We are conscious that any lodge creates an impact on its environment, so we do what we can to minimize this impact.
The lodge runs mostly on solar power, although we are hooked to the grid for back-up.
Most of our equipment consumes little electricity: compact fluorescent or LED lightbulbs, automatic photocells (to turn lights on and off automatically), efficient refrigerators, and we don’t use any heavy kitchen appliances such as mixers, bread-makers or fryers.
In order to minimize the ecological impact of our lodge we decided from the beginning to build with local materials, such as the use of local timber in all of our structures. Most of our roofs are thatched, and laid by nicaraguan craftsmen. We have even used bricks produced in the area.
The first step to improving waste management is of course to avoid the waste in the first place. At Buena Vista Surf Club we try to buy most of our food in bulk and use reusable packaging when available (beer, sodas, etc.). We have water filters in our kitchen and behind the bar to purify water (even though our well water is tested frequently). This way we minimize the usage of bottled water and the creation of more plastic waste.
Garbage is carefully sorted out and we separate recyclable materials such as cans, plastic bottles and glass. Beer bottles we return to the distributor, cans go to our local staff to sell to scrap metal vendors. Plastic is separated at the lodge for recycling.
We also have our own compost facility, which is the destination for the majority of our waste. The produce of the compost is periodically used by our gardener for our plants, thus avoiding the use of any artificial fertilizer.
We remind our staff to use water responsibly. In the cabañas, we ask our guests for cooperation in reducing water use of unnecessary sheet or towel washing. We change towels and sheets every 3 days. Beach towels are complimentary, but we ask guests to keep them throughout their stay.
We are able to treat a high percentage of our kitchen water and reuse it for irrigation. Nearly all of our cleaning agents are biodegradable. For most of our cleaning we use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. We do not use any bleach at the lodge.
We try to be a good neighbor and contribute to the local community. We employ on average 6 local men and women from the surrounding area, providing fair wages, social security and stability to their families. The women all work part-time so they can combine making a living for themselves and being at home to take care of their children.
We are committed to generating income around us by buying local products and supporting local entrepreneurs in their initiatives (for example horseback riding tours, taxi services, etc.).
Through our own and guests’ donations we execute local projects. We try to focus on sport & education, such as sponsoring local surfers, building playgrounds and improving classrooms at the surrounding schools.
San Juan del Sur also has an English speaking school with an excellent curriculum; San Juan del Sur Day School (www.sanjuandelsurdayschool.com).
They have provided quality English education for the past five years. Of the 54 students currently enrolled approximately one quarter are local Nicaraguans, one quarter are ‘expats’ and the other half have one Nicaraguan parent and one expat parent.
San Juan del Sur Day School currently provides scholarships or financial aid to approximately 25% of their students. Funding for these scholarships is generated via school tuition and individual sponsors.
If you want to help local children get a great English based education, you can help by donating to the scholarship fund of San Juan del Sur Day School. Just click the ‘Donate Now’ button.