panels to heat hot water coupled with energy saving auxiliary water heaters.
- Energy efficient lighting and illumination throughout the entire property.
Water Management and Conservation
- Chlorine free ionization systems to clean pool water.
- Low-flow toilets.
- Non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning products.
At Arenas Del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort, we have installed extensive recycling facilities to reduce the amount of waste that we produce on property. Additionally, all organic waste is reused in our onsite composting station to produce a natural fertilizer that we can use to maintain our native plant garden.
We also have:
- A state of the art treatment plant so water leaving our properties will not affect the surrounding water sources.
- An advanced vermiculture-based compost system to recycle organic waste.
- Bamboo Straws
Other Operations & Construction
From the initial construction of Arenas del Mar in 2006 to our day-to-day operations today, we have taken strict measures to ensure that all of our practices meet the highest possible sustainability standards in all facets of our operations. Below are some examples of our pioneering initiatives:
- Underground electricity systems that do not interfere with surrounding wildlife as well as other environmentally friendly construction practices. Several roofs have trees penetrating their eaves to avoid cutting any trees during the construction process. Moreover, the restaurant and spa were built around the configuration of the trees so it almost disappears into the canopy where it is integrated. The materials in the construction are used for seismic security, and no tractors of any kind to refrain from negative construction impact.
- Roof tiles made from discarded plastic bags from the banana industry. Due to the coloration of these tiles, coupled with the integration of the flora of the area, it is almost impossible to see our hotel from the beach or even overhead from the air coloration and the integration of the flora of the area. We utilize three different colored roofing shingles and recycled plastic tiles designed and fabricated to blend in with the local coloration of flora of the area.
- Recycled materials used throughout the property.
- The Sustainability Tour – “Easy Being Green”
- Cultural Activities
- Hiring staff from the local community and supporting local artists and businesses throughout the gift shop and spa.
- Adhering to national, legal codes of conduct.
Conservation of Biodiversity
All plants on the Arenas Del Mar property are native to Costa Rica and can be found growing naturally in this area of the country. Native plant landscaping eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and drastically cuts down on water consumption (as exotic species often tend to consume more water). We also have:
Private reserve and reforestation
Arenas Del Mar owns 11 acres of land and the total construction covers less than 25% of the property itself; the rest, over 8 acres, has become a private nature reserve that acts as an ecological corridor to expand the area surrounding Manuel Antonio National Park (one of Costa Rica’s most popular national parks and home to monkeys, sloths, rare birds and other creatures of the rainforest).
Arenas Del Mar was built on what used to be a plantain farm which had a lot of early growth secondary forest springing up around the farmed areas. Over the last 20 years, we have planted 7,000 species of native trees and thousands of endemic plants that would have been found in the area before it was converted to agriculture.
Flora & Fauna Protection
Costa Rica is renowned internationally for its commitment to its natural parks and protected areas. In the Pacific Region, you can visit a myriad of beautiful sites and, as we at Arenas Del Mar have a vision focused on sustainability, we would like to present the following important information regarding biodiversity protection policies both around the world and in Costa Rica as well as some suggestions for your next visit to our National Parks and reserves.
The World Situation
There is an agreement between different governments of the world called CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
Annually, international wildlife trade is estimated to be worth billions of dollars and to include hundreds of millions of plant and animal specimens. The trade is diverse, ranging from live animals and plants to a vast array of wildlife products derived from them (i.e. food, leather, musical instruments, timber, tourist souvenirs, medicines, etc).
Levels of exploitation of some animal and plant species are so high that, together with habitat loss and other factors, their populations could be depleted to bring them to extinction. The trade in wild animals and plants crosses borders between countries, thus the importance of international cooperation.
CITES accords varying degrees of protection to more than 30,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs. Not one species protected by CITES has become extinct as a result of trade since the Convention entered into force.
Costa Rican Laws
Wildlife is defined as any flora or fauna that lives in natural conditions be it temporary or permanent, in national territory. These flora and fauna are never to be under a private ownership unless specified by law.
The production, manipulation, extraction, commercialization, industrialization and use of genetic material from our wild flora and fauna, its parts, products and sub products is prohibited as they are national patrimony.
The hunting, fishing and extraction of any flora and fauna declared in danger of extinction is prohibited, except in cases where “sustainable” reproduction is done in places with proper authorization.
- Do not buy products derived from endangered flora or fauna species (i.e. fur, turtle eggs, turtle products, leather, ornamental plants, medicinal plants, etc).
- Do not extract any products from any forest.
- Protect nature, and report it to the proper authorities if you notice any illegal poaching (of flora or fauna).
- Do not buy live flora or fauna that are endangered.
