At Hotel Las Colinas we are committed to the environment, we are a sustainable establishment that holds the Level 5 accreditation (the highest) of the program for the Certification for Tourism Sustainability or CTS.

In this section you can find resources, history of the area and environmental legislation.

Download the Manual of Good Environmental Practices in Costa Rica

The owners of Hotel Las Colinas are the López Fernández family. His story in La Fortuna began in 1968, when the father of Mr. Aurelio López Calderón fled La Fortuna due to the strong eruption of the Arenal Volcano.

It took me more than 17 years to return and it was not until 1985, when I was again persecuted by a misfortune, that I arrived at La Fortuna, this time it was a terrible fire leaving the family in ruins, burning their store of commerce located in Ciudad Quesada, that ironically was called “La Fortuna Store”.

Here in La Fortuna, the family started again, it was a family of 5: Father, Aurelio López Calderón, Mother, Flor Fernández Cubillo, Hijos, Ivette, Jocsan and Jetter, only 3 months old. As good traders, they started by opening a store that sold almost everything, from bicycle parts, glassware, fabrics, school supplies. Doña Flor was the one who attended most of the time, since the father, with the desire to start up the business again, was selling clothing in the towns around San Carlos and Guatuso.

However, as good visionaries, in 1988 construction began for a hotel, at that time the hotel offer was minimal, there were only Hotel La Central, Cabinas San Bosco and Hotel La Fortuna. The name of Las Colinas originates from the view we have from the third floor of the hotel, where Las Colinas del Cerro Chato and El Arenal meet.

The neighbors said it was crazy to think of a three-level building for a hotel in La Fortuna, because there was no need, however I remember that Don Aurelio said, someday “the males will come” and so it was … today Hotel Las Colinas is able to say that it has received guests from almost all parts of the world!!

So it was, Tourism arrived and there were nights that tourists slept in the corridor of the Catholic temple, there were nights when the family rented the rooms of the house and there were nights that tourists took to see lava, they were literally rivers of red rock coming down a mountain called Arenal Volcano.

Jicson, the youngest son was born in the foothills of the Volcano, in 1993, and both the family and the company grew.

It was in 2006, the father of the family had gone to rest, when the rest of the family decided to start over, this time for a complete remodeling of Hotel Las Colinas, with a vision of Sustainable Hotel until arriving at what is today! Currently, Doña Flor and Ivette run the hotel administration, Jetter is the hotel’s chef and Jocsan and Jicson help with the maintenance, and the family continues to grow.

We are very happy to know that today you are also part of our family, we thank you very much for choosing us!

Historical Overview of the Maleku Indigenous Community

Pre-Columbian Stage – 10000 to 2000 years A C

The CHIBCHA empire extended throughout what is now Central America, Panama and Colombia. Warrior tribes that used this entire region to reach the domains of the Great Inca Empire. The MALEKUS, whose meaning is Our People, are direct descendants of this great indigenous race that located its territories from the Great Lake of Nicaragua, the Solentiname Islands, the San Juan River (the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica), the whole area of the border of Peñas Blancas, Los Chiles, San Rosa de Poco Sol, Guatuso, La Fortuna de San Carlos, La Fortuna de Bagaces, Tilarán.

With this great territory within which covers much of the volcanic mountain range, Orosi volcano, Rincon de la Vieja, Miravalles, Tenorio and Cerro del Arenal (now Arenal Volcano). With the alignment of all these volcanoes, the Malekus traced what would be the route of trade and communication between the 23 communities or palenques of that time.

We must bear in mind the great significance that volcanoes represent for these tribes, since the power and majesty of them represented sacred sites and divine power by their heights and by magnetic power. This is how they traced the route that circled the skirts of the volcanoes. This route took them to the market center in Pataste, communication center in what is now Aguas Zarcas and Pital, where the 23 different Malekus communities converged.

The Malekus maintained a scarce agriculture since their basic feeding was based on the hunting of mega fauna, mastodons, deer, tapirs etc. Its agriculture constituted the planting of yucca, wild potato, pejibaye, cocoa.

His government was represented by the shaman and there was no social class. They practiced a monotheistic religion, TOKOISM, developed at the height of volcanoes.

Post-Columbian Stage – 1500 to 2000

The Spanish presence during the time of the colony affected very little the natives of the time, except that some aborigines were taken to cities where the Spaniards were established as Granda and León de Nicaragua, as slaves. The era of rubber exploitation in Nicaragua by the Goodrich company in early 1820, led to an unequal battle between the employees of the US company with firearms and the Indians with arrows, in the place that was later named Rio de la Death, because its waters became red with the blood of the aborigines. That was one of the causes of being a decimated race today.

