You are what you eat

At Drift Away Eco-Lodge we strive to be as sustainable as possible. We care about the environment on a local and global level, and we want to make a positive impact on the local community. And nowhere is that more evident than in the food we serve our guests.

It just feels natural: Wherever possible Drift Away provides organic food made or grown in the area. Our fruit and vegetables are purchased from a local vendor. So are our eggs. But there is so much more!

We’d like to propose a toast! We serve our free breakfasts with toast made from bread baked at Panadería Alemana (German Bakery) near Liberia. The bakery uses whole grains and grinds and mills its own flour on site. Their fleet of trucks deliver the bread right to the hotel doorstep (often still warm!).

This won’t get your goat: Some people have said Rancho Avellanas raises the “happiest goats on the planet” on its picturesque farm just a few minutes’ drive north of here. It’s why we use their natural, organic and home-made goats’ milk yogurt in our yogurt-and-granola breakfast. You should stop in and see the goat-babies while you’re here!

A rare cut: Organic, natural, free-range meat is not easy to find in Costa Rica, but we wanted to give our guests a sustainable and eco-friendly meat-option with their breakfasts. We did some looking around and discovered Hacienda Sapori Antichi, a small, family-run ranch located inland. Their breakfast pork sausage is made from happy, free-roaming pigs raised on bananas, goats’ milk whey and local, non-GMO corn.

A juicy secret: Our juice bar sells freshly squeezed juice from oranges and grapefruits, handpicked from trees right on our property. And we blend tasty fruit smoothies from scratch (with stainless steel straws, of course). Our palm trees are always dropping coconuts. So we put them in the fridge and presto! Refreshing and delicious coconut water to help cool you off and re-hydrate on a hot afternoon (add a shot of Centenario Costa Rican rum for a cheeky cocktail).

Here’s an eye-opener: Café Corazon is a 100% natural Costa Rican coffee, grown in the mountains south of San José, where some of the best coffee in the world is grown! The beans are roasted at the Corazon Surf Café, right here in the town of Los Pargos. They’re grown with organic compost, carbon ash as pesticide and recycled water. And the coffee is sold in 100% bio-degradable packaging. It’s a wonderful and flavorful way to start your day and it’s why we provide Café Corazon in every room, free for our guests. You can also purchase it in our shop.

And if you’re a teatotaler, our teas are totally terrific! Sangeevani Peace & Tea has created an assortment of teas to please. How about these? Black tea with mint, cardamom, and cinnamon.  Red jamaica flower with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Ginger with lemon, lemongrass and peppermint. Green tea with blackberries, peppermint, passion fruit and pineapple. All natural ingredients, hand-made, 100% Costa Rican and in biodegradable packaging. Also provided free in every guest-room. Shall we get the kettle on?

Why the brew-ha-ha? Let this pour over you – our delicious selection of locally brewed craft beers! Ice-cold IPA’s, red ales, amber ales, Belgian whites, & porters. Perro Loco and Los Olas are brewed in nearby Playa Grande. La Selva Artesanal Beer brews its wide assortment of tasty ales – including its unique Costa Rican Brown Ale – in Playa Cabuya on the Nicoya Peninsula. Our Happy-hour is every day between 3 and 5 p.m.

Wine-not? Uncork this little bottle of fun-facts: There is only one wine made with 100% Lambrusca Americana grapes – grown, harvested and fermented in Costa Rica. Vino Don Teofilo is a certified-organic, sweet rosé. Order it at our juice bar as an aperitif – or in a sangria!

Bottle of Don Teofilo Costa Rican rose wine.

Don Teofilo is certified organic and is the only wine made in Costa Rica from 100% Costa Rican grapes.

Cool your sweet tooth: We make home-made dairy-free ice cream. We churn it on-site using coconut milk and a unique berry found in Costa Rica: mora (a type of blackberry). It’s a perfect balance of tart and sweet and will help you to chill-out by the pool. Yum!

So that’s a (biodegradable) wrap! Feel good about what you eat and drink here. The Drift Away Eco-Lodge is committed to offering our guests the very best that Costa Rica has to offer with a buffet of wholesome, sustainable, and above-all delicious food and beverages — in our breakfasts, in our juice bar, in our rooms, and in our shop. Pura vida!

