With its tremendous natural beauty and superior biodiversity, Costa Rica is one of the world’s top ecotourism destinations. Unlike other types of travel, ecotourism allows vacationers to responsibly visit natural areas. Carefully planned explorations preserve natural resources and enhance the economic stability of the locals.
Ecotourism is becoming increasingly popular in many destinations, but it’s been particularly successful in Costa Rica. Like many other developing nations, Costa Rica has long been looking for solutions that would give its people economic stability. Tourism was a major industry already, but as people started to look for experiences that went beyond the usual attractions, the idea of Costa Rica ecotourism began taking shape.
Ecotourism is big business in Costa Rica, and for good reason. With the nation’s solid infrastructure and spectacular natural beauty, ecotourism is a logical choice for locals and tourists alike. Many are choosing luxury homes in Costa Rica to rent during their stay.
Costa Rica Ecotourism
Costa Rica was pretty much the perfect place to develop ecotourism. Relatively speaking, it’s close to the United States, and since Americans already make up a large segment of the population that takes advantage of foreign travel, it’s only natural that many of these vacationers would choose convenient Costa Rica. Moreover, Costa Rica provides a safe, stable environment. Unlike many of its neighbors, the nation is politically solid. Violent crime rates are low, and many people recognize Costa Rica as a safe place to visit.
Costa Rica’s people already enjoyed a fair amount of economic stability before the development of ecotourism. This meant that tourists would be less likely to encounter the difficult daily realities of living in poverty when compared with similar opportunities in other nations where the financial outlook was far less positive. Costa Rica’s ecotourism industry also received considerable assistance from the World Bank and the IMF. The United States even pitched in, training guides and providing money for conservation projects.
Efforts to build an ecotourism industry in Costa Rica began in earnest during the late 1990s. With the determination of the local people and their government, those efforts have now paid off for many years. Thousands of people flock to Costa Rica to experience ecotourism firsthand. In return, they are treated to rich displays of flora and fauna, unspoiled beaches and awe-inspiring vistas.
One of the most popular ecotourism destinations in Costa Rica is the Nicoya Peninsula. Its best features are its beaches, the most notable of which is Santa Teresa. The peninsula itself is rather densely populated along the gorgeous coastline while the interior is almost untouched.
Still, even the populated areas feature an exotic charm. The villages are small and unique, each one distinct from the others. While the villages provide a fascinating look at local life, most people come to the Nicoya Peninsula for the natural wonders it holds. People spend hours just observing turtles on the beach, spotting rare birds in the forests and spelunking in subterranean caves.
Nicoya is a rich ecotourism destination thanks in part to the relatively few roads that crisscross it. This limits the number of people who visit, but it also means that patience is required when moving from one portion of the peninsula to another.
After spotting Santa Teresa Beach, many people don’t have any desire to stir. Some people come to surf; others to relax on the warm sand. It’s a narrow beach with the jungle sometimes approaching the shoreline, so there’s always an inviting spot to escape the heat of the sun. The town of Santa Teresa boasts no high rise buildings.
This means that there’s nothing to spoil the view and fewer tourists. Plus, the village provides people with the opportunity to rent a bike so they can pedal their way to other peninsula destinations. Many people wander from Santa Teresa to Cabo Blanco, the oldest nature reserve in the country. It’s found on the peninsula’s southern end and is widely regarded as one of Costa Rica’s loveliest and most unspoiled spots. It’s not only people who gather at Cabo Blanco.
The cape is also a renowned bird sanctuary and noted for the rich complexity of life beneath its waters. Visitors may also be able to observe land based wildlife like coatis, anteaters, an assortment of monkeys and more. Cabo Blanco is the perfect place to experience pure ecotourism.
Of course, Costa Rica is absolutely loaded with similarly fabulous natural wonders. The tiny country boasts no fewer than 10 federally protected conservation areas. Within these areas are a number of national parks, each with attractions that are more spectacular than the last. Tourists can explore the country’s volcanic past and more in places like Turrialba Volcano National Park and Poas Volcano National Park, Costa Rica’s most visited national park. Other conservation areas feature parks that highlight rainforests, grassy plains and marine life.
Visitors interested in ecotourism often enter these areas on horseback. Doing so is a wonderful way to explore the terrain in an environmentally responsible way. It also supports the local economy, which is another hallmark of the ecotourism movement. Many tour operators and resorts offer an array of different horseback tours.
Some last just a couple of hours while others extend over an entire day. People can choose based on the amount of riding experience they have. Moreover, horseback tours can be found in nearly any terrain. Whether it’s along the beaches or ascending up into the mountains, horseback tours are a reliable choice for a memorable vacation.
Some tourists would rather have a different perspective on Costa Rica’s wild areas. If so, then they may choose to patronize one of the many canopy tours that are available in many parts of the country. Each canopy tour is carefully designed to limit its effect on the environment while still offering a unique view on the flora and fauna.
A canopy tour lifts visitors high into the air and right in the midst of the tops of the trees. From there, it’s possible to see the forests the way that a monkey or bird might. It’s an unforgettable adventure that is sustainable as well.