Environmental and social responsibility
Our Environmental and Sustainable Development Policy supports various projects with a social, cultural and / or environmental vocation. Our role is also to advise on best practices and ideas
Why supporting associative projects?
Costa Rica, pioneer in certain development areas, remains an intermediate country in terms of economic development and income. Sensitive areas (large cities, remote localities) still need support for socio-cultural development (education, environment, etc.)
Our position as a local player allows us, on one hand, to know the needs of the country in general or of certain communities in particular, and on the other hand, to meet the growing demand of travelers wishing to make a concrete contribution during their stay in development actions
We follow projects every year by focusing our action as much as possible on the long term while adapting the supported projects according to needs and necessities
Historically, we identified 4 projects to support. Some continue, others have evolved, over time we have supported other associations, but the spirit remains the same:
– In the name of the winners of the game made by tourists traveling in groups, we make a donation to a school. In 2009 and 2010, the aid went to the primary school in the small village of 4 Esquinas, in the banana area of Tortuguero. In 2012, we started a collaboration with the Finca Doce school in Palmar in the south of the country. We regularly donate school materials or equip children in uniform.
– We are a founding member of the Amigos de los Parques Program and annually donate funds for national park improvement projects or by promoting their funding program. We also actively participate in reforestation or biological corridor development programs.
– We have contributed financially to the launch and projects of the Horizonte Verde association, a social and environmental well-being association dedicated to education, economic and social emancipation and access to culture for the most disadvantaged populations from Heredia. Since then, we have continued to help cultural or socio-educational associations.
– Every year since 2010, we have supported the national clean-up day organized by the NGO Terra Nostra with the objectives of developing citizen participation in improving the quality of life and in the conservation and protection of biodiversity as well as to preserve the quality of the oceans.
– We encourage visitors to visit the Fairtrade Shop Museum of Indigenous Communities in San José
– Since 2014, we have been supporting the Hogares Crea association with the aim of countering some negative impacts of tourism and allowing children to escape the circle of drugs and prostitution (*)
(*) The Cactus Tour offices are located in Heredia where Hogares Crea is also located, which facilitates our involvement
If after or before having visited Costa Rica or read these pages, you wish to participate personally or financially support these Costa Rican projects, contact us or get in touch directly with the persons in charge of these associations.
We regularly publish information on the concrete aspects of our engagement. Do not hesitate to ask us for more information.
The Primaries School « 4 Esquinas » and “Finca Doce”
Why support a primary school in Costa Rica? Some may ask themselves this question, remembering that Costa Rica has one of the best literacy rates in Latin America (95% according to the latest data from Index mundi) and that education is public and compulsory. for children over 5 years old. Unfortunately, schools and families sometimes face serious budgetary constraints. The repercussions of these on the education of children are heavy. Some of the students do not have the means to buy the equipment needed to study, others (or the same) do not have decent uniforms to go to the school benches … school, itself often does not have the necessary budgets for the purchase of furniture, work materials or books for the teachers or the pupils themselves. Sometimes the roofs of classrooms let rain through. For CACTUS TOUR, education is the main pillar of the economic, cultural and social development of tomorrow. Also, it seemed important to us to support the “4 Esquinas” school, located in the banana zone bordering Tortuguero National Park and the Finca Doce primary school located in Palmar, whose educational teams we know.
How can you contribute? During your trip, you will learn the main characteristics of Costa Rica and you will have the opportunity, during a group trip, to check your knowledge through our MCQ. By simply answering the questions in the game, you participate in the social and economic development of the primary school since on behalf of the winners, Cactus Tour donates 10 USD to the school. The winners receive a donation certificate in their name. Each year, the sum of these sums is paid in full to the Educational Center.
What are the sustainable actions of CactusTour with schools?
The “4 Esquinas” school is located in the countryside about an hour’s drive north of the town of Guápiles. This public institution brings together more than 150 children aged 4 to 11, coming from all the surrounding villages and all social backgrounds. Our contribution is both financial, material and based on the richness of intercultural exchanges. For the start of the 2010 school year, Cécile, our “sustainable tourism” project manager, went to deliver school supplies for the students and teachers. Uniforms (compulsory in Costa Rica) were also offered to children from the poorest families.
Our project does not end there. Our objective is to participate in the restoration of the school premises and in the creation of a library for children and teachers. Depending on the success of this project, our actions could be extended to the neighboring college or even to the municipal association.
The Finca Doce school is in the heart of the small village of the same name, in the middle of African palm plantations and next to the important Finca 6 archaeological site where the famous stone spheres of Costa Rica were found. The school brings together about twenty children from 6 to 12 years old. The teacher fights every day to carry out the educational project with the children in basic premises and with little means. Since the start of the 2012 school year, we have been sending uniforms for children in need, books and school materials.
Program « Amigos de los Parques » de ProParques
Why support ProParques in Costa Rica?
Costa Rica has a nature conservation policy that resonates beyond its borders. So what is the point of getting involved at this level, you might say! ? It is undeniable: national parks are invaluable natural resources that all tourists traveling with Cactus Tour will be able to enjoy! They are at the same time the “lungs of the country”, a source of jobs and currency for the country as a whole. But maintaining such structures is expensive and all the funds mobilized through the payment of entrance tickets are not reinvested in the Parks, far from it. It therefore seems more than important to us to participate in maintaining their quality. Also, we decided to join ProParques in order to participate in a controlled and sustainable development of Costa Rican National Parks.
