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According to TIES (International Ecotourism Society)

Certification programs in travel and tourism are important tools to distinguish the truly responsible companies, products or services that are using "ecological" or "sustainable" as a marketing strategy to attract customers.


The Sustainable Tourism Certificate, CST, is a program of the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT). It is designed to categorize and distinguish tourism companies according to the level in which their operation corresponds to a sustainability model, with regard to the use of natural, cultural and social resources.

Tirimbina Rainforest Center has applied for the Sustainability Certificate because it means to involve its associates, and most of all the community, in recognizing the importance of an efficient use of our current resources, which are truly limited.


The first year that the Tirimbina Rainforest Center participated in the evaluation by the Sustainability Department of the ICT, it received 4 leaves of sustainability, 5 leaves being the maximum amount that can be attained.

With this achievement, we reaffirm our commitment to the conservation and sustainable use of our natural resources in all the programs of the Reserve.

This award joins the ones already obtained; the Ecological Blue Flag in the Protected Natural Areas category (3 stars) and the Sustainable Production Certificate by the Rainforest Alliance for our Chocolate Tour as solid examples of the sustainability efforts committed to by the Reserve.

Such recognition, which is a great responsibility, encourages us to keep growing as an organization and to continue our work in the field of conservation, research and environmental education, with which we hope to contribute to building a better Costa Rica.


  • It is prohibited to extract any type of flora or fauna in any state, place or condition.
  • It is completely prohibited for visitors to feed any of the animals, including direct or indirect feeding of any of the species.
  • It is prohibited to introduce exotic species of flora or fauna into the Reserve.
  • We recommend careful, discrete and professional use of flash photography, to minimize the impact on wildlife behaviour.
  • Visitors are informed about proper conduct in the forest (Leave No Trace); these norms are specified at the reception and by the organization’s staff (guides).

  • Visitors are informed about the rules that TRC has established to save energy at their check-in as well as through a booklet that can be found in each hotel room.

  • Visitors from the local area are given free entrance to Tirimbina for self-guided walks.

  • In order to promote local tourism and environmental education, special rates and reduced prices are offered to national tourists.

    • The products for sale at the Tirimbina souvenir shop are made by local artisans.
    • The Tirimbina souvenir shop does not sell products that are harmful to the environment.
    • Any paper that is purchased should have the FSC label (Forest Stewardship Council) which guarantees that the paper was made from eucalyptus pulp derived from renewable forests.
    • Purchase products in containers that can be reused or exchange with suppliers.
    • Smoking is prohibited in the areas indicated with NO SMOKING. Smoking is not allowed inside the rooms. There are designated open spaces for this, such as the parking area.
    • It is prohibited to administer medicine to visitors of the Reserve. In case of an accident, the nearest medical center should be contacted or visited.
    • Any activity encouraging or promoting sex tourism is prohibited. Tirimbina is signatory to the Code of Conduct.
    • Tirimbina is dedicated to helping resolve joint infrastructural problems in the area.
    • TRC tries to raise awareness with children about environmental sustainability issues through its Environmental Education Program.
    • Law 7317 of the Wildlife Conservation, which prohibits the extraction of flora and fauna, is published by means of signs.
    • TRC personnel are informed about all the programs carried out at the organization that are meant to save water and energy and about the sustainable use of resources, which they can also implement at their homes.


    The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) defines ecotourism as follows: "responsible travel to nature areas in a manner which preserves the environment and improves the welfare of the local population".
    This means that those who carry out and participate in ecotourism activities should follow the following principles:
    • Minimize impact.

    • Encourage environmental-cultural knowledge and respect.

    • Provide positive experiences for visitors as well as hosts.

    • Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.

    • Provide economic benefits to the local population.

    • Support international human rights and labour agreements.
    This list is also based on the Certificate for Sustainable Tourism and various other certificates worldwide.

    90% of TRC's associates are local, thus promoting work for the community. With the help of volunteer projects or community work, we have achieved better conditions for schools, through the construction of classrooms, paint, and educational materials among others.

    Social Projection: Since 1999 TRC has had a local environmental education program with the purpose of encouraging the local community to appreciate the value of natural resources as a way to improve their quality of life.

    The educational activities address various topics regarding ecology and forest conservation, like the importance of incorporating sustainable practices into every day life. The program focuses on inquiry learning where the student discovers and enjoys at the same time, which has proven to be most effective for children. Because of the significance of this program, our guides explain to every visitor why their visit to Tirimbina is important.


    At Tirimbina Rainforest Center, forest conservation requires us to minimize the impact of our visitors. Our facilities have undergone changes in order to fully integrate our commitment to sustainability. Some of the good practices we have recently implemented are:
    • * A compost system to recycle organic waste, mainly from our restaurant.

      * Solar panels to heat the water at Tirimbina Lodge and to provide energy at the Field Station.

      * Recycling of solid materials such as; glass, paper, cartons, aluminum and other products.

      * The use of sunlight to dry laundry.

      * The usage of biodegradable cleaning products.

      * Soap dispensers in the bathrooms to avoid waste.

