Laguna del Lagarto Lodge, Wildlife & Photography

20 Oct

Laguna del Lagarto Costa Rica The Hospitality Tour

Sorry, at the moment, this entry is only available in Français. This post will be available in english in a few days. If you would be glad to help with a few translations, write to Florie: :-)

Montecristo River Lodge, on the Mythical Rio San Juan

14 Oct

Montecristo River Lodge The Hospitality Tour

After a delightful 10-day rest-stop on the very peaceful island of Ometepe, I am off once again, this time to the mythical San Juan River. I spend the night on the ferry on my way to San Carlos, on the south-eastern end of the lake. Then, I get in a second (much smaller) boat, all the while engrossed in Stevenson’s “Treasure Island” (thank you Guillaume; this book ties in perfectly with my present environment!). Three hours later, I meet Agustin, and it is after getting on a third (and even tinier) boat that I finally step into my new eco-lodge, one with the very intriguing name of “Montecristo”…


Totoco, deep in the volcano island biosphere

28 Sep

Totoco Ecolodge Nicaragua Ometepe Bannière

The largest lake in Central America is in Nicaragua. And exactly in the center of this lake you will find a lovely treasure: the quiet island of Ometepe and its two daunting volcanoes. The first is still active, rises 1,600 meters high (almost one mile), and threatens to explode from one day to the next. Therefore, it is on the slopes of the second volcano (very soundly asleep) that Martijn and his fellow investors chose to develop their responsible tourism project, “Totoco“, where I am staying this week. Totoco is an eco-lodge comprised of 8 bungalows, but not only that: it is an organic farm, and a foundation for multiple local development projects … let me explain!


La Mariposa, non-profit hotel & spanish school

23 Sep

La Mariposa Spanish School Nicaragua

After visiting the Selva Negra “Organic Farm and Coffee Plantation” Eco-Lodge, I continue on my voyage of discovery to find out all I can about Nicaragua by visiting a non-profit “Spanish-language school” Eco-Hotel: La Mariposa, another great touristic idea with a different style and concept, also (or even more so?) involved in the community. La Mariposa is a non-profit eco-lodge. Paulette, the manager, confesses me that she does not even pay herself a salary. The income earned is used entirely to finance local development projects. Is there a better way to show a greater sense of responsibility?


Selva Negra, the Coffee Plantation Ecolodge

18 Sep

Selva Negra Ecolodge Nicaragua

I begin my Nicaraguan journey by introducing a fantastic example of what could be called a most responsible project in the northern part of the country (where it is cool; what a wonderful change! here it is 19°C on average all year long), at 1,200 meters (about 4,000 ft.) of altitude, some 20 minutes away from Matagalpa and less than 2 hours away from the capital (Managua):  the Eco-Lodge Selva Negra.

I am spending a very lively week with Karen Kühl, Manager of the hotel-side of this lovely family endeavor. Things were very lively here: by chance I arrive just in time for a four-day national holiday, celebrating the country’s independence (September 15, 1821).  I am helping Karen to make a list of all the wonderful sustainable practices at Selva Negra, and also giving a hand in the restaurant when the rush is on… this reminds me of some great times!  Haaaa… my crazy student years!


Trujillo: Beach + Resort + Eco?

11 Sep

Trujillo Beach Resort Honduras

I continue my journey along the Honduran Caribbean coast.

From October, cruise ships will start arriving to the quiet little town of Trujillo. Many foreigners, mostly Canadians, come to invest in mass. Everything is happening right now, the place is changing. This is the first time I watch this so closely, the beginnings of the transformation of a place to receiving increasing tourism … and I must say it’s a little scary…


Casa Nery, a small hotel to become bigger

3 Sep

Casa Nery La Ceiba panoramic

After a week spent at Tegus (as people call it around here), I finally left the capital to better explore the country! After an 8 hour bus ride, I found myself in La Ceiba, on the Caribbean coast. The man sat by me on the bus told me that in Honduras they say ´in Tegucicalpa we think, in San Pedro we work and in La Ceiba we have fun!´. If the proverb is to be believed, I should be moving on from the ´quiet reflection´ stage and into the ´ let it flow´ stage; but not just yet, not right away at least!

To begin this new week, Casa de Nery welcomes me, for the first of my 3 stops in ‘ Honduras, chapter 2′ !


Casa Xochicalco, a secret shelter in Honduras

28 Aug

Casa Xochicalco Tegucigalpa

Esperanza is a little bit of a mixture between Paco (Uxlabil Eco Hotel, Guatemala) for its Professor of Philosophy side, and Carolina (Arbol de Fuego Eco Hotel, El Salvador) for the women entrepreneur look alike.

Esperanza was the first person to confirm a hotel mission with me (via LinkedIn) as I was still in Barcelona, and my Hospitality Tour was still in its pre-project phase. We had been exchanging e-mails for three months (where I postpone my arrival almost every week… thank you Esperanza for your patience!). But we finally met, here I am! It’s fantastic to move from the virtual correspondence to meet in person. Would to come meeting Esperanza with me? Direction Tegucigalpa, Honduras…


Arbol de Fuego, towards energy self-sufficiency

22 Aug

Arbol de Fuego Eco-Hotel

Welcome to Salvador by my side! I just stayed one week in Salvador, but I’ve met the hotel that is considered as the best example in sustainable development by the national tourism ministry. So, despite brief it was an intense stay where I learnt a lot thanks to Carolina and the nice study case of her Eco-Hotel Arbol de Fuego.


