Agro-Rural Tourism

Expanding our Commitment to Rural Tourism

Jim Damalas
President/CEO
Greentique Hotels

I came to Costa Rica over 20 years ago, determined to have a different quality of life than I was experiencing in Hollywood in the entertainment-production business.  Flash forward two decades, and I found myself wanting to maintain the precious relationship I have with Costa Rica, even in the midst of the explosive growth of Quepos and Manuel Antonio as well as my commitments to our company, Greentique Hotels.

I found my sanctuary in the mountains above Quepos. What started with a simple “casita” outside the village of Santa Juana, a weekend getaway where I could hone my organic farming skills with local villagers became a sustainable hospitality concept, starting with a rural adventure tour in the mountains of Costa Rica’s central Pacific region.

Rural tourism was an emerging trend just a few years ago. Deciding to invest in making it a reality, Greentique Hotels developed a feasible way for visitors to experience a Costa Rica that was vanishing a little bit more very day — and the Santa Juana Rural Mountain Adventure Tour was born. It has become the most highly-rated tour in the Greentique Hotels group.

Just the trip by 4 x 4 vehicles on the journey there is an adventure. The village ladies who prepared breakfast and traditional campesino lunches enjoy the comments and generous tips they received. It is the same for the Nature Interpreters, Horse Wranglers, and other members of the village who help host the tours that make everyone feel right at home.

The tour provides truly exceptional Costa Rica experiences. The tranquil atmosphere, warmth and charm of the rural lifestyle, and the lush mountain landscapes and stunning vistas of the Pacific coastline have blown tourists and Ticos alike away.

I am happy to report that after four years, the tours continue to impress everyone and the proceeds support the planting of thousands of native trees, along with the conservation efforts to protect the fauna and valuable watershed. Add the self-esteem and awareness that’s brought a dormant village back to life again, as part of the rural and agro tourism programs brought to Santa Juana, and a simple idea to find some jobs for the locals has become the main source of revenue for the community.

What was just a getaway and an emerging hobby of mine to grow tropical fruit and coffee, now offers hundreds of visitors the opportunity to discover of true nature of Costa Rica, its warm hospitality, and a way to share in this nation’s heritage without compromising the very attractions that brought me here in the first place.  And now, with the Santa Juana Lodge, it’s possible to overnight in this amazing little mountain village in the heart of rural Costa Rica.

Agro-Rural Tourism is Making the Difference!

Jim Damalas
President/CEO
Greentique Hotels

What I began to realise, after what was originally my weekend getaway to my simple “casita” and farming efforts, was the positive feedback, both from personal friends and eventually clients of a tour we decided to provide about the unique experiences, staring with my own, with a guided rural mountain tour of Santa Juana and the natural attractions surrounding the village. Everyone, including Nationals, were literally blown away by the tranquil atmosphere and warm and inviting charm of the rural lifestyle, with lush mountain landscapes and amazing vistas of the Pacific coastline. The customer feedback became the most consistent and highly rated tour experience for visitors from every background, including Costa Rican’s who re-discovered their own rural heritage. Just the trip by 4 x 4 vehicles on the county road to get there was an adventure, and the village ladies who prepared breakfast and Campesino lunches enjoyed the comments and generous tips they received. That was no different with the Nature Interpreters, Horse Wranglers and other members of the village who helped to host the tours that made everyone feel right at home.

 I am happy to report that after the last four years since we began, the tours continue to impress everyone and the proceeds benefit the thousands of native trees we’ve been able to plant and care for, along with the conservation efforts to protect the fauna and valuable watershed. Add the self-esteem and awareness that’s brought a dormant village back to life again, as part of the rural and agro tourism programs brought to Santa Juana, and a simple idea to find some jobs for the locals has become the main source of revenue for the community. What was just a hobby to grow tropical fruit and coffee, is now offering many visitors the discovery of the genuine hospitality of Costa Rica and the many initiatives to conserve and share a part of the nation’s heritage without compromising the very attractions that brought me here to begin with. 

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