Community Feature – Selina, Tamarindo

Community Feature – Selina, Tamarindo

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You may have heard some buzz about a new hostel making waves in Tamarindo. As a decidedly Ydifferent kind of destination for travellers and locals alike, Selina Hostels has crashed into town with a strength and strategy bound to raise more than a few eyebrows.

If stepping onto hostel turf brings back memories of summer camp arrivals as a kid, make no mistake this camp is for adults. Visitors of all ages, and from a world different places, it appears, are enjoying sights, sounds and aromas emanating this beachside playground, adjacent the Tamarindo Feria grounds.

Selina’s building walls feature bold-hued murals painted by various artistic contributors, including expansive tribute David Bowie. At hostel’s entrance, a refurbished Volkswagen van with quaint interior lighting offers a unique congregation space. Elsewhere on the grounds, your eye is drawn to one fun art form after another, from a bright blue jeep to the teepee standing tall beside it. Colorful signs all over point the way to on-site amenities for nourishment, entertainment and recreation. Whether uninitiated visitors are being led down a much-more-than- meets-the eye path remains to be seen.

At first blush, the party atmosphere is undeniable. Most days, a DJ or band provides live music. Featured cocktails and menu items are served to swimsuit-clad folks lounging around the pool. Selina has a cinema, and offers a daily chalkboard full of excursions and sport activities to satisfy all appetites for Costa Rican adventures. People living or staying in the area are not only welcome to sign up for any of the posted activities, offered a local’s Disadvantaged children youth in the Guanacaste area, as well as vulnerable monkey populations, benefit the proceeds when hostel guests rent Selina-branded surfboards.

And this could be where the bubble bursts when it comes to fancying a grownup summer camp or Club Med on the cheap. “Big business” misconceptions might also need correcting when people learn about the Selina chain’s expanded operations, with hostels now in Panama as well as Costa Rica, and soon-to-be Colombia. Instead, what’s being sought in each location are distinctive ways to embrace localism and give back to the community.

Gaby Alvarez, Activity, Community and Education Supervisor at Selina Tamarindo, describes the hostel’s role in creating local partnerships. The goal is to engage hostel guests in helping meet the community’s specifically defined needs.

Guests can take part in a weekly beach cleanup organized by Selina, for instance, or volunteer through local foundation efforts for the conservation of howler monkeys in the area. Noting that the Selina grounds host one of Tamarindo’s largest howler monkey families, Alvarez always reminds hostel clients that they are guests in the monkeys’ home and not the other way around. Selina models a way to live respectfully within the native animal habitat.

Special events such as the regular Bohemian Night aim to strengthen Selina Tamarindo’s community connections. Local artisans have the opportunity to exhibit their work at the hostel and thereby gain international market exposure. Meanwhile, all Selina Tamarindo staff members are required to do mandatory community service on a monthly basis as a condition of employment.

To the detractors in Tamarindo’s well-established hostel sector who balk at the corporate backing Selina enjoys, Agustin Lucero, Events and Marketing Supervisor, has but one conciliatory response.

“We’re a place where people in the community can congregate, collaborate and celebrate together. Selina has an open door for everyone, no matter what your age or preferences. We welcome collaborations with other hostels and community organizations, and look forward to creating fruitful and impactful relationships around the area.”

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