“Our Oceans Our Future”

#WorldOceansDay

Happy World Oceans Day!

At Playa Viva (“Living Beach”) it’s in our name to keep our coast and ocean healthy, alive, and thriving. Our oceans are essential to life as we know it on the planet: 70% of the oxygen we breathe comes from the ocean, they help regulate our climate, provide a significant portion of our food, as well as a number of economic, cultural and recreational benefits.

When the owners bought Playa Viva’s land, it was heavily degraded: the coastal lagoon once replete with mangroves was dried up and mangroves were slashed and burned by cattle ranching and monoculture agriculture. Much of the coastal forest ecosystem that once protected the coastline and supported marine life was in a precarious state.

Playa Viva has been working to reverse that through a number of regenerative practices.

LA TORTUGA VIVA

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Some of the members of LTV

La Tortuga Viva (LTV) is one of our longest standing initiatives. LTV began in 2001 (before we were even here!) through a SEMARNAT (Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources) initiative to combat illegal turtle poaching in Mexico. The camp was started by members from the local community, many of whom were once sea turtle poachers themselves, and have since become conservationists. Playa Viva has been working with this sanctuary since 2007, providing them financial support and extra streams of revenue through the tourism brought by the hotel. We’ve been focusing even more energy on the camp with a new role: Turtle Sanctuary Coordinator.

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“I’ve been working with the turtle camp the past 4 months and although I have several projects from relocating the sanctuary to supporting the camp permit renewal process, most of my time has been dedicated to capacity building with the local volunteers. Through relationship building, frequent group meetings, and new communication channels like WhatsApp groups, many internal camp issues, that have hindered the volunteers’ quality of work, are now being addressed. Some positive steps have included empowering some of the younger volunteers to share and implement their ideas for improving the operations of the camp, and therefore sharing responsibilities so that all tasks don’t fall on one person. The goal of my role is to support the camp volunteers so they can manage themselves, without relying outside assistance. Slowly but surely we are moving in the right direction!” – Lissett Medrano, former policy coordinator at Conservation International

Right now this position is not funded. We would love to secure funding for this important role as it is essential for improving conservation management capacity. To donate to this important initiative visit our page on LTV (OR donate to our Indiegogo Campaign!), where we receive tax-deductible donations through our fiscal sponsor, The Ocean Foundation.

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Turtle volunteers transplanting nests into the hatchery

PARTNERSHIP WITH COSTA GRANDE COSTA LIMPIA

More than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans every year. Plastic pollution not only kills and harms marine life, damages and alters habitats, and has substantial negative impacts on local economies, but it also poses a great threat to human health. As plastic debris floats in the seawater and decomposes into microplastics, it absorbs other pollutants that are highly toxic, which have a wide range of adverse health effects. When fish and other marine species eat these plastic pieces, the toxins are absorbed into their body and passed up the food chain and ultimately passed onto our dinner planets.

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Photo Credit: Costa Grande, Costa Limpia

To combat this issue, in addition to the regular beach cleanup we do with La Tortuga Viva, we’ve partnered with Costa Grande Costa Limpia in their effort to clean up the beaches of Costa Grande in Guerrero and run campaigns about the importance of keeping our oceans healthy and free of plastic (80% of the waste found on beaches is exclusively plastic). Their objective is to improve the health of Guerrero’s coastline, to develop jobs for Costa Grande communities and to grow the regional economy through tourism. Villagers from each municipality undergo rigorous training so that they can perpetuate this effort, take care of their environment and change their own consumption habits.

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Costa Grande Costa Limpia brigades finishing for the day at Playa Viva

We hosted several brigades here at Playa Viva, who have collected numerous bags of plastic and other debris–large and small–from our town’s beaches and lagoon. We are overly grateful to have such an important partner in ocean health and conservation!

MANGROVE RESTORATION

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Mangrove restoration area

It has been estimated that in some areas of the world 70-90% of commercial fish species directly rely on mangrove ecosystems. Mangrove forests act as nurseries to many species of fish, crab, shrimp, and mollusk. These fisheries form an essential source of food for thousands of coastal communities around the world.

