A cargo shipping container is a cold box made from sheets of iron and screws, dark inside and resistant outside, something that would rarely be associated with a cozy spot to spend the night. However, Fernando Pagano and Tabata Kriguer, from Argentina, contrived a way to convert them into not just a bedroom but also a place to enjoy Nosara’s nature at its finest.
With a lot of creativity and good taste, this couple created Green Sanctuary, a hotel that is 100% made of containers, which opened its doors in mid-December.
Pagano and Kriguer married three years ago in their hometown of Buenos Aires, went to Malpais for their honeymoon and between cuddles and kisses, Fernando was bitten by the Pura Vida bug. There he found himself asking about properties and the possibilities for moving his life to the Costa Rican tropics. They returned to Buenos Aires but the difficulty of a country where insecurity is evident in life forced them to turn a new page and start from scratch in Costa Rica.
They were both in love with its people, its visual beauty and the peace of the beach. Pagano decided to travel alone and find a town to settle in. He arrived in Nosara and a few days later told his wife on the phone, “I found the place.”
Kriguer is a kinesiologist and yoga instructor. Pagano had a videogame business. They sold everything and in May of 2013 purchased a lot in Guiones (in section K) and eight shipping containers that were sitting there in the Port of Limon. The project was to set up a hotel made entirely from containers.
“We wanted to make something recycled,” Pagano said. In addition, they wanted to cut the least amount of trees possible and have a very low impact on moving dirt. Pagano recounted that when the containers arrived, the operators responsible for installing them on the property thought that it would be impossible to do it without cutting more trees. “They told us we were crazy, that the crane was not going to be able to move the containers through the trees and [electrical] cables.”
But architect Mario Aviles, who already has experience in building with containers, succeeded in coordinating dragging the cubicles and placing them on cement bases, which are different from a normal base.
Putting together a hotel with containers reduces construction costs by 25%. Also it is important to consider that by reusing containers, they are helping the environment. It avoids sending the containers to factories to be dismantled, brought to high temperatures for smelting and later use, which uses energy and non-renewable resources, and it also avoids sending the containers to industrial dumps.
Another environmentally friendly idea there are implementing is the use of white rocks on the roofs to refract the sun and keep the temperatures cool, preventing the rooms from overheating under the sun’s rays.
“We are going to have air conditioners anyway because that is what American tourists like,” Pagano assured, clarifying that they will have a system of opening windows and doors to allow the circulation of air currents, because they prefer to give guests the necessary tools to decide how they want to cool their room instead of either imposing or prohibiting air conditioning for all guests.
With the pieces of sheet metal that remained from the openings that were cut in the containers, they put together the rancho or common area, where there is a juice bar.
The decor is minimalist and modern, overseen by Kriguer, who said she wants a clean and open space inside the rooms.
The complex has eight bedrooms, a swimming pool and a games room.
Whether or not the idea of staying in a hotel made from containers appeals to you, it must add something to the experience of visiting Nosara.