Costa Rica Ecotourism
Costa Rica is considered one of the best countries in the world to experience the great outdoors. In fact, the words ‘Costa Rica’ and ‘ecotourism’ are practically synonymous. Geographically speaking, visitors can find just about every climate and environment imaginable.
From towering mountain peaks to deep canyons, rainforests to arid savannahs, wetlands, and marshes to lush jungles, and more. Costa Rica has it all. And to top it off, add 1,290 km (800 miles) of stunning coastline, five active volcanoes, and over 100 dormant ones. The options for adventure are limitless.
What does ecotourism really mean?
According to Oxford’s dictionary, ecotourism is tourism that is directed toward exotic, often threatened, natural environments, intended to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife.
Ecotourism in Costa Rica allows visitors to experience nature and wildlife in its natural state. This is because years ago, the government and citizens of Costa Rica realized that the environment was much more valuable preserved in its original state than exploited for commercial or financial purposes.
Today, over 30 percent of national territory is a protected area. This includes national parks, conservation areas, wildlife refuges, and private reserves. There is more unique flora and fauna in Costa Rica than almost any other country. And, the parks and protected areas harbor approximately 5 percent of the world’s biodiversity.
Not bad for a country of only 19,700 square miles (51,100 sq. km).
In the past, most international tourists visited Costa Rica to experience some form of ecologically oriented adventure tourism. Common ecotours include favorites like canopy tours through the Monteverde Cloud Forest and soaking in hot springs under Arenal Volcano. Birdwatching in Corcovado National Park or nesting sea turtle tours in Tortuguero on the Caribbean Coast are also popular choices.
A sustainable future for Costa Rica
Today, Costa Rica vacations ecotourism are much more than having fun outside. It’s also about sustainability. Wild areas are highly vulnerable to damage incurred by hordes of visiting tourists.
Costa Rica is experiencing growing popularity and steady increase in annual visitors. Experts realize that to protect the country’s ecosystems they must put limits on the number of visitors allowed in the national parks.
Popular destinations like Manuel Antonio National Park only allow a certain amount of people to enter each day. This way, the wellbeing of the local plants and animals is protected.
Other ecological conservation efforts underway include protecting endangered wildlife and habitats. Safeguarding sea turtles by providing nesting sites and egg hatcheries and projects for regenerating Costa Rica rainforests are examples of these efforts. They often include collaboration with local populations.
Ecotourism and community engagement
The government wants to ensure that its citizens are key players in the tourism industry. Especially that they benefit from the vast employment opportunities the sector offers. Fortunately, most tour operators are also native Costa Ricans. Their in-depth experience and knowledge about the country enrich the visitor’s experience.
For example, community chocolate plantations are common along the coasts. Guests can learn about the chocolate process, from the bean to the delicious bar, as well as interact with local Costa Ricans.
Tours such as these ensure that small communities thrive. They also help spread the wealth generated from tourism to the farthest reaches of the country.
The Certificate for Sustainable Tourism Program
Costa Rica encourages its business to pursue Certification in Sustainable Tourism (CST). The program evaluates hotels, eco-lodges, tour companies, or rental car agencies to determine if they engage in sustainable practices.
To obtain a CST rating, companies must hire from the local community. They must also follow environmental protection measures like recycling, and utilizing environmentally friendly materials in their operations. Lastly, they should contribute to the economy by supporting local vendors and markets. The CST rates companies from 0 to 5 depending on their degree of their involvement in sustainable business.
Adobe Rent a Car is a leader in Sustainable Tourism
We at Adobe Rent a Car take corporate social responsibility seriously. Our company is member of the Blue Flag Ecological Program. It awards employee involvement in community and ecological activities.
We take our commitment to sustainability to the next step by supporting the wellbeing and education of our employees and families. Our San Jose offices were foremost in leading the Blue Flag Ecological Program. We recently earned 5 out of 5 stars for our efforts and one additional star for family involvement.
We’re proud to be an ecologically friendly company. Based on our awards and certifications, Adobe Rent a Car is an ecological leader in the rent a car industry. Our high eco-friendly standards and a strong commitment to the environment speak for themselves.
Sustainable travel is the future
The world is changing quickly, and so is the international tourism industry. Ecotourism is growing in popularity on a grand scale.
Young and old alike want to reconnect with nature and each other when they go on vacation. There’s nothing better than hiking through rainforests, snorkeling over coral reefs or strolling along a white-sand beach in the shadow of coconut palms.
Costa Rica also offers a wide variety of eco lodging options for visitors. Eco lodges and eco-resorts provide visitors a rich immersion in the local culture and environment. And many such establishments are located off-the-beaten-track and provide their own Costa Rica ecotourism tours.
For instance, lodges in Guanacaste often have their own horses for horseback riding, hiking or biking trails, and even thermal springs. Guests don’t need to leave their hotel to experience what the country has to offer.
Costa Rica eco lodging options even include five-star luxury resorts hidden deep within the mountains, rainforests, mangrove canals, or coastlines. One such resort is reachable only by river raft. It is located on the bank of one of the world’s most scenic rivers. Others can be reached only by boat or by plane.
Gone are the days of the traditional vacation visiting museums and historical monuments. Ecotourism offers a full-immersion experience in the great outdoors while safely guided by the world’s friendliest people.