When visiting natural areas in general, always remember:
- Arenas Del Mar prohibits the feeding of any animal. As cute as an animal can appear, please do not feed them, this will interrupt their natural habitat and habits and can infect them with viruses or bacteria. Moreover, it will cause these animals to become dependent on humans.
- It is prohibited at Arenas Del Mar to hunt any wild animals. Please report any illegal or strange activity you might see along the trails, around the hotel or in its surrounding areas.
- Remember to leave natural areas pristine and beautiful. Do not leave any trash behind during your visit.
- Arenas Del Mar prohibits the extraction of any flora out of protected areas or nearby beaches. Please do not take any samples of plants, branches, flowers or seashells that you might find in our paths, nature trails or along the sand, no matter how beautiful they may appear.
- Keep your eyes down while walking. Be mindful of your step.
- When you want to look at something, stop moving! Look before touching.
For more detailed information on regulations or endangered species visit the CITES website at www.cites.org. Thank you for choosing to stay with us. Your visit contributes with our sustainable efforts and with this you are making a difference!
How We Are Keeping the Planet Cool!
At Arenas Del Mar we wanted to know just how much we were contributing towards global warming, we wanted to know the size of our carbon footprint, or how much green-house gases we were emitting so that we could take the necessary steps to minimize that contribution and do our small part to keep the planet cool.
We did our due dilligence and using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol methodology we calculated our footprint. It turns out that every year we put out about 190 tons of carbondioxide per year. This includes the gasoline, diesel, and gas that we use; plus the refrigerant gases associated with our airconditioners and refrigerators, plus all the electricity we consume. In Costa Rica, we’re lucky. About 93% of our electricity is generated from water, a clean energy source that does not produce greenhouse gases. This simple fact helps keep our overall footprint down significantly.
190 tons of carbon is the equivalent of what 32 average size automobiles produce in a year. An average size car (Toyota Camry) produces about 6 tons of carbon dioxide in a year, assuming it is a recent year model, is in good shape, tires are always properly inflated, and the driver keeps to the speed limit consistently!
Easy Things You Can Do At Home to Keep the Planet Cool
- Change all your regular incandescent light bulbs with a compact fluorescent light bulb (cfl) or better yet, to LEDs (light-emitting diodes). It will save you money on your energy bill and help keep the planet cool!
- Drive a little less! Just 10 miles a week makes a huge difference. Walk a little more!
- Keep your car tuned up and your tires inflated to proper pressure. You’ll pollute less and get better gas mileage out of your car.
- Buy locally grown and produced foods – it takes less energy to get that food to your table!
- Watch the “Story of Stuff”: look for it on youtube and share it with your friends.
- Always, if you can, plant a tree, a native species, wherever you are!
- Reduce, reuse, recycle….reduce, reuse, recycle… reduce, reuse, recycle
- Purchase the book “You can prevent Global Warming (and save money): 51 easy ways” and begin to be the change!
Climate Change 101
Climate change concerns us all and it is our collective responsibility to take action. A large part of greenhouse gas emissions are a product of commercial airline travel. At Arenas Del Mar we invite you to know your air travel carbon footprint and encourage you to mitigate it. Go to www.atmosfair.de/en and contribute to a cooler greener planet.
Climate Change vs Global Warming?
It may come as a surprise to some, but climate change is a natural process that occurs gradually on the planet over long periods of time. Throughout it’s 4.2 billion years of existence the Earth has cooled, frozen, and thawed many times. Simply put, climate changes are significant and lasting changes in weather patterns over long periods of time; decades or even millions of years. It can be brought on by changes in ocean currents, or solar radiation, plate tectonics, volcanic eruptions, and human caused alterations. Science has been showing over the past 3 decades, and longer, that human activity, primarily the excessive and fast-paced burning of fossil fuels (wood, oil, gas, coal and others) is increasing the warming of the earth’s temperature or causing global warming.
Community Development: Giving Back
successful plan for sustainable tourism and development. We currently help our communities
through the following two principal programs: “Building for the Future” and “Natural Curiosity.” Building for the Future focuses on providing schools with needed infrastructure and supplies. Schools in the area are marginalized and poor, lacking adequate infrastructure, essential classroom supplies such as pencils, papers, chalk, and crayons, and even basic music, art, and physical education programs. Among the local community schools, we are working with the Sabalo School. Meanwhile, “Natural Curiosity” supports the environmental education efforts of the Titi Conservation Alliance, a local organization working on the protection and conservation of the Titi (squirrel) monkey. Their environmental education program works with five local schools and teaches children about conservation and sustainability. We support these programs by working with the 501c3 nonprofit Earth Equilibrium. You can donate towards any package below and are tax deductible. When at Arenas Del Mar donations can be made directly at our front desk. To learn more about Earth Equilibrium’s work please visit
Building for the Future
Solid Waste Management
environment, human health, and improves quality of life. At Sabalo School we are a
building a small recycling storage facility for the community. The school, as part of a larger community solid waste management initiative, will manage it.Fundraising goal: $3,500 (for construction materials and basic equipment to store and label recyclables)
The majority of children at Sabalo School come from very impoverished households. Many families can only afford one solid meal a day, so purchasing the school uniform, which is a requirement for attending public school, is a real stretch for most families that want to send their children to school.