 

 

Meet the Drift Away family

Here at the Drift Away Eco-Lodge in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, we know that an incredible guest experience starts with incredible service. One of the things we are most proud of is our team of hard-working, friendly, energetic women and men who are committed to helping our guests have a wonderful Costa Rican holiday. Time and time again, we hear from our guests that we have amazing staff. We know! And we want you to learn more about the Drift Away family – who they are, why they love their jobs, and why they love Costa Rica!

Alberto/Maintenance:

Originally from Nicaragua, Alberto has lived in Costa Rica for many years. He grew up in a family with four girls, and now has his own daughters. Today, Alberto is the head of maintenance at the Drift Away Eco Lodge. He fixes, builds, repairs, and upgrades. He can do just about anything – just like MacGuyver! What Alberto loves most about Costa Rica? “Enjoying the sea!”

 Alberto is the head of maintenance at Drift Away Eco-Lodge.

Alberto is a carpenter, electrician and plumber all in one!

Augustine/Gardener

Augustine is responsible for the wonderful and beautiful gardens and landscaping of the Drift Away property. He has been trimming and grooming the property for more than a decade – before the Drift Away Eco Lodge even existed! You can catch him cleaning the pool, watering the plethora of plants, or pruning the palms around the pool. Augustine is from Nicaragua, but has lived in Costa Rica for more than 14 years. His favorite thing about his job – besides the plants – is the hard-working people he has had the pleasure of working with over the past 14 years.

Augustine is the gardener at Drift Away Eco-Lodge.

Augustine has been carefully cultivating the beautiful gardens at the Drift Away Eco-Lodge for more than a decade.

Janel/Receptionist

You can usually find Janel working behind the Drift Away Eco Lodge juice bar. She is one of our excellent receptionists, and she does a wonderful job helping guests and making sure they enjoy their vacation. You may also find her helping out with breakfast when it’s busy! Janel lives in the area with her two children. When she isn’t working Janel attends University, studying General Administration. “I like to interact with people and meet people,” she says. “I love Costa Rica because it is a quiet country.”

 Janel is the receptionist at Drift Away Eco-Lodge.

Janel is loves to help guests enjoy their vacations to Playa Avellanas.

Lorena/Housekeeping

Lorena is one of the meticulous housekeepers at Drift Away Eco-Lodge. You’ll also see her serving or cooking breakfasts. She is married with three daughters, and lives in a nearby community called Florida. She loves her country because “it is a free country and a country of peace. I love the nature that we have.” Lorena is fantastic at keeping the entire hotel clean and organized.

Lorena is a housekeeper at Drift Away Eco-Lodge

Lorena enjoys keeping everything at Drift Away Eco-Lodge clean and organized.

Rosa/Cook

Rosa is our main cook. She makes hundreds of breakfasts every month for the guests here at the Lodge. Her eggs and Gallo Pinto (rice & beans) are delicious! Rosa is a grandmother who lives in Paraiso with her family, whom she loves because “it is the most valuable thing that God and life could give me.”  She likes working in the kitchen the most, because that is where her skills shine. Besides hotel guests, she loves to cook for her grandchildren “because they always end up eating a little more food.” Rosa loves Costa Rica because it is the land where she was born, and what she appreciates the most are the beautiful beaches of Guanacaste.

Rosa cooking eggs for breakfast in the kitchen at Drift Away Eco-Lodge.

Rosa’s breakfasts are a delicious way to start your day at the Drift Away Eco-Lodge.

Yanina/Housekeeping

Yanina works hard at keeping the rooms and villas at the Drift Away Eco-Lodge spotless. Yanina also helps serve guests their free breakfasts when we are busy. When she is not working at the hotel she likes to spend time with her daughters. “My family is very kind and respectful,” she says. Her favorite thing about living in Costa Rica is its abundance of nature and the beautiful beaches.

Yanina is a housekeeper at Drift Away Eco-Lodge.

Yanina cleans rooms and serves breakfasts with a smile.

