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Costa Rica Ecotravel destination

Costa Rica is an ecotravel destination

Ecotravel, also known as ecological tourism, is a form of tourism that appeals to ecologically and socially conscious individuals. Generally speaking, ecotourism focuses on volunteering, personal growth, and learning new ways to live on the planet.

It typically involves travel to destinations where flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions.

Responsible ecotourism includes programs that minimize the negative aspects of conventional tourism on the environment and enhance the cultural integrity of local people. Therefore, in addition to evaluating environmental and cultural factors, an integral part of ecotourism is the promotion of recycling, energy efficiency, water conservation, and creation of economic opportunities for the local communities.

Costa Rica has the meets all the above characteristics and it is in the list of the top Ecotravel destination of the world.

More than a quarter of Costa Rica's land has been set aside in some capacity or other by human beings to protect it from the potential exploitation and ravages of other human beings. No other country in the world even comes close to such a statistic. Over twenty-seven percent of Costa Rica is designated as national park, biological reserve, wildlife refuge or some other category of protected area, both private and public.

Costa Rica: Eco Geek paradise! Nothing around but the wind, water and trees.

Costa Rica has long been "at the forefront of ecotourism. To help would-be ecotourists make intelligent decisions, Costa Rica's Department of Tourism has instituted the ‘Certification of Sustainable Tourism' (CST) rating for hotels, rating on environmental friendliness."

More than a quarter of the country's parks and wilderness are protected lands. Among Costa Rica's bounty, the Arenal Nature Conservancy "is unspoiled and clean, with spectacular views. A true example of a great and successful ecological, economical and social sustainable program."

Don't reach for that backpack just yet! Going green doesn't always mean giving up the chic hotel room or the decadent resort. You can luxuriate, lounge or explore while doing your bit for the planet.

From buying carbon offsets to using public transportation, opportunities for responsible escapism abound. Countries from Belize to New Zealand win eco-admirers for their responsible tourism efforts and make environmentalists see green and not red.

Many accommodations now boast substantially more than just optional towel replenishment or a low-energy light bulb or two. Look for hotels with eco-friendly features like:

  • low-flow showers
  • in-room recycling bins
  • low-energy LED lighting
  • non-toxic housekeeping products
  • organic tea and coffee
  • discounts for driving a hybrid

As sustainable travel treads lightly toward the mainstream, you can find an inspiring, eco-friendly destination in every corner of the globe.

The following very useful Do's and Dont's are from experienced Trip Advisor Members.

Going Green Tips

Do's

"Distinguish between hotels that simply have a location in nature and those that specify what practices and monitoring they do to minimize environmental impacts and help the local economy and society. Organizations such as Sustainable Tourism International and the International Eco-tourism Society also provide certification, accommodation listings and information."

"Stay in smaller inns or B&Bs whenever possible, where you can open the windows as opposed to using air conditioning."

Buy food at local markets : "There's a ton of great locally grown produce and tons of fresh fish and chicken. However, many hotels don't use it; they import much of their food. Wherever you're staying, the market is the place to go. You won't see many or any tourists there, but there will be some absolutely wonderful food."

"Use the shuttle buses provided by the hotel for transport to the airport, not taxis. Walk or ride a bicycle instead of renting motor scooters" or cars.

"Turn off AC, lights, TV, etc., when you leave your room."

"Use an eco-friendly sunscreen. Many of the common brands pose a high risk of harm to the native fish and plants. For the sake of the local ecosystem, please—do your homework, and use the right stuff."

Pack light and use reusable containers on tours. "Plan to carry out everything that you carry in. No exceptions."

Don'ts

"Don't feed the animals. There are three good reasons not to feed wildlife: First, it encourages bold, bandit-like behavior, as the animals learn to steal food from picnic tables or anywhere else within their reach. Second, although wildlife will eat ‘people food,' some foods can be harmful to them. And finally, the same food that attracts that cute little chipmunk may also attract bears."

"Don't be ashamed to ask the artisan or shop owner about their fair trade and sustainability practices!"

Don't leave any trace: "Dispose of trash in designated containers and be respectful of the plant and animal life that you encounter."

Don't waste resources: "Not having your sheets and towels changed daily saves the environment and keeps costs down for the hotels, thereby keeping costs down for the customer."


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