TIERRA VERDE, COSTA RICA - RESPONSIBLE DESTINATION MANAGEMENT BY TOURISM PROFESSIONALS
Aventuras Tierra Verde S.A.
Lic. ICT TO 804
Aventuras Tierra Verde was established in 1995 as an incoming agency and tour operator in Costa Rica, and is licensed by the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT). It is also a member of the National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur), the FUTUROPA Group, the Costa Rican Chamber of Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism (CANAECO).
“Only to travel is to live, like living is travelling.
These memories are the only paradise we can not be expelled from.”
To offer an outstanding level of personalized service, providing unique, tailor-made travel packages, exceeding our clients expectations and creating memorable experiences, while also promoting conservation and sustainable development in Costa Rica.
We strive for continuous innovation and improvement of our services and products, as well as an ongoing nourishment of our long-term relationship with clients and providers, not only to ensure our team members a stable working environment, but also to minimize the impact of our operation on the natural and sociocultural environment.
A comprehensive knowledge of the destinations, expectations, culture and requirements of our customers, enables us to offer a customized selection of travel options, as well as tailor-made itineraries at fair prices, aimed at our target groups and at wholesaler profiles. We strive to make each Costa Rica trip an exceptional experience and, above all, to exceed our clients’ expectations.
Our services are characterized by great flexibility and creativity in designing itineraries according to each client’s budget and preferences, taking into account any special requirements they may have.
A constant observation and evaluation of the trends within our core markets is paramount for Tierra Verde, as is the permanent and significant quality evaluation of our facilitating companies and of our own services.
Quality & Service Excellence Giving the best to achieve unmatched results for our clients' satisfaction is priority for everyone at Tierra Verde. We aspire to deliver outstanding quality in everything we do and are committed to provide exceptional, personalized service every day.
Passion & Commitment
Putting heart and mind in planning our travel programs! We are committed to designing and organizing memorable, tailor-made travel experiences which exceed our clients' expectations.
Integrity & Respect
Conducting our business with the highest ethical and moral standards, adhering to the principles of fairness and honesty. Giving due respect to people, whether they are team members, customers, suppliers or our neighbors in the communities in which we operate.
Innovation & Inspiration We strive for great creativity and continuous innovation when designing our itineraries, in order to deliver unique travel experiences and real “wow” moments for our customers. Inspired by our own travels and the great beauty of Costa Rica as a country, its friendly people, and incredible variety of landscapes, fauna and flora.
Fun & Teamwork
Having fun! …and celebrating small successes in our journey to achieve big. We strive for a workplace where teamwork, openness, enthusiasm and diversity combine to provide a rewarding professional experience and where the contributions of every team member are valued.
Sustainability & Stewardship of our Resources
We strongly believe in responsible and sustainable practices in everything we do, in order to conserve the human, natural, cultural, and financial resources for current and future generations.
We are a creative, flexible and ambitious team. Almost all of our team members have a strong education in tourism professions and/or many years of experience in this field. Our staff members regularly travel throughout Costa Rica and its neighboring countries in order to draw on first-hand, personal experiences that help design creative, customized trips according to each guest's profile and needs, always taking into account sustainable criteria at the moment of creating the itinerary.
Naturalist guides and tour escorts: Our friendly, well-trained, bilingual naturalist guides and tour escorts have many years of experience and a profound knowledge about the nature, culture, geography, history and daily life of Costa Rica, which they love sharing with our clients. All of them are officially licensed by the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT). Expert guides for biking and hiking tours, active travel, bird-watching, photography and intercultural education programs are also available.
SUSTAINABILITY AND SOCIOCULTURAL EFFORTS
In order to guarantee professional, high-quality and sustainable products and services, our itineraries are designed by carefully selecting our providers, destination regions and activities, according to the standard of best practices in sustainable tourism.
Our commitment to sustainability also entails providing detailed information for our guests about the ecological and social endeavors of the Republic of Costa Rica and its citizens. In many instances, we support selected local projects of an ecological or sociocultural nature by including them in our travel arrangements.
Tierra Verde is certified since 2012 with the Certification for Sustainable Tourism CST, achieving the highest possible qualification (Level 5).
With this certification, our commitment to sustainable practices, the protection of the environment, as well as a healthy and balanced socio-cultural and economic development has been honored by the Costarican Tourism Board ICT.
The CST – Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (Certificado para la Sostenibilidad Turística) is a certification program which certifies tourism businesses, evaluating the degree to which there operations are sustainable.
The criteria and indicators used to evaluate the degree of sustainability, are distributed among 4 fundamental areas:
1) Physical and Biological Environment
The CST evaluates how the business interacts with the surrounding natural environment. Does the company implement sustainable policies and programs, does it contribute to the protection of the environment, does it seek to reduce it’s negative impact etc.?
