Strategic Organizations: El Remanso Lodge, Danta Corcovado Lodge, Lapa Rios Ecolodge
Strategic Organization Overview
This month, as a follow up to our Stanford Environmental Leadership and Language (SELAL) program, we are featuring three businesses that partnered with INOGO to make SELAL the best it could be: El Remanso, Danta Corcovado Lodge, and Lapa Rios Ecolodge. These businesses offered educational hands-on workshops and presentations that they themselves designed and implemented. Featuring a wide range of workshop topics, the activities addressed real-world challenges and opportunities that students, future and current employees, tourists, and locals face when balancing the demands of successfully running an ecotourism destination while working towards social, environmental, and financial sustainability.
El Remanso Lodge
With the help of General Manger Silvia Solís and her team member Julie Oliveira, students enjoyed workshops and presentations on “Sustainability at Remanso” and “Hospitality and Customer Service.” In each 90-minute workshop, the students were shown a snapshot of how the Remanso Lodge operates in the environmental and social spheres of its business. To compliment the workshops, three students had the opportunity to come dine and spend the night at Remanso. On these overnights, students learned about various aspects of how night and morning shift operations were run at the lodge, ranging from dinner and breakfast for guests, kitchen and bar operations, and reception for the incoming visitors. Before leaving, the students were also able to use Remanso’s forest trails for a “quick” morning hike, which turned into a fun “adventure” of finding the correct trail to return to the lodge in time before missing their ride into town!
Danta Corcovado Lodge
At Danta Lodge, with Corcovado in its “backyard”, students were inspired by the time spent with owner and manager Merlyn Oviedo. In two separate trips to the lodge, four students were able to walk the grounds with Merlyn while he highlighted specific aspects of what makes the handcrafted cabins, dining area, kitchen, and intimate guest service so authentic and unique. By directly engaging with the owner of Danta, students were afforded up-close and personal interactions with Merlyn and his ideas about ecotourism in the region while being able to openly discuss the roles and impact students and volunteers have and continue to play in the business’ operations. One particular poignant piece of advice Merlyn offered the CTP tourism students was to find a project with and for the community that the students absolutely loved. In turn with that project, they would then be able to improve not only their sense of personal and professional well-being and development, but improve that of their neighbors and families.
Lapa Rios Ecolodge
General Manager Marijke Mulder and Sustainability Manager Julieta Chan facilitated the valuable contributions of Lapa Rios to SELAL. In total, Lapa Rios provided six hands-on, dynamic workshops over the course of three weeks. Topics included résumé building and best practices for entering the job-market; a workshop in bartending that included making specialty mixed drinks; customer service and restaurant procedures; team-building, confidence, and leadership activities; a Sustainability Tour of Lapa Rios which highlighted how the lodge generates and uses sustainable energy, recycles food waste, and the construction and efficiency of their guest cabins; a courtesy in-lodge lunch provided to all students; a presentation on travel agencies and tour operators; and finally, a workshop on cooking three different Lapa Rios entrées. In total, during SELAL, Lapa Rios directly committed over 12 staff members to the six students in the education program, and even more staff when hosting the students at the lodge for lunch and during the tour.
The contributions of these three local ecotourism lodges played a significant role in making the SELAL pilot program a success with the students and the Puerto Jimenez CTP. That these three local businesses chose to support local students and this pilot educational program speaks to their commitment to community, education, and sustainability. INOGO moves forward in collaborative education programs for the southern region, and we deeply thank our friends and partners with whom we have already worked, while welcoming collaboration with many others in the future!
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