Bodhi Surf’s Everyday Impact Reduction Measures

Bodhi Surf + Yoga / Surf + Yoga Camp Blog / Bodhi Surf’s Everyday Impact Reduction Measures

Thoreau quote painted on an old surfboard

We’re on a mission, and this mission is called the Ocean Guardian Journey! What does it consist of, you may wonder? Stewardship, and especially that in the sectors of community and environment. It is top priority for the team members at Bodhi Surf School to be the best that we can be, which means not just providing great and consistent service for our guests, but also being a business that practices Social and Environmental Responsibility. We want to be an example for other people as well as other companies, both within and outside of our industry.

For that reason, we are highlighting what we have done and continue to do on a day-to-day basis to reduce our negative impact and to expand our positive influence. And for even more information, check out our 2014 Bodhi Initiatives Document which goes into detail about our large-scale programs and measures.


Bodhi Lodge Construction

Building Bodhi Surf Lodge

  • All of the wood used in the building and repair of the lodge and other constructions comes from renewable sources. The plantation pine was used in the construction of the bungalows and most of the furniture in the cabins and rooms is made from pine or from other locally-sourced wood.
  • The majority of the lighting is with compact florescent bulbs. Some of the indoor lighting is with LED bulbs and the outdoor pathway lighting is solar.
  • We do not use air-conditioning anywhere. For cooling, our structures are built to provide utmost ventilation and are raised off the ground with insulation in the ceiling. Structures are placed strategically to allow the breezes from both the ocean and the mountains to naturally cool. Finally, we have both ceiling and standing fans for those extra hot days and nights.
  • Ample natural lighting helps to reduce our demand for/use of electricity.
  • All toilets in Bodhi Surf Lodge are low-flow and have dual option for either for liquid or solid waste.
  • Wastewater is treated in septic tanks with drain fields, and microorganisms are used to enhance the decomposition of solid waste in the septic systems.
  • Where possible, low volatile organic compounds (VOC) and lead free paints are used for projects.

Lodge Operations

Handpainted 6 Rs Sign

  • We monitor our consumption of electricity and water and constantly look for ways to economize; all guests are educated on the significance of energy conservation and are encouraged to follow basic, yet significant tasks, such as turning off lights, fans, and disconnecting appliances when leaving a room, shortening showers and dish water use.
  • We have a compost and recycling center on premises: waste is separated immediately between organic, plastic, glass, paper, and aluminum, vastly reducing the amount that goes to landfill.
  • We have the six R’s (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Reinvent, Recycle) signs in strategic visual spaces all around the lodge to encourage our guests to take action.
  • All organic waste is composted on site and used as fertilizer in the gardens as opposed to being burned.
  • We save and reuse the majority of “things” we acquire: paper, wood, building materials, etc. are used for different things. For example, old wood/scraps are used for the ongoing Clean Streets, Clean Water campaign, old surfboards are used for art/decorative purposes and benches around the lodge, all office paper is used on both sides and recycled for notepaper.
  • We strongly encourage our guests to bring a water bottle which can be refilled over and over: this avoids buying bottled water and adding more plastic to the environment.
  • The majority of our cleaning products are biodegradable and grey-water safe.
  • Clients have the option of using towels for 1-week, a measure aimed at conserving water, electricity, and reducing the amount of cleaning agents that go into the environment.
  • When possible, laundry is dried by the sun rather than with electric driers.
  • We reduce our plastic consumption and encourage guests to do the same: Bodhi Lodge has dispensers of hand and bath soap to help avoid waste, we provide reusable grocery bags for guests, at surf lessons we use water coolers and water bottles and use fruits for snacks.
  • 100% of our food purchases are purchased in Costa Rica with the majority of food coming from the region.
  • Meals are buffet-style and menu is streamlined to ensure little to no food waste.
  • We have a virtual office: all internal communications are online, and there is very minimal use of printing and other paper products.

Surf, Yoga, & Other Activities

Sustainable yoga mats and blocks

  • We offer guests bike rentals from local providers to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • All surf lessons take place in a marine national park, helping provide tangible benefits for conservation in our area
  • We use Matunas surf wax; non-toxic, biodegradable, with wrappers that are printed with recycled ink on 100% recycled paper.
  • We are in the process of solidifying a partnership to purchase a more eco-friendly sunscreen.
  • Our yoga blocks are purchased from Barefoot Yoga. They are cork blocks made from 100% natural cork, a sustainably harvested resource.
  • Our yoga mats are purchased from Barefoot Yoga. The mesh scrim (the “skeleton” of the mat) is made from 100% recycled polyester, do not contain phthalates or heavy metals, and the method of production is completely non-toxic and latex free. The wrap covering is made from eco-friendly POF (Polyolefin), which is a poly resin and completely bio-degradable. The sleeve insert is also printed with soy-based ink.
  • We use local tour providers that share our passion for social and environmental responsibility and that are committed to best practices for responsible tourism.
  • We encourage our guests to make a commitment to continue reducing their impact even after they go home, by signing our Ocean Guardian Pledge.
  • Bodhi Surf promotes conservation by holding our annual My Ocean Guardian Contest whereby we award great prizes (the grand prize of a yoga and surf vacation in Costa Rica!) environmentally innovative actions taken by individuals.

Social & Community

Bodhi Beach cleanup with kids

  • At any given time Bodhi Surf provides employment for between 3-5 members of the Bahia Ballena – Uvita community.
  • Bodhi Surf’s management staff and employees are active in community affairs. They occupy leadership positions in local, regional and national non-profits, and consult with development associations, water associations, neighborhood security committees, and local environmental organizations.
  • We offer the opportunity for local residents to both learn to surf and attend yoga classes in exchange for community service with our Service & Surf and Yoga for the Community programs.
  • Bodhi Surf supports local organizations such as Forjando Alas, Geoporter, and the Costa Rica KETO Foundation via our Travelers’ Philanthropy Program.
  • Bodhi Lodge was built nearby the heart of the community. Here our guests can engage with local culture; bread man on a bike at 5:30am, Costa Rica’s national anthem at 7am, passing of local high school bus, and typical daily life sights and sounds such as 4pm soccer “mejenga”, evening church goers, workers that sing songs, and the natural wildlife.
  • Bodhi Surf respects and promotes cultural heritage. We use local tour providers, give historic-cultural community walking tours, teach cooking classes, encourage visits to local integral farms, and provide information on Costa Rica culture, history and slang.
  • We encourage a tourism model that provides an “engage by doing” experience and facilitate our guests visiting local restaurants and markets.
  • We share our best practices via conferences such as the 2014 IV Symposium for Innovators in Coastal Tourism and 2013 III Global Waves Conference.
  • Our t-shirt are made by American Apparel with passion, innovation, and ethical practices for the clothing industry.

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About the author

Bodhi Surf + Yoga

A surf and yoga camp providing community-engaged travel experiences in beautiful Uvita, Costa Rica. Learn about what makes Bodhi Surf + Yoga different and don't hesitate to contact us.

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