Consumer Travel Editors Roundtable


The Travel Weekly Consumer Editors Roundtable went abroad this year, convening at Costa Rica’s Nayara Resort, with its co-founder, Leo Ghitis, as a guest participant.

A midlife crisis left Leo Ghitis questioning his contributions to society as a commercial real estate developer. As a result, he and his wife, Ruthy, bought a muddy cattle ranch near Costa Rica’s Arenal volcano with the idea of restoring its original rainforest landscape and creating Nayara, a true ecoresort. A decade later, the concept has blossomed into multiple resorts: Nayaras now operate in Panama, Argentina and Chile, with more on the way.

Ghitis joined America’s top consumer travel editors to discuss not only the restoration of the land where they were sitting but the return of travel itself following years when pandemic restrictions dominated the editors' conversations. This year, roundtable topics included travel’s current surge, changes in luxury, cannabis tourism, how politics is shaping travel decisions, sustainability certification and Ghitis’ unique approaches to pricing, employee housing and his surprising answer when asked to whom, if anyone, he would consider selling Nayara.

At the 17th edition of the Travel Weekly Consumer Editors Roundtable last month were top editors from Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Afar, National Geographic Travel, Town & Country, Robb Report and Travel Weekly editor in chief Arnie Weissmann moderated the discussion, and Ghitis hosted the group at the recently opened Nayara Tented Camp.

The original transcript has been edited for length, and the chronology has been altered to keep dialogue about specific topics together, though the topic might have recurred at intervals during the course of the conversation.


Arnie Weissmann, editor in chief, Travel Weekly: Things have changed quite a bit since our last roundtable, when much of the discussion still revolved around the pandemic. Today, despite an environment that would seem to be filled with economic headwinds — inflation, concerns about recession, record-high airfares and hotel rates — travel has come back with a vengeance. Do you think that what we’re seeing is simply a result of pent-up demand, and if so, how long can it last? Or is it something else?

Jesse Ashlock, editor, U.S., Conde Nast Traveler: Some of it is pent-up demand, but I think that, particularly at the luxury end, it’s connected to some of the self-discovery, the soul-searching, that occurred during the pandemic. People asked themselves what is truly important. A travel advisor recently told me she thinks there are three types of travelers today: traditional travelers, Instagram trophy collectors and slow travelers. The slow-traveler segment, which has been growing since the pandemic, wants to deeply connect with authentic experiences, with a mindfulness component, an educational component and a sustainability component. There’s also a much greater desire to know where their tourism dollar is going and to make sure that it’s going somewhere good. With that segment growing, I think that’s one reason why what we’re seeing is here to stay.

Mark Ellwood, travel editor, Robb Report: People are using travel in different ways. They use their trips — and I say “use” very deliberately — in ways that they wouldn’t have thought of before. People who were separated are coming back together, often in a different location. Not many people would have previously thought, “Let’s have a family reunion halfway between everybody.”

Starlight Williams, editor, National Geographic Travel: My family would be the example of that. We went to Jamaica for my grandmother’s 80th birthday. We came in, we all loved it, and now there’s this intentional plan to travel to different locations. A lot of my family were traveling for the first time since the pandemic, and I have a friend whose parents got a passport and their siblings got a passport because they want to have this beautiful experience. And destination weddings are on the rise.

Bob Guccione Jr., editor in chief, I have a different view. I think it’s a momentary flare of interest brought about by being pent up, brought about by fear of dying and then not dying, and then wanting to get together. And everybody wanted to get back out, even people who wouldn’t normally travel much, because they had been denied the ability to travel. But I would never gauge a business on the trend of family reunions, because most people don’t like their families and don’t want to actually have a reunion, at least not more than once. I think it will die down.

The future vitality of the travel industry is greatly going to depend on how airlines treat their customers, how airports treat their traffic, how venues, resorts, hotels treat their guests. I think the thing that’s most missing in the hospitality business is hospitality, and I think that has to return. Everybody will spend something ridiculous for that first trip out of the country, but will they next year? We’re on the fringes of a quasi-recession, which is not great. I think economics are going to play a big part. I think it’s going to be up to the industry itself to make people want to travel.