The dense root systems of mangrove forests also trap sediments flowing down rivers, which stabilizes the coastline and prevents erosion. These trees also filter sediments, protecting coral reefs and seagrass meadows (which are important feeding grounds of our beloved sea turtle!).

For many years mangroves were negatively (and are still!) impacted by the tourism industry. At Playa Viva, we are one of few tourism operations in the world actively restoring the mangrove ecosystem through the revenues generated by the hotel.

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Jose Vargas “Chenca” – the employee who spearheads all of our onsite mangrove restoration work!

At the start of our mangrove restoration project, we engaged with the local community about the importance of mangroves, who didn’t see much use to them other than firewood. They even used to cut some of the root systems down as they were seen as a nuisance when they went fishing in the lagoon and their nets got caught on the roots.

We have different areas of mangrove restoration at work on our property. Some areas we are letting nature take its course, in others we’re practicing an accelerated natural selection. We’ve opened waterway channels to restore the natural flow of the lagoon, created shade to shade out invasive species, planted mangrove saplings, and actively removed invasive species that would otherwise prevent mangroves from flourishing.

We’ve just begun phase two of the coastal lagoon restoration project and opened up a new area for mangrove restoration. We are currently looking for investors to help continue this important effort!

SEAFOOD SUSTAINABILITY

jaquorylunsford-11Playa Viva has just begun its first seafood sustainability assessment. The goal for food sourcing at Playa Viva is to provide transparency in our menus, build strong relationships with local providers, and use ingredients that are seasonal, organic and just.

Accordingly, with my role as Social & Environmental Impact Officer, I’m tasked with ensuring we’re doing all these things! When I first arrived at Playa Viva, I received a lot of questions such as, “Was this fish caught today? Did you purchase this from a local fisher? Is this seafood sustainable?” I honestly didn’t have the answers, so I began to investigate. My first stop was to talk with one of our conservation partners Katherina Audley, from Whales in Guerrero Research Project, an amazingly passionate woman who has fished for two decades in the area and actively working to promote a healthy ocean here in Guerrero.

I have been receiving a ton of support on this project from Romain, a “volunteer” with a lot of great experience. Romain came to Playa Viva to work on this project after having worked on a number of conservation and development projects in fishing communities in Africa and Asia, most recently with the FAO’s FishAdapt project in Myanmar. He has spearheaded the project, tracing where the hotel’s seafood is coming from, investigating local fishing regulations and ensuring that we are purchasing seafood that is socially and ecologically sustainable. The next stage of the project is to work with hotel management and local fishing cooperatives to source fish locally and directly from small-scale producers in order to support the local economy and regenerate healthy fisheries.

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Romain in Cayacal, meeting with local fishermen

A healthy ocean is integral to live in the coastal ecosystem of which Playa Viva is apart. We honor and celebrate the fragile strength and limited bounty of the oceans today, especially the delicate balance that people and the ecosystem must maintain in order to reverse the decline and regenerate this vital ecosystem.

 

Conservation Role Models

AFAR Magazine included Playa Viva in a list of “Conservation Role Models” in a round up of hotels where you can “Go for Good”, a listing of hotels where you can stay and help support great causes.  Playa Viva support of great causes starts with creating a positive social and environmental impact in the local ecology  (watch these videos about Playa Viva’s work in the local community).

Just recently, Nick Wolf, with Gente Viva, our organic farming partner, asked if I knew of a company called Good Hospitality.  We first met this organization back in 2014, when they were trying to raise funds for a hotel in Antigua, Guatemala. The proceeds from the hotel operation were intended to support a local primary schools for children who need it most.

Dutch-based Good Hospitality has an interesting initiative. They have created a barge hotel, as a floating pop-up hotel. Another good part of the story – Good Hospitality partnered with a local hospitality school to train the under employed in local Amsterdam are in order to help them find more permanent work.  See this wonderful set of videos about the training workers for the opening of the hotel and the human stories around finding more permanent work.