Fundraising goal: $1,640
$82 per uniform package
(3 shirts, 2 pants or 1 pant/ one skirt, 3 pairs of socks, 1 pair of shoes)
Affording textbooks is also a luxury and the absence of them makes teaching
and learning the basics quite challenging. We provide each child a set of grade
appropriate, Ministry of Education approved, textbooks to stimulate imagination
and develop curiosity for learning.
One contribution of $400 will allow us to get all the textbooks for the children of Sabalo School.
A library can provide space for learning and building knowledge and confidence
in seeking and processing information. Most rural schools do not have access to
anything that would resemble a small library. Our goal is to assemble a collection of classic books for children in first through sixth grade.
Fundraising goal: $700
Environmental Education Program
Innovative and dynamic environmental education program where creativity is
central to learning about the natural world.
Fundraising goal: $1,000
20 children, $50 per child.
Supporting the environmental education efforts of the Titi Consevation Alliance, protecting and conserving Squirrel Monkey.
Fundraising goal: $6,000; 120 children, $50 per child.
Help us reach the Goal
|Send Checks to:||Donate Online:|
|Earth Equilibrium Inc.
Duxbury, Vermont 05676Specify the project you want to donate.
Geography, Manuel Antonio/QueposProceed as outlined on the page
Costa Rica Facts
In the fourth and last voyage Christopher Columbus made, he gets to Costa Rican land. On this trip he came with 140 men in four ships named The Captain, Vizcaya, Santiago, and La Gallega. Columbus reached the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica on September 25th, 1502 at what is now known today as Puerto Limón. He also visited the island the natives called Quiribrí and gave it the name of La Huerta, known today as Uvita Island.
On September 15th, 1821 in the Captaincy General of Guatemala, the provincial authorities, representatives of the University, Church, and other civil authorities met. There were 56 people in the meeting whom on that day decided that Central America was separating from Spain. The separation was done peacefully.
In November, the people of Costa Rica swore absolute independence from Spain. The first provisional government was an Interim Governing Superior Board. To them we owe the first constitution of Costa Rica, called the Interim Basic Social Pact or Pact of Concord.
The Annexation of Guanacaste
The Partido of Nicoya was part of the current Guanacaste and comprised the land located between the La Flor River and the Lake of Nicaragua. It was not officially part of Costa Rica, it was an independent region. This party joins Costa Rica in 1812. With this Union Costa Rica achieved sufficient population to have a representative before the Cortes of Cádiz. In 1821 independence is declared from Spain, and Nicaragua suddenly wants to manage the Partido of Nicoya, however, the party decides and prefers to be managed by Costa Rica and requests annexation. In January 1824, the annexation is peacefully formalized. Costa Rica later chose the Guanacaste tree as its national tree.
In 1856, William Walker and his army of 9,000 men invaded Guanacaste from Nicaragua. Juan Rafael Mora, President of Costa Rica, expelled Walker’s army via the famed battle of Santa Rosa. After this battle, Walker and his army fled to Rivas, Nicaragua, and took refuge in a large wooden house popularly called ‘El Mesón de Guerra’.
On April 11th, 1856, Juan Santamaría, young local boy from Alajuela, burned ‘El Mesón’. Through this, William Walker and his men were defeated.For his courageous act, April 11th is specially dedicated to the national hero Juan Santamaría.
Contemporary Costa Rica
The elections of 1948 where held in an atmosphere of intolerance and political violence. The National Electoral Court declared Otilio Ulate as the winner. The defeated party complained fraud and electoral documentation was destroyed in a suspicious fire.
José Figures in command of the National Liberation Army took up arms against the government on March 12th, 1948. Although Ulate had won the elections, Jose Figueres won the war. Due to this situation, an agreement was signed where it was established that the Governing Board under the command of Figueres would exercise power for 18 months without a congress at the end of this period Figures would hand the power over to Ulate. Memorable during these 18 months was the permanent dissolution of the Costa Rican army.