Klara Glowczewska, executive travel editor, Town & Country: I think that we’re really at a point where more and more people are feeling sticker shock. The prices I have seen, they’re just nosebleed. An African safari lodge, $3,500 per night, per person. If not $4,000. This is crazy money, and I cannot believe that this is sustainable. What was available to upper-middle-class people is now simply available only to high-net-worth people.


Is what we’re seeing simply the result of pent-up demand? Or something else?

Arnie Weissmann

Arnie Weissmann

Guccione: A little comment about high-net-worth: I’ve never seen anybody as deal and discount conscious as the richest people are.

Julia Cosgrove, editor in chief, Afar: Travel has always been a privilege and not a right, and I worry a little bit that we’re getting caught up in the … I’m going to call it “the White Lotus-fication of travel.” And that’s the exact opposite of where travel could have gone coming out of the pandemic, which would be to a more thoughtful and conscientious type of travel.

Glowczewska: Coming out of the pandemic, companies are charging as much as they can. And the ceiling has not been reached yet.

Leo Ghitis, CEO, Nayara Resorts: Most hotels like this one have revenue management software, so our prices change throughout the day. I was shocked that, after the pandemic, there was no ceiling. The customer became price insensitive, which for me was very scary, so we deactivated the software because I don’t want prices so high that guests are going to feel that they’re going to be ripped off.

Weissmann: With rates as high as they are, let’s talk a little about the state of luxury. What have you seen that has really impressed you, and what have you seen that was meant to impress you but perhaps missed the mark?

Ellwood: I finally went to St. Barts and stayed at the Eden Rock. Obviously, that’s a fabulous hotel, but the most fabulous thing about it was its whimsy. I think luxury can be exhaustingly po-faced and incredibly earnest. You know, like the person in the front of the class who’s just taking notes the whole time and you occasionally want them to throw a paper plane back at you. Eden Rock St. Barts is known for everything being red, and there was a little red rubber duck in the bathroom to take home with you and red nail polish and nail polish remover in the bathroom so you could paint your nails bright red. There were all these little whimsical touches which weren’t very expensive, but they were fun. Luxury could do with being more fun.

Cosgrove: And younger people don’t need the sort of stuffiness that has existed for so many decades.

Sarah Bruning, special projects and surveys editor, Travel + Leisure: They don’t. Things that people are really placing a premium on now, especially younger people, are access and — I feel like this word’s just so overused at this point — authenticity. Connection. They want to go to a place to understand it, to understand the people and the culture.

So some place like Eden Rock has a VIP concierge who can get you a table at Nikki Beach, an impossible-to-get reservation. Fine, there’s that. But there are also the places that can set up really meaningful experiences. AndBeyond offers a WildEconomy Masterclass developed with African Leadership University, an immersive learning experience that speaks to some of the values that were coming out of the pandemic.

Cosgrove: It’s wonderful. When you come to a place, you want to actually feel it.


I worry a bit we’re getting caught up in the ‘White Lotus-fication’ of travel.

Julia Cosgrove

Julia Cosgrove

Ashlock: My family and I stayed at the Cove in Atlantis in the Bahamas. And they’ve recently added Sapphire Services, which is about connecting guests with experiences and interaction with Bahamian culture and people throughout the Bahamas. We flew on a seaplane to Andros. I just thought that was so impressive and such a sea change in the way that big hospitality operates.

Ellwood: I also think retail is an opportunity. I was at Fife Arms in Scotland, and the store was an amazing standalone shop. There were unique products, and we bought some hand lotion that was made by a local woman, in this beautiful jar. There were tweed hats from Perthshire. Fife Arms and Le Sirenuse, in Positano, who did a collaboration with Tombolo, are doing retail in such a fun way.

I suppose the bougieness presupposes you don’t need all the things a hotel shop typically has, but if you do need deodorant, there’s a drugstore nearby.

Bruning: Some have products that really connect guests to a place and also through an experiential lens. In Ireland, one of my colleagues went to a wool-maker and weaver and had the tactile experience of taking a turn on the spindle and understanding a tradition that dates back hundreds of years. And then, you have the thing you made, and the memory.

Williams: On the other hand, there’s the time they send you to someone’s house, and you see they’ve just been hired as a local to be “authentic,” but they’re putting on a show.

Ellwood: A human safari.