Good Hotel Amsterdam Traineeship – PART 1 from Good Hotel Amsterdam on Vimeo.

Good Hotel Amsterdam Traineeship – PART 2 from Good Hotel Amsterdam on Vimeo.

The hotels covered in the AFAR Article as well as Good Hospitality are all part of of a trend, spending your travel budget to align with your values. We salute Good Hotel and Good Hospitality on the progress they are making in supporting education of those with less in order for them to make more of their lives. We hope you will join these hotels and Playa Viva and travel to locations “Where Your Vacation Meets Your Values.”

“Where Your Vacation Meets Your Values” — voting with your dollar (investing and spending)

Recently, I’ve been reading alot about the growth of the social impact investing space and wanted to address this in the context of social impact spending and how we vote with the dollars we spend as much as those we invest.

JuluchucaSaltIn an article by Stephanie Cohn Rupp of the Threshold Group,  she addresses the size of social impact investing marketplace and key bottlenecks to growth.  Similarly, in an article by Colin Close with InvestCloud, he discusses how impact investing is moving from fringe to mainstream.  The basic idea is to invest your dollars with your values.  Original SRI (Socially Responsible Investing) was mostly values based with churches and other groups putting up “negative” screens and asking investment advisors and portfolio manager to exclude certain investments which did not match with their values such as guns, tobacco, alcohol, gambling, etc.  The market has moved from exclusion to inclusion, from “screening out” to “advocacy”, as many of these same financial advisory groups are advocating for companies they invest in to make “positive” changes related to corporate governance, community engagement and environmental impact.

It all sounds great especially when you read that the returns from ESG/SRI has been as good as or better than the market in most cases. How do they define this? They take one index (basket of stocks) and compare it to another. One that broadly represents the market like the S&P 500 and the iShares MSCI KLD 400 Social ETF. Go look it up, here is how it is described:

  1. Exposure to socially responsible U.S. companies
  2. Access to a broad range of stocks that have been screened for positive environmental, social, and governance characteristics
  3. Use to invest based on your personal values

Now, take a look at the list of top 10 companies. They include Coca-Cola and Pepsico. I don’t know about you, but the sale of sugar water and bottled water is not in alignment with my values. Sure, I guess I could ask for a further screening to exclude these two from the top 10. But, if these are included, who’s making the list and what are their values based on?

Julia with Odin at Playa Viva
Julia with Odin at Playa Viva

When Playa Viva was just building it’s first buildings, we had a special guest,renowned American environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill, who was pondering moving to Playa Viva to live. During our time together Julia taught me what is meant by really living by your values and doing as much as you can, and should do, to save our planet.  I do aspire to many of her choices and the discipline she exercises in the execution of those values. The key to what she taught me was — We make small decisions every day in how we act, what we chose to do, and not do, how we plan ahead, how we make the hard choices in order to live with little to no impact on the earth.  We invest in impact by the daily decisions we make, by the way we spend (not just invest) our dollars.

pv_3We, at Playa Viva, have developed a motto over the years — “Where Your Vacation Meets Your Values.”  We know we are not perfect and much of what we do is aspirational at best. So when you look to make your vacation choice, we hope your vacation investment looks deeply at your vacation decisions. We ask that you engage with your vacation choice, hopefully it is with us, about your values to make sure we are in alignment.   Sure, I cringe every time I look under the bar and find a few cans of Coca-cola products. But they are under the bar, specifically for those customers who just can’t live without their fix. While on top of the counter is always a glass “jarra” full of Aguas Frescas, fresh water/juices, made with locally harvested fruits.

What do you reach for to quench your thirst? Does your vacation meet with your values?

 

What you can measure you can manage

When we first undertook the GIIRS (Global Impact Investing Rating System) assessment in 2013, we realized that while we thought we were doing “all the right things” we could do a better job of tracking our progress to see if we were actually getting it right. Thus obtaining key metrics and measuring our performance against those metrics became our goal for Season 4.

