Eco-Lodges in the Northern Lowlands

The tourist industry up here knows what the region has to offer and is keen to preserve what is green. Hotel owners and tour operators are just as eager to show it off to you with the Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program (CST). Designed to differentiate green businesses of the tourism sector, CST is based on compliance with a sustainable model and is regulated by the Costa Rican National Accreditation Commission on a scale of five levels (or five "leaves") of achievement. Based on the four categories of biological, socio-economic, service, and education, it is globally recognized as the most complete and thorough certification program for sustainable tourism. Since the program was developed in 1998, more than 400 tourism entities have earned the CST certification.

Arco Iris Lodge, Monteverde. Organic foods, active recycling program, biodegradable materials, and involvement in the community make Arco Iris one of our favorite Costa Rican eco-lodges—even if it doesn't call itself that.

Laguna del Lagarto Lodge, Ciudad Quesada. This eco-lodge gives back to its community and has succeeded in bringing employment to a poorer, often forgotten corner of Costa Rica.

Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal. This working biological station promotes recycling, water conservation, and low energy use, in addition to employing locals and protecting flora and fauna through its reforestation program.

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