Bruning: It has to be done absolutely thoughtfully. You don’t want it to be some dipstick character.

Guccione: We’re the media. And one of the things that is incumbent upon us is to point out true authenticity in an article. Travel media used to be about, “This is a great hotel, they have 400-thread-count sheets and beautiful soap.” But now we see much more in travel, and it’s so much more exciting.

Weissmann: And speaking of changes in travel, I’d like to get your take on something that’s showing up in my inbox with increasing regularity: cannabis tourism. With cannabis legal in so many states, will it take off? Can it be like visiting wine country, checking out the different terroirs and experiences?

Williams: I do think this is going to be the next big travel trend. You can talk about it in different ways; it used to be, “This one made me sleepy, this one made me more energized.” Now it’s being blended with so many things, like cannabis and yoga or cannabis and hiking. Weed tasting, like wine tasting.

Ashlock: Cannabis-infused fine dining, I think, is going to be a growing thing.

Cosgrove: Like craft beer, craft cocktails, whiskey trails.

Guccione: Three-course meals. With Ritz crackers.


I do think cannabis tourism is going to be the next big travel trend. Weed tasting, like wine tasting.

Starlight Williams

Starlight Williams

Glowczewska: How does this relate to tourism?

Williams: So many different experiences are being woven into it — how it’s cultivated and farmed.

Glowczewska: You want to see where it grows? Like going to a vineyard? I don’t get it. Why can’t you just get high at home?

Ashlock: I don’t think anybody in my audience was going to Amsterdam before just to get lit. But with the legalization here, it creates more interest than going out of the country.

Glowczewska: I’m just not getting it.

Cosgrove: I get press releases every day.

Glowczewska: OK, so where do they go and what do they do?

Cosgrove: There’s the retail experience. You’re in a new city, and you want to go to the shops.

Williams: There are different strands, different communities, different people you’re interacting with. Before, everything was in the shadows in a way, and now it’s an open thing and people can actually talk about their passion. There are so many cannabis and yoga classes. Cannabis pop-up shops, where they’ll take over a hotel rooftop and bring in DJs. It’s a party, and you get to leave with a gift.

Ashlock: OK, here’s my question: Can they do anything about the paranoia? Because I like being paranoid at home, and I really don’t like being paranoid when I’m out.

Williams: So stop smoking sativa!

Ghitis: Can I jump in?

Weissmann: Please.

Ghitis: I’m looking at that right now.

Weissmann: Really?

Ghitis: I’ve been working on that. Our focus is going to be mostly on wellness.

Weissmann: Wellness and cannabis?

Ghitis: Yes.

Glowczewska: I like that.

Cosgrove: Ya got her!

Glowczewska: Now I’m getting it.

Ellwood: It’s a totally different angle.

Ghitis: Yeah, there are people in pain. It’s a cannabis-based wellness program.

Ellwood: That’s brilliant.

Glowczewska: I love that.


I don’t get it.
Why can’t you just
get high at home?

Klara Glowczewska

Klara Glowczewska

Weissmann: Is it CBD only? Or THC also?

Ghitis: Both. There are different combinations, different percentages.

Guccione: I’ve never smoked pot.

Ellwood: I don’t believe you.

Ghitis: It’s not too late.

Guccione: No, I never will. I have no idea what it’s like.

Ghitis: The oil is supposed to be very good. Klara, you’re going to get invited as soon as we open.

Glowczewska: I had a little taste of that experience in South Africa last year. I went to Londolozi, and I went to the spa and she said, “Do you want some CBD oils?” And God, it was great. I felt so much better. It was wonderful.

Ghitis: CBD works very well.

Glowczewska: Smoke and do yoga?

Ghitis: You stretch. You stretch.

Glowczewska: After you try the cannabis?

Guccione: You stretch what?

Ashlock: You stretch better.

Ghitis: It’s good for relaxation, it’s good for meditation. Everything that has to do with wellness goes very well with cannabis.

Glowczewska: It’s a very good concept.

Cosgrove: Arnie, I’m predicting that in three years we’ll be sitting around this table talking about psilocybin experiences and its impact on hospitality.

Weissmann: I’m already getting press releases on microdosing. But let’s move on. Geopolitics. How is it impacting travel?