Contemporary Costa Rica
Oscar Arias Sanchez was born in Heredia on September 13th, 1940. In 1986, he was elected as President of Costa Rica, defeating his rival Rafael Ángel Calderón Fournier. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his initiative to foster peace in Central America. Widely recognized as the Arias Peace Plan, his initiative culminated in the Esquipulas II Accords or the Procedure to establish a firm and lasting peace in Central America. All the Governments of Central American signed the accords on August 7th, 1987. In 1988, Oscar Arias used the monetary award from the Nobel Prize to establish the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress. Arias was elected president of Costa Rica for a second term during the years 2006 – 2010.
Contemporary Costa Rica
Claudia Poll was born on December 21st, 1972 and in 1979 she starts swimming lessons. So began the process of the brightest sports star in the history of Costa Rica.
In 1996, Costa Rica attended, with a small delegation, the Olympic Games in Atlanta, United States. What Claudia Poll achieved in this event will be something that the Costa Ricans will not easily forget: for the first time the country won a gold medal at the Olympics. The images after her victorious swim showed Claudia swimming emotionally with a small Costa Rican flag.
Contemporary Costa Rica
Cocos Island is located in the Pacific Ocean, 532 km southwest of the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. This 24km2 island is surrounded by almost 2000 km² of marine protected area. Its terrestrial and marine biodiversity are unique on the planet; its lush beauty and its exceptional natural features make this marine corner a privileged one.
In 1978 Costa Rica’s Government named it a National Park. In 1997 UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site and the Ramsar Convention named it Wetland of International Importance in 1998.
Contemporary Costa Rica
Franklin Chang Diaz was born in San Jose Costa Rica on April 5th, 1950. Franklin dedicated his life to space exploration. On July 2005 he concluded a successful 25-year career as an astronaut with NASA. During his career his completed 7 space trips, — the actual current world record for trips to space – and contributed to the development of the rocket motor VASIMR.
He is the founder and president of Ad Astra Rocket Company, a north American advanced technology rocket company with operations in Houston, Texas and Guanacaste, Costa Rica. He has been inducted into the NASA Astronaut Hall of Fame.
Initially, the territory where Quepos is located was inhabited by the Huetar Indian tribes that decided to establish in the areas near to the coasts. Nowadays only a small Huetar tribe has survived in the Cerrito of Quepos zone and its surrounding area. These groups preserve little of their culture and physical features, though they still maintain certain traditions such as the Corn Feast and the use of medicinal plants. They cultivate mostly corn due to the impoverished soils of their agricultural lands. Their principal economic activity is craft-making with palm, hay and vegetable fibers. They also work with ceramics and their products are commercialized in fairs and in roadside stands. The Huetares today speak mainly Spanish.
Gil Gonzalez Dávila was the conqueror of the region in 1522. During the times of colony this region was called San Bernardino of Quepos. At the end of the 19th century, the first Costa Rican settlers came to the zone, the access was very difficult and the only way of coming was by sea from Puntarenas’s city or astride from San Isidro’s current city of El General.
This is district number 6 of the Puntarenas’s province and has three sub-districts which are: Quepos, Savegre and Naranjo. Nowadays Quepos possesses an approximate population of 21,000 people, of which 10,991 are men and 10,009 are women.
The Economic Activity
Tourism is the principal economic activity in the region due to the great natural attractions. Nevertheless, other type of activities such as African palm cultivation, rice growing, and cattle raising are also common. Corn, beans and other fruits are also produced and these farms constitute an important source of employment for the settlers of the zone.
The Banana Company
In the beginning, the Banana Company built offices, hospitals and workshops in Parrita, moving then to Quepos in 1940. With them came the Railroad to the zone. The pier constructed by this company was built on July 25th, 1939. Twenty years after its arrival, the Banana Company was affected by a terrible pest called the “Panama” virus, which killed great part of the plantations. This unleashed lack of work big strikes that made the United Fruit Company leave Quepos in 1953. The big banana plantations were rapidly replaced by African palm.
The First Church
The first Catholic Church was located where the park is nowadays, it was made of wood and it was constructed in 1943. The current structure was concluded in 1964. The official religion of Costa Rica is the Catholic religion; nevertheless Quepos possesses great diversity of religions.
First Educational Center
The first public elementary school, called Doris Stone, was founded in 1941. Today it is Quepos’ Official School, and called “Republic of Korea School” Highschool, “El Liceo de Quepos” started in 1965.
Creation of Manuel Antonio National Park
Created on November 15th 1972 it possesses an extension of 55000km2. The area that constitutes the Park was then owned by foreigners who were preventing public access to the beaches. This situation motivated the integration of a local community pro park committee that convinced the municipal and national authorities of declaring this area as a National Park. The park owes its name to Don Manuel Antonio, one of the owners of one of the farms where the National Park is located. During the time when access was closed off, he was allowing the community access to the beach so that they could enjoy the beauties of the zone.