In the last few months we were fortunate enough to have rescued a parrot from a raided gang house in El Salvador. To our surprise, Pancho has quite an extensive vocabulary that he picked up while living with his former caretakers.
Visitors of the area as well as guests of our ecolodge have the opportunity to see Pancho the Talking Parrot in person. Take a look at the video and see for yourself. We are happy to welcome him to our beautiful beach resort in El Salvador.
Our eco resort is proud to announce the latest additions to the parrots that we have at our eco resort. We have received two yellow-naped parrots named “Pancho” and “Patricio.” Pancho was given to La Cocotera after he was found in an abandoned house in El Salvador by the police. The police did not know what to do with him so they gave him to La Cocotera. We do not know much about Pancho’s background; but, we can assume that he was taken care of by a few women because he will say women’s names like, “Carmen” and “Maria.” At La Cocotera, we are very impressed by his extensive vocabulary. Patricio is only a baby parrot and Pancho has been teaching him to talk. Pancho, for example, would say, “¡abarra la puerta!” Now, Pancho and Patricio say, “¡abarra la puerta!” which means in English, “open the door.” Patricio was found in the area near La Cocotera as a chick in a nest that had been poached.
Our two new yellow-naped parrots are a great new addition to the Scarlet Macaws that are part of our Species Reintroduction Program. Yellow-naped parrots are endangered. Deforestation of the regions these birds are from along with the illegal removing of the young for pet trade contribute to the decline in numbers of yellow-naped parrots. Yellow-naped parrots are all green when they are young and as they mature they develop the “yellow-nape” on their necks.
When you’re staying at La Cocotera, be sure to check out the yellow-naped parrots! See if you can even teach the parrots some new words to say, they love to talk!
La Cocotera has been featured in Frommer’s Nicaragua El Salvador Travel Guide and in El Salvador: A Great Destination (Explorer’s Guide).
Frommer’s lists La Cocotera as a “find.” Frommer’s says, “Staying here is an unforgettable experience.” We are so pleased to be recognized by Frommer’s. Furthermore, we are so glad that Frommer’s identified what La Cocotera tries to achieve with the eco resort. Frommer’s describes the ecoresort and some of the eco-friendly features at La Cocotera:
This is one of the finest ecolodges in all of Central America and certainly one of the most luxurious hotels in El Salvador outside of San Salvador. It offers a rare taste of international style in a remote and beautiful part of the country. La Cocotera gets the balance right: utter comfort with a social conscience. It employs locals, uses sustainable energy, promotes nature conservation, and blends right in with its environment.
As an ecoresort, La Cocotera features solar-powered hot water and brown-water recycling, and it even incubates turtle eggs, gathered from illegal vendors around the country, for release by guests into the sea. The staff is gracious and friendly.
El Salvador: A Great Destination (Explorer’s Guide) describes Barra de Santiago as “one of the most remote beaches in El Salvador.” The guide then continues to talk about La Cocotera Resort and Ecolodge, “This outstanding ecolodge on the endless beach may be a bit upscale for folk really watching their carbon footprint, but it’s fantastic. Six spacious palapa-topped bungalows are hewn from natural materials, with exquisitely crafted bamboo detailing and gorgeous solar-heated showers with smooth black rocks all around.”
Be sure to check out these travel guides on your way to La Cocotera!
Great news! We have officially received two Scarlet Macaws as part of an educational component of a larger reintroduction program with SalvaNatura, El Salvador’s largest NGO. Their names are Lily and Tito. No one knows their exact age, but they came to us from a rescue center where they had spent the last 15 years of their lives in a cramped cage. The birds now reside in an aviary that we have built for them and are happily enjoying the larger space.
Lily and Tito, El Salvador Scarlet Macaws at La Cocotera Eco Resort
The Scarlet Macaw is an incredible bird, now extinct in El Salvador and most of Central America. Hunting, poaching for the pet trade, and the destruction of habitat through deforestation have all been contributing factors in their population decline. As an environmentally active eco lodge in Central America, we are working in conjunction with SalvaNatura to sponsor a project that reintroduces macaws into the wild and establishes a self-sustaining population.
SalvaNatura is a private, nonprofit organization recognized nationally and internationally for its successful work on the issue of environmental conservation in El Salvador. For more information, visit www.salvanatura.org. You can read more about the Reintroduction of the Scarlet Macaw to El Salvador here.
As an eco friendly resort, we constantly strive to ensure that our hotel and practices always put the environment at high priority. But what does that entail exactly? We wanted to take the time to share with you what makes La Cocotera truly an eco friendly resort.
