What Is Greenwashing?

Pacuare Eco Lodge - View of the lodge from the Pacuare River

10 Jun What Is Greenwashing?

The Reality of Greenwashing

Seems like everyone and everything is being touted as “green” these days. From personal care products to food items, the promises and claims are all about being eco-friendly and sustainable. It was inevitable that the green-labeling spree would hit the travel industry, including hotels and resorts. But how do you tell what’s what? Is simply recycling and offering to reuse towels and linens enough to warrant a green label? While those steps are very important and do save resources, there are other criteria to consider.

Seeing the Green for the Environment

If you’re planning your vacation and investigating your options, there are some additional criteria you can use to evaluate the real green factor. Start with recycling and composting as a table stake. However, it’s one thing to offer a few recycling and composting bins, but does your potential accommodation or resort do it throughout the organization or just for the guests? What about their power source? Wind, solar and hydro-electric power sources are all sound options and really demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and the environment. The stakes can get even higher when your vacation destination is in an environmentally sensitive area like, say, a rainforest.


Using alternative, renewable energy sources, such as this natural stream that powers Rios Tropicales Ecolodge, is real green in action.

Extra Sensitive for the Environment

Using reclaimed wood to build your ecolodge makes sense on so many levels, doesn’t it? Hard to claim being green if building the resort involved clear-cutting rainforest. And how does everything–from guests and guides to recycling and supplies–arrive and leave the resort? It doesn’t do much good to create an ecolodge that uses roads and fossil fuels as its primary form of transportation. This probably seems like a lot to consider, but there are ways to find out if your desired destination is truly green.


Nothing beats green in action better than planting a native tree in a rainforest reserve!

Making It Easier to Be Green

Third-party evaluations take the work out of the green search and can help you find an eco-friendly resort pretty easily. TripAdvisor’s GreenLeader program requires hotels and resorts to apply for certification with real facts that can be verified. They even have different levels–Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Each level indicates an increasing commitment to being environmentally conscientious and sustainable. So go for the Gold, but Bronze is still better than average.

Three Decades of Green

After 30 years in the business, we’re delighted sustainability and the environment are on people’s minds. When we started Rios Tropicales in 1985, we made the decision to do everything we could to be green. We have an extensive rainforest restoration program and an award-winning ecolodge, which recycles, composts, is hydro-electric powered, and was built with reclaimed wood. The only way to the Rios Tropicales Lodge is on foot or by rafting the incredible Pacuare River. It’s a lovely commute, in our opinion. You can visit our website to learn more. You’ll even see our proudly displayed Gold GreenLeader icon–we’re the first one in Costa Rica to have received it! So happy green hunting.


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