A few days ago, I was spending some time with my family chatting on our deck. My twin sons, who are aviation enthusiasts, spotted a commercial plane flying by. A rare sight today. We all watched it intently as it crossed the sky, almost with a kind of nostalgic feeling for times gone by. We wondered where in the world it could be going and who on earth was on it.
By now, billions of people around the world are getting used to the idea of staying home for the foreseeable future. That means no travel beyond the local grocery store and definitely no planes or overseas adventures. But despite the disappointment and uncertainty of it all, there’s still plenty of positivity out there. We loved reading about the London family that recreated the Costa Rican rainforest in their basement when their long-awaited trip was canceled. The creative man who took to the skies during quarantine with the help of his washing machine gave us a good laugh too.
In Costa Rica, we too are coming to terms with the fact that all those travel lovers getting imaginative at home won’t be coming to visit us any time soon. And even when the restrictions stopping them are eventually lifted, there’ll be some challenges to face. Will people have enough disposable income to get away once our attentions turn from the health crisis to the economic one? What if a vaccine doesn’t become available soon? Will people be prepared to risk airports and hours of close social contact in the name of a tropical escape? Will they feel safe to relax on the beach or will they have to sip their mojitos through surgical masks? Who knows… will it even be socially acceptable to travel, or will there be a kind of “corona shame” attached to being out in the world, potentially putting others at risk by not staying home?
We wish we had the answers. Sadly no one does at this stage. But in all of this, we are positive. We’ve caught our breath, adapted to our circumstances, and are looking forward to the better times that will come. Once this is over, we know our hotels and lodges will be in high demand – even in a new era of social distancing. Here’s why…
Back to Nature
Our hotels and lodges are as close as you can comfortably get to nature. That means they offer the perfect antidote to months of being cooped up within the same four walls: complete and utter immersion in great outdoors. Just imagine waking up to birdsong and sunshine, opening your bungalow to let in the fresh mountain air at Senda, or sliding back the doors to hear Costa Rica’s famous waves break at Arenas Del Mar. In a world post-Corona, we’ll all appreciate nature and the freedom to roam like never before, and it doesn’t get much more spectacular than here.
Isolation in Paradise
There’s no doubt that luxury travel was already moving in the direction of remote experiences, but if there was ever a time to actively avoid the beaten path, it’ll be post-lockdown. Private island resorts were popping up on just about every travel hotlist pre-crisis; now their natural geographic barriers might just become prerequisites for the many health-conscious travelers out there.
For those in need of a good mental refresh on the other side of this, Jicaro Island in Nicaragua is all about tranquillity and seclusion. As for those seeking a safe adventure, Isla Palenque in Panama offers all the isolation you’d expect from an island without any of the “cabin fever” associated with staying put. From hikes to fishing, paddle boarding, island hopping, and cooking classes, there’s enough to do to keep visitors entertained for days.
Small, Spacious and Safe
In all the uncertainty, if there’s one thing we’re confident about, it’s that people probably won’t be rushing to book a cruise once lockdowns are lifted. Regardless of the destination, they’ll be looking for space – space to roam, space between rooms, space between guests. That’s not to say they won’t be after some human connection too, but not if that involves crowds and cramped quarters.
At the Cayuga Collection, small and spacious is what we do best. Take Kura, our smallest ultra-luxury hotel. At full capacity, there’ll only ever be 16 guests in-house and each couple will have their own separate villa-style room. Of the eight couples, two will have their own private pools and the remaining six will be able to relax without a worry on double loungers beside the hotel’s iconic infinity pool. Even our largest 37-room hotel, Arenas Del Mar, sits on such a sizeable beachfront property that it’s not unusual for a single pair of guests to enjoy the whole stretch of palm-fringed sand to themselves.
Our other properties are cabin or casita-style too, allowing for plenty of space between guests. That means everyone can safely experience Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast by checking into one of Aguas Claras’ breezy bungalows, or explore the cool heights of the Monteverde cloud forest from Senda’s mountain lodge cabins.
As for dining and getting out and about, our hotel restaurants are open-air and spacious, and we keep our tour groups intimate. We’re lucky enough to have resident naturalist guides at a number of our hotels, and even pre-Coronavirus, we’ve always focused on providing individual or very small group outdoor experiences.
Tourism Finally Reimagined?
If the current health crisis is good for one thing, from our point of view as leaders in sustainable hospitality, it’s that maybe now we’ll all look inwards, industry and travelers alike, and rethink how tourism should look. If we needed another good reason to combat over-tourism, to reduce our negative impacts, and to find ways to support our local communities and surroundings, we’ve now got it.
While the best we can do now is engage in some armchair escapism and daydream about a more sustainable future, on the other side of this you can count on Cayuga to still be doing its part in support of responsible tourism in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. And we’ll be ready to welcome the world back as soon as we can.
STRONG TODAY. EXTRAORDINARY TOMORROW.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this blog in the comment section below or write to me directly at Hans@cayugaonline.com.