IF YOU SHOULD FLY OVER RANCHO MARGOT (ABOVE) NEAR THE ARENAL VOLCANO IN LA FORTUNA, COSTA RICA, YOU PROBABLY WON’T EVEN SEE THE SPRAWLING COLLECTION OF BUNGALOWS, BARNS, AND BAR, NO MATTER HOW LOW YOUR PLANE OR CLEAR THE SKY. THAT’S AN ASPECT THAT OWNER JUAN SOSTHEIM LIKES ABOUT THE GREEN ROOFTOPS ON THE BUILDINGS THAT MAKE UP THE RANCH. NOT ONLY DO THEY PROVIDE SOME OBSCURITY AND PRIVACY AMID THE MOUNTAINOUS JUNGLE, THE TOP LAYER OF SOIL, ROOTS, AND PLANTS HELP INSULATE THE BUILDINGS SO THEY USE LESS ENERGY FOR HEATING AND COOLING.
It's just one of the innovative win/wins that Sostheim has implemented at his sustainable ranch hotel in the heart of one of the world's most environmentally committed countries. "We are totally off the grid here," Sostheim said as he gave me a tour of the nearly 200-hectare estate. "It's about time to start making a change for the better. We're trying to teach people how to change their lifestyles and how to live in a healthier way."