Hacienda Mérida is an accessible hotel.
We have made the commitment and investment to allow everyone to enjoy the beauties of Ometepe and to participate in our mission for sustainable and responsible living. The restaurant/sitting area has ramped access as do the rooms on the second floor (even if you are not staying up here, the view of the lake is beautiful and it's a great place to read). For the day visitor or dorm user, there is a communal bathroom, shower, and sink designed for easy wheelchair use.
Since 2008 we have been encouraging the local community to collect plastic bottles and fill them with non-degradable trash such as plastic bags. Hacienda Merida pays 20₵ USD for each filled bottle. In addition, employees fill bottles as part of their job duties and bottles are accepted in exchange for use of the high speed internet connection at the hotel. During the last five years we have facilitated the collection of more than 18,000 trash-filled plastic bottles with a total combined weight of more than three tons. We use the bottles to construct classrooms, tables, chairs, and other infrastructure for the Ometepe Bilingual School; our kindergarten classroom is a direct result of our plastic reuse program.
In 2013 Ometepe Bilingual School opened its first eco-friendly classroom, built from plastic waste and sustainable earth-bag technology. The earth bags are used as structural columns for the roof and the bottles are used to fill in between the earth bag columns. As of February 2014, construction is under-way on our second classroom building. In addition we have constructed tables and chairs for the Hacienda Merida hotel and for the local public schools.
The re-use of plastic waste serves two purposes. First, it reduces the amount of concrete and other non- sustainable building materials that would otherwise need to be imported to Ometepe at great expense. Furthermore, it sequesters plastic waste which prevents it from entering the lake or contaminating the environment. Ometepe has no recycling or trash collection services; local people would otherwise burn the plastic waste or leave it lying on the ground.
Our table design is open source and available for use by others. Give us a call to find out more about building your own bottle table.