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Costa Rica: Eco-Tourism Capital of Latin America

Costa rica sustainable eco-tourism

The concept of ecotourism has become more mainstream in recent years as global health and lifestyle trends become more environmentally friendly. Mass tourism contributes significantly to the carbon footprint and environmental destruction, leading many countries to limit access to ecologically vulnerable areas and implementing ecotourism regulations.

Costa Rica is one of the most renowned countries for its promotion of ecotourism, with 26% of its land devoted to national parks and wildlife reserves. Costa Rica takes conservation seriously and has married economic development with environmental protection. They have recently opened their borders to welcoming tourists.

Costa Rica has been pioneering responsible and sustainable tourism long before it became popular. Costa Rica consistently ranks among the world’s best ecotourism destinations, offering unparalleled biodiversity and experiences for tourists. From five-star luxury resorts and eco-lodges to volcano trips and zipping through rainforests, there is plenty to enjoy in Costa Rica while minimizing your impact on the environment.

What is eco-tourism?

The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people and involves interpretation and education” (TIES, 2015).

The society sets out clear ecotourism guidelines for travel authorities establishing ecotourism services. They set out to unite the pillars of conservation, communities and sustainable travel, and the importance of following principles such as providing positive experiences for both visitors and hosts; providing direct financial rewards for conservation; developing low impact infrastructure and more.

Costa Rica: this is Pura Vida!

“Pure Vida” means “pure life” or “simple life”, and you’ll hear this everywhere in Costa Rica. It is more than an expression; it is a way of life, an emotion and an attitude that is symbolic of Costa Rica’s peaceful, friendly and nature-embracing culture.

Known as the wild and happy heart of Central America, Costa Rica is a paradise for nature lovers, adventurers, and health & wellness tourists looking to reset and re-energize. Costa Rica is home to 5% of the world’s biodiversity, sporting a tropical climate, wild jungles, rainforests, mangrove swamps, magnificent volcanoes, stunning beaches and exotic wildlife.

Tourists can enjoy Costa Rica’s easy-going tropical charm or participate in the many exhilarating adventures such as snorkeling with manatees in Tortuguero, hiking up Cerro Chirripó, kayaking through the estuaries of Manuel Antonio, zip lining over rainforests and turquoise lagoons in Monteverde, white river rafting on the Río Pacuare, or rappel down a waterfall in La Fortuna.

Other attractions include the Rio Celeste waterfall in Alajuela, the Irazú Volcano in Cartago, and the Manuel Antonio National Park. San Jose offers city life, or you can find more rustic experiences in Cahuita, Manzanillo and Puerto Viejo, and there are plenty of environmentally friendly wellness resorts for tourists looking to revitalize.

Eco-wellness retreats in Costa Rica

The Retreat Costa Rica – Wellness Resort & Spa

The Retreat Costa Rica Luxury Wellness Holiday
Courtesy of The Retreat Costa Rica

A 5-star nature-inspired luxury spa retreat set amongst the crystal quartz mountains and rainforests, this is the Costa Rican version of heaven on earth. The resort, Vida Mia spa and its signature wellness programs were invented by the award-winning celebrity chef, best-selling author and health and wellness life-coach Diana Stobo.

The Retreat offers signature wellness packages to fit your personalised needs, including detox, fitness reboot, emotional healing, Ayurveda balancing, and luxury spa healing and beautifying. This adult-only property is the epitome of revitalisation and indulgence.

Origins – Luxury Eco-lodge

Sustainable ecotourism in Costa Rica
Courtesy of Origins Costa Rica

High up in the mountains in the wilds of the rainforest lies the luxurious Origins eco-lodge, a sea of tranquillity, surrounded by undisturbed serene nature.  Wellness programs include a variety of holistic therapies inspired by traditional practices including yoga, massage therapy, mindful movement practice, energy healing, sound and vibration therapy, reflexology, nervous system release therapy, meditation, emotional release therapy and more.

You can also participate in horseback riding, lagoon fishing, bird watching, or a wildlife night tour in the rainforest. The Origins eco-lodge also offer a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, boat tours, kayaking, tubing, chocolate and coffee tours, or meeting the Maleku tribe.

If you are looking for a natural detox holiday to improve your physical and mental wellbeing, or you want to get away from the intensity of the modern lifestyle, then Costa Rica should be your next travel destination.

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