Ashlock: Are we talking about Saudi Arabia?

Weissmann: We can talk about Saudi Arabia.

Guccione: I think people go where they want to go, and they don’t want to go if their politics are that important to them. I would not go to Russia right now, and probably never go again unless they get rid of Putin and change. China doesn’t seem to want people to come. Saudi Arabia is kind of a tipping point. I think they’re a terrible regime, and there’s all this angst. But I’m utterly fascinated by Saudi Arabia. It’s one of the places I’d most like to go, and given the opportunity, I’d probably take it. I don’t think I would contribute vastly enough to their economy to make any difference. I’m not sure I would advocate for it on Wonderlust. But, personal choice.


People go where they want to go, and don’t want to go if their politics are that important to them.

Bob Guccione Jr.

Bob Guccione Jr.

Weissmann: If you enjoyed it, why would you not advocate for it on your website? Wouldn’t your readers also be interested in seeing it in the same way you would?

Guccione: Great question. I might find that I was utterly fascinated and felt compelled to tell people about that. And I would try to balance it with the fact that I don’t like the way they treat their own people. I’d find it hard to say, “Hey, it’s not a good place, but wow, what an amazing experience.” We are in a tough situation because we get to see places others don’t, and then we have some sort of moral obligation to be honest about what goes on there.

Glowczewska: If I could be a devil’s advocate for a moment: I’m just imagining what the rest of the world thinks about coming to America. About getting shot when you go shopping in a mall or when you’re in a theater, or when you’re just walking down the street. If you think about the American South, where most of the people on death row are Black, it’s a nightmare. This is America, and there’s a level of almost government violence against a huge segment of the population. They’re trying to disenfranchise people from voting. I mean, there are many people in Europe and elsewhere, educated people, who must look at America and think, “What the hell is going on there?”

Ashlock: I think we apply a different lens on different countries. If you were to eliminate most of the Southern states, you’d probably eliminate Hungary, Poland. But I know that there are tons of kind, wonderful people in Alabama and tons of kind, wonderful people in Saudi Arabia. And when we make these kind of blanket decisions that places are off limits because we think the regimes are backwards, we eliminate the possibility of encountering those people. And I think that’s a loss.

Ellwood: I’d be very surprised if travel advisors said that politics comes up much when they’re planning with  a client.

Cosgrove: I agree 100%.

Ellwood: I’d love to hear what travel advisors reading this say. I don’t think politics is part of that decision-making process.

Ashlock: I think about Cuba, where for decades people would go because they didn’t agree with the politics. That was part of the appeal and intrigue. 

And I will also say that if Italy lurches toward fascism, as people have suggested it might after the last election, nobody will stop going to Italy. I guarantee that.

Glowczewska: Well, I for one would love to go to Saudi Arabia as a journalist, I would love to know what it’s like, and I have absolutely no problem with that. I’m not there to promote it, but I want to experience it, and I’d like to write about what it was like to experience it.

Ashlock: Just deliver nuanced statements about what it’s like to be there rather than blanket statements. Because everybody I’ve ever talked to, and I have a family member who’s been there for four years working on Neom, says it’s not what you think it is, it’s not the way the West portrays it. We think Saudi Arabia’s all one thing. But it’s vast.


I’d love to hear what travel advisors say. I don’t think politics is part of the decision-making process.

Mark Ellwood

Mark Ellwood

Weissmann: Even if you have concerns about governments — perhaps particularly if you have concerns about governments — I’ve found that there’s another reason to go, anyway. I went to North Korea in 1991, I visited Ceausescu’s Romania, Castro’s Cuba, Gadhafi’s Libya. Regardless of what I may have thought about the leadership, I found that the people who lived there were glad I came. When they felt it was safe to do so, they would approach me and share their experiences, and I learned far more about life in those countries than I would have if I had stayed at home and just read about it. If everyone decided not to go, they’re isolated and you’re less informed.

But let’s turn to where you think people will be traveling without hesitation in 2023.

Cosgrove: Bhutan, Thailand, Vietnam.

Glowczewska: Japan?

Bruning: Because Japan was closed for so long, I think we’ve seen a huge surge in people, both first-timers and people eager to return and go deeper into the country. I think Japan is really getting the lion’s share right now.

