Our fundamental requirement was that this Lodge be different.
Minimal environmental impact and local participation were given priority.
Our mission is to inspire people and to help them get access to their deeper understanding, their intuition of what is wrong and what is right. To us, it feels good not to create a toxic environment with a building. We are so used to artificial, industrial living that we become immune to nature. We want to take people back to the roots, to the tribe, to the ground." To the ecological choreography of the planet.
A Sustainable Alternative to Cement and Metal
We can proudly say that no trees from the rainforest were cut to build Ojo del Mar. The main lodge and guest cabins were constructed with sustainability in mind, taking advantage of natural light and ventilation, and complementing the natural environment.
Over the last 10 years living in the Osa Peninsula, Mark, co-owner of Ojo del Mar Ecolodge, mastered the art of building with bamboo. His beautiful structures make an ideal sustainable alternative to hardwood, cement and metal constructions. Bamboo grows rapidly, yields high output in a small area, sequesters carbon, and does not require pesticides for cultivation.
Mark says: "Bamboo is not only sustainable, it's sexy!"
Roofs are made from ‘suita’ palm leaves and were constructed by locals, using their traditional building style. These organic materials blend in with the natural colored wood materials that have been used. We make all of the furniture ourselves to ensure that all wood used is from reforested trees, not primary rainforest.
The combination of Mark's art background and the deep understanding of zero destructive building procedures have led to those unique sculptures with a roof.
Lodge buildings cover less than 1% of the 1.5 hectare rainforest property and we have attempted to cause little to no disturbance to the natural landscaping to protect natural habitat.
Solar Energy & Natural Water
Waste Prevention & Recycling In addition, the lodge was built to be energy efficient, using solar power only and an on-demand propane gas for cooking. Our Costa Rica jungle lodge has no electricity - lanterns and candles provide light for guests and staff.
Water needs and usage were also carefully planned in the design. All water is potable and comes from our own well. Wastewater is treated in septic tanks without adding any synthetic chemicals — an absolutely state of the art system.
Fresh Organic Food
We get most of our food from our organic gardens or local farmers and fishermen, which largely cuts out the need for packaging. We separate and compost all organic matter to be used for fertilizer in our gardens.
Waste Prevention & Recycling
All employees are trained to separate waste into organic, inorganic, and plastic, glass, tin and aluminum. We do not use plastic drinking bottles. We keep re-usable containers for storing juices, sauces etc. We send aluminum, plastic and glass to the recycling center in Puerto Jiménez, and from there to San José to be recycled at institutions dedicated to doing so. (see below)
Liquid soap is available from dispensers in each shower, to avoid unnecessary waste, and all cleaning products, including those that we provide for personal hygiene are biodegradable. Paper products purchased are from recycled paper. Organic waste is used for creating organic fertilizer in a controlled environment.
Each guest room contains information about the lodge, local area, tours we offer and
advice for how guests can practice ‘responsible tourism’ and reduce their damage to the local environment.
Nico, co-owner of Ojo del Mar, is author of the book ‘Living in the Jungle’, a handbook for sustainable living on the Osa Peninsula, in the Golfo Dulce Area, and everywhere else you care.
Our tour-guides inform guests about local conservation issues, how we minimise our impact on the Golfo Dulce (i.e. not supporting harmful fishing practices), and about the efforts to conserve a biological corridor for the Osa Peninsula.
Controlled Community Development
We are working with the Costa Rican Tourism Institute. (ICT) for a Certificate in Sustainable Tourism. We will also be supporting organisations such as the Rainforest Alliance to promote responsible tourism.
We believe it is extremely important to be actively involved in community development.
One important community development program we are involved in is:
Women of the Osa (WOO), which works and aids projects to protect the Osa Peninsula and Golfo Dulce. A waste management and recycling program for the local area was recently implemented by WOO, which is successfully run by the local high school.
The lodge will not support industries that are harmful to the local environment (e.g. shrimp harvesting involving dredging; fishing for grouper and marlin which are endangered worldwide).
Lodge t-shirts are printed by local businesses.