Solar Array

We decided to start by tracking a few easy, or at least we thought they should be easy to measure, key items. They were our usage of: Water, Electricity and Natural Gas, plus keeping track of the Waste we created (Compost and Recycling), and finally tracking the school supplies donated by guests under our Pack for A Purpose partnership.

As a prelude to sharing the results, I must confess that our tracking systems are not extremely scientific and many of the measures are, well, estimates, especially when it comes to water consumption. In the case of water consumption, the ideal scenario would be to have a water meter on our supply tanks and have 100% of water flow through those tanks. In reality, we have two 10,000 liter tanks (for hotel use), one 5,000 liter tank (mostly used for agriculture irrigation) and a 2,500 tank (usually for reserves).  We sometimes have a water truck come and fill the pool with river water (which is generally not included in the water measurements). Finally, we measure our water usage with help from our maintenance and security team: one of them usually climbs the hill to where the water tanks are located and tries to estimate of how much water it will take to fill the tank, and using this figure can estimate how much water we’ve used in the last 24 hours. It’s not the most precise process, but, in the aggregate, is probably not that far off from our actual usage.

Water TanksMembers of the security team also take readings off our solar system to estimate our energy consumption during the last 24 hour period. But they often don’t get readings  at the same time of day and sometimes the readings that they record are so off from one day to the next (even when the number of guests stays the same) as to indicate that the person doing the “reading” might be mistaken in the data they are transcribing – either recording the energy level in the batteries or the total energy produced, rather than the total energy consumed.  For example, we might see readings of 54-58, usually the level associated with the batteries, while the readings the day before and day after with the same number of guests might be 24 or 29.5.  We will work on increasing data accuracy, which means more staff training as well as adding better metering equipment, like a simple water meter on the water tanks to provide daily and cumulative water use.

Playa Viva – Resource Utilization Averages – Season 4

Regardless of how accurate the numbers may be, our results are still interesting. The following are the results obtained for Season 4 (Oct 2012 to July 2013) – the quantities are all listed Per Guest:

  • Water: 470.94 liters
  • Solar: 1.42 kWh
  • Gas: 43.88 liters
  • Compost: 2.19 kg
  • Recyclables: 0.14 kg

Putting the Numbers in Context

So you’ve seen our results, but how do these numbers compare to “normal” use? A quick search found the following comparable figures.

Water – For the question of, “What is the water usage per person at a hotel?”, my research resulted in figures as low as 250 liters per person to 1800 for a luxury hotel guest. Interesting numbers from a sustainable tourism site state:

“For example, the average water consumption in Antalya City (Turkey) is 250 litres per person a day, while the average water consumption in the tourist areas of Antalya exceeds 600 litres. In Mallorca (Spain), water consumption in rural areas is 140 litres per person a day, in urban areas 250 litres, while the average tourist consumption is 440 litres, or even 880 litres in case of a luxury establishment (EEA, 2001).”

Given the numbers above, we seem to be slightly higher than average tourist consumption for Mallorca, Spain (470 at PV vs. 440 in Mallorca) and definitely lower than a typical “luxury establishment.”  Working with staff and guests, I would like us to target consumption of 440 or less per guest for Season 5 (Oct 2013-July 2014).

Electricity – So how does our electricity usage compare? Given that we are 100% off-grid solar and employ many strategies for limiting electricity use, including the use of two gas refrigerators, I would expect our usage to be lower than the average hotel or even home.  The best numbers I could find related to energy use boiled down to usage for the average American of about 8-13kWh per day, and Americans are by far, the largest users of electricity in the world.  Even given the potential of inflated numbers due to inaccurate readings by our team, the average electrical usage per person, per day at Playa Viva was only 1.42kWh, about 10-20% of the average per person in the US.

Other Metrics and Notes

I have yet to do similar comparisons of compost and recyclables or even natural gas usage. If any of our readers can suggest good data sources on these, we would appreciate your recommendations.

