The World’s Benchmark for Sustainable Lodging
-Santa Barbara, Costa Rica-
Once a barren hillside, tortured by a “motor cross” course, the Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation is now a reforested, lush, tropical hidden jewel nestled in the foothills around San Jose, Costa Rica. Finca Rosa Blanca is a lovely retreat where you can have all the amenities, and feel good about choosing an environmentally and socially responsible destination…
We know you are addicted to your Starbucks, but here you can have some of the world’s best brew, and its organic too. There are many things for us stewards of the planet to feel good about while we linger at the lovely Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn. A destination in itself, offering top notch, but unpretentious, accommodations that are some of the most sustainably built structures in the lodging industry. Finca Rosa Blanca includes a variety of energy saving methods, a spring fed, chemical free solar heated pool with its own 16 foot waterfall, a mini rainforest preserve were meandering paths lead you to the hiding places of elegant orchids, 5 star dining including organic and vegetarian offerings coming from their own permaculture gardens… oh, and did I mention the organic, shade grown coffee plantation?
The service provided by the Finca Rosa Blanca staff is personable and first class. The resort makes a great way to “bookmark” any trip into Costa Rica. We traveled in September during the “Green” (rainy) season that wasn’t actually as rainy as one would imagine. We arrived at the San Jose airport late into the evening on the first day of our week conducting sustainability reviews for Cayuga Sustainability Management properties throughout Costa Rica.
We were first met by a representative whose sole job it was to whisk us through customs and on to our awaiting Driver / Concierge / Coffee Barista Leo Vernari. Leo conducts coffee plantation tours and will teach you how the experts discern and rate gourmet coffee by participating in a “coffee cupping” (catación) session. It was a short drive through the typico neighborhoods with closely set, metal roof stucco homes on narrow, winding roads filled with locals commuting under their own steam. Leo cheerfully began enriching us with a myriad of information about the area, the culture and Finca Rosa.
A sudden, romantic contrast to the neighborhood streets, we turned through a gated wall into the Finca Rosa Blanca property shrouded in fog and beautiful mystery by night. The rainforest provided a veil,filtering the light rain, but immediately upon arrival, we were presented with umbrellas by the staff. At the Reception Building, the staff welcomed us with smiles and offers of beverages, and immediately went to task arranging all of our departure information since we were leaving the next day to tour other properties. A bellman provided an electric cart to our room, Le Guardia, one half of the Villa Laguna that can be reserved as a larger unit for families or groups.
All of the buildings at Finca Rosa, designed under the supervision of Francisco Rojas Chaves, a renowned architect for his understanding and implementation of sustainable practices, offer a very organic architectural style reminiscent of Gaudi. The undulating curves of the stucco buildings are an elegant fit in the rainforest setting. Carefully chosen building materials include framing timber reclaimed from highway construction, roofing tiles of recycled plastic and bamboo pole ceilings. Each room is unique… whimsical and elegant at the same time. Throughout the property, you are surrounded by fabulous murals depicting the flora and fauna of the region. Mattresses from recycled and organic materials, natural cotton sheets, bamboo towels, low flow toilets, solar powered faucets, and reclaimed material furnishings were selected for use in the rooms. Skylight domes conserve on energy by providing natural daylight and passive ventilation. Hand crafted rain chains help to divert water away from buildings. At 4000 feet elevation, all the rooms have heavenly views of the valley below.
The El Tigre Vestido restaurant on the premises creates nuvo delectible variations on the local cuisine utilizing organic produce from their own gardens and local suppliers. Memorable complimentary breakfasts are offered on the veranda overlooking the shade grown coffee fields and on to the Central Valley below.
The Finca Rosa Blanca property was originally purchased and developed with the idea of creating a socially, architecturally and biologically friendly home on a former “motor cross” field. Later, that purpose evolved to include a center for the interchange of ideas and experiences, and then the Inn to accommodate the guests who could participate in the experiment. We agree that the Inn “continues to be a leader in sustainable tourism, proving that deluxe accommodations and excellent service are compatible with sustainable development”, and feel that the owners at Finca Rosa Blanca have achieved their goal “to be a global example of biological, architectural, educational and social responsibility that both enhances tourists’ experiences and develops their social and environmental conscience”.
See our EcoLogic LifeStyle EcoExcellence Review which offers a checklist of the vast number of sustainability practices that puts Finca Rosa Blanca at the top of our list for the EcoExcellence Award. We hope this property will serve as a role model to lodging facilities and resorts throughout the world. Further information on sustainability, activities and amenities is mentioned on their website at www.fincarosablanca.com.