Our Commitment to Sustainability

Ever since Giovanna Holbrook’s first expedition to the Galapagos in the 1970s, Holbrook Travel has been at the forefront of ecotourism and responsible travel.

Holbrook Travel fosters the best practices of ethical and eco-friendly travel. Our goal is for our travel programs to protect and conserve the environment and local natural resources, and improve the wellbeing of local communities. We make every effort to work with locally owned lodges, tour providers, and guides that adhere to the best practices in sustainable travel.

Principles of Ecotourism

For many years, Holbrook has participated in sustainable global travel by supporting local conservation projects, non-governmental organizations, and community-based programs that advance conservation. We share our knowledge of environmental issues and educate our travelers about local and global conservation efforts to foster positive experiences for travelers and locals alike.

Holbrook is a member of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), a non-profit association committed to promoting responsible tourism practices that benefit conservation and communities. 

Our travel programs all follow the ecotourism principles defined by TIES:

  • Minimize physical, social, behavioral, and psychological impacts.
  • Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
  • Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
  • Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
  • Generate financial benefits for both local people and private industry.
  • Deliver memorable interpretative experiences to visitors that help raise sensitivity to host countries' political, environmental, and social climates.
  • Design, construct and operate low-impact facilities.
  • Recognize the rights and spiritual beliefs of the Indigenous People in your community and work in partnership with them to create empowerment.

Carbon Offsetting

Since 2008, we’ve partnered with ClimateSafe to easily allow our travelers to offset the carbon emissions produced during their journey. The ClimateSafe program supports renewable energy, energy efficiency, and forestry projects, both in the United States and abroad.

How ClimateSafe Works

We calculate the distance of your air travel involved in your program to the region you will be traveling (based on averages from common U.S. gateways). We then calculate the tons of CO2 used in your transportation and land/boat program (accounting for program length) and plug this value into our equation to determine the price of your offset.

Since our partnership began, thousands of travelers have reduced emissions through a portfolio of high-quality offsets, including:

Tree Planting

Planting trees is a fantastic way to remove excess CO2 from the atmosphere while improving the watershed, enhancing wildlife habitat, and increasing forest-based revenue from nuts, fruits, and tourism activities. Holbrook supports an initiative in the Alajuela region of Costa Rica, where a local NGO has planted 11,000 native species on once barren plains near Chambacu. The project also provides a habitat for meliponas, a native bee species, from which organic honey is sold to a local market.

Water Energy

Water flowing in rivers, lakes, and the ocean can be used to generate emissions-free electricity, reducing the use of carbon based fuels such as coal and natural gas. Some of the greenhouse reductions used to neutralize travel activities come from Canada, and are generated by Summit Power on the Soo River Micro Hydro facility near Whistler, British Columbia.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is often the most cost effective way to achieve greenhouse gas reductions. Part of the reductions used for ClimateSafe come from replacing traditional light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL’s) in low income neighborhoods in north Florida, where Holbrook Travel is located.

Green Buildings

The portfolio of investments that generate ClimateSafe reductions also supports low-energy sustainable building practices, including LEED buildings, Net Zero Energy Home development (NZEH), and off-grid homes. These green building projects are located in Boston, Massachusetts and Florida.

Landfill Gas Destruction

Landfills produce large amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. By covering the landfill, the gas can be trapped, cleaned up, and burned, which destroys the methane and thus reduces the impact on the climate. ClimateSafe has contracted with the New River Solid Waste Association in north Florida for this portion of the offset portfolio.

Sustainability at Selva Verde Lodge

From the outset, Selva Verde was considered a pioneer in the world of ecolodges and sustainable tourism in Costa Rica. Today, Selva Verde continues that tradition through many efforts to ensure a sustainable future not only for the lodge and reserve, but also for the people and wildlife that call the Sarapiquí region home.

Biodiversity Conservation

When Giovanna Holbrook first purchased the property that would later become Selva Verde, the Sarapiquí region was largely covered in rainforest. To this day, Selva Verde remains a true rainforest refuge – one piece in the patchwork of rainforest habitat found in the region today.

Certificate of Sustainable Tourism

In an effort to minimize our impact on the environment, Selva Verde is proud to carry and support Costa Rica's Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST).

The Sarapiquí Conservation Learning Center

Founded in the 1990's by Giovanna Holbrook and Bertha Carter, the Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center (SCLC) was established to promote conservation education in the communities surrounding Selva Verde. Today the SCLC is a fully independent nonprofit working to achieve a sustainable future for the people and wildlife of the region.