Yarlin/Receptionist

Yarlin (pronounced JAR-lyn) is one of the receptionists at the Drift Away Eco-Lodge. Her smiling face welcomes guests and she treats everyone with kindness. She lives in Paraiso with her mother and siblings, near her grandparents (Rosa the cook is her grandmother!) Yarlin is studying Sustainable Tourism Business Management at the The National University of Costa Rica in Nicoya. “I love to live in Costa Rica because we are rich, but I am not talking about money,” she explains. “It is rich for me because of the peace and the beautiful environment that is here in my dear Costa Rica.

Yarlin is the receptionist at Drift Away Eco-Lodge.

Yarlin is always ready to make you a delicious smoothie at the Drift Away Juice Bar.

 

In The Community: Hope 4 A Street Dog

It was like a M*A*S*H unit for dogs and cats. One by one: Little Dog. Cat. Big dog. Cat. Bigger dog. Littler cat.

Weighed. Marked and numbered. Anesthetized. Shaved. Snipped. De-ticked. Recover.

Next furry patient, please.

veterinarians performing castration/spay and neuter surgery on a dog

Veterinarians from Punta Arenas worked all day performing surgeries on more an 50 animals.

It was a routine that happened more than 50 times at a veterinary clinic in Paraiso, Guanacaste on May 12, 2019. The community clinic was organized by the Costa Rican pet charity, Hope 4 A Street Dog.

It was a clinic designed to spay and neuter as many dogs and cats as possible in the area. And from all accounts they are putting their best paw forward. For the past 15 years, these clinics have performed thousands of castration surgeries, and have helped minimize the number of unwanted and abandoned pets.

Part of our mission at Drift Away Eco-Lodge – besides contributing to and promoting more sustainable and eco-friendly travel in Costa Rica — is to be active in the community and to try and make a positive impact. And as animal lovers we felt this was a perfect opportunity to roll up our sleeves and donate our time taking care of local animals.

Our job was recovery care for the dogs and cats who had just been under the knife. We checked their sutures and combed them for ticks and fleas. We gave their claws a trim and cleaned their ears – all much easier to do when the animals are still sedated! We worked from 8 a.m. until noon, when the afternoon shift relieved us. It was a busy and satisfying way to spend a Sunday morning and we hope more volunteers will help in the future.

Without donations of time, money and supplies these clinics wouldn’t be possible!

What is Hope 4 A Street Dog?

The group of animal-lovers formed organically and has grown slowly over the past 15 years or so. It’s situated in the nearby community of Playa Junquillal – about a 15 minute drive from our hotel.

It all started when a German expat who rode her horses on the beach was frustrated with a pack of dogs that kept barking and chasing her. She complained to Berta Reyes Gomez (who is so passionate about dogs that she is known as the “dog whisperer”). Berta took the reins, and with some help, organized the first spay and neuter clinic in 2005. Since then, Hope 4 A Street Dog has expanded to a size and importance that no one could have predicted.

A young male assistant with medical shirt holding a large brown dog at the Hope 4 A Street Dog vet clinic.

Pepe, the veterinarian’s assistant, had his hands full at the Hope 4 A Street Dog clinic!

“Our main effort and goal is prevention,” said Berta, who is now the organization’s Director. “We focus solely and exclusively on castration and vaccination clinics in Playa Junquillal and surrounding communities.”

“We are a group of volunteers who do not receive a penny personally. Contrarily, we donate our time, money, and our emotions for pure love of the dogs.”

The group’s main fundraising event is Pasta 4 Paws, held every year around March. The 2019 fundraising dinner at Mundo Milo Eco-Lodge was the most successful yet, meaning the news is spreading about that the good work the charity is doing.

They also raise money selling Hope 4 A Street Dog t-shirts, which are on sale at various local shops and businesses. And the money is badly needed.

The hard-working and efficient veterinarians from Punta Arenas are paid for their services, and they need hotel rooms and food. Hope 4 A Street Dog also purchases all the medications and other supplies.

Shirts with Hope 4 A Street Dog logos are sold to raise money for the spay and neuter clinics.

Hope 4 A Street Dog sells these fundraising shirts at local shops and businesses, including here at the Drift Away Eco-Lodge.

