The Cayuga Collection, a sustainable tourism resort and eco-lodge operator based in Central America, is extending a challenge to the right newlyweds as the award winning company continues its quest to perfect the marriage of luxury and sustainability while creating eco-honeymoon experiences.
Selected honeymooners will be asked to test the mattresses and bamboo bed linens, sample the food and service, review what each property considers its most romantic locations and activities, help identify the right amount of engagement with local communities and local initiatives sponsored by Cayuga as part of its sustainable operations, and define what environmentally and community conscious honeymooners consider too much or too little luxury, when it may come with a touch of “roughing it” for the sake of a smaller footprint.
“Our properties attract hundreds of honeymooners every year, and while we receive great feedback, we think we can do even better – especially for those discerning couples who care about reducing their impact while travelling,” says Hans Pfister, president and co-owner of Cayuga. “Chosen couples will become eco-honeymoon designers. They will decide where to go and what to do; they will experience romantic meals in what we think are spectacular settings – but do they? And in exchange for their time and feedback, we will cover their accommodation, meals and activities. They just have to get themselves to Costa Rica and take care of their own transportation to and from the properties.”
Interested couples are being asked to go online to and submit an application by May 1, 2014. Three couples will be chosen and announced by May 30, 2014. To participate in the challenge, each couple must have been married within the last five years, have a passion for sustainability, and have a wide range of travel experience behind them. The chosen honeymooners can then book their complimentary trip anytime from Aug. 20 to Dec. 15, 2014. A list of all eight participating Cayuga properties may be found at www.cayugaonline.com
In 2013, for a similar focus test, Cayuga received more than 300 applications from all over the world for its first eco-internship. Los Angeles based Joseph Smolen and Kaitlin Solimine were chosen to experience and look under the hood of the sustainable practices of Jicaro Island Ecolodge in Nicaragua and Latitude 10 Exclusive Beach Resort, The Harmony Hotel, Arenas Del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort and Lapa Rios Ecolodge, all in Costa Rica. They created a comprehensive report, filed daily blogs, and wrote articles on their experiences. www.huffingtonpost.com/kaitlin-solimine/sustainable-luxury-travel_b_4435040.html.
“We learned a lot from Joseph and Kaitlin’s fresh pairs of eyes. Thanks to their feedback we moved ahead with plans to refresh guest rooms; we are upgrading tours, especially for serious birders; improving on property signage and lighting; and ensuring the sense of arrival is as warm and welcoming at each property,” says Pfister. “Guest feedback is always invaluable to us and we want our honeymooners to have just as critical eyes. It is easy to cross the line into luxury that may not seem sustainable if not explained properly or take too extreme an approach to avoid being labeled a green washer. It is important to us that our experiences are authentic , sustainable and also meet the new definition of luxury which seems to change constantly as guests become more environmentally and socially aware. What may have once seemed a pampering amenity may now be a turn-off because its negative impact – water in plastic bottles is a perfect example.”
The Cayuga Collection consists of ecolodges, resorts, and sustainable hotels throughout Costa Rica and Nicaragua. All Cayuga properties specialize in creating the symbiosis of sustainability and luxury, always providing a sense of place by taking into account local culture and customs. To Cayuga, sustainability is about more than reusing your towel twice and passing on plastic. The luxury hospitality group earned a Condé Nast Traveler World Savers award in 2010 and 2012 for its social responsibility, and a Travel + Leisure Global Vision award for Environmental Leadership in 2010. Its properties have earned four and five leaves from the country’s Cámara Nacional de Ecoturismo (CANAECO). Cayuga works with local communities to train and employ local people and improve local living and learning conditions. Each of its properties is involved in conservation and community development, and the company even created a public charity called Equilibrium to further its reach and impact. For more information about all of Cayuga’s properties and experiences, visit www.cayugaonline.com.