2) Internal Processes and Practices, Facilities, Infrastructure
Among others, in this area the CST evaluates the waste management of the business and the technologies used (e.g. energy & water saving appliances?) Another criteria involves the characteristics of the cleaning supply (biodegradable?) and other materials, foods which are regularly bought (ecological?) and whether the personnel is being informed and involved in all related sustainability efforts of the business.
3) The Client
The CST evaluates the efforts that the business takes to encourage the client to participate in the implementation of the business's sustainability policies.
4) Socio-Economic Environment
This area includes an evaluation of the interaction of the business with the local community. Does the company contribute to the growth and development of the region, e.g. by generating employment, giving environmental education to local schools, donations or other benefits; does it buy locally and support local, small businesses?
For the classification of the business a scale from 1 to 5 levels (green leaves) is used. The lowest score is represented by 1 leave (level), the highest possible score is level 5.
20 – 39%
40 – 59%
60 – 79%
80 – 94%
Important to know: For each of the above 4 fundamental areas, the percentage of criteria achieved, will be calculated. The final score (= number of levels), will correspond to the classification of the area with the lowest percentage. E.g., if a business achieves more than 95% in the first three areas, but only 35% in the forth area (Socio-economic environment), the final score and CST Certificate will be just 1 level.
Aventuras Tierra Verde: As part of our own commitment and efforts regarding the sustainable operation of our travel programs, we will preferably use CST-certified hotels, which are committed to responsible practices, in our itineraries. Therefore, you will note, that in our hotel directory we list CST-certified hotels and lodges first. Until now, certified hotels are not available in all regions (or – if available, not necessarily appropriate for all clients profiles and wishes). This is why the accommodations used in our travel programs are partly hotels and lodges which are not yet certified, or which have not concluded the certification process / are waiting for the final evaluation.
For more information on the CST certification process (available in English, Spanish, French and German):
Tierra Verde was the first Tour Operator in Costa Rica to be awarded with the "Rainforest Alliance Verified" seal, in November 2010, and has been re-verified in October/November 2014.
This verification has been a reflection of our steady dedication to the protection and preservation of our ecological and social environment. With over 900 million people traveling across the globe on a yearly basis, tourism forms the worldwide largest industry. This brings with it a great responsibility, especially since tourism is dependent on an intact environment.
We at Tierra Verde are continuously committed to contributing to this preservation.
A requirement for the Rainforest Alliance Verification is the compliance with the „Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria“, with at least 50 percent. These criteria have been developed by various leading sustainable tourism organizations in order to regulate and unify international tourism certification systems.
Tierra Verde at this moment fulfills approx. 86% of the mentioned criteria (and approx. 96% of the so-called "critical" criteria), which we perceive as a confirmation of our direction. This does not imply however that we will rest here; in fact, an important facet of our philosophy is the continuous improvement of every business aspect, ranging from product innovation to sustainability. Our collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance has been a great contribution to achieving this goal.
Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organization with over 20 years of experience in the development and promotion of sustainability standards in the areas of agriculture, forestry as well as tourism. These standards help protect the natural environment and promote the wellbeing of workers, their families and communities.
Aventuras Tierra Verde has been featured by the Rainforest Alliance among five major tourism businesses in Latin America that are working towards sustainability.
In this publication, four hotels and one tour operator that have participated in the Rainforest Alliance's sustainable tourism program present their main challenges and achievements, including their relationships with indigenous cultures, participation in community development activities, efforts to conserve biodiversity and their inclusion of local women in tourism initiatives.
En conjunto con Rainforest Alliance, Aventuras Tierra Verde y otras agencias de viaje forman el programa “Tour Operadores que se unen para impulsar la sostenibilidad” (TOPS por sus siglas en inglés).
Este programa tiene como objetivo principal la conservación de paisajes amenazados y la proporción de entornos sostenibles para las comunidades locales.
TOPS fue lanzada por Rainforest Alliance en 2011 e incluyó a los operadores turísticos que, por medio del programa, mejoran no sólo la sostenibilidad de sus propias prácticas, sino también la sostenibilidad de sus proveedores. Aventuras Tierra Verde fue uno de los miembros fundadores del programa por lo tanto, también tiene como objetivo promover negocios sostenibles. Es por esto que nos gustaría animar a nuestros clientes a visitar alojamientos ecológicos y otros proveedores sostenibles durante sus vacaciones en Costa Rica!
We continually strive to improve our activities on all levels, and sustainable tourism operations is a high priority in this process. Sustainable tourism implies the preservation of environmental and socio-cultural environments for future generations.
Our future generations begin with today’s children, who thus form the starting point for the implementation of a sustainable change. Education and creation of awareness are important parts of this process; however the most fundamental pillar is the protection of our younger generation.
Unfortunately one of the main threats of tourism to exotic destinations is sexual tourism, with children being the major victims. The exploitation of human beings in any form, especially sexually, and particularly when it affects children, infringes the fundamental objectives of tourism and its essence, according to the World Tourism Organization (WTO).
... sustainable tourism and sexual tourism cannot coexist in a destination... (WTO)
Tierra Verde is absolutely committed to eliminating (sexual) exploitation of children and adolescents in Costa Rican tourism. In order to deepen and formalize our dedication, we have signed the international Code of Conduct which has been developed by the World Tourism Organization (WTO) and ECPAT International, a global network of organizations and individuals working together for the elimination of child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes.
In Costa Rica, the Code of Conduct is being operated by the foundation Paniamor, to discourage and sanction the commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents in tourism.
As part of this code, we are committed to inform our providers, to educate our staff and create general awareness among travelers about this topic and to report anually to Paniamor.
Our aim is to contribute our part in protecting children and adolescents - our future generations.
Therefore we denounce every service which promotes, facilitates or tolerates commercial, sexual exploitation of minors.
SOCIAL & ECOLOGICAL PROJECTS
In order to preserve the stunning natural surroundings and local Costarican culture, we highly emphasize social and environmental sustainability. Apart from an internal commitment to sustainability, we moreover support several very special external organizations and projects:
NEW PROJECTS 2014-2015
Commitment to animal welfare, education and local community development in Costa Rica:
For the period 2014/15, Tierra Verde has started to actively support the following new projects, which will benefit from a small, but significant donation of $5 per person (distributed among the 3 projects), from each of our clients, an amount which is included in the total rate of their Costa Rica travel package.
Wildlife Sanctuary 'Refugio Herpetologico'
Tierra Verde actively supports this animal rescue center located in Santa Ana, which is committed to help injured or illegally kept wild animals.
In November 2014, our first donation was made to contribute to the construction of an aviary for macaws in the process of rehabilitation and possible future liberation / reintroduction into their natural habitat.
Primary School 'Ticufres'
For this small school (neighbouring the canton Mora, where our offices are based) with 15 students of different grades and one teacher, Tierra Verde elaborated an action plan, based on an analysis of their necessities, to support the school in different areas.
To start with, a seminar about Recycling was scheduled in October 2014, in collaboration with the director for environmental issues of the municipality of Mora. The children have now actively started to recycle, and periodic recollection has been organized.
In a second seminar, with the support of the University for Peace (Sustainability Club), topics evolving around the Culture of Peace - including the issue of Bullying - were treated with various dynamic group activities, in order to create awareness.
Planned for 2015: Continued awareness seminars, donation of teaching materials and computer, among other projects.
Organic Farm - 'Providencia de Dota'
In the area of community development, Tierra Verde has started to support the small mountain community Providencia de Dota. After a visit in April 2014, the possibility of supporting the community with the planning and design of a large organic garden was discussed, with the aim to introduce a local farmer's market.
The first donation for this project was made in November 2014.
A visit of the area is also included in some of our travel package for a truly authentic experience.
In case you are inspired by one of these projects and would make a donation, we warmly encourage you to do so (please contact us). Every contribution makes a difference!
"Un Techo Para Mi País" - Project for Extreme Poverty Relief
"Un Techo Para Mi País" ("A Roof for my Country") is a non-profit organisation in Latin America dedicated to the reduction of homelessness and extreme poverty, which strives to improve the living conditions of the poorest Latin American inhabitants through the construction of transitional housing and the implementation of social inclusion programs.
Donations included in our travel packages (US$ 3 per person) have contributed to the construction of two transitional houses in 2011 and 2012, with the cost of one emergency shelter being approx. US$ 2600.
In April 2011, we built the first home in Coyolar de Orotina (Central Pacific) for a family living in extreme poverty, from the donations made by Tierra Verde and our clients.
In June 2012, our team - including guides and family - built a second home for a family in Guararí de Heredia. An overwhelming and intense experience of solidarity and team spirit!
"Chietón Morén" / Handicraft made by the Indigenous Communities of Costa Rica, at fair prices!
”Chietón Morén” means “fair contracts” in the indigenous language Boruca, which is exactly the mission of this non-profit project, which exposes and sells handcrafted goods made by the different indigenous communities, in a store and museum in San José.
During the opening of the museum in August 2011, Tierra Verde has been the official sponsor of the exposition stand for the "San Vicente" (Nicoya Península) community. The stand and presentation of their artwork and traditional Chorotega pottery and ceramics has turned out beautiful!
We would like to encourage you to support the preservation of Costa Rica’s rich cultural heritage, by buying your souvenirs at the Chietón Morén store & museum... at a fair price!