Modern stage of the Maleku – Race that refuses to die

The 23 communities that covered the vast Maleku territory were reduced to 3 Palenques today, located in the Canton of Guatuso with a population of 650 individuals. These palenques are:

Palenque Margarita
Palenque Tonjibe
Palenque The Sun

Despite being already immersed in the world of whites, the true Maleku makes efforts to preserve their customs, they have a school where their children speak the dialect of their own race, a radio with special programs for their people, they struggle to recreate their ancient dances and customs etc. Within its ceremonies, the government of Costa Rica allows them to bury their loved ones inside their homes.

Tourism being one of the main sources of income in the country, the Maleku community has been gradually integrated into this activity. In the Palenque Tonjibe the tourist can visit them, make a tour through the forest where they can appreciate how the inhabitants of that region lived before the colony.

This information was provided by Mr. KOREN VELA VELA. Member of Palenque Tonjibe, fighter for the rescue of indigenous traditions, and cultural spokesperson.

La Fortuna before 1968

At the beginning of the 1900s, a citizen of nicaraguan origin named Jarquín entered to open a mountain in what is now La Fortuna. Little by little, other Costa Ricans from Naranjo, Zarcero and Ciudad Quesada moved to cut down mountains and to exploit the rubber industry, which produced blankets and layers for farmers in the northern region. This started the dual-purpose livestock, (meat and milk). With the milk, they produced cheese, which they salted and dried to then take it to the market in Ciudad Quesada. With the cattle for slaughter, they made great routes to take it up to the cattle ranch in Alajuela, for sale.

The Arenal Volcano, then known as the Cerro del Arenal, causes a catastrophe
The until then known Cerro del Arenal, a month before July 27, 1968, began to give warning signs to the population, causing rumblings and earth movements, which the neighbors could not interpret and could hardly inform the Costa Rican authorities for the great distances, in that case Civil Defense, the only public institution existing in those years, since there was no National Emergency Commission, or experts in volcanology that has the Seismological and Vulcan Logic Observatory of Costa Rica. (OVSICORI).

That July 29, 1968, during the morning hours, a huge explosion disappears from the topography of two towns located on the slopes of the Arenal, they were the populations of Tronadora and Arenal where 78 people lost their lives.

The life of the fortunes changed from that moment, all its inhabitants were evacuated from their homes and moved to other towns. La Fortuna for several months was a ghost town. After several months the inhabitants gradually returned, but many of them did not do so anymore.

Life returned to normal, its inhabitants returned to agriculture, livestock, manufacture their cheeses, the National Banking System to grant credits especially to the livestock sector, based on the amount of hectares of mountain thrown to the ground.

Until the late 80s, and early 90s, La Fortuna was a hamlet with a church and as was the traditional, a square for football, where every afternoon the youth met to see the famous mejengas (soccer informal where the rules of this sport are of little value). Two hotels of simple construction and of wood in which the selling agents and cattlemen of surrounding towns had where to rest and to sleep. In addition, the town had two grocery stores, a place where neighbors could stock up on the basics, for their food, as well as some medicines, and even liquor, as they were also canteens.

The community had a health clinic with public service, with capacity for about 1,500 beneficiaries. The financial sector constituted the National Bank, and an agency of COCIQUE, (Cooperativa de Ciudad Quesada) that barely filled the needs of the savers. In short, before the tourist activity, La Fortuna was a town stuck in the passage of time.