In January 2013, we basically doubled our solar array, thus doubling our ability to produce solar electricity.  At the same time, our gas refrigerators have reached, for the lack of a better term, ‘full depreciation.’ Thus, our use of natural gas should go down significantly as we limit its use to cooking and the backup generator.  Electricity use will go up as we replace our gas refrigerators with electric refrigerators. The gas backup generator, I’m happy to say until the writing of this blog, has only turned on for its weekly automatic test and has not had to be used for a full system “backup.” This may change with the addition of new electric refrigeration. In summary, at least now we have some basic measurements and can compare usage over time. We now can measure and hopefully better manage our resource utilization and reduce our overall environmental impact.

If you are interested in more information about these key metrics or recommend that we keep other measurements, please let us know what interests you.

El Taller Eco Vegana en Playa Viva mezcla Tradiciones, Recetas … y Bebidas

Contributed by Nick Wolf and Evan Silberstein Traducido en Español por María Luisa Quintero

ESPAÑOL primero – English version after Spanish

El Taller Eco Vegana en Playa Viva mezcla Tradiciones, Recetas … y Bebidas 

Por Nick Wolf

EcoVegana2¿Qué tal te parece un poco de canalones de berenjena, otro tanto ceviche de coliflor o un arroz de jícama? Sabroso, ¿verdad? Si hubieras estado en Playa Viva la semana pasada hubieras podido probar estos deliciosos platillos y otros más, en un taller de cocina saludable impartido por la Cooperativa Eco Vegana de Zihuatanejo.

El domingo pasado más de 30 personas llegaron al hotel eco turístico Playa Viva e inmediatamente comenzaron el día con un desayuno vegano directo de la cocina de Playa Viva. Después los invitados recorrieron las casitas, el jardín y el campamento tortuguero, donde aprendieron más acerca de la energía solar, la construcción verde y los programas de conservación que hacen de Playa Viva un lugar sustentable.

Por la tarde, los participantes tomaron una clase para aprender novedosas recetas que tienen un impacto benéfico tanto en las cinturas de los que las consumen como para el medio ambiente. Desde agua-chile a las verduras a la talla, los expertos instructores de la Cooperativa dieron un giro vegano a algunos exquisitos platillos típicos mexicanos. Incluso, la famosa margarita de albahaca de Playa Viva se transformó al sustituir el tequila por la bebida fermentada de kombucha, una mezcla perfecta que da por resultado un ligero sabor agridulce, característico del coctel emblemático del hotel. Para el final del día el barman Johnny había añadido otra deliciosa bebida a su repertorio. Por su parte, el Chef Abraham y el resto del personal de la cocina de Playa Viva complementaron los platillos  elaborados durante el taller con más recetas veganas para redondear un abundante almuerzo y menguar el día.

EcoVegana4 Una segunda oportunidad de liberar bebés tortuguitas sorprendió los asistentes y cerró el día con broche de oro; mientras tanto los invitados charlaban acerca de las recetas, bebían sus margaritas de albahaca y kombucha y descansaban en ese paraíso eco-lujoso y sustentable. Fue una relajante jornada caracterizada por ricas fusiones: mezclando  platos clásicos con novedosas recetas saludables y sustentables, mientras los visitantes citadinos de la ciudad de Zihuatanejo se escaparon a ese paraíso de playas vírgenes y conocieron algunos de sus vecinos con quienes comparten la misma costa.

Este no fue el primer taller de cocina vegana de la Cooperativa, ya que el grupo organiza una clase mensual en Zihuatanejo y participa en el mercado local y artesanal Eco-Tianguis Sanka todos los sábados. Pero, sí fue la primera visita del grupo a Playa Viva, donde los participantes dijeron que les pareció un lugar que compartía los mismos principios que ellos valoraban y les ayudó a estar en un contacto más cercano con la naturaleza, mientras minimizaban el impacto ambiental. Las ganancias del taller beneficiarán al centro de salud de Juluchuca. Ese alineamiento natural que se dio entre el hotel Playa Viva y la Cooperativa Eco Vegana de Zihuatanejo significa una buena oportunidad para desarrollar futuros talleres. Invitamos a los lectores se unan a la Cooperativa Eco Vegana y visiten su página de Facebook. Y si estás de visita en la zona, haz una parada en el hotel Playa Viva, participa en los talleres de la Cooperativa Eco Vegana y visita el Eco-Tianguis Sanka en Zihuatanejo.