La Cocotera was built following the “green leaf” system utilized by the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST). The planning of the resort involved mapping out how to carefully minimize footprints on the land and ensuring that structures were built around the natural landscape. Local natural materials such as palm fronds, sustainable teak wood, plant vines, natural stone and hand woven fabrics are used throughout. In fact, all the wood used in construction was derived from sustainable teak plantations.
Energy conservation and recycling are also important elements of our eco resort. We use solar energy, energy saving lightbulbs and kinesthetic power flashlights. We have a biological (not chemical) waste water recycling treatment plant and we utilize gray water recycling as well as black water recycling, which not many hotels do. All trash is presorted for recycling before it leaves the property.
At La Cocotera, we pride ourselves on the freshness of the food we serve. Mangoes, cashews, almonds and our own citrus trees are all grown on the property and we use them in our desserts. We will soon be buying Tilapia fish from the local elementary school, which is raising them, and will be adding a vegetarian menu. For drinks, we use plastic cups made from corn which are 100% compostable.
Ionization pool filtration, rather than chlorine and other chemicals
All rooms are non-smoking
Being a green hotel is more than just having environmentally friendly practices in place. We also educate our guests by offering a free Behind The Scenes Eco Tour that shows you all we are doing to be green. We educate all our staff in the same way.
As an eco friendly resort in El Salvador, we are glad to offer world-class accommodations in a beautiful and unique setting. We encourage environmentally conscious travelers, nature and luxury lovers alike to visit our green hotel in El Salvador for a different vacation experience surrounded by nature, far away from the stresses of everyday life.
Leave your mark! We talk so much about counteracting any “footprint” or environmental mark but forget to mention where you can leave a notable footprint. There have been some wonderful fan photos, reviews and videos out there and we want to highlight some of the real eco vacation experiences people have had at La Cocotera Resort.
From TripAdvisor reviewer TravelToLiveToday:
“This might have been the most well designed facility we have ever stayed at. We have stayed at many outstanding facilities around the world…So many wonderful things to talk about. The rooms are incredible. Some deep engineering makes the rooms so climate comfortable- without having to turn on the air-conditioning. I don’t care for air-conditioning but always use it. At La Cocotera the rooms have huge double french doors that capture the ocean breeze…Outside of the rooms are chase lounges. So incredibly comfortable, I thought I might want to sleep outside. Inside the bed, linens and pillows are simply perfect….The food is wonderful. The chef is a native Salvadorian who trained at culinary school for three years…The ocean is simply magnificent. Very private- yet the feeling of safety because the beach is wide open.”
From Tripadvisor reviewer Peckhamgypsy:
“The rooms are very nicely designed and decorated and give a feel of quality. Likewise, the whole hotel is well designed and because of it’s position, guests can enjoy the peace and solitude of the lagoon or walk a few metres and be sitting in front of the crashing Pacific waves. I don’t normally like the concept of “meals included” resorts but in this case there really is not much choice but to eat at the hotel and the good news is that the food was varied and tasty.”
Travelers share photos from their eco vacation to La Cocotera on SmugMug.com:
“The last week of October my friend Colette and I spent 4 days at La Cocotera Ecolodge in Barra Santiago, El Salvador. We took advantage of all the resort had to offer including taking part in a turtle release, kayaking the estuary, an afternoon on the floating ranchita, a trip by panga to the local school, and a trip to a local home to learn how to make tortillas!”
View the La Cocotera Ecolodge, El Salvador 10.08 gallery here
Check out this fun YouTube video with pictures of the resort’s gorgeous scenery:
La Cocotera on Flickr:
See even more eco vacation photos on Flickr, or cruise through a few traveler-submitted photos on Tripadvisor.
Have photos or reviews that you’d like to share? Feel free to submit them to lacocoteraresort @ yahoo.com and we would be happy to include them in our blog.
El Salvador is slowly earning a reputation as the ideal place for sun, surf and peaceful solitude. Travel to this tropical area is on the rise as word gets out about ideal surfing conditions, unique wildlife, beautiful beaches and captivating culture. For those who seek a travel experience a little bit off the beaten path, but with the trimmings of a picturesque beach vacation, La Cocotera ecolodge should be your first stop. In her article for the Travel Section of The New York Times Online, Bonnie Tsui dotes on the charm and beauty of El Salvador:
“A lingering reputation of El Salvador as a war-torn place has kept many foreign visitors at bay, but the country’s beaches, volcanic craters, pristine cloud forests and bird sanctuaries are setting it up to be the next Costa Rica, without the crowds. Authentic local experiences abound: rustic roadside stands everywhere sell pupusas, the country’s famous corn tortillas, usually filled with gooey cheese and refried beans. Out on the water, seasoned oyster divers, their floats and nets bobbing on the surface, are ready to chat between trips down to the rocky seabed.”