Weissmann: One thing I’ve seen, almost everywhere I go, no matter how remote, is a surprising number of vacation rentals. Leo, I understand that for you, it’s had an impact on your workers.

Ghitis: People don’t realize the negative impact that Airbnb has had in rural communities all over the world. We see it in all of our hotels where people who own rental apartments or homes have decided that they’re better off listing them on Airbnb than they were renting them long-term. But that creates a real housing shortage. What we found here is that when leases were coming up, people were getting evicted, and it was really absolutely terrible.

Weissmann: Your staff among them?

Ghitis: Our staff here, and everywhere where we have hotels. Five years ago, a typical apartment for someone who worked at this hotel would rent for $100 a month. Now, it’s $300 a month. 

We pay the highest salaries in the area, but they cannot keep up with the increase in housing, if they can even find housing. So, we bought a large tract of land not far from here, and we’re going through the permitting phase to bring in water, sewers and roads, and we’re going to provide the lots to employees. We’re offering it to the people who are most vulnerable, which, unfortunately, happens to be mostly women. They’re in housekeeping, in the kitchens. So we teamed up with a local bank and told the bank this is not about making money, this is a social project. 

They’re now paying about $300 a month in rent, but with our plan, they’ll pay under $200 a month and own the house. It’s not only about reducing the cost of housing; the great majority of the people are single parents, mostly women who have been abandoned by spouses and boyfriends. Their children are always alone, and when children are alone, they are very vulnerable, susceptible to crime and drugs. We want to make sure that they grow up in a community. The property is beautiful; there’s a forest, and we’re putting in a playground. So the idea is that all of these children are going to grow up together.

Ellwood: Fantastic. And they can keep the houses even if they leave, right?

Ghitis: Yes. It’s not a retention tool. Once anybody signs on the dotted line, they can leave their job the following day, and they know it.

We’re just one business, but we’re hoping that people pay attention, because if every business that can afford it can do what we’re doing, we can have a huge impact on the housing crisis. Permits take a long time in Costa Rica, but we’re hoping to be able to break ground in January. We’ve already assigned the lots to the people who are getting them. So, hopefully, next time you come to Costa Rica, you’ll go and see the project.


Rents are going up because of Airbnb. We’re building houses for staff to buy for less per month than they’re now paying in rent.

Leo Ghitis

Leo Ghitis

Weissmann: That sounds wonderful, Leo.

I’m going to shift gears again and talk about cruise lines. As you probably know, they’re very focused on the new-to-cruise market. You all cover cruising in one way or another. What observations have you made that you think might be helpful in trying to get more people to cruise?

Guccione: What is the main objection that people have to cruising? What I’ve heard from people who don’t like it is, “It’s boring, and you’re stuck with too many people.” Is that the main objection?

Ashlock: Increasing, I think, it’s also the environmental impact.

Guccione: But that’s so tiny. It is tiny.

Ashlock: Perception is part of the issue. And the cruise industry is terrible about publicizing its efforts in that regard. I think that they should be really more out front about environmental mitigation.

Ellwood: One of the biggest sustainability issues is that we get cheap T-shirts shipped around the world. And the emissions of that shipping make cruising look like specks of sand.

Ashlock: The whole travel shaming issue is rooted in inaccurate perceptions of how much leisure travel contributes to emissions and global warming. Certainly about air travel, and the cruise perception issue is like that times a thousand. People are like, “These big nasty ships that belch nasty things into the environment. I don’t want that.”

Ellwood: I love cruises. I love all kinds of cruises. But if you’re talking about new-to-cruise, if you want the really high-end people, it’s all about the hard-to-reach destinations.

The readers I’m serving will charter or own yachts. They are not going to be open to joining a conventional cruise. But what they will do is go on an expedition ship. It doesn’t matter how rich you are, you don’t want to charter a ship to Antarctica. You can’t do what the expedition ships can do. They have a benefit money can’t buy, and that’s really important.

Ashlock: I think to get new-to-cruisers, tell a story about being onshore and all the things you can do. However, I will also say this: Virgin Voyages clearly aimed at new-to-cruisers, and the whole pitch was not about destination or the cool places you’d go but about how much fun you’re going to have onboard, with the drag queens and the F&B.