Por Evan Silberstein – El domingo pasado Playa Viva fue el anfitrión de la  Cooperativa Eco Vegana compuesto por un grupo de más de 30 participantes. El evento se prolongó todo el día y los invitados aprendieron acerca de una alimentación saludable y una vida natural. Pudimos mostrar al grupo muchos de los maravillosos atractivos de Playa Viva. También disfrutaron de no una sino de dos liberaciones de tortuguitas recién nacidas, así como un tour muy especial a nuestras instalaciones, incluyendo las casitas, el delicioso jardín orgánico, nuestra estación solar que genera energía y La Tortuga Viva – el santuario de anidación y desove de las tortugas en el borde de nuestra propiedad.

EcoVegana3La Cooperativa enseñó acerca de la alimentación saludable; un montón de consejos increíbles y ofrecieron recetas a sus estudiantes de todas las edades, géneros y clases sociales. También se llevaron a cabo discusiones interactivas acompañadas con deliciosa comida durante un día emocionante de grandes descubrimientos y nuevos puntos de vista para todos los involucrados. Puedes tener la seguridad de que todos aprendimos a hacer cambios en nosotros mismos – ¿cómo te suena la experiencia de haber probado un ceviche de coco o una margarita con kombucha?

En el futuro esperamos tener un mayor y emocionante trabajo comunitario con la Cooperativa. Playa Viva se enorgullece de apoyar sus esfuerzos para aumentar la conciencia local sobre las opciones de alimentación y estilo de vida saludables.

Tú puedes comprobar su sabroso menú y encontrar sus caras sonrientes en el Eco Tianguis, un nuevo mercado ecológico que se celebra cada sábado por la mañana en Zihuatanejo. También Playa Viva tiene un local, donde vendemos nuestras verduras de la huerta, jabones artesanales y sales de Juluchuca. Asegúrate de comprobar nuestros productos en tu próxima visita, ¡vale la pena el viaje!

Echa un vistazo a la Cooperativa Eco Vegana de Zihuatanejo en Internet para obtener más información, hacer preguntas o ver algunos emocionantes videos de este evento tan especial.

———— English—————

EcoVegana1by Nick Wolf – How does some eggplant cannelloni, cauliflower ceviche or jicama ‘rice’ sound? Good? If you’d been at Playa Viva last weekend you would have been able to try these delicious dishes and a few more at a healthy cooking workshop taught by the Eco Vegan Cooperative of Zihuatanejo.

More than 30 people arrived at Playa Viva last Sunday and began their day with a vegan breakfast straight from the Playa Viva kitchen. After breakfast, the guests toured the casitas, garden and turtle sanctuary, learning more about the solar energy, green construction and conservation programs that make Playa Viva sustainable.

In the afternoon, participants sat down to learn new recipes that have a lighter impact on both their waistlines and the environment. From aguachile to vegetables a la talla, the Cooperative’s expert instructors added a vegan twist to a number of typical Mexican dishes. Even Playa Viva’s classic basil margarita got a makeover; trading out tequila for locally fermented kombucha that mixed perfectly with the light, sweet-sour taste of the signature cocktail. By the end of the day Johnny had added one more delicious drink to his repertoire. Chef Abraham and the rest of Playa Viva’s kitchen staff complemented the dishes prepared during the workshop with more vegan recipes to round out a filling lunch to wind down the day.

