According to our Mission, enforcing our Managing Policy and considering our values of Excellence, Responsibility, Loyalty, Respect and Readiness, at Travel Excellence we state our strong and steady commitment to:
Sustainable tourism consists on providing direct and/or indirect benefits to the communities that are visited. Whenever it is possible, this is done through sustainable activities that protect the environment and the participation in social projects that help local communities and protected areas, always providing a high quality service.
Being ecologically responsible on a trip doesn’t mean sacrificing the quality of the stay nor the travel plans. It basically consists on planning the visit in a more conscientious way.
We firmly believe the communities visited must get a direct benefit, whenever possible, through the sustainable trips, environment protection, and social projects.
|Travel Excellence is one of the first tour operators in Costa Rica with the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST). Our final achievement score 2010-2012 is five leaves (level 5) out of a maximum possible of five.|
Travel excellence is a tour operator concerned about the conservation of nature and Costa Rican traditions; therefore, we help to protect the different regions and to maximize the benefits that tourists can provide to the communities they visit.
We are compromised with the idea of supporting a large number of responsible and ethical initiatives such as community tourism, environmental projects, and educational programs in different communities. We encourage our clients to visit many of these developed projects in places such as wildlife sanctuaries, schools, orphanages, and cooperatives.
We motivate our clients to visit the local communities. In this way, each community may get direct benefits from the visitors while getting authentic sources of knowledge of the local culture.
Based on the specific comments from our clients, in our personalized itineraries we recommend restaurants, stores, and other local companies that could receive benefits for their business. In this way, we promote local attractions, protection of the environment, and tourist services- including accommodations- in many destinations.
*Sustainable traveling and lodging is promoted in several destinations around the country.
It is a program whose main purpose is to categorize and certify tourism companies based on administrative and operational considerations, and comparing them to an ideal model of sustainability. For this purpose, the companies are evaluated in the following areas:
It evaluates the interaction between the company and the surrounding natural environment, taking into account policy implementation, sustainability programs, and environmental protection, among others.
It evaluates some aspects related to systems and internal business processes, regarding waste management and utilization of technologies to save energy and water.
Tour Operator Service Management:
It refers to the process in which the company designs a tourist product consistent with the market tendencies and the characteristics of the country or the places in which the product will be used. It takes into account all the internal and external factors that may affect it.
It evaluates the interaction between the company and its clients, and how it invites the client to be an active participant in the implementation of sustainability policies of the company.
Social and Economical Surroundings:
It evaluates the identification and interaction of the company with the nearby communities by analyzing how enterprises influence the growth and development of the region; for example, by providing job opportunities at the company and looking for benefits for the local people.
The norm CST evaluates companies under a well-structured system for specific levels on a scale from 1 to 5. The process of integration and sustainability that enterprises must face in each of the levels results in an ideal company in terms of sustainability.
CST: 100% responsible tourism nowadays and in the future
CST a brand with support and credibility
The National Accreditation Commission CST, formed by representatives from the academic sector, private enterprise, public sector, and two international organizations, is the entity in charge of assigning CST distinction. In addition, it has to monitor the companies certified with the logo so that they follow the established requirements in such a way that both the tourist and wholesale agents are confident that CST certified companies strictly follow business policies that consider aspects related to social responsibility, corporate business responsibility, and even more, sustainability.
As a sustainable company, Travel Excellence is concerned about the positive impact of the activities we carry out, which include respect and help to the communities we visit.
To make this possible, both cultural activities and visits to communities are fomented. Another way to accomplish this is via our clients who learn about the different cultures in Costa Rica. Once the customer has interacted in the community, he can tell his friends and relatives about his experience and promote the projects in his own country.
|Costa Rican Tourism Association (ACTUAR, for its acronyms in Spanish) is formed by 35 members that belong to the community INSS and tours.
They met in 2001 to promote environmental, social, cultural, and economic development of the participant communities by providing true experiences to the visitors.
ACTUAR specializes on the implementation of authentic adventures to experience in Costa Rica.
|Costa Rica is one of the first countries in Central America that, in the early 90s, started the development of tourism. This was accomplished through the creation of networks that encourage the use of agro-ecotourism goods produced in the community.
Nowadays this is known as -Community Tourism.