Like any area that experiences a spike in travel, big hotels have begun to sprout. By traveling to smaller coastal villages such as Barra de Santiago, you will experience the same El Salvador that Tsui describes. With waves that are mellow but challenging, mouth-watering local fare, friendly local people and plenty of opportunity for nature exploration, staying at an El Salvador ecolodge is a travel experience you don’t want to miss.
Read the full article on El Salvador travel at travel.nytimes.com
Don’t forget to check out the bars and clubs that makeup San Salvador’s colorful nightlife during your stay at an eco resort. When you leave your El Salvador hotel for the evening, check out the Zona Rosa district, just west of the city center. Many cafes and restaurants can be found in Paseo General Escalon, in the Zona Rosa region, while nightclubs and cinemas (many of which show English-language films with Spanish subtitles) can often be found in shopping malls, like Metrocenter or Gran Vía. One of the area’s theaters is the beautifully restored Teatro Nacional.
Along with theaters and clubs, venues like the Feria Internacional for concerts, and Estadio Cuscatlán and Estadio Mágico Gonzalez for football (soccer) matches and concerts are great for a day out.
When you go into the restaurants remember to order the national culinary specialities:
Pupusa (a fried sandwich of tortillas, filled with pork, cheese, refried beans and/ or vegetables).
Típico salvadoreño (standard Salvadoran breakfast comprising eggs, local cheese, refried beans, fried plantains and tortillas).
Tamal de elote (cornflour batter with meat filling, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed).
To read more about traditional and specialty cuisine, see our other post on El Salvador Food!
When you go out to the shops or clubs don’t pass up on drinking some of the local specialties:
Refrescos (natural fruit drinks).
Tic tac and torito (strong alcoholic beverages made from distilled sugar cane).
In El Salvador, the legal drinking age is 18. For night clubs and bars, remember that entry charges are common. For tipping in the area, give about 10% in El Salvador hotels and restaurants, and 15% is appropriate for smaller bills. Check before tipping because service charge is often included on bill.
FYI: Certain areas are best to avoid. The actual San Salvador downtown offers little to no in the way of entertainment and should be avoided for the most part at night. Outside the capital most places of entertainment (even hotels) close early.
Did you know? El Imposible National Park is so named for the once-treacherous El Imposible Pass, where a steep and narrow gorge between two mountains blocked the route of coffee farmers transporting their coffee by mule-train. In 1968, the El Salvadoran government constructed a bridge at El Imposible Pass, opening up transportation from Tacuba to Cara Sucia.
El Imposible National Park is part of the Apaneca–Ilamatepec range of mountains and is located 70 miles west of capital city San Salvador. The park is a protected natural area offering the largest biological diversity in El Salvador.
The park covers 12,850 acres of tropical mountain forest. More than 1,000 species of plants are found in the park, as are such endangered animals as the puma, crested black eagle, emerald toucan, aardvark and white-tailed deer. El Imposible is considered one of the most important natural reserves in Central America not only because of its wildlife, but because it is one of the few existing examples of the typical Mesoamerican Pacific coastal rainforests. Access is by hiking and four-wheel-drive vehicle only.
There are 3 major trails in the park: a 1km nature hike, a 6-7km loop into the valley to see a delta of two rivers, and a 8-9km hike to Cerro Leon the highest point in the park.
La Cocotera’s proximity to El Imposible National Park, making hiking a popular eco tourism activity for our visitors. Reservations and permits for each visitor are required in advance. Call or ask us at the front desk about El Imposible Tours and we’ll be happy to help you!
TACA (www.taca.com) , the official airline of El Salvador, featured La Cocotera Resort in their in-flight magazine, Explore. TACA flies to 39 destinations in 22 countries in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean, including daily flights to 9 major U.S. cities. TACA flies daily non-stop from Los Angeles to San Salvador.
In his article, Heeding The Call Of Nature, Ken Rivadeneira describes the picturesque scenery of Barra de Santiago, our secluded resort and the turtle release program we sponsor:
As the waves splashed and receded, I dipped my hands into the bowl that held a dozen fragile, small, hard-backed reptiles and scooped one of the creatures into my palms. It instinctively flapped its paddle-like fins, and I set it on the sepia-colored sand of El Salvador’s Barra de Santiago, watching as it slowly followed the sunset and made its way into the Pacific. The only footprints on the sand were turtle tracks.
This sea turtle and its 11 bowl-mates had been born and raised in La Cocotera Resort & Ecolodge, the first true eco resort effort in El Salvador, and one of the few in Central America that carries the idea of being environmentally conscious through every aspect of its operation. “Part of being ‘eco’ is to not leave such a big footprint on the land,” says Joseph Bruderer-Schwab, founder of the resort. “I feel really proud and good inside, that I [created the resort] that way, with the environment in mind.”