If you try to live as earth-friendly a life as possible, then planning vacations that are both exciting and eco-conscious can be tough.
But it’s the way that many of us are heading — especially considering recent climate change reports and updates in the news — and it’s no surprise that minimizing our environmental impact while on vacation is making it to the top of our holiday wishlists.
Luckily, there are ways that you can embrace sustainability and eco-friendliness while abroad (check out this post for top tips for traveling green in China) and some countries that are renowned for being an eco-friendly holiday destination in their own right.
In this post, we’ll be celebrating one country in particular: Costa Rica.
Renowned for its earth-friendly and green practices, this small but mighty country in Central America is one of the best destinations for those seeking sustainable travel and impactful ecotourism. Carry on reading to find out why Costa Rica is a 21st-century environmental leader.
1. Costa Rica is Dedicated to Sustainable Ecotourism
Costa Rica is a stunning country with a lot to offer tourists. From mind-blowing scenery — tropical rainforests, golden beaches, and volcanos, anyone? — to an incredible Latin American cuisine to a laidback, happy population, Costa Rica has it all.
But what’s so awesome about Costa Rica as a tourist destination is that it celebrates these unique features in an earth-friendly and sustainable way. This means that tourists can visit Costa Rica and have an incredible, authentic experience while limiting the negative impact that their vacation has on the planet.
There are all sorts of amazing things that you can do while you’re in Costa Rica, and the country has worked hard to make these activities and tours as eco-friendly as possible. Guided rainforest hikes, adventure sports like surfing and rafting, and visits to bat-filled caves and natural thermal pools… It all connects visitors with the awe-inspiringly nature at the heart of Costa Rica, while staying earth-friendly.
Many tourist activities also directly contribute to the country’s environmental efforts by supporting nature preservation, wildlife education programs, and sustaining green, ethical practices in local communities.
2. Costa Rica is Home to Eco-lodges & Farm Hotels
Costa Rica’s world-leading ecotourism extends far past the excursions and activities on offer for visitors; there’s also a big emphasis on green and sustainable practices within tourist accommodation too.
Considering that this is something that many — particularly poorer — countries fall down on, especially when they are trying to quickly establish themselves as a tourist destination, Costa Rica is a beacon of hope for sustainable methods within the industry.
Costa Rica tourist accommodation is hugely varied; from serene spa resorts to adventure hostels to family hotels, there’s something for everyone. However, it is perhaps best-known for its amazing eco-lodges, which are committed to minimizing their negative impact on the planet through responsible construction and sustainable operational methods.
These green lodgings are generally isolated to fully immerse visitors in nature, far from the hustle and bustle of bigger towns. Eco-lodges can be found across the country — on mountain-sides, misty valleys, deep in the tropical rainforest or looking out at the azure ocean from sandy beachfronts.
You can also find farm hotels, which are perfect for the eco-conscious tourist. Here you can relax and reconnect with nature, but you’ll also have the opportunity to learn about sustainable farming methods and help out around the farm. Farm hotels offer delicious meals made up of fresh local produce in traditional dishes — and you can sleep easy knowing that your food miles are as low as they can be.
3. Costa Rica Basically Runs on Renewable Energy
First things first; Costa Rica is a world leader when it comes to the use of green energy.
Despite being a relatively small country and poor country, this Central American country is a true trailblazer when it comes to sustainable energy practices, doing what other bigger and richer countries can’t — run fossil-fuel free.
In fact, Costa Rica plans to be the first totally carbon-neutral country by 2021.
It looks like the tiny nation will easily achieve this goal, with the government continuing to invest in renewable energy generation as a priority, and 99% of the country’s energy needs already being met by renewable energy sources like hydroelectricity, solar power, wind power, geothermal energy, and biomass.
If you’re an environmentally-conscious tourist or traveler, it’s great to know that you’re visiting a country with a small carbon footprint as well as some great tourist attractions — and that the money you spend while there will go back into an economy built around green energy use.
4. Costa Rica Prioritizes Wildlife and Nature Conservation
Costa Rica’s wildlife and nature conservation efforts are a big reason why this Central American country is a true 21st-century leader when it comes to environmentalism.
Despite its relatively small size, Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet — home to flora and fauna which make up nearly 6% of the world’s biodiversity (pretty incredible considering the tiny country only accounts for 0.03% of the earth’s surface).
And Costa Rica is doing a lot to look after this abundant wildlife; much of the land is protected as national parks and biological reserves, preserving the habitats of some of the most incredible animals in the world, from sloths to tree frogs to toucans and turtles. Deforestation rates have dramatically improved in recent years, and Costa Rica is working hard to save the rainforest and other green spaces.
If you want to fully experience Costa Rica’s conservational efforts while you’re there, there are plenty of opportunities. You can explore national parks, visit sanctuaries for sick or injured animals, and even take part in sea turtle nesting and hatching programs. Pretty incredible.
It’s clear that Costa Rica is a 21st-century environmental leader — so if you’re an eco-conscious traveler looking for an adventure that is both life-changing and green, then you can’t really go wrong. From green energy use to dedicated ecotourism to wildlife conservation, this small but mighty Central American country is a clear winner when it comes to picking an earth-friendly destination.
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