Cooprena supports promotion and commercialization of other tourism companies in the country, offering a variety of possibilities for reservation with more than 40 alternative companies.
Protection of the inheritance and respect for the culture and local communities
It is intended to motivate tourists towards social consciousness to defend our cultural legacies and promote access to different communities in order to benefit them by using all their resources and contribute to their economical development.
We recommend visiting the museums in the capital, San José, in order to learn more about the Costa Rican historical background. Here you can find some museums you can visit:
Jade Museum | Costa Rica National Museum | Costa Rican Arts Museum | Central Bank Museum (Pre-Colombian Gold Museum) | Children’s Museum | Juan Santamaría Museum (in Alajuela) | Regional Museum from the Province of Limón |
Travel Excellence, as a creator of the project “Friends of the National Parks”, has sponsored these institutions with donations that contribute with their improvement and help the surrounding areas.
Caribbean Conservation CorporationIt is a nonprofit organization whose main headquarters are located in Florida. This organization has offices and projects in different places. The CCA is the oldest and most successful organization for the conservation of sea turtles around the world. Since its foundation in 1959, the labor of CCA has enhanced different perspectives for the survival of many species of turtles.
Travel Excellence supports this organization since 2007 through monitoring and studying of the turtle species named “Mango”
Pro-ParquesIt is a non-profit organization whose only clients are Costa Rica´s national parks.They develop a series of PROGRAMS that look after the development and sustainability of the parks as well as the professionalization of the rangers. They provide strategies, technology, and implementation to the Sistema de Parques Nacionales, an office responsible for National Parks in Costa Rica.
It works on the conservation of biodiversity. It ensures sustainable livelihoods by transforming land use practices, business practices, and consumer behavior.
Fundación PaniamorIt is a non-profit technical private organization. Its main efforts are preventive, and it does not have any political tendency. The organization was created in 1987 and was declared of public interest for the country in 1989.
The project "Código de Conducta" (Code of Conduct) is a strategy for enterprises who want to be part of the social responsibility of the country. The institution´s intention is to report any case of sexual and commercial exploitation of children and adolescents.
Travel Excellence supports environmental projects and community tourism, and sponsors schools that have low budgets.
We encourage our clients to visit wildlife sanctuaries and communities that reflect the roots of our country.
In addition, the company suggests its clients to contribute with social care institutions. Moreover, we help restaurants, shops, and other local businesses in order to benefit the communities directly.
During the year 2008, we made donations to support the Barrio Lamparas School; we also sponsored a celebration for the end of the school year. Our staff participated in this celebration and contributed with some gifts for children in need. Among our employees, our company promotes the social responsibility to the high risk sectors.
On December 2009, Travel Excellence sponsored the Christmas party for the group of children of the Cen- Cinai in Fraijanes. The Cen-Cinai is a program of the Health Care Ministry of Costa Rica. It is in charge of offering health services for children between 0 and 3 years old.
We encourage our clients to contribute with those who are in need.
Learn and investigate about culture and local traditions of the country that you plan to visit. A little time spent on research will be useful at the moment you get to the country. Learn about its language; basic vocabulary and some slangs are going to make you feel more comfortable and will facilitate your communication on the visiting country. Also you will discover differences between our culture and other cultures.
You can respect and contribute to take care of the local environment in many different ways. For example: avoid collecting any natural element from the forests, discard wastes properly, and recycle as much as possible.
Additional information of certified hotels:
This guide will provide you other recommendations to plan a more sustainable trip.
Oxo-biodegradable plastics vanish and don´t leave any residue. At the end only H2O, CO2, and biomass will remain in very tiny quantities. When they are part of a manufacturing normal process, they cause the decomposition of the plastic. Some tests have shown that these materials are safe if they are in contact with food. They do not have any harmful effect.
A solution has been found in order to turn traditional plastic into Oxo-biodegradable plastic and keep all its advantages. It stays in the environment for fewer years than traditional plastic.
The Oxo-biodegradable plastic will degrade totally. First, it needs to be fragmented, and it will start degrading under natural conditions of air, humidity and temperature. Then it is going to biodegrade into water, carbon dioxide, biomass, and other elements both in the ocean and on land.
It does not leave any residues. It does not produce methane neither toxic waste. There is no additional cost, and it keeps the traditional plastic properties during its life.
