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Rancho Pacifico: A luxury vacation both indulgent and eco-friendly

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Twilight on the pool terrace at Rancho Pacifico. PHOTO COURTESY OF RANCHO PACIFICO

By Patrick Straub

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The impact of a vacation is not reserved to the human psyche. Indeed, there’s a tangible effect on the destination itself and a cumulative effect on the planet. 

Now, as global travel slowly begins its return to pre-pandemic levels, the role of humans to be positive agents of change will be more crucial than ever. By choosing wisely, travelers can enjoy a luxury vacation while not forsaking the health of the planet.  

“Ecotourism and sustainability are terms travelers hear a lot,” says Mark Leaman, owner and operator of Rancho Pacifico, a luxury resort in Costa Rica. “At Rancho Pacifico, we live them every day. In every facet of our tropical paradise from our energy-efficient architecture to our sustainable operating practices, without a commitment to the greater whole, our mission would be incomplete. Our guests can visit a place that’s unspoiled without degrading it. They can even add to it.” 

Ocean view from a spacious suite at Rancho Pacifico. PHOTO COURTESY OF RANCHO PACIFICO

Mark and Marlo Leaman own and operate Rancho Pacifico, located nearby several national parks and preserves; the natural beauty is stunning. For years, Costa Rica was a popular destination for the couple, so when the opportunity presented itself to acquire Rancho Pacifico, they did just that and left behind the wind and cold of Chicago’s winters for the mountaintop beauty of Rancho Pacifico. 

“A commitment to environmental stewardship was part of the plan from the beginning,” Mark says when discussing Rancho Pacifico’s philosophy. “The ocean and national parks and the rainforest around us are so incredible here, we knew we needed to provide our guests an opportunity to experience luxury in a sustainable way.” 

That commitment is evident in the resort’s use of renewable energy, the on-site organic garden, and locally sourced fish, meats and produce. 

The Leamans’ commitment to providing an ecologically friendly richness to a luxury vacation doesn’t stop once the guests leave the lodge’s perch overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Guests can visit and volunteer at Reserva Playa Tortuga, a nonprofit biological reserve and research center near Rancho Pacifico. 

Rancho Pacifico’s visitors can actively assist the dedicated team of scientists at Reserva Playa Tortuga with turtle rescue, monkey research or butterfly propagation. To date over 60,000 baby turtles have been released and nearly 200 acres of sensitive coastal habitat have been protected. 

“But coastal habitats and intact mountain forests are part of an interconnected ecosystem,” says Leaman. “That’s why we worked with Community Carbon Trees to plant over 700 trees here at Rancho Pacifico. These new trees attract and sustain local wildlife and ensure the long-term health of the amazing jungle around us.”

Rancho Pacifico is a proud member of 1% for the Planet, a network of businesses that choose to donate 1% of their revenues to highly vetted environmental organizations. The resort can also purchase carbon credits on behalf of their guests to offset the climate impact of jet travel.

“Our 1% for the Planet membership, along with our carbon offset program, allow us to have an impact that is global.” Leaman adds. “We live local sustainability every day so these two programs allow us to make a difference on a larger scale.” 

With this commitment to conservation, each day’s adventures at Rancho Pacifico can be enjoyed knowing that locally—and globally—guests play a positive role in preserving the planet. 

Whether you seek sun salutations in the open-air yoga studio or researching native wildlife, or eco-friendly, yet high-adrenaline pursuits like zip-lining through the jungle canopy, whitewater rafting a pristine river, or just relaxing and taking-in the amazing view, a vacation at Rancho Pacifico is as good for the planet as it is for you.

Learn more about Rancho Pacifico and their 1% for the Planet membership.

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