Costa Rica is certainly a natural and logical destination for lovers of sustainable tourism, an international market segment that has been growing steadily in recent years to become the trend that marks the future of world tourism. This small Central American country has the great advantage of authorities in the field of tourism, who, for many years knew how to read market signals. Therefore, today Costa Rica is a favorite destination for lovers of sustainable tourism and the eco-friendly world, boasting a privileged position over its immediate competitors on the continent.
Undoubtedly, the great richness and variety of the local ecosystem, as well as the commitment and dedication to protecting the environment of the Costa Rican people and its solidarity with their fellows, make this country an ideal place for the development of genuinely sustainable projects. These sustainable projects which achieve, realize and maintain a real balance between the need to protect and promote the environment, the need to contribute to the conservation of culture and social development, and the imperative of achieving adequate economic benefit on the investment made by those who come to invest in this country.
Eco Logic International Investors and Developers recognized the signs of the market three years ago and began the process required to design and create a world-class sustainable tourism destination in Costa Rica: La Chonta Nature & Eco Park. To achieve this objective, the Costa Rican firm 100-SD (www.100-SD.com) was entrusted to develop the concept design and perform the project management as well, thanks to their experience in the market, and commitment to the sustainability of the country. Today, 100-SD coordinates and directs a multidisciplinary team that includes legal advisors, architects, civil engineers, specialists in adventure tourism. This includes foresters, environmental engineers, water engineers, specialists in the management of solid waste and wastewater, surveyors, sustainable technology specialists, specialists in environmental conservation and reforestation, community development specialists, and others, all of whom have contributed their knowledge and ideas to create a unique concept.
100-SD has emerged as the key to success of the implementation of a philosophy of teamwork that enabled investors to take an active and ongoing participation in the management of the process. This proved to be a measure of great strategic value, since it allowed the adoption of decisions proposed by the development team with greater speed and certainty, in comparison to what normally happens with projects of this magnitude.
The concept and development process was planned to a fine level of detail, starting with the completion of the necessary technical studies to determine the best use of land under the principles of respect for Costa Rican law and the environment. With clearly defined steps, the first crude studies were initiated, followed by technical and market studies that eventually produced the design of a tourist destination fully supported by market data, design and engineering.
After determining the business concept, a technology package was developed that allowed the team to achieve the final concept, a philosophy of 100% sustainable, and a business model based on the Triple Bottom Line (3BL – People, Planet and Profits) to ensure the generation of measurable and verifiable benefits on the environment, communities of influence, and profitability of investors. This 3BL concept even allows for greater effectiveness in generating profits, and cost control, as compared to a similar project concept only based on traditional tourism principles.
It should be noted that the park will follow a business model similar to those implemented by the most successful theme parks worldwide, maximizing the opportunity for visitors to enjoy the most affordable adventures. This measure reflects the commitment of investors and developers to increase the chances that the Costa Rican tourist can enjoy the full extent of the park, achieved through the implementation of a marketing model that includes fair trade practices.
La Chonta Nature & Adventure Park is a unique tourist attraction that aims to: 1) Meet the needs of adventure tourists, environmentalists and nature lovers come from all parts of the world, 2) Being an agent and promoter of knowledge education in sustainability, and 3) Make efforts tangible environmental conservation and reproduction of endangered species (birds and trees).
The site on which is planned to develop the project is part of the Fila Chonta, and has a great natural wealth. This property can distinguish at least three micro climates, and features make it perfect for practicing activities of nature conservation and eco-adventure. Its concept combines three important elements for tourists visiting Costa Rica, namely: respect and preservation of the ecosystem, the enjoyment of indigenous cultural and educational activities and the possibility to practice a wide range of adventure activities. Infrastructure, structures and operations of the project have been planned to follow the highest standards of safety, quality and sustainability. Visitors to La Chonta can enjoy the following activities:
1. Eco Adventure: The park includes 24 eco-adventure activities, all of which will be developed taking advantage of natural terrain features, and using it designs and technologies that minimize environmental impact. Among these activities are, the longer Superman cable the continent, a zip line speed; adventures in electric vehicles, canyoning, rappelling rock and mountain climbing, hiking, downhill biking, mountain biking, rope bridges and obstacles in several varieties, unique designs on adventures like canopy, bungee, and toboggans.
2. Appreciation of Nature: These are amenities aimed at those who do not like or cannot participate in adventure activities, but want to enjoy nature, are activities that require a low level of physical challenge, which include; Birding “observation decks” to observe the forest paths and traditional labyrinth trails, visits to the Center for Reintroduction of endangered Species, a cable car ride over the forest, and others. These activities leverage the qualities and natural beauty of the property and the amenities created to educate and promote conservation with visitors of the environment.
3. Culture and Education: Tourists visiting La Chonta not only can enjoy adventure activities and nature, but they will also experience the culture of the country and learn from it. For visitors interested in cultural experiences, the park offers, volunteer tourism programs, promotion of rural tourism and cultural groups in the area, natural medicine practical classes in local classes in mountain survival techniques, nature photography classes, conferences about the indigenous culture of the region; lectures on bird watching, etc.. These activities will be reviewed and adjusted (periodically) according to the demands of visitors.
4. Conservation and Research: La Chonta has also been created to meet the needs of promoting, protecting and conserving the environment. Given the above, during the final stage of design, a large portion of land will be dedicated to the creation of conservation areas, corridors, and environmental easements, as needed. This is necessary to control and minimize the impact of human activity on the ecosystem, so that many areas of the property will be declared off-limits. Thus, these areas are expected to be engaged; research activities by national and international experts, the creation of a Wildlife Sanctuary, the installation and operation of Reintroduction Centre endangered species (birds), and a Museum of Climate Change, Sustainability Laboratory. Also, the park comes to life with the goal of becoming the first carbon neutral international tourist destination (certificate), and the highest sustainable level (Certificate).
5. Relaxation and Enjoyment: One of the park’s objectives is to meet the needs of all its visitors. That is why it has taken account of those tourists who enjoy relaxing activities, or are entertaining young children. For them, the park will offer: children’s theme park, rest areas along the river; platforms for meditation and yoga park, lookouts on land and in trees, wild gardens, natural pools in hosting centers, yoga spa, a park mountain, with a complex of pools that replicate streams and waterfalls, and picnic areas and BBQ.
6. Low Impact Accommodation: Visitors to the park will have three types of lodging facilities, a spa-Yoga Adventure includes luxury camping complex, and a canopy housing complex (built as mobile platforms, removable, supported by the ground). Additionally, create an Indian village with amphitheater that will serve the international market for backpackers, the intention is to design this lodge using as inspiration the architecture of the Borucas Indians. In a complementary development will be built rustic cabins for national and international researchers (from universities and environmental organizations) interested in studying the flora and fauna of the protected areas of the La Chonta park.
Finally, all tourists (including only one day visitors) will enjoy a lookout restaurant & café, a Costa Rican cuisine, and a ¨ snack bar, restrooms, parking areas, nursing care, care seats for first aid and emergency (across the park), and in general the necessary logistics to meet the needs of every tourist who visits La Chonta. The ultimate goal is to offer La Chonta a true eco-adventure park to become the short term in an international tourist destination, offering visitors the chance to generate life experiences in Costa Rica that are worth remembering, and worth repeating.
Source / Fuente: 100sd.wordpress.com
Author / Autor: Jorge Segura Mora, traducido por Glen Nickerson
Date / Fecha: 18/10/11
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