A surprise second batch of baby turtles ready to be released wrapped up the day as the guests chatted about the recipes, sipped on their kombucha basil margaritas and lounged in sustainable eco-luxury. Evidenced by the meals and margaritas, the day was one of fusion: blending classic dishes with healthier and more sustainable recipes, while city slickers from Zihua escaped to an untouched beach paradise and got to know some of their neighbors just down the coast.

EcoVegana5This wasn’t the Cooperative’s first vegan cooking workshop. In fact, the group hosts a monthly class in Zihuatanejo (with proceeds supporting local non-profits) and participates in the Eco-Tianguis Sanka local farm and craft market every Saturday. But, it was the group’s first visit to Playa Viva, a place participants said they felt like shared their values and helped them come in closer contact with nature while minimizing their environmental impact and benefitting the local community. Proceeds from last weekend’s workshop will support the Juluchuca clinic. The natural alignment between Playa Viva and the Eco Vegan Cooperative of Zihuatanejo means future workshops are a good bet. We hope you can join us for one over the coming months, but in the meantime be sure to visit the Cooperative’s Facebook group. Or, if you’re in the area, stop by and see both Playa Viva and the Cooperativa Eco Vegana at Eco-Tianguis Sanka in Zihuatanejo.

by Evan Silberstein – Playa Viva hosted the Cooperativa Eco Vegana this past Sunday. A large group of over 30 participants visited Playa Viva for an all-day event to learn about healthy eating and natural living. We were able to showcase many of the amazing things about Playa Viva. The guests enjoyed not 1 but 2 baby tortugita releases along with a very special tour of our property including trips to all the casitas, the delectable organic garden, our solar energy generating station and La Tortuga Viva – the turtle nesting and hatching sanctuary at the edge of our property.

The Cooperativa taught about healthy eating and shared lots of amazing tips and recipes to their students who came from all ages, genders and walks of life. Interactive discussions along with delicious food highlighted an exciting day of discovery and new insights for all involved. Rest assured, we learned a few twists ourselves – how does some coconut ceviche with a kombucha margarita sound to you?

We look forward to more exciting community work from the Cooperativa in the future. Playa Viva is proud to support their efforts to raise local awareness about healthy eating and lifestyle choices.

You can look out for their tasty menu and find their smiling faces at the Eco Tianguis – a new green market held every Saturday morning in Zihuatanejo. Playa Viva has a booth too; where we showcase greens from the garden, handmade soaps and local salts from Juluchuca. Be sure to check it out on your next visit, it’s worth the trip!

Check out the Cooperativa Eco Vegana de Zihuatanejo on the internet to find out more, ask questions or see some exciting video footage from this very special event.

Eco Vegan at Playa Viva Workshop Blends Traditions, Recipes…and Drinks

Contributed by Nick Wolfe and Evan Silberstein

EcoVegana2by Nick Wolfe – How does some eggplant cannelloni, cauliflower ceviche or jicama ‘rice’ sound? Good? If you’d been at Playa Viva last weekend you would have been able to try these delicious dishes and a few more at a healthy cooking workshop taught by the Eco Vegan Cooperative of Zihuatanejo.

More than 30 people arrived at Playa Viva last Sunday and began their day with a vegan breakfast straight from the Playa Viva kitchen. After breakfast, the guests toured the casitas, garden and turtle sanctuary, learning more about the solar energy, green construction and conservation programs that make Playa Viva sustainable.

EcoVegana1In the afternoon, participants sat down to learn new recipes that have a lighter impact on both their waistlines and the environment. From aguachile to vegetables a la talla, the Cooperative’s expert instructors added a vegan twist to a number of typical Mexican dishes. Even Playa Viva’s classic basil margarita got a makeover; trading out tequila for locally fermented kombucha that mixed perfectly with the light, sweet-sour taste of the signature cocktail. By the end of the day Johnny had added one more delicious drink to his repertoire. Chef Abraham and the rest of Playa Viva’s kitchen staff complemented the dishes prepared during the workshop with more vegan recipes to round out a filling lunch to wind down the day.

