PADF’s Community Preparedness and Resilience project works with like-minded local partners to engage and inform communities about the effects of climate change. Here is a profile of one of our latest partners, Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort, which shares our goals of conservation, environmental stewardship and sustainable community development. PADF and Hamanasi are about to embark on a partnership to support mangrove reforestation in Southern Belize.
Hamanasi eco-resort’s 25 rooms include 13 tree houses decorated with Belizean hardwoods and locally-made folk art. An on-site dive shop helps guests explore Belize’s marine environments. On land, visitors experience a colorful oasis, surrounded by tropical plants, birds and ocean views. “We are fortunate to have on property a coastal littoral forest – one of the most threatened types of forests in the world,” says Kirsty Roberts General Manager at Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort. “Rather than cutting down the forest when we needed to add more rooms we built amidst the trees.”
The name Hamanasi comes from the Garifuna word meaning 'almond' from the Belizean hamans tree. Dave and Dana Krauskopf opened the Resort in 2001 with the goal of saving the trees on site. In that regard, the 18-acre resort has always been ahead of the curve.
The property was named Belize’s first-ever Green Globe Certified beachfront property in 2010. Ten acres of the resort has been set aside as a nature preserve. But that’s just the beginning. In 2016, Hamanasi hopes to install solar panels, a rain water collection system for a new laundry, implement a recycling plant, and continue reforestation efforts.
“The folks at Hamanasi are approaching tourism in the right way,” says PADF project director Minerva Pinelo. “They have an eye toward preserving Belize’s unique coastal environment, but they are involving the local community at the same time.”
PADF and Hamanasi hope to continue their partnership to educate people about the importance of conservation, and to make Southern Belize more resilient to the effects of climate change.
Climate Change Challenges
Hamanasi’s beautiful coastal location is not without its challenges. The resort is seeing the effects of climate change and it has had an impact on their business. Flooding, coral reef bleaching, an increase in the number of natural disasters, and beach erosion are all challenges that affect tourism, staff say. The presence of Sargassum seaweed has affected bookings at the resort. Hamanasi’s solution? Treat it as a learning opportunity and educate guests about the effects of climate change. The Resort has also implemented a plan to manage the seaweed by collecting and using it as fill and fertilizer.
“We want our guests to know where they are staying and educate themselves on how to protect our environment through sustainable practices,” says Roberts.
Pack for a Purpose
In an effort to give back to the local community, Hamanasi encourages guests to pack backpacks and school supplies which the resort donates to area schools. Since 2014, more than 200 guests have donated more than 735 pounds of supplies.
Travel as Education
Upon check-in, guests are provided with a sustainability booklet containing eco-friendly practices and educating them about composting and the produce grown in the resort’s on-site gardens. Once a week, the resort’s “Green Team” delivers a presentation on sustainable practices.
“Travelers should be aware of their footprint and the impact it has, observe and respect local cultures and research before traveling,” says Roberts.