Sustainable Tree Farm in Costa Rica
Hello, my name is Robert and I, along with my wife, Alexandra, are the proud owners of Hotel La Rosa. In 2007 we began our journey from Canada to Costa Rica with our two children. Our time in Costa Rica has been amazing, and we feel it is very important to give back to the country and people that have been so integral to our success.
We do this in many ways, such as community philanthropy and environmental and social benefit projects, including our successful book donation program. We also support the ARA Project to protect endangered Green Macaws.
Central to the philosophy that guides how we live our lives and run our business is to work hard, be gentle with the earth, give back, and provide the best hotel experience to our guests that we possibly can.
In 2004 we purchased what was once an old banana plantation. Through years of dedication and hard work, by all members of our family, we have transformed what was once a mono-culture farm, damaging the environment and hurting the community, to a sustainable and healthy teak tree farm.
Though the purchase and ownership of the tree farm is separate from the hotel, the actual operating costs are paid for by Hotel La Rosa. This has allowed us to plant 10,000 local tree species and teak trees on a farm that is certified “Sustainable” by the Costa Rican government.
The plantation grows primarily teak trees for harvest, and some of the property is used to grow local species that are left to grow wild and provide habitat for the local fauna. The harvested trees have been used to provide the beautiful furniture and trimmings in the new Superior Rooms at La Rosa.
We love that we are able to provide beautiful, local wood furnishings for our guests, while at the same time being responsible stewards of the environment. The trees are harvested in a traditional and sustainable fashion as well – using only a chain saw and oxen to drag the trees to the loading area.
The farm should be able to continue on in this way indefinitely, with new baby trees planted every year as the older ones mature. We enjoy spending time there as a family, and the farm gives us hope that it is possible to manage a successful business while being gentle with the earth.
The farm is a happy place, full of promise and vitality, and motivates us to come up with new ideas for environmentally friendly projects. It also provides work for the tiny community nearby, and friendships have been cemented with the kind-hearted people there.
We plan to continue with the farm. We are even discussing expanding projects there in the future to include value-added products that make use of skilled Costa Rican labour. Our dream is for the farm to be our legacy, continuing to grow and flourish far into the future.
Thank you, and we look forward to meeting you.
Robert and Alexandra
La Rosa Book Donation Program
Although tourism is beneficial to many Costa Ricans working in the industry, those outside the industry receive little direct benefit. At La Rosa, we feel one of the most important ways to make a difference in our community is to contribute to the local schools. This has the biggest impact on making a real difference for the future of Costa Rican children. Many public schools in Costa Rica have very few books, readers, text books or reference books. Often less than 10% the number one would expect in an equivalent school in Canada, Europe or the USA.
To this end, La Rosa created a program where guests would bring small numbers of books in English, French or Spanish, for donation to selected schools that showed both interest and need. After four years, we reached our target objective of 5,000 books donated to seven local schools representing all grades and ages. We have also donated hundreds of pencils, pens, pencil crayons, and other necessary basic school supplies, often in short supply.
There is little more gratifying then handing out a box of books, crayons and pencils to young children who are trying to learn and improve themselves. For all who have donated to this project in the past, helping to make it such a success, we at Hotel La Rosa wish to extend a warm thank you!
Our objective for the book donation program was to obtain 5,000 books for schools in the Alajuela District. When that goal was reached in 2013, we began referring all additional book donations to the Women’s Club of Costa Rica, who distribute the books and supplies to the neediest area schools.
The following local schools received books and supplies directly from Hotel La Rosa de America:
Escuela José de San Martín (Barrio San José)
There were 425 books donated to this school in 2009 and 275 books donated in 2011.
Liceo San José de Alajuela Grade 7-11
There were 53 books donated in 2009.
Gregorio José Ramírez School Grade 1-12
There were 415 books donated in 2010 and 195 books donated in 2008.
Maurilio Soto Alfaro School Grade 1-7
In 2009, this school received a large box full of pens, paper, erasers, glue, rulers, crayons, workbooks and other school supplies. In 2008 they received 140 books.
Escuela Ambiente Lista El Roble
There were 425 books donated in 2009.
Colegio Carmen de Alajuela
There were 380 books donated on 2010.
Current Fundraising Efforts for Local Schools
For the past two years, Hotel La Rosa de America, in conjunction with the Canadian Club of Costa Rica, has partnered to create a major yearly benefit function to support Costa Rican pubilc schools that are lacking in basic infrastructure. For both 2014 and 2015, the events were designed to coincide with July 1st Canada Day celebrations.
Hotel La Rosa de America provided staffing, venue, support and all food for the event. Both years, this event received strong support from the Canadian community in Costa Rica. The Canadian Ambassador was also present to show her support.
In 2014, we helped to raise almost $4,000, which was used to support general improvements to local schools. This year, we received an even larger turnout of almost 100 guests and we raised just under $5,000. All the funds raised in 2015 are earmarked primarily for a native school in the impoverished Talamanca Mountains. The money will be used to build the school it’s first bathroom facilities.
We are hoping to continue this very successful and worthy event next year. With the support of the Canadian Club of Costa Rica, we are confident we can help make a positive change in the world around us!