Tenorio Lodge, the French Eco-Touch

Tenorio Lodge Vue de la Chambre - Costa Rica

I’m off again, leaving La Laguna del Lagarto behind, still travelling with the same theme in mind: nature and wildlife, on my way through the northern region of Costa Rica towards the west and its many national parks and sleeping volcanoes. And now, “Welcome to Tenorio Lodge and its Rio Celeste!”. I am warmly greeted by Christine and Franck, a French couple who settled in the area some seven years ago. I learn a lot about Franck’s first-hand experience in building eco-friendly bungalows, and get pointers on how to make real French homemade bread from Christine. Except for the fact that the jam is made from bananas, it would almost feel a little like being back home!

Daring to go off and make Dreams Come True!

Rio Celeste, Tenorio, Costa RicaThe story of Christine and Franck is a tale of two lovers of nature, travel and photography, who met and decided one day to realize their sweet dream of freedom; you know that kind of undertaking that we all talk about but most of us will never attempt. We create so-called insurmountable barriers for ourselves, saying: “Ha! If only I were younger, if I had had another career path, if I had more money …” Well, Christine and Franck, they just went ahead and did it! They had the moxie to leave behind their comfy corner near Paris, their respective term employment contracts, most of their belongings, in order to cross the ocean and settle, permanently, in a country close to their hearts: Costa Rica.

In 2006, after three years of polishing up a solid business plan, they bought a plot and took action. Franck and Christine became self-employed entrepreneurs! The project was clear from the beginning: to develop a small hotel in the middle of nature, with a strong accent on respecting the latter (see Article on Hopineo), and to contribute—in their small way—to the economic development of the village and, more globally, of the region.

Franck is into construction; Christine is all about cooking; and as for the rest, well they keep on learning together using their common sense.   Each daily action has a very clear goal:   their clients’ satisfaction, which is obtained by everyone in the team working hard and together. Welcome to Tenorio Lodge!

Faune et Flore Tenorio Lodge

« Freedom means being able to Choose your own Constraints »…

Costa Rica avec Christine et Franck du Tenorio Lodge… says Franck, and I couldn’t agree more.

It is far from easy to throw one’s self every day into the building and development of one’s own hotel! That path is strewn with obstacles. ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’ … sure … well when it only depends on one’s own will; the problem is that such a project gambles as well on many other outside factors and actors. Even if we sometimes cruise along more slowly than planned, what is important is to stay on course and keep on going. Every time we overcome an obstacle, we become that much stronger.   Anyone who opts to be free in view of choosing his/her own constraints, and strives to get ahead with what is a passion, must be on the right track and is inevitably bound to succeed, right?

For example, in the case of my Hospitality Tour: it is a very special way to travel. I often meet travelers who can’t imagine how I can spend so much time this way, on my computer, writing articles or working on issues related to marketing strategies (while I could instead be living the life of Riley, downing beer after beer, going from beach to beach …). This Hospitality Tour does not consist of wall-to-wall fun 24/24; although I do reward myself a few ‘rest days’ here and there, most of my time is taken up by work. My goal is clear; I am not merely ‘traveling’. I decided to dedicate a year of my life to this Hospitality Tour and lead a sort of nomadic life, so as to gain some key hotel management skills (marketing and sustainable practices in particular) by means of sharing, all the while discovering countries through the day-to-day activities of hoteliers and their staff. This makes it possible for me to have some very special encounters, and share a few slices of life with some locals; I’ve become quite a privileged “tourist.” When I go through more trying days (e.g. organizing my trips, when the website starts acting up, when locating hotels gets tricky; trying to catch up with articles that are late; trying to get some quiet time on my own; mosquito bites itching me to death …) I remember the reason for all this, and then I’m quick to smile . These complications, I chose them and I know why; and that changes everything!

The word « impossible » is not in the French dictionary!

Tenorio Lodge - Ma chambreWhy such a somewhat provocative title?

First, it is a famous quotation by Napoléon, but it is also the title of a very interesting book that tells the story of a hotel project owned by two Frenchmen: Paul Dubrule and Gérard Pelisson, a hotel project that has become the leader of the European hotel industry, that of the Accor Group, and its beginnings (not necessarily obvious).

So, okay; while I don’t think Tenorio Lodge, despite its many features, will ever become the leader of the Central American hotel industry (which is anyway far from Christine’s and Franck’s objective!), we are indeed speaking here about boldness and audacity, and of French nationals; so willy-nilly there is a bit of that in fact. Moreover, I never feel more French than when I am in a foreign land. Over and above the bread, good wine, and cheese that I always miss so much, I realize that when I meet French people, we share a set of basic values, a way of looking at things, jokes, all of which makes for a more easily created link. And I must say that being welcomed so warmly, far from France, by such a lovely caring French couple, so well-meaning and generous towards me, a young stranger coming out of nowhere (well, actually out the internet!), it just warms my heart. I only spent a short ten days at Tenorio Lodge; ten days is nothing and yet a lot at the same time (when you spend all those days and evenings together). And so once again, a huge ‘thank you’ to Christine and Franck for kindly taking me in. I wish them all the success their lovely eco-tourism project deserves, and dearly hope having the opportunity one day of returning to their little ‘corner of the woods’!

Translated by my friend Hélène Masson from Quebec