Gift Idea #4
I grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania – land of the Amish. Rolling farmland surrounded my neighborhood and was a part of daily life. Sadly, as more and more people visit Lancaster, more and more hotels and outlet stores are built on the very farmland that the people came to see. Further, as Lancaster’s population booms, more and more farmland is being cleared to make room for all of the people who want to live by the farmland which is being cleared to make room for all the people who are moving there to live near the farmland …
Why am I writing about Lancaster when I should be discussing a romantic getaway gift for Valentine’s Day? I want to talk about sustainable tourism – an industry committed to making a low impact on the environment and local culture while helping to generate income and employment for local people. It doesn’t seem to be happening in Lancaster and it is definitely not happening in many exotic locales, but there are destinations out there that care and therefore, you should support them! With sustainable tourism, the socio-cultural and environmental impacts are neither permanent nor irreversible. So before you pick your getaway, you might want to find out if the creation of that very getaway impacted the local environment and community.
Samasati Nature Retreat in Costa Rica is just this type of place. Their mission is “… to provide an unforgettable destination for responsible travel while improving the well being of the local population”. They “seek to demonstrate that personal well-being and health can be successfully combined with high standards in sustainability.” Guest rooms have all the modern amenities and have spacious verandas that overlook the jungle and the sea. Food is vegetarian . Fruits comes from Samasati's land and chocolate comes from nearby cacao plantations. The Retreat was built without heavy machinery or any major land movement such as clearing of land or cutting of trees. The different buildings have been positioned so that they carry the minimal impact to the environment taking advantage of the existing clearings in the property, therefore preserving the primary and secondary rainforest in its totality. Read more. Some of the many activities you can participate in are a rain forest canopy tour, surfing, bird watching, waterfall trekking, sea and river kayaking and horseback riding at the beach. Sign me up!