The Oxo-biodegradable plastic establishes the "beginning of the end” of plastic pollution.
Oxo-biodegradable Bags | Ambiente VerdeLicda. Margoth Cerdas Castro.
Gerente de Producto (CEO)
The products contain several characteristics that overcome the limitations of traditional containers:
Travel Excellence is totally engaged on the promotion of responsible tourism. Our policies reinforce our commitment to:
Fortunately, Costa Rica is the place where ecotourism was born, and it is also the place where this activity has reached the maximum level of achievement and success. This natural paradise has extensive experience on showing its wonderful natural wealth to thousands of visitors every year.
Costa Rica is a small country with an extension of 51,100 square kilometers; it has a great scenic beauty and natural wealth. In this piece of land that represents only 0.3% of the planet's surface, lives the 5% of the global biodiversity. It has more varieties of bird species than the United States, and a greater variety of butterflies than the entire African continent. These facts have made this country of 4 million inhabitants internationally recognized.
In the various habitats and ecosystems there are 12000 plant species, 2000 nocturnal butterfly species and 12000 diurnal species, 192 species of amphibious, 226 species of reptiles, 1,600 species of freshwater and saltwater fish, at least 875 species of birds, and 239 of species of mammals.
In this extensive natural landscape, Costa Rica also has several types of forest such as deciduous, rain forests, cloud forests, paramo, oak riparian forests, herbaceous lagoons, mangrove swamps, yolillales and swamp forests.
The natural scenery goes beyond; there are many other amazing areas such as volcanoes, active hot springs, and caves. Also the pre-Colombian sites are very important for the Mesoamerica archeology study, as well as the system of protected areas that covers the 25% of the national territory: national parks (22), wildlife refuges (12), forest reserves (8), biological reserves (12), forest reserves, and protected zones (26).
This is the most present substance on Earth, and it constitutes an ideal mean for living. Water is necessary for all living things, if we don’t have this natural resource the planet would not exist. Although we can live with only 5 liters or less water every day, we need much more than that to be healthy.
Responsible Practices concerning the use of water:
We encourage our collaborators to develop good practices to save water. Through training and based on our “Policy for Saving Water”, we promote awareness and ask our staff to put in practice actions that reflect their concern on this issue.
Renewable energy is characterized because the transformation and exploitation processes take long periods of time. Some examples of this kind of energy are hydraulic, solar, and wind power, among others. The production of this vital input in Costa Rica is based on hydraulic mechanisms, in which water is used but the water spring is not affected at all. Illumination, air conditioning, and general services for the entire population are the main consumption sources of this kind of energy.
Some responsible practices concerning the use of energy are:
MINAETIt contributes to the sustainable development of Costa Rica through the conservation and rational use of natural resources to improve the quality of life and the development of the country.
The National Fund for Forest Finance (FONAFIFO, for its acronyms in Spanish) executes the Program of Environmental Services Payment (PPSA, in Spanish) to benefit landlords of small and big terrains with forests or forestry potential, in order to promote maintenance and recover the country's forest coverage.
Flora and fauna have to be in perfect balance. They are based on the natural laws that rule structure and functions of association among all living things. Based on this, humans play an important role in the conservation of flora and fauna.
Recommendations for Wildlife Conservation
Travel Excellence is strictly committed with the principles of responsible tourism such as the application of the environmental laws and regulations concerning national parks and reserves, as well as the compliance of the general laws that regulate activities of tour operators.
If you want to help, you can do it by supporting “clean-trip” projects to reduce carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and to minimize harmful emissions. The collected funds will be used to support projects of wildlife protection and to contribute with special community projects.
The suggested amounts are calculated according to FONAFIFO (Carbon Dioxide Compensation Program), current rules, and also to the cost of each ton of carbon, which is based on the approximate levels of C02 emitted on an average flight. Through this calculation, an estimated fee for every traveler is calculated, as a way to compensate the air contamination.
The best ways to support the carbon reduction projects is via FONAFIFO (Carbon Dioxide Compensation Program) or via MINAET (Carbon Neutral Program).
We make compensation payments for the carbon produced in our offices and transportation units.
Laws and regulations in Costa Rica, such as the public authority and citizen protection, are presented to our staff and clients, so they respect and follow these principles.
