Finca Rosa Blanca was started 25 years ago by Californians Glenn and Teri Jampol, who still live on the property. The lodge, which is not far from San Jose, has a total of 13 verandaed suites – such as El Ranchito master suite and El Guarumo junior suite, all set in lush gardens overlooking a valley – and its owners have been on the forefront of sustainable travel efforts in Costa Rica.
Seven years ago, the Jampols bought the neighboring coffee plantation and turned it into an organic farm, where the 30 acres of beans are shade-grown, and now you can enjoy truly fresh coffee on the terrace of El Tigre Vestido Restaurant while listening to the songbirds in the surrounding trees. Thus the full name, Finca Bianca Rosa Coffee Plantation & Inn.
Finca has worked with Escuela Jesus, a 500-strong primary school in the nearby town of Jesús for fifteen years. In the last 4 years it has concentrated on a program called the Ecological Blue Flag Program for Schools, which deals with sanitation, electricity, and environmental issues.
Finca also works with schools in Santa Bárbara de Heredia on similar programs and has donated tables to their computer rooms. During the last two years it has brought their folkloric dance troupe to dance at the hotel for guests and also, twice monthly, the “Cimarron” band who are accompanied by the “Mascarada” troupe (dancers with giant puppet heads). The high school students have painted murals at Finca and have produced flyers on ecological themes.
Since 2003, schoolchildren have helped plant more than 6,000 native trees at the coffee plantation and hotel, and celebrate the day with a picnic. Finca has been teaching students new systems of hydroponics using recycled material, and is in the process of setting up a hydroponic garden at the school to provide the cafeteria with fresh produce.
Finca supports a group of 100 children from Barrio Jesus called Patrulla Ecologica de Jesús, or the Jesus Eco- Patrol, that gathers every week to talk about the environment, clean the rivers and the streets of Jesus of garbage, recycle, paint murals, and make art, among other things. These children belong to the Children’s Food Bank, for which Finca provides the food one hot meal a day for more than 100 disadvantaged children five days a week.
Finca hires only locally, whereas in the rest of the country it is common to hire pickers from Nicaragua and Panama. The workers on its coffee farm collaborate in the recycling program and are included in training sessions of ‘Good Environmental Practices.’ Each year Finca provides a physician to examine all the employees or it allows them a day to go to the local clinic. The farm workers are very involved in the reforestation of the farms, from planning the planting of the trees to helping the children plant, to caring for the trees into the future.
At the coffee-roasting and packing house, Casa de Café, there is a small museum where they demonstrate aspects of Costa Rican culture.