Organic Law of the Environment: No. 7554

Art 1 Objectives: The present law will seek to provide Costa Ricans and the State with the necessary instruments to achieve a healthy and ecologically balanced environment.
Art 2 Principles: Everyone has the right to enjoy a healthy and ecologically sustainable environment. The State will ensure the rational use of environmental elements.
Art 8 Functions: Promote, through activities, programs and projects, the greatest citizen participation in the analysis and discussion of environmental policies that affect the region. Develop and implement activities, programs and education projects.
Art 17 Environmental impact assessment: Human activities that alter or destroy elements of the environment or generate waste, toxic or dangerous materials, will require an environmental impact assessment by the National Environmental Technical Secretariat.
Art 32 Classification of protected wild areas: You may establish protected wild areas, in any of the management categories that are established and in which are listed below: Forest reserves, Protective areas, National parks, Biological Reserves, National shelters of life wild, Wetlands, Natural monuments.
Art 39 Definition of marine and coastal resources: Marine and coastal resources, marine waters, beaches, coastal beaches and bays, bays, coastal lagoons, mangroves, coral reefs, pastures. marine
Art 40 Definition of wetlands: Wetlands are ecosystems with dependence on aquatic regimes, natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, lentic or lotic, sweet, brackish or salty.
Art 45 Prohibition: Activities aimed at disrupting the natural cycles of moisture ecosystems, such as the construction of dams that prevent the flow of marine or continental waters, are prohibited.
Art 59 Pollution of the environment: Pollution means any alteration or modification of the environment that may harm human health, attack natural resources or affect the environment.
Art 62 Atmospheric pollution: It is considered pollution of the atmosphere the presence in it and in concentrations above the permissible levels fixed solid particles, dust, smoke, steam, gases, bad odors, radiation, noise, imperceptible sound waves and others.
Law No. 7600: Equal Opportunities Law for people with disabilities.

Art 2 Definitions: Equality of opportunity: Principle that recognizes the importance of the diverse needs of the individual, which should constitute the basis of the planning of society Equalization of opportunities: Process of adjustment of the environment, services, activities, information , the documentation as well as the attitudes to the needs of the people, in particular of the disabled. Disability: Any physical, mental or sensory impairment that substantially limits the principal activities of an individual.
Art 10 Community: People with disabilities will have the same opportunity to get involved in the definition and execution of activities, which they develop in the communities.
Art 11 Family: All members of the family must contribute to the person with disabilities developing a dignified life and fully exercising their rights and duties.
Art 23 Right to work: The State shall guarantee persons with disabilities, both in rural and urban areas, the right to employment appropriate to their conditions and personal needs.
Art 31 Access: Health services must be offered, on equal terms, to every person that requires them.
Art 35 Adapted means of transport: Public institutions that provide rehabilitation services must have means of transport adapted to the needs of people with disabilities.
Art 41 Regulatory technical specifications: The new constructions, extensions or remodeling of buildings, parks, sidewalks, gardens, squares, roads, sanitary services or other spaces of public property, must be made in accordance with the regulatory technical specifications of the public and private bodies in charge Of the mattery.
Art 55 Discriminatory acts: A discriminatory act will be considered that, because of the disability, a person is denied participation in cultural, sports and recreational activities promoted or carried out by public or private institutions.

7317: Law on Wildlife Conservation

ART 1: The wildlife is made up of the continental and insular fauna that lives in natural, temporary or permanent conditions, in the national territory and the flora that lives in natural conditions in the country.

ART 2: It is understood by: Aquarium: Artificial water tank where live aquatic animals and plants are kept. Hunting and fishing: The action, for any purpose, of harassing, capturing or killing wild animals. Hunting: Hunting art alluding to any creature or creature hunted for food or sport. Trade: Activity to buy, sell or exercise barter for profit. Reservoir: Accumulation of water that occurs as a result of man’s retention of them. Exotic species: Organism introduced in a certain country and that is not its own. Wildlife: Set of continental and insular fauna that lives in natural, temporary or permanent conditions. Zoo hatchery: Place where it is about propagating or preserving animals outside their natural habitat.

ART 4: The production, management, extraction, commercialization, industrialization and use of the genetic material of the wild flora and fauna, its parts, products and by-products, are declared of public interest and national heritage.

ART 14: Hunting, fishing and extraction of continental or insular fauna and flora of endangered species is prohibited, with the exception of reproduction carried out “sustainably”.
ART 28: The exercise of hunting, it is classified as: Sports: when it is done for entertainment, recreation or leisure purposes. Scientific: when it is carried out for the purpose of scientific study. Subsistence: when it is done to meet the nutritional needs of people with limited economic resources.
ART 61: With the objective of regulating the exercise of continental and insular fishing, it is classified as follows: Sports: when practiced for the purpose of fun, recreation or leisure. Scientific or cultural: when it is carried out for the purpose of study or teaching. Subsistence: when it is carried out to meet the nutritional needs of people with limited economic resources, checked by the rules dictated by this law and its regulations.
ART 64: The fee to be paid for the sport fishing license, continental or insular is as follows: Nationals and residents: one thousand colones (¢ 1,000.00). Foreigners without a residence permit: the equivalent of thirty US dollars (US $ 30).

