The following is a good summary of Elemento Natural’s sustainability policy that helps us help YOU make your trip a responsible one, when you visit Costa Rica.
1- We identify key messages that we need to communicate to our customers.
The environmental, cultural, social and historical values and points of interest we want visitors to know about and appreciate. For example, identifying unique sites or species of conservation significance, or raising awareness of current conservation programs and projects in the region that visitors can become involved in or support.
2- We research.
We have accurate information on each of the key areas identified and verify this information through reference books, scientific journals, documentaries, professionals, knowledgeable local people, or recognized conservation bodies or interest groups.
We provide visitors with accurate information to ensure that we meet customer expectations, provide a safe and high-quality experience and maintain our reputation as a high-quality service provider.
3- We understand our audience.
The audience’s perceptions, interests, knowledge, skill levels and motivations will help us decide what information to present and how best to do it. We also understand our customers are always different and we believe in an accessible tourism for everybody.
We obtain formal or informal customer feedback and comments during and after the tour to evaluate the relevance and suitability of interpretation programs.
4- Group’s size should be manageable and personable. Smaller tour groups are always easier to manage and allow the development of a more personal and tailored approach. They also make it easier to maintain guests’ attention and to encourage group discussion and interaction.
5- We consult with conservation and tourism organizations, as there may be existing media and materials that you can readily apply to the development of an interpretation program in any given tour.
1- We will be aware of any inappropriate behavior and interpretation regarding heritage, culture and people, so we can avoid sensitive or private sites on the tour.
2- We keep visitors to defined areas and routes and use shared infrastructure and services in off-peak times to help minimize disturbances to local residents.
3- We encourage visitors to support local businesses: we prioritize locally owned hotels and transportation over multinational or foreign companies; we recommend our customers to visit and interact with local communities as much as possible; we recommend them to buy local and green; we hire costarican guides and drivers and compensate them appropriately.
4- We provide and facilitate opportunities for tourists to make voluntary donations to support community development projects: we will identify projects and will communicate the description and objectives to the tourists so they know how their contributions are being used.
1- We will keep group sizes as small as possible to avoid disturbance to wildlife and natural areas.
2- Our guides will double check with the Park Managers about any guidelines or sensitive areas that should not be visited. The routes we take will be safe and will decrease the negative impacts on wildlife: we will make sure our groups stay on designated paths.
3- We will avoid wildlife handling and feeding of wildlife. If handling or feeding is required due to a conservation project, it should follow appropriate guidelines and be conducted by trained staff or as directed by the responsible of the project.
1- We consider fuel efficiency when purchasing vehicles: minimize fuel consumption or use renewable energy.
2- We choose routes and time schedules that minimize congestion and distance traveled.
3- We use vehicles with the right seating or engine capacity required for the specific tour and group size
4- We instruct our drivers to practice good driving techniques to reduce gas consumption, including reducing idling times, driving at a constant speed and braking slowly, using two-wheel drives instead of four-wheel drives where possible.
1- We use good conservations practices in areas such as waste management, water and energy use, and the ways that landscapes, habitat and wildlife are utilized in tour activities.
2- We will seek for conservation projects to support directly or indirectly.
3- We choose responsible suppliers who demonstrate good environmental practices.
1- We use only established tracks and sites wherever possible; when choosing routes we do not clear new areas or tracks, to minimize erosion, habitat clearing.
2- We will carry out all trash and waste where possible.
3- We will make sure that health and safety risks, emergency procedures and appropriate use of safety equipment specific to each type of activity and environment, will be discussed before beginning any activities.
Never leave the trash behind you, especially if you are visiting natural areas. Make sure you bring them back with you and properly dispose them when you get a chance.
Do not damage the natural areas you visit, neither the infrastructure you find in the national parks, the local communities or any other place you visit during your trip.
Tourism is a great opportunity to channel your spending in the most responsible way: please buy from the local shops and restaurants; as much as you can, buy locally made goods.
If instructed to do so, always wear special equipment or personal protection devices.
Engaging with local communities, being respectful and polite at all times.
Don’t take unsolicited pictures to people.
Don’t trespass private property.
Don’t assume locals speak your language: learn and speak as much Spanish as possible to interact with local communities.
Try local food and beverages: it will make your trip more authentic!
Do not make noise nor disturb when in close proximity to wildlife, nesting, breeding or feeding areas.
When hiking in natural areas, please don’t wear bright color clothes: green, brown, beige are ideal colors for hiking in trails and national parks.
Stay on designated path.
Maximize the time spent outside the vehicle to include walking or other activities.
When possible use alternative forms of transportation (cycling, kayaking, horse riding, public transportation).
Do NOT take souvenirs derived from rare or threatened species.
Please let us know, your travel agency in Costa Rica, if you want to participate during your tour with us in activities to help the natural areas or local communities, like:
Ask us how and where you can donate to conservation activities.