I’m my own guest blogger today. Instead of writing about sustainability at TheNatural Store.com, I’ve got my innkeeper hat on. This post is coming from the half of me that runs the finca…la finca caribe, the place on Puerto Rico’s Vieques Island that together, with TheNaturalStore.com, is giving away a week-long eco-adventure for two.
It’s been sort of wild to watch the interest in our “Natural Giveaway to the Getaway” sweepstakes climb so rapidly over just a week or two. Hopefully those signing up are interested in more than just the free trip. I’m hoping they’re interested in living greener, eco travel and all that other good stuff. Because, dear readers, if you think you signed up for a luxury week of Puerto Rican golf and spa…better think again. This is eco travel; simple living, Caribbean-style.
Guests at the finca often ask us what “eco travel” really means? For us, it’s always meant we run the place as simply, with as little impact on our environment, as possible. We’ve always, in our nearly 15 year history, used terms like “rustic,” “summer camp,” wilderness lodge” and “simple living” to convey the place and our approach. But now that the concepts of “sustainability” and “going green” haven taken hold, we now clearly spell out what we do, and have always done. Some of the ways we go about minimizing our footprint on our tiny little island of Vieques is with:
- our wonderful solar water system for most of our outdoor showers
- our non-chlorine, salt system pool (I think we were the first folks on the island to put one in)
- drying all our laundry on the line – rarely turning on the dryer
- avoiding any kind of pesticide or herbicide
- cleaning with natural products from de~luxe, seventh generation, method, dr bronners, and sometimes even just vinegar!
- recycling and re-using everything we can
- not using disposables, paper or plastic
- encouraging our guests to bring their own our reusable water bottles (we HATE unnecessary plastic and land fill issues!)
- not offering air conditioners (you don’t need one with a simple fan and our tradewinds), TV or phone in any of the rooms and cabins
- encouraging all guests to be part of our beach clean-up effort
- using minimal water and electricity, and asking guests to do the same
- re-using magazines, books and music; we even recycle the inn’s old towels for cleaning rags
- discounting stays to environmental, educational and other non-profit community groups
- and if you want more there’s our site: http://www.lafinca.com/eco-tourism.php
Otherwise, if the idea of a lizard, or even a beetle darting across your floor, and doing nothing more than listening to tropical frogs and watching the stars from a swinging hammock sounds good — then you’re ready for Simple Living, Caribbean Style.
And like I say to all my friends, neighbors and everyone I met at GreenFest last week, “I hope you win!”
Hasta la finca!