Culinary sustainability at Cayuga – what’s new?

At all Cayuga Collection Hotels and Lodges, we have always had a strong focus on using the freshest local ingredients in our kitchens. Our recipes are locally inspired and prepared by chefs from Costa Rica, Nicaragua or Panama (depending on the location of the hotel).

You won’t find imported proteins such as salmon from the North Atlantic, Lamb from New Zealand or Beef from the United States on our menus. It just does not make any sense from a sustainability, nor freshness point of view.

In recent weeks, we decided to take an even closer look at our culinary programs and started a sustainability drive at Cayuga Collection’s Arenas del Mar Resort in Manuel Antonio to see how we could continue to reduce plastic packaging, pesticides in our fruits and vegetables, lower our carbon footprint and improve other aspects that create a better guest experience and help protect the environment.

Here is a progress report on where we are today.

Did you know? Pineapple farming can have a terrible impact on the environment. Way too many pesticides are used. So we switched to serving only organic pineapple at Arenas del Mar. It costs us almost twice as much, but the improved taste and knowing that we don’t pollute rivers and oceans is totally worth this additional investment.
We have been serving organic coffee at Arenas del Mar since we opened operation almost 12 years ago. We are proud of our relationship with the local roasters of Cafe Milagro here in Manuel Antonio. Good for the environment, helping a local business and absolutely delicious.
Organic Rice
This is an easy one. We switched from regular rice to rice that is free of pesticides. Not a big deal? It could be a big deal if everybody would make that change.
Our guests love our BBQ nights at Playitas. We used to burn wood coal,
but found this great option made in Costa Rica. Briquettes made from coconuts. They burn longer, develop less smoke and reduce the carbon footprint. More expensive yes. But sustainability is sometimes about investing in the future, not just about cost savings.
No Artificial Ingredients
Condiments packaged in plastic and imported from abroad are history at Arenas del Mar. We now make our own Mayonaise, Ketchup, Mustard and Hot Sauces (see picture at the top of this blog).

We still have a long way to go, but we are proud of what we have accomplished. Right now we are talking to a local farmer about providing us with free range eggs and we just decided to take octopus off the menu as it is no longer fished in a sustainable way in Costa Rica.

If you have thoughts or ideas. We would love to hear from you and we promise to keep you updated on any news and changes that we implement.

View From El Mirador Restaurant
View from El Mirador Restaurant at Arenas del Mar to Manuel Antonio National Park.

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Andrea Bonilla

Co-Owner & VP Operations