Cosgrove: And no kids.

Ashlock: That’s really important. I was super-skeptical until I sailed on Virgin Voyages last summer. I had so much fun. It was awesome! You know what was cool about it? It was diverse. They were mostly from the States, but it was a really diverse crowd, and I hung out with people of all backgrounds that I wouldn’t have hung out with in another kind of environment. And I loved it.


You can’t track your impact on sustainability if you’re not measuring. It’s important to use an independent body to set goals.

Sarah Bruning

Sarah Bruning

Glowczewska: I totally agree with everything you said about expedition ships, but I think cruise lines need to improve their land offerings. A recent cruise I took — I will not name the cruise line, a wonderful cruise line — but I was so incredibly disappointed in the land experience. Like horrible, really terrible.

A huge bus taking us into Rome. It was a huge thing, embarrassing, you know? With a guide who was talking to us as if we didn’t know anything about ancient Rome, like we didn’t know who Julius Caesar was. And this is a luxury cruise line. They’ve got to get better.

Ellwood: I think you’re right. I would assume that all the excursions are awful; at best, workaday. I would be getting my travel agent to book a private arrangement.

Glowczewska: Yes, but they all sell these excursions, and people, especially new-to-cruisers, they need to understand it should be better. It would make me feel better about the whole experience.

Guccione: The whole world is becoming more sophisticated. It was only 20 years ago that you’d go to a restaurant and when you asked about wine, the waiter would say, “Red or white?” That was the wine list.

Weissmann: Leo, let me ask you something. I didn’t see any bugs in my room. Or snakes, or lizards. You’re a luxury resort in a rainforest, and I imagine that most of your guests don’t want to see any critters in their rooms. How do you balance your environmental mission with many guests’ desires to keep certain elements of nature at bay?

Ghitis: A lot of guests ask me, “Where are the mosquitoes?” The answer is, Mother Nature does 99% of the work, we do 1%. That there are no bugs in the room, that there are no mosquitoes, is a reflection of a healthy and balanced ecosystem. And each component of that ecosystem plays a part in making sure that no species gets overpopulated. So, you have bats and frogs and spiders that eat bugs and mosquitoes. Nature is incredible. All you have to do is let it do its work.

Weissmann: But I’ve been in plenty of very natural areas that are mosquito-ridden. Is it a question of eliminating standing water?

Ghitis: We don’t have standing water.

Weissmann: That’s good to hear, because I’ve become wary of greenwashing. I was in the Azores Islands, staying in a place that had “ecolodge” in its name. When they showed me my room, they pointed to a can on a shelf and said that if I saw a bug, I could spray it. The name of the product was BioKill. In an ecolodge.

Do you exterminate?

Ghitis: We use a natural pesticide inside the rooms. But outside, we don’t do anything. We have nine naturalists on our staff plus some freelancers.


The cruise industry should really be more out front about publicizing their efforts on environmental mitigation.

Jesse Ashlock

Jesse Ashlock

Guccione: Do you ever get a stray jaguar wander through the property?

Ghitis: During the pandemic, there were no humans here. We were closed but have cameras everywhere. And we were blown away by seeing mountain lions walking through the spa, through the entire hotel.

Weissmann: Leo, there are a lot of organizations that will certify a hotel as “green,” and I’m wondering whether they have contacted you or you’ve talked to any of them. Do you think such certification is worth anything? If not, what would be your idea of a certification that would be worth something?

Ghitis: We always wanted to be sustainable, but it got to a point where we realized we needed help. We hired a company out of Argentina called EcoQualis, and they put together a 10-year plan. Each year we have goals, and every year they come here and monitor our progress.

Last year, we became carbon neutral, which was a huge, huge deal.

I know a lot of people mean well, but there’s a point at which you need help. This is not something you’re going to be able to do overnight. And you need someone to monitor what you do, and you need to meet with them and review how are you doing.

Bruning: To Leo’s point, that’s why it’s important for it to be an independent body that actually sets goals. You can’t measure impact without data, and you can’t track an impact if you’re not measuring. It’s all tied in together. So, you know, it has to be the long game.

