So, if you're looking for a guilt free holiday or want to counteract that carbon footprint of yours, this could be an adventure for you to consider. Ok - so whats in it for you? Not only will it be a trip of your lifetime but you will grow as a person by learning and experiencing so much more than you would on your standard beach resort holiday. Not to mention the feel-good factor, ecotourism helps the host country preserve natural areas, carry out conservation efforts and provides the local community with jobs.
Costa Rica, known as the poster child of ecotourism, is one of the top 20 countries on the planet with regards to biodiversity - the amount of exotic species you will see out there is mind blowing. Kudos to Costa Rica that 23% of its national territory is protected and by 2021 it is hoping to be the first carbon neutral country.
Ecotourism helps Costa Rica reach these goals, as it boosts the economy whilst sustaining the natural environment - normally a concept which doesn’t go hand in hand - but a refreshing change from the environmentally damaging industries we see all around us.
There are amazing activities to be experienced on an ecotourism holiday in Costa Rica, search around for the package which incorporates the activities suited to you. Perhaps you are an adrenaline junkie looking to go whitewater rafting down the Sarapiqui River, or perhaps a nature trail in the breathtaking La Paz Waterfall Gardens with butterflies and hummingbirds fluttering past you is more your style. Either way, there are many breathtaking experiences to take in whilst being an eco-tourist in Costa Rica, some examples include:
"Costa Rica Zip Line" CC BY 2.0
- Explore natural parks with nature guides
- Encounter active volcanoes
- Take a guided hike through the Monteverde Cloud Forest
- Zip line through the forest canopy
- Explore Costa Rica on horseback
- Visit Tabacon Hot springs
- Swim under waterfalls
- Observe the river wildlife by boat
- Bird watch with naturalists in the rainforest
In addition these activities are organised and included within the ecotourism package deal, along with food and accommodation. However, for those who want to get their hands a little dirtier, and don’t want an organised holiday as such, there are other options. You can be more hands on with the ecotourism idea by volunteering to work with and help the local community; having your own project to work on and promoting the education of sustainable living amongst the local schools and villages. There are also many conservation projects you can take part in, such as volunteering with a sea turtle conservation group. A great part of ecotourism is the incorporation of the local community. The locals are the educators and they often lead the guides and are the chefs in the eco-lodges too.
"Blue and Yellow Macaw" Hans Hillewaert CC-BY-SA-3.0
Accommodation depends on personal preferences (as well as how much you are willing to splash out). If you want to feel like Tarzan then you can sleep in a hammock outside, an economical choice most certainly. Generally you will be staying in an eco-lodge which are remotely placed and on nature's door step.
Eco-lodges tend to be off the grid and powered by wind or solar energy, so don’t expect to be sending updates on social media constantly. Having said that, if you do prefer your home comforts, there are more expensive eco-lodges with air conditioning and WiFi available nowadays. So the choice is yours, be it a rustic or luxurious ecotourism experience.
Here are some useful links to help you get started on searching for the right ecotourism trip for you in Costa Rica: