Luxury hotels are known for having all types of unique onsite programming. But, the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica might have just come up with an option you’ve likely never considered: coral gardening.
The five-star property teamed up with Peninsula Papagayo and the Culebra Reef Gardens Alliance to create a program that lets guests help restore local coral reefs. This is desperately needed as the UN Environmental Program estimated that 25 percent of coral reefs have already disappeared. Plus, roughly two-thirds of all coral reefs are at risk. To help, several options available to guests allow them to get hands-on.
One such way is coral gardening. If you’re an experienced diver with at least 10 dives, you can participate in the Coral Gardening Experience. This entails taking a dive boat to the Guiri Guiri Reef with a trained member to a heavily damaged coral colony. From there, you get to clean newly planted baby coral, cut some adult coral pieces to be transplanted into the reef, and plant coral (aka attaching healthy coral pieces to damaged coral areas). Plus, you can adopt your own coral structure as part of the gardening/planting process. Yes, after planting more than 40 coral fragments, you can add a nameplate on the beach.
You can still participate even if you don’t have a diving background. The Adopt-a-Coral program allows you to donate a monetary amount to assist in maintaining a coral nursery site. You can also participate in a beach clean-up on Playa Blanca and Playa Virador with 5 Minute Foundation.
Lastly, guests can visit a portion of the coral nursery via a complimentary guided snorkeling excursion. You’ll learn about the restoration work and local marine life like seahorses, turtles, octopuses, and stingrays. And this snorkeling is more than just a learning experience; it helps local conservationists and marine biologists monitor the aquatic animals for any changes due to environmental factors.
If you’re wondering just how much of an impact this programming is making, just look at the numbers. The Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica, along with its partners, has planted 4,500 coral fragments onto 47 coral nurseries with a survival rate of 83 percent. Yes, in just 8 to 10 months, they’ve seen coral growth that usually takes 12 to 15 years.
“It is our mission to revitalize the waters around Peninsula Papagayo, and we are thrilled with the results thus far,” Susana Vicente, Head of Sustainability at Peninsula Papagayo, said in a statement. “As an essential part of the Papagayo Legacy program, Four Seasons and Peninsula Papagayo are committed to expanding the program and creating more opportunities for guests and residents to experience the coral reef project and have a meaningful impact on the sea life around Peninsula Papagayo.”
The Four Seasons Costa Rica isn’t the only Four Seasons property with new sustainability offerings. For example, four Seasons Resort Hualalai recently announced it planted its 50,000th tree within Four Seasons Resort Hualalai Legacy Forest. And Four Seasons Resort and Residences Los Cabos at Costa Palmas now let guests foster a rescue dog during their stay, adopt a four-legged friend to bring home, or volunteer at the local dog shelter Cortez Rescue & Outreach Center.
To participate in any coral-themed activities at Four Seasons Costa Rica, contact the concierge at [email protected].