      * We do not use chemicals, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. To maintain our gardens and cacao plantation, we use a natural fertilizer derived from compost.

      * In order to minimize the impact on our Reserve, TRC has implemented the trail conservation policy called "LEAVE NO TRACE".


    Our cacao plantation has been certified by the Rainforest Alliance. This label gives evidence that the product we are offering has been cultivated and treated in a sustainable manner.
    Read more about the Rainforest Alliance.

    Tirimbina received the Ecological Blue Flag Certificate in both 2008 and 2009. This past year we received the maximum of 3 stars. The objective of the Blue Flag program is the search for conservation and development consistent with the protection of natural resources and providing improved sanitary conditions for Costa Rican public health. This certificate is given to protected natural areas which have an emergency plan and community cooperation programs such as the planting of trees, for working with a development plan for the future of the protected natural area, and communal actions under the concept of social responsibility directed towards the community and its education centers.

    Since 2007, the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) has certified our cacao plantation for meeting the required standards of SAN. With this certificate Tirimbina demonstrates that it promotes the principles of conservation and sustainable development which contribute to social welfare.

    CST Certification

    For more information on CST, click here.


    Sarapiquí is the 10th and largest canton of the Heredia province. It is located in the North of Costa Rica and was granted the title of canton on November 18th, 1970. With a size of 2.450 square km, Sarapiquí comprises three quarters of the territory of Heredia.

    A population of 55,000 inhabits its 5 districts: Puerto Viejo, La Virgen, Horquetas, Llanuras del Gaspar and La Cureña.

    The climate is humid, as is characteristic for the Caribbean region of Costa Rica.
    It is primarily an agricultural area with scenic highlights such as the La Angel Waterfall, the La Paz Waterfall, the Laguna de El Congo and the Sarapiquí River.

    The history of this region goes back to the pre-Columbian era. The area now known as the Sarapiquí Canton was inhabited by an indigenous group called Votos, who lived on the region’s plains. Its name is derived from the Yori River, as the Votos people called it; the translation for Yori in Spanish is Sarapiquí, according to national historian Carlos Gagini.

    This Canton has an important history in our country, for two principle reasons:

    1 - It was part of the first transport route between Costa Rica and Europe.

    2- It played a very significant role in the defense of the National Sovereignty. On April 10th, 1856 the Filibusters, under command of William Walker, arrived in Costa Rica by the Sarapiquí River. A victory in the battle of Sardinal by the Costa Rican Army marked the beginning of the defeat of the foreign forces.

    There are 3 ways to get to this beautiful area by land:

    * The traditional or 'heroes' route (Vara Blanca), which offers views of the San Fernando and La Paz waterfalls, mountains, rivers and volcanoes. (This route is currently not accessible).

    * The highway through the Braulio Carrillo National Park, a stunning route with great landscapes.

    * Via the region of San Carlos, where you may observe many agricultural crops such as pineapple, palm and decorative plants.


    Sarapiquí offers six of the eight categories of tourism activities as established by the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism. These are: traditional tours, natural history, adventure tourism, sport fishing, tourism for elderly people and scientific tourism.

    Hikes in the tropical wet forest, birdwatching (425 species of birds of the 850 species in the country), and boat trips where you can observe monkeys, iguanas, caimans, crocodiles, sloths and otters are all considered part of the natural history category. There are also Butterfly and Frog gardens (500 species of butterflies of the 700 that exist in the country).

    Sarapiquí offers a variety of landscapes and is also an area rich in biodiversity; 3000 species of plants, 450 species of ants and 142 species of mammals have been recorded.

    Adventure and Nature Tourism

    The Sarapiquí River offers visitors enjoyment of rapids by raft or kayak, while marveling at its natural richness. The Sarapiquí River offers four different levels or sections for beginners, intermediates and advanced paddlers.

    The Sarapiquí River runs parallel to the road and has 16 evacuation exits to attend any emergency, making it a very safe river to practice this sport. The river forms attractive, natural rapids and in most parts passes by primary and secondary forest, making this a valuable and highly scenic international tourism product.

    The area is suitable for various types of tourism due to its diverse tourist attractions: religious, holidays, business and social. According to the National Plan of the Northern Plains, the main activities nowadays are: hikes, horseback rides, rafting and birdwatching, among others.

    The various tourist attractions support more than 20 hotels, cabins and hostels of good quality with over 600 rooms at excellent rates. This offers a stable and well paid source of work.

    Due to its geographic location and short distances to other tourist destinations, daytrips are possible to the Poas Volcano National Park, Arenal Volcano National Park, Braulio Carrillo National Park, Tortuguero National Park and the Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge.

    Since 1996, Sarapiquí has had its own Chamber of Tourism, whose main objective is to promote the tourist attractions in the area. At the same time, it balances concern for the landscape, trying to ensure that the wildlife populations are not affected and that the great variety in flora and fauna of the area is maintained.

    We offer education
    programs for
    all levels.

    Explore the trails and
    discover the flora
    and fauna of our region.

    Research in one of
    the most diverse sites
    in the world.