Uxlabil Hotels, from the Lake to the Capitals

14 Aug

Atitlan Lake Panoramique

After Tikal, Florès and Semuc Champey, I have now arrived at my last hotel mission of this Guatemalan journey: the eco-hotels Uxlabil. The stay lasts about ten days and consists of three stages: the old capital Antigua, Lake Atitlan and the current capital Guatemala City. Alright, come on, I will introduce you to Francisco!


Utopia Hotel, the imaginary became reality

3 Aug

Utopia Vue Panoramique du Restaurant

“Project whose realization is impossible, imaginary concept”, such is the definition of  an Utopia in a dictionary. However, Utopia Eco-Hotel exists for real, I promise you ! I’m even writing from there right now…

How to do not be charmed, even just for the name ? And if you’re not convinced yet,  type Semuc Champey in Google, that should do the trick ;)


Jaguar Inn, on archeologists’ footprints

29 Jul

Tikal Sunrise

I spent a nice week in Belize, between the island of Caye Caulker  and the wild nature of San Ignacio. But I’m back on the road, a crossing of the Mopan river, and here I am in Guatemala ! I’m back to speaking Spanish, once and for all… Or almost.

First Guatemalan stage in the two Jaguar Inn hotels, belonging to Edmundo and his sister Natalia: In Tikal, then in Santa Elena (just in front of the small Flores island, on the Petén Itzá lake). Edmundo and Natalia’s dad was Guatemalan and their mom English, so it is a sweet transition towards Spanish-speaking as both of them are bilingual English/Spanish (Natalia even speaks French, she studied a year in Montpellier). Ready to follow archeologists steps besides me on this very famous UNESCO Maya site of Tikal ?


Ka’Ana Resort, an eco-chic stay

25 Jul

Ka Ana Resort Eco Chic Stay

After the beaches and the lagoon, a change of scenery is found deep in the nature of the far west side of Belize. There I am received by the Ka’Ana Resort, a small, chic hotel where the accommodation blends right into the tropical forest. Would you like to take a breath of fresh air by my side?


Caye Caulker Plaza Hotel, a sweet transition

23 Jul

sunset caye caulker belize

After spending my first 15 days in Mexico, I continue with my Hospitality Tour towards Belize, making the first stop in the small but charming island of Caye Caulker. There I met with the people from Plaza Hotel for 4 days. I have met again with Guillaume de Marseille, a French traveler who I had met in Tulum. In addition, during the boat ride, I met Estelle, a French girl from Burgundy. Do you want to follow our journey between coconuts?


Mayan Secret Hotel, perseverance pays off

19 Jul

Mayan Secret Mexico The Hospitality Tour

After my first week spent in Tulum with Giorgio at Aqua Viva Hotel, it’s a second brand new experience that is awaiting for me in southern Mexico, just next to the border with Belize in Chetumal.

Rosa and the Mayan Secret Ecoturismo Boutique Hotel greet me warmly. Again, just arrived, I’m already part of the family. The Hotel is in pre-opening and Rosa accomodate me in her house. I meet with her daughter Valentina, who is 17 years, almost the same age as my brothers and sisters :-) I have the chance to share their daily life for 5 days, and it’s a bit like being back at home! Curious to know more about this 2nd experience?


Aqua Viva Tulum, the dream come true!

15 Jul

Aqua Viva Tulum Mexico The Hospitality Tour

Following Cancun, Queen of excesses, here I am in Tulum, its little cousin. Both are part of the “Mayan Riviera” dynasty, however their style differ from each other. I had just fallen for its charm… Welcome to Aqua Viva Experince Suites Tulum, Giorgio’s hospitality project, a dream that has come true… for Giorgio, but for me too. After 2 months preparing this Hospitality Tour, I finally move into action: 1st stay in the 1st hotel on my great Latin American adventure !

It should have been a 4 nights-stay but I eventually accept Giorgio’s invitation, and make it a whole week in this little piece of paradise. We’ll spend the week developing a marketing plan and initiating the use of a channel manager. This week is also allowing me to visit the astonishing treasures of Tulum and to refine my “Hospitality Tour” communication supports (blog, Hopineo, tourism school contacts, videos  channel, etc…).

A lot of people are asking me how this “skills for a free bed” exchange is working, and how do I organize my days: Is it like holidays,  or do I work a little bit at least ?!… Here’s the answer…


Polaroid Hostel, let’s try it again in Granada!

6 Jun

polaroid hostel

After my first positive and improvised experience of “sharing my business skills for a bed” at the Casa Morada Hostel in Cadiz, here I arrive now in my new favourtie spanish city, Granada. I’ll stay at The Polaroid Siesta Hostel where Pepe and its team will warmly welcome me.

Ready to follow me on a trip to Granada?! [...]

Casa Morada Hostel…or how did it all start?!

5 Jun

casa morada bedroom

“Once upon a time in Cadiz the Casa Morada“… So I should perhaps begin this article. It was indeed here that everything began, that some hazy ideas strolling in a corner of my head turned into concrete action, that happened the “trigger” behind “The Hospitality Tour” project (website on which you are surfing right now!). It’s indeed during a bagback trip through Spain, that I had my first “hostel workaway” experience.

Let’s start the story from the very beginning…