What does ProParques do?
ProParques is a non-profit organization, contributing to the sustainable development of Costa Rican National Parks, through the continuous training of employees and the improvement of visitor infrastructures.
The projects of the ProParques association are many and varied. Among these, we can mention some successes: 13 national parks of Costa Rica are now connected to the Internet, distance education for employees, a scholarship system for the realization of personal projects of the workforce. To this must be added the initialization of the rehabilitation of hiking trails, the renovation of health infrastructure and the construction of an eco-museum.
We actively participate in general assemblies and have participated in the construction of the “Amigos de los Parques” Program of this association made up of ecologists, academics and business leaders.
“Amigos de los Parques”, a sponsorship program supported and promoted by CactusTour until 2013
To finance all its actions, ProParques founded, in collaboration with SINAC (National System of Conservation Areas, a public institution managing National Parks) and FUNDECOR (NGO founded in 1989 to protect and extend forest cover on the Central Volcanic Cordillera) , a sponsorship program called “Amigos de los Parques”. Supported by 25 founding members, referred to as Bosque Tropical members, and by 200 Guaria members, which are tourism companies offering preferential rates to membership card holders, “Amigos de los Parques” offers a series of membership cards, the price of which includes , in addition to admissions to a defined number of national parks, a donation to the association ProParques
CactusTour as a founding member of the program to help many visitors to participate in the program. Together, for each purchase of 3 tickets to National Parks, we donated 9 USD to ProParques
The Horizonte Verde Social, Cultural and Environmental Welfare Association
Horizonte Verde is an association founded in 2009 by a group of friends, united around the same objective: to bring to the inhabitants of the city of Heredia and its surroundings an improvement of their living environment both sociocultural and regional view of the natural environment. In parallel with the two projects it is developing and as an economic component, the association promotes micro-entrepreneurship within the most disadvantaged communities
Why support Horizonte Verde?
Based in Heredia, our company saw the beginnings of what would become Horizonte Verde since its director was none other than a former employee of Cactus Tour. After working all day to make the most wonderful trips, Céline organized alternative cinema sessions and artistic and environmental workshops for the benefit of underprivileged families and schools in Heredia or joined the very small group at the initiative of the Las Flores Festival. , cultural and socio-environmental festival presenting free of charge to all the populations of Heredia and its surroundings performances by local artists, workshops and conferences … Céline devoted herself entirely to this project and set up at the same time that it created the Horizonte Verde association, an environmental education project called “Pasos Firmes Huellas Sostenibles” (Firm Steps for Sustainable Traces!).
Cactus Tour made a substantial donation in 2009 for the launch of the association and continued a close relationship with Horizonte Verde until 2012
What were the actions of Horizonte Verde?
The association continued its cultural action through the Festival de las Flores, born in 2005 and which now takes place once a year for a period of one week. Alongside an environmental and social fair-exhibition, local and traditional artists as well as actors, poets and young people from the city are invited to share their art and their knowledge.
During its 6th edition in 2011, more than 16,500 people took part which confirms year after year the influence and success of the festival.
In 2009, the Pasos Firms Huellas Sostenibles project took its first steps. After a diagnosis carried out in the canton of Heredia, an agreement was made with the Heredia high school for the implementation of an environmental education pilot project and a recycling program for the high school and the families of teachers and students. Among these, the poorest will be the subject of special support with a proposal to create micro-centers for the recovery and classification of waste, with a view to their reuse and recycling
Workshops and outings are organized with the students of the Heredia high school to continue raising awareness of the topic of recycling
In 2011, in connection with the passage of the comprehensive waste law (GIR law), particular emphasis was placed on this theme and numerous conferences were organized promoting debate between institutions, civil society and NGOs.
Electronic waste recovery and cleaning campaigns are also regularly organized
National Cleaning Day
Since 2009, we have formalized our action by joining our efforts to the Waste Collection Day organized worldwide by Ocean Conservancy and in Costa Rica by the NGO Terra Nostra.
We participate financially in the organization and Cactus Tour employees go to the field for an active participation
The objectives which are on the one hand to develop citizen participation in improving the quality of life and in the conservation and protection of biodiversity and on the other hand to clean up rivers and seashores to preserve the quality of oceans.
Each year, around 19 tonnes of waste are collected, corresponding to plastic caps and bottles (70%) which were sent to the various recycling centers.
It should be noted an increase in the number of cigarette butts collected. As observed in many countries, the restriction of smoking areas means that smokers increasingly throw their butts in gutters and sidewalks. Even if it is true that we do not know the effects of these tons of cigarette butts ending up in the oceans, it seems important to draw the attention of visitors and tourists to throwing their cigarette ends in the trash and not on The beaches.
This initiative was also at the origin of the first national day for the collection of electronic waste and residues: 25 tons were recovered. This has allowed many companies and individuals to get rid of waste that we usually know what to do!
For more information (in Spanish) you can visit the Terra Nostra page presenting this action