A surprise second batch of baby turtles ready to be released wrapped up the day as the guests chatted about the recipes, sipped on their kombucha basil margaritas and lounged in sustainable eco-luxury. Evidenced by the meals and margaritas, the day was one of fusion: blending classic dishes with healthier and more sustainable recipes, while city slickers from Zihua escaped to an untouched beach paradise and got to know some of their neighbors just down the coast.

EcoVegana4This wasn’t the Cooperative’s first vegan cooking workshop. In fact, the group hosts a monthly class in Zihuatanejo and participates in the Eco-Tianguis Sanka local farm and craft market every Saturday. But, it was the group’s first visit to Playa Viva, a place participants said they felt like shared their values and helped them come in closer contact with nature while minimizing their environmental impact. That natural alignment between Playa Viva and the Eco Vegan Cooperative of Zihuatanejo means future workshops are a good bet. We hope you can join us for one over the coming months, but in the meantime be sure to visit the Cooperative’s Facebook group. Or, if you’re in the area, stop by and see both Playa Viva and the Cooperativa Eco Vegana at Eco-Tianguis Sanka in Zihuatanejo.

by Evan Silberstein – Playa Viva hosted the ecoVegana Cooperativa this past Sunday. A large group of over 30 participants visited Playa Viva for an all day event to learn about healthy eating and natural living. We were able to showcase many of the amazing things about Playa Viva. The guests enjoyed not 1 but 2 baby tortugita releases along with a very special tour of our property including trips to all the casitas, the delectable organic garden, our solar energy generating station and La Tortuga Viva – the turtle nesting and hatching sanctuary at the edge of our property.

The Cooperativa taught about healthy eating and shared lots of amazing tips and recipes to their students who came from all ages, genders and walks of life. Interactive discussions along with delicious food highlighted an exciting day of discovery and new insights for all involved. Rest assured, we learned a few twists ourselves – how does some coconut ceviche with a kombucha margarita sound to you?

EcoVegana5We look forward to more exciting community work from the Cooperativa in the future. Playa Viva is proud to support their efforts to raise local awareness about healthy eating and lifestyle choices.

You can look out for their tasty menu and find their smiling faces at the Eco Tienges – a new green market held every Saturday morning in Zihuatanejo. Playa Viva has a booth too; where we showcase greens from the garden, handmade soaps and local salts from Julichuca. Be sure to check it out on your next visit, it’s worth the trip!

Check out the Cooperativas Eco Vegana on the internet to find out more, ask questions or see some exciting video footage from this very special event.

Giving Back

HeartYogaPlayaVivaZBetween Thanksgiving and Christmas our mailboxes, both real and virtual, are filled with holiday cards that remind us how much younger we are not getting, catalogs that remind us to be good consumers and solicitations that remind us to donate to deserving causes.  Playa Viva did its part when we recently sent an email requesting support for the local community of Juluchuca and the turtle sanctuary “La Tortuga Viva” – “Buy a Baby Turtle” for the holidays.

Related to the holidays, I just got a list from our accountants of all the donations we made of free stays at Playa Viva in support of deserving causes. Primarily we support groups that promote environmental conservation/restoration and social impact. In social impact, we focus our support education, health and economic development especially for the Hispanic community.  If you have a group that promotes these goals, let us know how we can help.

Here is a short list of some of the groups that received donations of free stays at Playa Viva (auctioned off to raise money for their cause): KCRW – Public Radio in Los Angeles, the Oceanic Society, A Home Away From Homelessness, Liberty Hill FoundationRenaissance Entrepreneurship Center, Pacific Community VenturesTibetan Aid ProjectBaywood Elementary SchoolHillsborough Schools FoundationSidewell Friends SchoolWestside Waldorf SchoolServices Immigrant Rights & Education Network, La Casa Del Las Madres and many more. Several of these donations were done in conjunction with our flight partner Aeromexico.

We encourage you to give the gift of charity this year to help those in need and to protect that which needs our stewardship and care. Thank you.