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common ideal by which all peoples and nations should strive, so that both individuals and institutions, constantly inspired by it, promote, through education and education, respect for these rights and freedoms, and ensure, through progressive national and international measures, their universal and effective recognition and application.

Art 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and, endowed with reason and conscience, must behave fraternally towards each other. Everyone has the right to equal protection against any discrimination that violates this Declaration and against any provocation to such discrimination.

Art 25: Everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living that ensures, as well as his family, health and well-being.

Art 26: Everyone has the right to education. Education must be free, at least with regard to elementary and fundamental instruction.
Art 27: Everyone has the right to take part freely in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to participate in scientific progress and the benefits that result from it.
Art 29: Every person has duties regarding the community, since only in it can he develop his personality freely and fully.
Constitution of Costa Rica
Art 1: Costa Rica is a democratic, free and independent Republic.
Art 16: The quality of Costa Rican is not lost and can not be waived.
Art 18: Costa Ricans must observe the Constitution and laws, serve the country, defend it and contribute to public expenditures.
Art 21: Human life is inviolable.
Art 27: Freedom of petition is guaranteed, individually or collectively, before any public official or official entity, and the right to obtain a prompt resolution.
Art 56: Work is a right of the individual and an obligation to society. The State must ensure that everyone has an honest and useful occupation, duly remunerated, and prevent conditions that in some way undermine the freedom or dignity of man or degrade their work to the condition of mere merchandise. The state guarantees the right of free choice of work.
Art 89: Among the cultural purposes of the Republic are: to protect the natural beauties, to conserve and develop the historical and artistic heritage of the Nation, and to support the private initiative for scientific and artistic progress.
Art 93: Suffrage is a primary and mandatory civic function and is exercised before the Electoral Boards by direct and secret voting by citizens registered in the Civil Registry.

Nº 7788: Law of Biodiversity

Art 1 Purpose: The purpose of this law is to conserve biodiversity and the sustainable use of resources, as well as to distribute the benefits and derived costs fairly.
Art 2 Sovereignty: The state will exercise complete and exclusive sovereignty over the elements of biodiversity.
Art 3 Scope of application: This law will be applied on the elements of biodiversity that are under the sovereignty of the state, as well as on the processes and activities carried out under its jurisdiction or control.
Art 7 Definitions: Biodiversity: Variability of living organisms from any source, whether they are found in terrestrial, aerial, marine, aquatic ecosystems or other ecological complexes. It understands the diversity within each species, as well as between the species and the ecosystems of which it is a part. Species: Set of organisms capable of reproducing each other.
Art 10 Objectives: Integrate the conservation and sustainable use of the elements of
Biodiversity in the development of socio-cultural, economic and environmental policies.
Art 58 Protected Wild Areas: Protected wild areas are delimited geographical areas, constituted by land, wetlands and portions of the sea. They have been declared as such because they represent special significance for their ecosystems, the existence of endangered species, the repercussion on reproduction and other needs and their historical and cultural significance.

Law against Sexual Harassment: N ° 7476

This Law is based on the constitutional principles of respect for freedom and human life, the right to work and the principle of equality before the law, which oblige the State to condemn discrimination based on sex and to establish policies to eliminate discrimination against women, according to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Inter-American Convention to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Violence against Women.
ARTICLE 3: Sexual harassment or harassment is understood to mean any unwanted sexual behavior by the person receiving it, repeated and causing harmful effects.

Forestry Law: No. 7575

ARTICLE 1: The present law establishes, as an essential and priority function of the State, to ensure the conservation, protection and administration of natural forests and for the production, utilization, industrialization and promotion of the country’s forest resources destined for that purpose. purpose, in accordance with the principle of adequate and sustainable use of renewable natural resources. In addition, it will ensure the generation of employment and the increase of the standard of living of the rural population, through its effective incorporation into silvicultural activities.
ARTICLE 3 Forest management plan: Set of technical standards that will regulate the actions to be carried out in a forest or plantation forest, in a farm or part of it with the purpose of taking advantage of, conserving and developing the arboreal vegetation that exists or intends to establish, in accordance with the principle of the rational use of renewable natural resources that guarantee the sustainability of the resource.
ARTICLE 27 Authorization to cut: Only up to three trees per hectare per year may be cut on agricultural and non-forest land, after obtaining authorization from the Regional Environmental Council. If the cut exceeds ten trees per property, authorization from the State Forestry Administration will be required.

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