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LET’S TALK SUSTAINABILITY

Careli Tours is committed to the conservation of Nicaragua’s vital ecosystems and wildlife, as well as cultural preservation and community development. Further, we are proactively committed to doing business with a clear focus on sustainability, and we assure you that the services provided to our customers are backed up with a solidly sustainable process to prevent environmental damage and honor social responsibility wherever we go. And we are pleased to note the importance of sustainable practices to our increasingly social- and environmentally-conscious clients; living up to their expectations is another good reason for us to believe in and operate a sustainably responsible travel company.

In May, 2007, as a clear sign of our commitment to authentic ecotourism, we signed an agreement with Rainforest Alliance, preparing under their strict guidance, to advance and improve our environmental, economic, and socio-cultural business practices in the Nicaraguan tourism industry.
In December, 2010, Rainforest Alliance completed their evaluation of more than 400 items on their list of sustainable points our operations must address. Careli’s approval score was 89%.

In July, 2015, we began again the evaluation process that leads to official certification, and we’ll bet you can guess what happened next: Yes, Careli Tours is a company fully certified by Rainforest Alliance!

LET’S TALK GIVING BACK (by Lourdes Fuentes)

In 2008, it was time for Careli Tours to evaluate if its commitment to community outreach matched its company goals. Axel, Careli’s general manager, and I met to consider and reconsider our results and future plans for the company’s social responsibility expectations. I felt there was a gap between the products offered and what Careli Tours was really aiming to achieve in terms of education and conservation. And without doubt there are so many things to improve in Nicaragua and so many obstacles to overcome. So we investigated what good works existed that we could contribute to and support. Our eureka! moment came when we understood that: that using the tools of our tourism business environment, we needed to think creatively and pioneer our own thing, which became: The Eco-Escuela project, dedicated to offering year-round lessons on the environment and conservation in local schools.
Working in cooperation with and parallel to Fondo Natura (a Nicaraguan NGO led by Dr. Incer Barquero, a well-known environmentalist), and enthusiastically supported by Maria Isabel Canton, the general manager of the Hotel Plaza Colon in Granada (the first city to successfully develop sustainable and viable tourism), we began the long and tedious process of securing government permits, getting approval of budgets, developing curriculum and materials, training teachers.
We opened our Eco-Escuela project in 2009 in a rural area on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, as part of the educational program of the Pedro Joaquin Chamorro School, which hosted 300 children, ranging from kindergarten to high school. We sponsored the program for two years, and as of today, students continue to be caught up in implementing good environmental practices and protecting the environment.
It’s nice when dreams continue to grow, and in 2012, we decided to sponsor our project in a larger school in Granada. Since January, 2013, Eco-Escuela is now “in session” at the Carlos A. Bravos Elementary School, located on the famous Calzada Street in Granada; the school hosts 50 teachers and
1,000 students.

The Eco-Escuela Project in a Nutshell

UNICEF reports that Nicaragua has a population of 5.1 million people and an annual population growth rate of 2.7%; the population under 18 years of age is 53%. The nation’s main challenge is to overcome inequity and poverty, a situation that affects mainly children and women. The quality and relevance of education are significant problems. It takes an average of 10.3 years to complete the mandatory six years of schooling, and only 29% of the children complete basic elementary education. Poverty affects school participation, with many families unable to afford direct or hidden costs of education.

The International convention on the Rights of Children states: Governments and Society must “recognize the right of children to education…[that develops] the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities.”
We believe that when we act, the environment reacts, and our children need to acknowledge and understand this. By understanding, children can join us all in helping to protect and nurture the environment, and also help to make this protection an influential element in their families and communities.

It is a program in which children, teachers and community receive year-round environmental education and take an active part in field trips to understand the importance of protecting their environment. The Project is designed to provide the children with school supplies that will support their education, developing their commitment into helping protect the immediate world around them. The Project also seeks to improve the school’s basic infrastructure: restrooms, classrooms and water access.

  • Participate in all of the activities planned throughout the year by the Program and collaborate with the teacher assigned for the environmental lessons.
  • Recycling Education: Teach children to place garbage in the right bins, donated by Careli Tours and the Plaza Colon Hotel. Further, obtain funds from these recycling practices that will be utilized in school improvements.
  • Protect the environment in the area
  • Serve as a “good example” and “role model” school for all of the other area schools

Despite financial sponsorship and hands on-work done year-round, public schools always have to deal with serious difficulties—such as not having restrooms, no drinkable water, not enough chairs for students to sit on, lack of educational materials, etc. Therefore, we continue to encourage our guests to help, depending on the school needs.

If you would like to learn more about the Eco-Escuela Project, contact Rosemary Chamorro at:  rosemary.chamorro@carelitours.com