Rather than hire someone to manage their restaurant, the owners helped two women from Nosara, Alicia (waitress and bartender) and Maritza (chef), form their own business as a microfinance initiative. Although the two long-time employees had never owned a restaurant, they ran with it and made it their own—first by creating an identity, El Manglar, which represents the mangroves in the wildlife refuge just steps away from the hotel. After arranging their kitchen with energy-efficient appliances and learning how to properly sort their waste, recyclables, and compostables, the next step was to infuse local culture into the dining experience. The owners covered tuition for advanced hospitality, business management, and culinary courses specifically for Costa Rican cuisine. El Manglar has since focused on sourcing from the local organic farm as much as possible through curated menu creation centered around “Tico” dishes and has run a successful and responsible restaurant for over two years now.