We are happy to be part of the Kiwano group, which is an initiative to promote eco-friendly tourism for eco-conscious travelers. You can learn more about this initiative here:Kiwano Logo Green

Living Sustainably is our commitment

“Why are you in this business?” I am often asked, and my reply is always the same: “I chose this work because I love nature.”
– Raul Arias de Para

In order to make our actions consistent with our love of nature, we must do all we can to protect the global ecosystem and ensure that we provide sustainable tourism. We do this by examining all aspects of the Canopy Family business (and in our personal lives) and determine which areas can be done in a more sustainable fashion.  I have seen how difficult it is to put these practices to work in an often wasteful culture and know first-hand that progress can be slow.  Fortunately, I have an opportunity to voice the importance of living sustainably on a national scale by being Vice President of ANCON, the oldest and most important conservation organization in Panama; President of Fundacion AVIFAUNA, Creator and Operator of the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center on Pipeline Road; and Board Member of ADESVA, a local conservation and community organization in El Valle de Anton.

At the Canopy Family lodges, here are some of the things we do to “walk our talk” and promote sustainable tourism:

Energy Management

  • most of our light bulbs are energy-saving compact fluorescents, saving 80% over conventional incandescent bulbs
  • we use light sparingly and have eliminated most of the perimeter lighting around the Canopy Tower
  • we do not use air-conditioning in our lodges (only energy efficient air-conditioning units are installed in the Canopy B&B); ceiling fans suffice
  • energy efficient appliances installed
  • an array of 21 solar panels of 250 watts each provides clean, renewable energy at the Canopy Camp

Water Management

  • toilets only use 1.6 gallons per flush, compared to the typical 5 gallons
  • linens and towels are not changed daily, except by request; they are changed every three days
  • water from showers and washbasins (grey water) is reused in the gardens
  • plentiful fresh water at the Canopy Camp is collected from the mountain range of our neighboring Filo del Tallo Hydrological Reserve
Abandoned radar tower being recycled into the Canopy Tower
Abandoned radar tower being recycled into the Canopy Tower

Waste Management

  • we buy food and supplies in bulk to reduce packaging materials, especially plastic
  • a major initiative of the Canopy Family is the reduction of plastics; we offer plentiful drinking water for our guests to re-fill water bottles without having to take a new plastic bottle every day; we sell reusable Klean Kanteen® stainless steel water bottles to our guests
  • soap and shampoo in guest rooms are served by dispensers, not from throw-away plastic bottles
  • all organic waste is composted and reused in the gardens
  • aluminum cans, plastic bottles and tetra paks are collected and sold to a recycler
  • we participate in the local recycling effort in Gamboa at the Canopy B&B
Canopy Lodge Panama Rainforest river


  • the Canopy Tower itself is a perfect example of reuse —creating a sustainable tourism destination by finding an innovative use for a surplus defense installation
  • the wooden floor of the Canopy Lodge’s library is Manilkara zapota (known as Nispero or Sapodilla), salvaged from the old Panama Railroad ties
  • the administrator’s desk and reception counter at the Canopy Tower were salvaged from old Panama Canal Zone houses
  • the iron structure on the outdoor deck at the Canopy Tower was recycled from the old Panama Railroad rails
  • the marble floors in the Canopy Tower’s bathrooms were salvaged from a refurbishing project in Panama City
  • wood in the bedrooms of the Canopy Tower is from a sustainably-managed teak plantation
  • the early 1900’s design of the Canopy B&B house is an icon of sustainability itself; please read more about sustainability in the Canopy B&B for more details
  • low VOC paints used in the restoration of the Canopy B&B
  • local materials and reclaimed wood were used in the restoration of the Canopy B&B
  • natural insulation and sound insulation were used in the restoration of the Canopy B&B (recycled newspaper)
  • a majority of the construction of the Canopy Camp in Darién came from Raúl’s teak plantation in Chiriqui (planted in 1990), including the floors in each of the tents
  • a Poly-Al roof, made from recycled TetraPak containers makes up part of the roof of the main area at the Canopy Camp and provides efficient cooling properties

Traveler’s Awareness

We take great care to educate our guests about our efforts to conserve water and energy, and invite them to join in this endeavor. It is our sincere hope our guests will join us in applying some of these principles to their daily lives.  If you can think of any ways we could improve our sustainable tourism practices, please let us know!

As we do with our commitment to the environment and sustainable tourism, we also do our part for the local communities we work in, please visit our page about our Social Responsibility to learn more about our Green Commitment.