Not enough healthy holiday companies care about the health of the planet and other people as well as the health of their guests. Here NOW profiles Bodhi Surf + Yoga camp in Costa Rica, who are committed to the sustainability of people and planet as well as your wellbeing.
In a nutshell
Bodhi Surf + Yoga camp is located in Bahia Ballena in Osa, a pristine and still relatively undeveloped area of Costa Rica. It specializes in week-long, community-engaged surf and yoga camps with five sessions each of surfing and yoga and the opportunity to learn and grow physically, mentally and spiritually. The company promotes respect for nature, environmental awareness and low-impact living in all that it does.
For your wellbeing
Bodhi is a Sanskrit word meaning “awakening”, and the aim of these trips is to awaken a sense of something – whether that’s purpose, passion, values, or goals. Surfing and yoga are both low-impact activities – and ways of life for some – that promote health, wellness, connection to nature and mind-body awareness. Yoga helps you to slow down, breathe properly and reconnect as well as shape up, while surfing’s particularly great for body awareness and helping us respect nature and work with it rather than fear it. Facing the challenges of both activities, you get to feel that you’re capable of more than you might have previously thought.
For other people
Bodhi Surf + Yoga offers its staff paid volunteer days, English classes, health care and training programmes. It donates crucial funds to the local Costa Ballena Lifeguard programme, and to a Safe Beach programme which helps protect widely visited areas and reduce crime – nether of these projects get any funding from local government. The company also donates several of its surf and yoga camps (valued at around $3,000 each) each year to organisations whose employees might benefit, such as Centre for Responsible Travel, the Surfrider Foundation, Adventure Scientists, 5 Gyres and the Plastic Pollution Coalition.
For the local community
Bodhi Surf + Yoga shows its local community real respect and support. To help promote responsible tourism, trips are deliberately not all-inclusive, so that guests have time to explore and add financially to the local community, whether that is by eating meals out, heading to the local supermarket or participating in an extra activity of their choice. Through its Travelers’ Philanthropy Programme, the company gives 1 to 2% of revenue from its surf and yoga holiday packages back to the community, and asks guests to donate more if they so choose (at the moment, guests donate about 0.75 for every dollar donated by Bodhi). It also offers activities for locals, including Yoga for the Community and Service and Surf Saturdays.
For the local culture
Guests get the chance to take part in guided walking tours to learn about the history of the area including the mysterious Stone Spheres of the Southern Pacific Zone of Costa Rica which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Casona Blanca (an old hacienda home that still stands), and the Marino Ballena National Park (Central America’s first marine national park, formed in 1989). You’ll get to find out the challenges that locals have overcome, and how they have shaped a town that today has conservation and sustainable development as centrally shared goals.
For other responsible businesses
Guests get a reusable metal water bottle from fellow B Corp member Klean Kanteen (plus a discount code if you want to buy your own) and biodegradable body products such as sunscreen and insect repellant from fellow B Corp Badger Balm (plus a discount code if you want to buy your own).
For the planet
Bodhi Surf + Yoga is certified by 1% for the Planet, which requires its members to contribute at least 1% of annual sales to environmental causes. It empowers guests to become committed Ocean Guardians and environmental stewards through its Ocean Guardian Pledge and subsequent Ocean Guardian digest email series, and holds an Ocean Guardian Contest each year. It also invests in Geoporters Costa Rica, a not for profit that helps locals build a sustainable community whose projects includes the Bahia Ballena Plastic-Free Coalition to reduce (especially single-use) plastic pollution, and the Semilla de Ballena reforestation project to reforest the area and protect it from storms and flooding.
The Bodhi App is also largely environmentally-focused, encouraging guests to change their behaviour before, during and after a trip by providing helpful tips and resources for things such as finding volunteer opportunities, carpooling, composting, reducing single-use plastic, eating less meat, and cutting down on water use.
The best bit
Bodhi is committed to being fully carbon neutral by 2021 (alongside Costa Rica). It reduces its impact on the ground and has been offsetting guests flights since late 2017. Bodhi is B-Corp Certified.
Find out more here.