Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet, and is a world leader in conservation and sustainability.  Over 25% of the country is divided into 20 natural parks & biological reserves and its beauty is captivating ecotourism lovers worldwide.

The variety of activities is as diverse as the country itself, and includes: volcanic hot springs, rainforest hikes, zipline canopy tours, horseback riding, surfing, scuba diving, bird watching and much more.

What is ecotourism?

Eco-tourism seeks to decrease a travelers' ecological footprint in areas that have a fragile ecosystems that can be damaged by conventional tourism. It is part of a larger movement called "responsible travel" or "sustainable tourism."

The International Ecotourism society (TIES) defines ecotourism as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people."

A problem here in Costa Rica is that that the term has been manipulated or 'greenwashed' by irresponsible hotels and tour operators.  A high percentage of eco resorts are just hotels that are near nature, please do not encourage this deceptive practice. Prefixing something with “eco” does not automatically make it a good choice.

Costa Rica has become a world leader in sustainable ecotourism, and the government has had a lot to do with this.  The government has pioneered the Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program( CST).  The CST was designed to stop the greenwashing and other destructive ecotourism practices in Costa Rica. 

The CST has developed a Five Leaf Rating system designed to reward the companies that comply with a sustainable model of natural, cultural and social resource management.

Nowadays more than ever travelers should travel responsibly and actively participate in choosing their travel plans in a sustainable and nondestructive way that benefits the places visited.

Ecotourism practiced responsibly provides an economic incentive for environmental conservation and the best green practices; as well as benefiting the local “Ticos”.  It does not necessarily cost more; it is about doing the right thing and traveling responsibly in a way that is not destructive to the host culture or the environment.