Behind the Green is all about giving you more insight into the places we feature. Our interviews reveal what happens behind the scenes, tells stories of the people on the ground, exposes the challenges they face, as well as the communities they impact; essentially the bits you don’t usually hear.
Meet Astrid and Matias, they run Bahia Bustamante Lodge. This husband and wife team are opposites in some ways, with Matias being a lover of the sea, surfing, and sailing, whilst Astrid prefers land as a vegetable and farm enthusiast. Their passion for wildlife and in particular birds connects them though and they carry this into their work at this eco-lodge.
Learn more about Bahia Bustamante here>
Who started Bahia, how did it become an eco-focused lodge?“Bahia Bustmante was founded in 1950 by Spanish entrepreneur Lorenzo Soriano and was originally a seaweed recollection village. In 2002, Matias took over the business and refurbished it to become a lodge and the houses of the town were refurbished to become sea front cabins. Now it has become a small family-run ecolodge and private wildlife sanctuary. Our main goal is to protect this piece of paradise and share the incredible nature with guests from all over the world. We want to promote environmental protection and conservation.’
What is the most recent green initiative you have implemented?“Most recently, we installed solar panels so that the lodge could run completely on renewable energy. We had already installed solar water heating systems, but our energy was derived from diesel, so this has been a great achievement for us.”
What have you observed regarding impact on the community there, has it changed their awareness and attitudes towards sustainability?“Well we have a very small community of people who work on the lodge and the farm. Everybody who works at Bahia Bustmante has to live here because it is so remote. Because of this, the local working community continue our green practices and values outside of working hours. They all use solar power now and compost their organic waste. Some have even started growing their own food!”
Where do you see the biggest area of improvement in your approach to sustainability?“There is always more you can do to improve. Everything from the lodge is now totally recycled, which has been a huge challenge and an area we have been working to improve upon for a while. We had to change some products we used, simply because their packaging was not recyclable. Other items, such as glass, tin and plastic are taken to the recycling plant. Our area is so pure, and we wanted to do all we could to protect that.”
If you could go back in time and change anything what would it be?“I wish we would have started earlier spreading our message about the fragility of the local area and the need to care for it and treat it with respect. We are located between two cities where there is little focus on conservation. We’re trying to promote and educate people on conservation and if we had started this sooner, our message might have been more widely spread by now.”
What is the best local dish you serve and highly recommend there?“‘Our seaweed fritters are always a hit! They’re made with real seaweed and are very good for you. People also like our barbeque lamb that cooks for 5 hours.”
If you had to choose just one activity to recommend to guests what would it be and why?“Definitely our boat adventure out to the Malaspina Cove, a collection of 12 islands which are also part of marine wildlife sanctuary. We take guests out on our catamaran, a small boat that carries a maximum of 18 people. This type of boat allows us to get close to the wildlife without disturbing it. It’s a very low impact activity which provides an intimate experience with nature.”
What’s next for Bahia?“We want to keep focusing on the conservation of the wildlife and grasslands of our coast and further inland. We want to continue being hosts for scientists who are studying the area, so that they can help to protect our wildlife. We want to become the guardians of the fragile coastline.”
Find out more about Bahia Bustmante & do your own green checks here>