Behind the Green is all about giving you more insight into the places we feature. Our interviews reveal what happens behind the scenes, tell stories of the people on the ground, expose the challenges they face, as well as the communities they impact; essentially the bits you don’t usually hear.
Meet Daniel, the Vice President at Canopy Lodge. He was born in Panama but went on to live in the USA for many years. When his roots began to call him home, he moved back to begin working with his father who is the founder of Canopy Lodge. A father of (soon-to-be) two children, Daniel loves nothing more than exploring his surroundings and immersing in nature.
Learn more about Canopy Lodge here>
Why is birdwatching such a treat at Canopy Lodge?‘Birdwatching is a treat wherever you go! It’s something you can do everywhere, even in urban cities. What makes it special here though is that we take care of everything for you, so that you can concentrate entirely on birdwatching and really be immersed in the experience. Our world-class guides are so knowledgeable, they listen to our guests to find out what they want to do and how much they can handle, so that the experience is tailor-made and perfectly suits each person.’
How did Canopy Lodge become eco-focused? Has it always been this way?‘The business was started by my father, and his father always taught him the value of the land and to respect it. There was a waterfall in my local community which was open to the public and everybody used to go there, which eventually led to waste being everywhere, destroying the natural beauty. My father felt the need to do something about it and so he cleaned up the land and opened what is now the Canopy Adventure. People began paying for entrance and treating the area with much more respect, all of the money went back into caring for the area. This grew into what we have today and being eco-conscious has always been a part of it. It’s ingrained in what we do here.’
Could you tell us more about the ‘Pack for a Purpose’ initiative you are part of?‘One of the members of staff here used to work for the Peace Corps and he told us about it. We encourage our guest to leave some room in their bags to bring donations that will go towards the indigenous communities in this area. We take all sort of donations, like cans and clothes. All guests have to do is give it to the staff on arrival and we will make sure that is given to people who need it most.’
What has been the biggest challenge in running an eco-lodge to date?‘Plastic is an issue we’re constantly trying to tackle. Plastic itself isn’t the issue, it’s single-use plastic which is just discarded carelessly. We’ve taken steps like providing canteens and discouraging guests from bringing any plastic with them to the Lodge.’
Do you think guests are impacted by their stay at Canopy Lodge? What do they take away with them?‘When they leave, they just look so peaceful. You can tell just by looking at them that staying with us has put them completely at ease. My father always likes to make time to get to know our guests, and I think they appreciate it. It’s a great feeling for us too.’
What would you do differently if you could start again?‘I’d spend more time in the field, it’s my favourite part of the job, as well as being able to give local people work, to watch them grow and know you’re putting food on their tables. But I love being out in nature and I would just love to be able to do more of it.’
Is there a local dish you would recommend for future guests?‘Definitely Sancocho. It’s like a stew with lots of root vegetables and chicken. It’s a tradition here, something that you have every Sunday. It takes a long time to make which makes it so delicious, so I definitely encourage guests to try it!’
What’s next for Canopy Lodge?‘We’re making lots of changes so that we are able to provide exciting new photography tours. We get lots of photographers who come to visit, often in big groups, so we would like to be able to provide bespoke tours for them!’
Find out more about Canopy Lodge & do your own green checks here>