For us at the finca, “eco tourism” has always meant we live as simply as possible, with as little impact on our environment as possible – and sharing it’s beauty with like-minded travelers. We have used terms like “rustic” and “simple living” to convey our approach – but now, luckily, sustainability and “going green” have gained the wider public’s attention. We figure it’s time to more clearly spell out what we do – and have always done…
The water on Vieques comes from the rain forest on the main island of Puerto Rico. Consequently, it is safe to drink, but a little on the scarce side. Because the pipes can break, it can “go out” for days. We have put in cistern collectors to minimize any inconvenience to guests. But in general , we use it sparingly. That’s why we:
Wash inn linens weekly
Keep showers, dishes—all water use -- brief
Ask guests to re-use beach towels – just shake out and hang in the sun to dry
Augment our island water with grey water for landscape use
From our storage cisterns, we use gravity to fill our water system
use a combination of inline, on demand , and passive solar to augment our traditional water heating. This year we hope to turn all showers to 100% solar- heated showers.
avoid using our clothes dryer—instead hang all linens to dry in the sun and trade winds. If you need cloth pins for your lines – just ask.
have never used AC—and ask guests to please turn off all fans and lights when no in their rooms. Often the breezes at the finca are enough for comfort. We try to use low wattage bulbs – and better yet, lights off means fewer bugs waiting in your room.
are actively researching alternative energy sources like photo-voltaic (PV) and others. Stay tuned, better yet, share ideas, or skills at a work party.
On small islands, electricity is very expensive. Our long term goal is to be able to run the finca off of the grid – but until then, to help, we:
Reducing & Re-using
Like cleaning with vinegar and rags…
We avoid buying single use paper and plastic items -- don’t use paper towels and napkins, but use cloth napkins and kitchen cloths, that we make from recycling retired inn linens.
We re-use the grocery store’s plastic bags, and keep clean ones available for guests to use.
The finca Beach Clean Up Crew – Join it! All you do is grab a plastic bag for each person going to the beach, and have them grab three pieces of litter off the beach. Do it every day – kids love it.
We don’t buy (or believe in) single plastic water bottles, and encourage guests to bring their own re-fillables.
Why plastic glasses? Because after 13 years of buying and replacing broken drinking glasses repeatedly – we figure its more sustainable to stop filling our landfills with them.
We don’t subscribe to magazines – but sure appreciate it when guests bring their old ones down for others to enjoy.
Before you buy a cooler or beach chair, even olive oil or shampoo, check with us. We have lots of beach toys and bug dope left behind from other guests. And when you are checking out – please let us know about the things you want to leave.
The finca was one of the island’s first businesses to recycle, starting when it first came to the island about 10 years ago. We recycled all glass, metals, and paper from inn and guests’ use. Sadly to say – as of this year, for economic reasons all recycling on the island has been stopped. We are actively working with island groups to get to get it restored.
We have fixed and re-installed the natural salt water system for our pool.
We try to use only bio-degradable soaps, detergents, and cleaners, whenever possible.
We avoid pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers for cleaning and landscaping, and prefer to live with an occasional June bug than chemicals, and to let the lizards keep the mosquito population down, rather than bug sprays.
Compost whatever we can, and are putting in a new vegetable garden.
We use only 100% cotton sheets and towels.