EcoSuites make Puerto Rico debut

EcoSuites at Parador Combate Beach in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, are built of recycled materials.
EcoSuites at Parador Combate Beach in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, are built of recycled materials.

Puerto Rico's accommodations' offerings range from a slew of luxury resorts that target the upscale market and the affluent traveler to simpler lodgings that meld charm with lower rates.

The island's government-run lodging options include B&Bs; paradores, a network of small inns that provide visitors with a more rural experience outside the metro areas; and posadas, which are themed experiences in a small inn or hotel in a town or city's historical center.

A fourth government-run accommodations choice, EcoSuites, debuted this summer. EcoSuites are an extension of the paradores brand, said Ingrid Rivera Rocafort, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co., which oversees the program.

"This is a sign of commitment to the environment and sustainable development in the country inns in Puerto Rico. The paradores brand is diversifying and is proving to be strong and competitive in the market," Rocafort said.

The first 12 EcoSuites opened at the Parador Combate Beach, located at El Combate Beach in Cabo Rojo on the island's southwest coast. The expansion, which brought the room total at the parador to 48 units, was completed with recycled materials and employed sustainable technologies and equipment designed to save energy.

The total investment in the project was approximately $275,000, according to Tomas Ramirez, president of the Paradores Owners Association. The 12 EcoSuites can accommodate up to four guests each.

"[The construction process] consists of converting [shipping] containers 40 feet long into guestrooms, which saves time and reduces cost. The containers are covered with a special sealant made in Puerto Rico that has the ability to lower the inside temperature. The exterior facade and interior decor are treated with moisture-resistant, recycled materials," said Xavier Ramirez, general manager of the Parador Combate Beach.

"This innovative concept is the result of a comprehensive study of this engineering technology, which has been used in other parts of the world," said Tomas Ramirez.

"We wanted to do something innovative, cost-effective and ecofriendly, since we are in the ecotourism capital of Puerto Rico and within the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge," he said.

EcoSuite rates start at $149 per night, double, including breakfast.



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