Cosgrove: I almost feel like it’s a bit of an arms race for which standards or certification is going to be embraced the most. And it’s across so many subindustries within travel, right? There’s what’s going on in the airline space, what’s going on in hotels.

Glowczewska: Tour operators.

Cosgrove: Tour operators are where, actually, I feel like there’s so much good work being done. They’re getting B Corp certification. I’m very heartened because I think things did accelerate during the pandemic.

Weissmann: Unfortunately, so many certifications are self-certifications, where a resort self-reports, but there’s no inspection. I keep waiting for some organization that’s the equivalent of LEED to certify travel companies. Someone with standards and inspections.

Glowczewska: I think that, increasingly, people will want to know where their money is going as regards sustainability. And I think hotel companies need to really pay attention to who sells them, because the tour operators will be the ones who explain, for instance, what Nayara does. And I don’t think most tour operators bother to become educated about hotels.

Bruning: It’s important for travel advisors to know, as well.

Weissmann: Leo, other hoteliers who began with a unique vision ended up selling their resort brand to a major hotel company. Six Senses comes to mind. And then the product evolves to also meet the needs of the new owner. Perhaps it’s not your immediate goal, but if you keep building the Nayara brand, do you expect you might sell it one day?

Ghitis: I’ve had offers to buy Nayara several times already, as recently as two weeks ago, by someone that’s a household name. I’ve said no every time. If the Gates Foundation was interested in buying it and wanted to take it to the next level, yes, I would consider it. The Gates Foundation is a wonderful, wonderful institution, and if they can made a bigger impact than I can do by myself, I would consider it. But a multinational corporation that is only looking to make money? Not for me.

Photography by Oscar Obregon

Updated: This report was updated April 26 to clarify two comments made by Sarah Bruning of Travel + Leisure.


Most of the editors joined an excursion to cross the area’s “hanging bridges” and explore rainforest wildlife. (Photo by Banford Weissmann)

Most of the editors joined an excursion to cross the area’s “hanging bridges” and explore rainforest wildlife. (Photo by Banford Weissmann)

Julia Cosgrove, editor in chief of Afar, was among the editors who ziplined over the rainforest near the Arenal Volcano. (Courtesy of Sky Trek Ziplines)

Julia Cosgrove, editor in chief of Afar, was among the editors who ziplined over the rainforest near the Arenal Volcano. (Courtesy of Sky Trek Ziplines)

Costa Rica’s minister of tourism, William Rodriguez Lopez, met with the editors during their visit to the Nayara Resort. (Photo by Oscar Obregon)

Costa Rica’s minister of tourism, William Rodriguez Lopez, met with the editors during their visit to the Nayara Resort. (Photo by Oscar Obregon)

One of the Nayara Resort’s resident howler monkeys. (Photo by Arnie Weissmann)

One of the Nayara Resort’s resident howler monkeys. (Photo by Arnie Weissmann)

A toucan rests on a tree within Nayara. (Photo by Arnie Weissmann)

A toucan rests on a tree within Nayara. (Photo by Arnie Weissmann)

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Most of the editors joined an excursion to cross the area’s “hanging bridges” and explore rainforest wildlife. (Photo by Banford Weissmann)

Most of the editors joined an excursion to cross the area’s “hanging bridges” and explore rainforest wildlife. (Photo by Banford Weissmann)

Julia Cosgrove, editor in chief of Afar, was among the editors who ziplined over the rainforest near the Arenal Volcano. (Courtesy of Sky Trek Ziplines)

Julia Cosgrove, editor in chief of Afar, was among the editors who ziplined over the rainforest near the Arenal Volcano. (Courtesy of Sky Trek Ziplines)

Costa Rica’s minister of tourism, William Rodriguez Lopez, met with the editors during their visit to the Nayara Resort. (Photo by Oscar Obregon)

Costa Rica’s minister of tourism, William Rodriguez Lopez, met with the editors during their visit to the Nayara Resort. (Photo by Oscar Obregon)

One of the Nayara Resort’s resident howler monkeys. (Photo by Arnie Weissmann)

One of the Nayara Resort’s resident howler monkeys. (Photo by Arnie Weissmann)

A toucan rests on a tree within Nayara. (Photo by Arnie Weissmann)

A toucan rests on a tree within Nayara. (Photo by Arnie Weissmann)