Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa Details Sustainability Efforts

Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa, an eco-luxury wellness resort in Costa Rica, unveiled its official Sustainability Report for 2020-21, demonstrating extensive socio-economic strategies across three focus areas within sustainability: Environmental management, corporate social responsibility, and culture. The report aligns key initiatives against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and lays the groundwork for ambitious sustainability plans in the coming years.

People That Flow

Corporate social responsibility took precedence in 2020-21 and the report outlines the various means employed to support staff during eight months of closure, going above and beyond the government standards put in place to continue to provide “a source of respectable employment” and contribute to the teams’ quality of life. This included maintaining benefits such as staff meals, voluntarily advancing retirement pay, providing the opportunity for work outside their usual roles, and undertaking a program of maintenance and renovation. For Tabacón staff, a total of 28,476 hours of occupational health training took place between September 2020 and December 2021, at which point Tabacón was back to 90 percent of its March 2020 payroll. Over this period, the resort was also recognized for continuing to enhance its internal and external inclusion policies with initiatives like “Three Days Pay for Paternity” and increased accessibility for all resort-wide, including a wheelchair ramp into the main pool.

Within the La Fortuna region, Tabacón staff prepared and delivered 6,885 lunches to more than 850 families over a seven-month period in 2020, and contributed to the #FeedFortuna online campaign, which raised just shy of $20,000, feeding 500 families.

Sustainability in Action

From an operational perspective, the report demonstrates the ways Tabacón has progressed its reduction strategies through a combination of efficiencies and investment. In 2021, Tabacón surpassed its goal of a 5 percent reduction in energy consumption, achieving a 9 percent decrease from the last comparable year, 2019. Over this two-year period Tabacón completed its program to become 100 percent LED and began a solar energy project with the installation of 836 photovoltaic solar panels. Concerted efforts were made in 2021 to reduce the reliance on single-use products such as PPE, and the resort’s Material Transfer Center began to record the amounts of non-recoverable waste to create a benchmark for 2022.

Since Tabacón’s water supply is 100 percent derived from the natural springs located on-property, with all hot water used in the resort naturally heated by the Arenal volcano, a water usage monitoring system was introduced in 2021. Consideration for downstream water protection and native landscaping was demonstrated during the renovation of the main pool area where Tabacón’s house nursery was able to provide 96 percent of the 1,036 plants used to surround the pool. The property itself consists of 353 hectares of rainforest, only seven of which are built on, and is home to an ongoing rewilding program. Since 2009, more than 1500 trees have been planted by guests as part of Tabacón’s “Plant A Tree Program” and are tagged for guests to revisit. These trees are home to different types of birds, including the green macaw which are endangered species.


Tabacón has been involved in numerous educational and cultural projects in the area for several years and the importance of sustaining and promoting Costa Rican culture is at the heart of its mission; these include the Communal Band of La Fortuna, which supports 200 musicians of all ages playing wind and percussion instruments, a dance group dedicated to Costa Rican dance, and the Color Guard. Through the “San Carlos Creativo” program, Tabacón hosts artist Freddy Acuña twice a month who exhibits crafts that tell the story of Costa Rican legends.

By empowering the F&B team through supply-chain training, Tabacón has increased the prevalence of home-grown and home-crafted on the menu across the resort’s two restaurants and four bars. New food and cocktail (including vegan and non-alcoholic) menus have been designed to reveal tales of Costa Rica’s history, the seven provinces and native foods. These are served with a side of ‘story’ to provide guests with context about their heritage and role in Tico traditions.

Supporting local businesses, a new “Coffee Tasting Experience” developed in partnership with La Fortuna’s Cafe Metropoli roasting company explores the history and geographic nuances of one of the country’s key exports. Tabacón also uses Biosfera products exclusively in the spa. This La Fortuna-based company was established by a former employee and inspired by her time working at the Tabacón Spa.


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