It is necessary to enforce national and international laws for flora and fauna protection, air quality, and environmental social sense as a way to protect the historical and cultural inheritance.List of laws:
Our company, whose main objective is to satisfy our clients, is based on service standards that allow measuring client’s satisfaction by finding out what their needs and expectations are, as well as the idea of the company that clients have, depending on the experiences and the attention they received.
For this reason, we do our best to guarantee great quality products and services for our clients and intermediaries. In addition, we have a preventive maintenance program for our facilities, vehicles, and equipment.
To avoid accidents and health risk in the workplace, we have an integral health plan for all our staff. We also take care of our clients by:
Environmental conservation is an essential part in education. Knowing about topics related to the environment lets people act consciously. It is important to classify solid wastes according to the following parameters:
Reject: those products that are not renewable or reusable.
Reduce: overconsumption, especially of products that generate residues difficult to recycle.
Re-use: those objects that are no longer in use, especially empty containers.
Repair: damaged and old elements and re-use them.
Recycle: those products that are no longer in use but can be used as raw material for new products.
Paper, plastic, organic material, glass, cans and others.
Every day, big amounts of newspapers are discarded in houses, working places, and different institutions. This material can be reused to manufacture great varieties of paper.
It is important to remember that:
When recovering paper and cardboard, it is recommended to classify them in:
Note: Wet or greasy paper, carbon paper, shiny paper, and paper with glue are not suitable to be recycled. There is no problem if the paper has been cut in pieces or crumpled.
Plastic materials are used in many ways. We invite you not to consume high quantities of plastic material since it takes a lot of time to degrade, and it increases the negative impact on nature.
Plastic, classified by color and density, is used to manufacture hoses, hangers, garbage bags, and buttons, among others.
To recover plastic, it is necessary to have plenty of space due to its weight and volume. Here you can find some classification parameters:
Note: The plastic bottles that have been used with chemical products like pesticides cannot be recycled.
Glass is one of the most widely used materials for packaging a great variety of products. Once they have been cleaned and separated by color (white, amber, or green) , these containers become raw material that will be melted up to 1200° Celsius and used to create new bottles.
Glass is 100% recyclable, and it does not lose any property during the process.
The most important metal products we consume are the ones made with aluminum and bauxite, such as beverage cans, wires, metallic parts of different means of transportation, and materials used by the companies of energy and telephony. Recycling metal is easy and gives us economic, social, and environmental benefits.
The classification of recyclable metals is:
In case of metal waste, it is recommended to recycle the following materials:
Flattening all aluminum cans reduces the space for storage.
In Costa Rica, it is not common to collect this kind of trash since there are not many companies in charge of reusing these materials for recycling. Every month, Travel Excellence gives all the collected material to a company which has the specialized machine to separate the three parts of tetra pack: cardboard (75%), polyethylene (20%), and aluminum (5%). The resulting material is used for helping social programs.
The company collects juice, milk, and wine containers that have the Tetra Pack logo. They must be flattened and cleaned to be suitable for recycling.
The recycling process is considered a necessary activity, as it solves many problems related to solid wastes and because of the multiple benefits that it provides:A. Social Benefits:
Community education: people who practice recycling are conscious about the importance of recovering wastes and transforming them into new products.B. Environmental Benefits:
Conservation and environmental improvement: our environment will be cleaner by reducing the volume of solid wastes.
Protection of our natural resources through deforestation reduction: For every ton of recycled paper, seventeen trees are saved from being cut.C. Economical Benefits:
For entities in charge of the public cleaning: costs are reduced since there is less wastes to collect, transport, and dispose.D. Protection of Our Natural Resources:
Deforestation reduction, longer life for animals and plants, best use of sources like water, soil, air among others.
The Q-adra project is oriented to enhance the image of San Jose city. The project wants to benefit the commerce and clients through community effort, by working together to recover the environment of the immediate surroundings through managing leaders in each of the “cuadras” (blocks). In this way, they can show their neighbors good environmental practices, urban embellishment, and security.
Travel Excellence joined this project two years ago, and it is fully involved on supporting campaigns for collecting solid trash from streets and rivers and for reforesting natural areas, among other projects they lead.
Recycling Project for the Tetra Pak
The company produces two kinds of Tetra Pack containers that can be recovered for recycling: