We work in a responsible way

We work in a responsible way

Sustainability

Sustainable tourism consists on providing direct and/or indirect benefits to the communities that are visited. Whenever it is possible, this is done through sustainable activities that protect the environment and the participation in social projects that help local communities and protected areas, always providing a high quality service.

Being ecologically responsible on a trip doesn’t mean sacrificing the quality of the stay nor the travel plans. It basically consists on planning the visit in a more conscientious way.

We firmly believe the communities visited must get a direct benefit, whenever possible, through the sustainable trips, environment protection, and social projects.

General Information to be a sustainable traveler

  • When planning a trip, select the suppliers that offer quality guarantees and respect for human and environmental rights.
  • Use natural resources such as water and energy with moderation. Remember they are non-renewable resources.
  • Try to reduce the production of solid wastes since they are a source of pollution.
  • When you need to discard any piece of trash, do it in the proper cleanest way. Always consider recycling.
  • In a natural space, please make sure the only print you left is your footprint.
  • If you visit sustainable ecosystems such as reefs or jungles, please inquire about how to produce the least possible negative impact.
  • When buying souvenirs and gifts, look for those that are a true reflection of the local culture. It will benefit the economy of the visited towns and will also promote cultural diversity.
  • Do not purchase any piece of flora or fauna, especially those species protected by the International Commerce Agreement of Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna. It is against the law, and your action will contribute to their extinction.
  • During your trip, enjoy exploring the culture, customs, gastronomy, and traditions of the local towns. Please be respectful and try to get become familiar with them. You will discover many interesting things.
  • Try to contribute with the development of the responsible and sustainable tourism while you travel, as a way to protect the planet.

Our contribution to create a sustainable experience

  • The company avoids gas emissions, damage to the environment, and pollution.
  • We carry out different activities that involve environmental conservation.
  • Wastes produced by the company are properly managed.
  • Travel Excellence uses natural and biodegradable products.
  • We recycle.
  • The company implements special programs to save water and electrical energy.
  • We promote the country as well as the importance of protecting the natural resources.
  • The size of the groups that visit protected areas is limited in order to minimize the impact of visitors.
  • Sustainability is promoted among clients, wholesalers, and suppliers.
  • Our clients are given opportunity to participate in conservation initiatives and communal development.
  • Our staff is in constant training on quality and sustainability.
  • The company fulfills the regulations of tourist enterprises, especially the ones regarding the environment, wildlife, archeological inheritance, and social security.
  • We promote the traditions of the country as well as the consumption of national products, meals, and crafts

Travel Excellence is one of the first tour operators in Costa Rica with the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST). Our final achievement score 2010-2012 is five leaves (level 5) out of a maximum possible of five.

Our commitment

Travel excellence is a tour operator concerned about the conservation of nature and Costa Rican traditions; therefore, we help to protect the different regions and to maximize the benefits that tourists can provide to the communities they visit.

We are compromised with the idea of supporting a large number of responsible and ethical initiatives such as community tourism, environmental projects, and educational programs in different communities. We encourage our clients to visit many of these developed projects in places such as wildlife sanctuaries, schools, orphanages, and cooperatives.

We motivate our clients to visit the local communities. In this way, each community may get direct benefits from the visitors while getting authentic sources of knowledge of the local culture. Based on the specific comments from our clients, in our personalized itineraries we recommend restaurants, stores, and other local companies that could receive benefits for their business. In this way, we promote local attractions, protection of the environment, and tourist services- including accommodations- in many rural destinations.

*Sustainable traveling and lodging is promoted in several destinations around the country.

Certification for Sustainable Tourism

Sustainable tourism development is the balanced interaction between the appropriate use of our natural and cultural resources, the improvement of life quality in local communities, and the economic success of the activity, which at the same time, contributes to national development programs. In Costa Rica, this is possible thanks to the Certificate for Sustainable Tourism "CST".

The CST promotes actions that benefit us and help the country.

The brand CST was developed by the Costa Rican Tourism Board, in order to turn the concept of sustainable tourism into something real, as the only way to compete in this century. History has taught us that a quality destination is created not only by improving the visible condition of the industry -such as hotels and restaurants- but also the security, the attractions, the environment, the local communities, and the required training, among others.

A proper integration of economic, social, and environmental factors facilitates the development of sustainable tourism, which turns out to be a competitive advantage on the area, focused on the clients´ satisfaction.

What is CST?

It is a program whose main purpose is to categorize and certify tourism companies based on administrative and operational considerations, and comparing them to an ideal model of sustainability. For this purpose, the companies are evaluated in the following areas:

Bio-physical environment: It evaluates the interaction between the company and the surrounding natural environment, taking into account policy implementation, sustainability programs, and environmental protection, among others.

Service-Lodging Plants: It evaluates some aspects related to systems and internal business processes, regarding waste management and utilization of technologies to save energy and water.

Tour Operator Service Management: It refers to the process in which the company designs a tourist product consistent with the market tendencies and the characteristics of the country or the places in which the product will be used. It takes into account all the internal and external factors that may affect it.

Client: It evaluates the interaction between the company and its clients, and how it invites the client to be an active participant in the implementation of sustainability policies of the company.

Social and Economical Surroundings: It evaluates the identification and interaction of the company with the nearby communities by analyzing how enterprises influence the growth and development of the region; for example, by providing job opportunities at the company and looking for benefits for the local people.

Sustainability Levels

The norm CST evaluates companies under a well-structured system for specific levels on a scale from 1 to 5. The process of integration and sustainability that enterprises must face in each of the levels results in an ideal company in terms of sustainability.

CST: 100% responsible tourism nowadays and in the future

CST a brand with support and credibility The National Accreditation Commission CST, formed by representatives from the academic sector, private enterprise, public sector, and two international organizations, is the entity in charge of assigning CST distinction. In addition, it has to monitor the companies certified with the logo so that they follow the established requirements in such a way that both the tourist and wholesale agents are confident that CST certified companies strictly follow business policies that consider aspects related to social responsibility, corporate business responsibility, and even more, sustainability.

Cultural Activities

As a sustainable company, Travel Excellence is concerned about the positive impact of the activities we carry out, which include respect and help to the communities we visit. To make this possible, both cultural activities and visits to communities are fomented. Another way to accomplish this is via our clients who learn about the different cultures in Costa Rica. Once the customer has interacted in the community, he can tell his friends and relatives about his experience and promote the projects in his own country.

Support to the Community by Promoting "Rural Tours"

  • Visits to elementary schools and presentation of local dances performed by students.
  • Piedra Blanca Rural tour.
  • Malekus Tour.
  • Visit to the Indian Village Cachabri.
  • Guaitil pottery.
  • Visits to organic farms.
  • Visits to the small coffee plantations.

Information about Rural Tourism Agencies ACTUAR

Costa Rican Rural Tourism Association (ACTUAR, for its acronyms in Spanish) is formed by 35 members that belong to the rural community INSS and tours. They met in 2001 to promote environmental, social, cultural, and economic development of the participant communities by providing true experiences to the visitors. ACTUAR specializes on the implementation of authentic adventures to experience in Costa Rica.

COOPRENA R.L.

Costa Rica is one of the first countries in Central America that, in the early 90s, started the development of rural tourism. This was accomplished through the creation of networks that encourage the use of agro-ecotourism goods produced in the community. Nowadays this is known as Rural-Community Tourism.

Cooprena supports promotion and commercialization of other tourism companies in the country, offering a variety of possibilities for reservation with more than 40 alternative companies.

Heritage Protection Protection of the inheritance and respect for the culture and local communities

It is intended to motivate tourists towards social consciousness to defend our cultural legacies and promote access to different rural communities in order to benefit them by using all their resources and contribute to their economical development. Recommendations:

  • Do not take any piece found on the surroundings, since it may be a piece of archaeological and cultural heritage.
  • Respect the rights, customs, and values of the communities and their surroundings.
  • Do not participate on illegal commercialization. Always buy crafts and products that have no regulation: coconut, legal wood, and natural fibers.

We recommend visiting the museums in the capital, San José, in order to learn more about the Costa Rican historical background. Here you can find some museums you can visit:

Costa Rica Museums Information about Costa Rica´s Museums

- Jade Museum

- Costa Rica National Museum

- Costa Rican Arts Museum

- Central Bank Museum (Pre-Colombian Gold Museum)

- Children’s Museum

- Juan Santamaria Museum (in Alajuela)

- Regional Museum from the Province of Limon

Sponsored Projects

Travel Excellence, as a creator of the project “Friends of the National Parks”, has sponsored these institutions with donations that contribute with their improvement and help the surrounding areas.

Pro-Parques

It is a non-profit organization whose only clients are Costa Rica´s national parks. They develop a series of PROGRAMS that look after the development and sustainability of the parks as well as the professionalization of the rangers. They provide strategies, technology, and implementation to the Sistema de Parques Nacionales, an office responsible for National Parks in Costa Rica.

Caribbean Conservation Corporation

It is a nonprofit organization whose main headquarters are located in Florida. This organization has offices and projects in different places. The CCA is the oldest and most successful organization for the conservation of sea turtles around the world. Since its foundation in 1959, the labor of CCA has enhanced different perspectives for the survival of many species of turtles. Travel Excellence supports this organization since 2007 through monitoring and studying of the turtle species named “Mango”

Fundación Paniamor

It is a non-profit technical private organization. Its main efforts are preventive, and it does not have any political tendency. The organization was created in 1987 and was declared of public interest for the country in 1989. The project ‘’Código de Conducta’’ (Code of Conduct) is a strategy for enterprises who want to be part of the social responsibility of the country. The institution´s intention is to report any case of sexual and commercial exploitation of children and adolescents.

Rainforest Alliance

It works on the conservation of biodiversity. It ensures sustainable livelihoods by transforming land use practices, business practices, and consumer behavior.

Support to communities

Travel Excellence supports environmental projects and community tourism, and sponsors schools that have low budgets.

We encourage our clients to visit wildlife sanctuaries and rural communities that reflect the roots of our country.

In addition, the company suggests its clients to contribute with social care institutions. Moreover, we help restaurants, shops, and other local businesses in order to benefit the communities directly.

During the year 2008, we made donations to support the Barrio Lamparas School; we also sponsored a celebration for the end of the school year. Our staff participated in this celebration and contributed with some gifts for children in need. Among our employees, our company promotes the social responsibility to the high risk sectors.

On December 2009, Travel Excellence sponsored the Christmas party for the group of children of the Cen- Cinai in Fraijanes. The Cen-Cinai is a program of the Health Care Ministry of Costa Rica. It is in charge of offering health services for children between 0 and 3 years old.

We encourage our clients to contribute with those who are in need.

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