Those who are able are requested to pay 12,000 colones (approx. $20 USD) per pet treated at the clinics. But many people can’t afford to pay, especially when they have multiple animals, so Hope 4 A Street Dog welcomes sponsors for those families who can’t afford to get their pets fixed.

How you can help

It’s a grassroots movement that helps animal-owners – and also helps people who aren’t that fond of the four-legged variety – as it reduces the number of stray, feral or abandoned animals in the community. Everyone wins!

So here’s how you can help. Visit the Hope 4 A Street Dog website to donate or volunteer. Buy a Hope 4 A Street Dog shirt. Or purchase tickets or donate a prize for next year’s Pasta 4 Paws event.

Email [email protected] for more information or if you have questions!

Our community’s pets thank you!

Free Bicycle Rental at Drift Away Eco-Lodge

Bicycling at the Drift Away Eco-Lodge in Costa Rica is free, emission-free, and a fun way to get around.

In North America, Bike To Work Day is Friday, May 17, and Bike To Work Week is May 13-19, 2019. At Drift Away Eco Lodge, we like to think every day is a great day to take a bicycle and go for a ride.

Although we are ‘off the beaten path’, which means a vehicle is recommended to get to our remote location, we encourage guests to leave their car parked once they arrive. We offer free bicycle rentals to our guests (based on availability) as a zero-emission way of exploring the beautiful beaches, nearby restaurants, and monkey and bird-filled forests that surround our eco-lodge.

Riding a bike is a healthy, fun, and low-impact form of exercise for all ages. It invigorates and energizes. Take the hotel bicycles for a picnic on the beach. Ride up to a lookout with panoramic views of the Costa Rican coastline. Get lost on the dirt trails where you’ll ride by Tico cowboys on horses herding their cattle. Discover a soda (a Costa Rican diner) with amazing local food. You’ll never know what you’ll find!

Bike riders will be happy to see several free bicycles waiting for them at the Drift Away Eco-Lodge.

The Drift Away Eco-Lodge has many bikes that guests can rent for free.

Moreover, cycling has the potential to have a significant impact on climate change. According the League of American Bicyclists, 40 per cent of all trips in the United States are under two miles, making cycling a much more environmentally friendly option than pollution-emitting vehicles. And it seems there is an increased interest in healthy, sustainable and economic transportation options. Between 2000 to 2013, the number of bicycle commuters in the U.S. grew by more than 62 per cent!

Bikes reduce the need to build, service and dispose of cars. According to the Queensland Department of Transport, cycling 10 km each way to work would save 1500 kg of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

It’s why we thought it was important to invest in free bicycles for our hotel guests.

Bicycle riders biking down a path in Costa Rica on free bicycles from Drift Away Eco-Lodge.

A zero-emission adventure awaits – take a bike ride down a path and see where it takes you.

So make cycling part of your Costa Rican adventure. Hop on one of our bikes and start exploring – and don’t forget to wear a helmet! (we rent those out for free, too.)

Guests of Drift Away Eco-Lodge can also take advantage of free rentals for surf boards, boogie boards, & beach umbrellas!

Proud to be single-use plastic free!

Plastic free lifestyle keeps our beaches clean and makes them the best beaches to visit.

If you look inside the recycle bins at the Drift Away Eco-Lodge, you’ll notice that the recycle bin labelled ‘plastics’ is usually empty. No, it’s not because we don’t like to recycle, nor is it because our guests aren’t environmentally conscious. It’s because Drift Away Eco-Lodge is a single-use plastic free zone. We are working towards a plastic free lifestyle, starting with minimizing our own plastic use and making it easy for our guests to do the same during their stay in Playa Avellanas. It means less plastic on our property, less plastic littering our forests and roadways, and less plastic on our beach and in our ocean.

It’s our way of keeping this little corner of the world less polluted and more beautiful for the people who live here – and for the guests who visit from all over the world.

For example, our rooms and villas feature high quality, stainless steel, insulated, reusable water bottles. They are free for our guests to use during their stay at Drift Away Eco-Lodge. Guests can refill their bottles at our on-site water stations and take the bottles with them to the beach or wherever they go. At the end of their stay they can choose to purchase the stainless steel bottles ($20) or leave them to be washed and sanitized for the next guests. There is no need to buy plastic water bottles from the store.

These stainless steel water bottles with the Drift Away logo are for sale in our hotel shop.

Stainless steel water bottles are available for guest use at the Drift Away Eco-Lodge.

All of our cleaning products and in-room toiletries are bought in bulk containers, which are returned for re-use. These products are also made locally, are bio-degradable and eco-friendly. We also make a concerted effort to avoid using plastic bags when we shop, and avoid plastic packaging in the products we buy. It’s part of our sustainability mission, and our commitment to our environment and our community.

It’s become abundantly clear lately that recycling alone isn’t answer. It’s questionable whether much of the plastic we throw into recycling bins is actually recycled anyway. And now that China no longer accepts most the recycling waste from the Americas, it is more and more difficult to guarantee that the plastic bottle you toss in the recycle bin won’t end up in a landfill or a waterway.

Guests can use the recycling bins at Drift Away Eco-Lodge for disposal of paper, plastic, metal and glass.

The recycling centre at the Drift Away Eco-Lodge is just one part of our hotel’s waste management process.

 

The Drift Away Eco-Lodge is simply doing its part to reduce this plastic waste, alongside a growing number of business and jurisdictions.

In March 2019, San Francisco, U.S.A. became the first major city to ban the sale of plastic water bottles. In April 2019 New York State agreed to ban single-use plastic bags. Bars and restaurants around the globe are banning the use of plastic straws. And The UK Government has announced plans to ban single-use plastics including straws, cotton-buds, and stirrers.

It’s a start.

But the amount of plastic pollution still being released into the world every day is enormous. A completely plastic free life is a tough mountain to climb, but eliminating single-use plastic, and reducing our general plastic use is easy. And it’s the first step in keeping our own little corners of the world clean and plastic-free.

 

 

Room Renovations are Now Complete!

After many months of renovations, we are excited to finally share photos of our rooms!

All rooms at the Drift Away Eco Lodge are outfitted with locally made wood beds, a dining table, and are accented with touches of driftwood decor. Beds feature memory foam mattresses, luxurious organic cotton sheets, and plush hypoallergenic feather pillows that are guaranteed to give you a good night’s rest.

The en-suite bathrooms feature hand-carved wooden sinks and are equipped with a duo-flush eco-toilets and low flow shower head. Organic cotton towels and complimentary organic biodegradable toiletries are provided for the duration of your stay.

The rooms offer a Garden or Pool View and are equipped with energy efficient ACs to keep the room cool even on the hottest days.

Head to our Photo Gallery to view other photos of our brand new rooms and villas!

Buying and Building Local

We are strong believers that in order to build a truly sustainable business, you have to focus not just on the environmental impact, but also on the impact the business has on the local community.

So when it came to redecorating the Drift Away Eco Lodge, we opted to buy and build local, employing local carpenters and craftsmen to furnish and decorate our rooms.

Watch the video below to learn more about buying and building local at the Drift Away Eco Lodge!

 

One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure

Pool renovations at the Drift Away Eco Lodge ended up taking us much longer than anticipated but we managed to turn this run-down area of the property into a beautiful space.

We worked hard to find the most sustainable and eco-friendly materials for our pool and ended up using broken coraline rock pieces (the leftover tile pieces no one else wanted) for the pool deck and 98% recycled glass tile for the inside of the pool.

We think all this repurposing and recycling made our pool look pretty great! Can’t wait to hear what you think!

Go Big or Go Home

Our travels have been a huge inspiration for the Drift Away Eco Lodge. Having been to over 60 countries and having stayed at hundreds of hotels, we have gained a tremendous amount of insight into what sets apart a good hotel from a bad hotel.

We knew exactly what we had to change and what we could keep in order to turn this old hotel into our vision for the Drift Away Eco Lodge.

But last week, we were faced with a question… how much change is enough change?

Where it All Began

Today, we are sharing the 2nd video in our hotel renovation series, one that will take you back to the beginning of our renovations in Playa Avellanas and show you where the Drift Away Eco Lodge journey began.

Brace yourselves… this is not going to be pretty!