© iStock/Pat Keith Photography
© iStock/Pat Keith Photography
☺︎This story can be lived as a real experience(more)

Costa Rica: Ecotourism favorite & world’s most beautiful country

5 minutes to read

People come because Costa Rica is the world’s #1 most beautiful country & a favorite place for ecotourism. So, if you’re looking for subways, skyscrapers, or speedy trains; you’ll be disappointed.  There aren’t any of those in Costa Rica

There are lots of other things to see and do! Try zip-lining through rainforest canopies, for example.  Or, you can go parasailing over aqua blue Pacific waves, enjoy the thrills of charter fishing, or exhilarating white water river rafting.  Oh yes, and there are plenty of hiking spots and waterfalls; some of them are even wheelchair friendly. Plan to chill out in thermal springs before heading home. Costa Rican ecotourism options abound!

© iStock/Vector
© iStock/Vector

Costa Rica: Ranked #1 World’s Most Beautiful Country (2019)

Costa Rica has been awarded the #1 ranking on the Condé Nast Traveler40 Most Beautiful Countries in the World" 2019 listing. Who says? The process for comparing countries' qualities is a  joint effort between the World Economic Forum and Condé Nast Traveler. Besides being a very safe country for tourists of all ages, Condé Nast Traveler recognizes Costa Rica for its proactive conservation and protection efforts.  More than 25% of Costa Rica's national territory is protected.  This fact alone makes Costa Rica a world leader in environmental protection and preservation.

© cntraveler.com/gallery/most-beautiful-countries-in-the-world/Getty
© cntraveler.com/gallery/most-beautiful-countries-in-the-world/Getty

What’s “ecotourism” ?

Ecotourism is tourism with a focus on getting back to nature, visiting natural sites and seeing beautiful views. It’s tourism to countries that treasure (and can still offer) unspoiled natural resources for you to enjoy.  As an eco-tourist you show and share your appreciation of the awesomeness of nature along with local people.  Like them, you are participating in the conservation process

© iStock/Rawpixel
© iStock/Rawpixel

Be an eco-traveler; create your own ecotourism adventure!

On an ecotourism trip you can see different bio-diversities.  In Costa Rica they are all tropical forests, but with different climates according to altitudes and the presence (or not) of volcanoes and volcanic mountains. There are over 30 national parks and 112 volcanoes from one end of the country to the other. To ease any possible anxiety around this last fact, only 5 are “active” volcanoes!

© iStock/SL Photography
© iStock/SL Photography
Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica
Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica
Santa Rosa National Park, Provincia de Guanacaste, Costa Rica

So many different biomes with their respective land and climate types, means a corresponding diversity of wildlife and vegetation. From coastal beaches to high-altitude cloud forests, the Republic of Costa Rica accounts for only 0.03 percent of the earth's surface. However, it contains nearly 6 percent of the world's biodiversity. Costa Rica is home to about 900 different bird species and more than 250 species of mammals. National parks and local tours make it easy for you to visit rainforests, volcanoes, waterfalls, thermal springs, and islands

© iStock/Mats Lindberg
© iStock/Mats Lindberg
Palo Verde National Park, Costa Rica
Palo Verde National Park, Costa Rica
Palo Verde National Park, Provincia de Guanacaste, Bagaces, Costa Rica

Islands are special ecotourism sites

Cocos Island National Park is the only island in the eastern Pacific with a rainforestCN Traveler rated it as a world-class diving destination where you can spot hammerhead sharks, giant manta rays, sea turtles, and dolphins. Isla Pajaros (Island of the Birds) in the Tempisque River is part of Palo Verde National Park and offers excellent birdwatchingIslas Murciélagos (Bat Islands) offshore in Santa Rosa National Park is one of the premiere dive locations in Costa Rica. Bring your binoculars and snorkeling stuff (or get some)!

© iStock/Matt_Potenski
© iStock/Matt_Potenski
Cocos Island National Park, Costa Rica
Cocos Island National Park, Costa Rica
Cocos Island, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica

Eco-tourists assist the conservation process

Eco-tourists’ participation in the preservation happens in a couple of important ways.  The first is by intentionally having a minimal impact on the environment you’re visiting. This can be simple things like not littering, participating in beach clean-up, not smoking, or not feeding or removing the wildlife.

The second way you are supporting ecotourism and conservation is through your monetary contributions.  This may seem trivial, but it’s essential. Every entrance fee or park donation that you make helps the community continue to protect its trees, wildlife or plants from poachers. 

© iStock/JasonOndreicka
© iStock/JasonOndreicka
Bat Islands (Islas Murciélagos), Costa Rica
Bat Islands (Islas Murciélagos), Costa Rica
Islas Murciélagos, Costa Rica

Costa Rica leads the world with sustainable energy

Costa Rica is the first Latin American country to achieve carbon neutrality. In the world, Costa Rica is proud that 99.5% of its electricity coming from renewable sources. This sustainable and clean energy is the foundation for Costa Rica's next phase of carbon reduction. Costa Rica aims to be completely carbon neutral by 2021. In the meantime, it’s actively regulating and reducing the use of plastic.

© iStock/corridor91
© iStock/corridor91

Ecotourism isn’t limited to caring for the natural environments. It also applies to local communities and culturesEcotourism improves the well-being of local people. Every time you spend for tours, accommodations, food from vendors or in restaurants, or for handcrafted souvenirs, is life-giving.  Each one is your generous contribution that helps Costa Rican families.  This is very important for the national economy.

© Flickr/Uncornered Market
© Flickr/Uncornered Market

Costa Rica is preferred because it appeals to any traveler at any age and Costa Rica is safe.  It's an educational ecotourism destination for everyone, especially kids.  There’s nothing like first-hand knowledge when your child gets to the Rainforest / Cloud Forest or Volcanoes chapters in science class. Vacationing and travel in Costa Rica is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure

© Flickr/Jeremy Simmons
© Flickr/Jeremy Simmons

Let’s summarize why Costa Rica wins as a worldwide favorite

As an ecotourism travel destination, Costa Rica is certainly a world favoriteCosta Rica has earned the #1 ranking of the 40 most beautiful countries in the world. Let's summarize the reasons why:

First for example, it’s known for the high priority it gives to conserving its ecological treasures. Next, it's also known for being safe and caring for its international visitors. Additionally, we can remind you that for many years this little nation has been very serious about protecting its natural inheritances of pristine beaches, rich rainforests, and natural water springs. Another reason we can share that, taken together, all of the parks and reserves in Costa Rica represent the conservation of about 25% of its national territory --more than any other country in the world! 

But honestly, there’s really only one way to find out why Costa Rica is a world leader in ecotourism and winner of the Condé Nast Travelers' #1 spot among the 40 world’s most beautiful countries. It’s to experience it yourself! Come and discover Costa Rica!

© Flickr/yago1.com Ya Go
© Flickr/yago1.com Ya Go

You loved this story?

Live it yourself as a memorable local experience!

Discover the Live Stories

The author

Susan Wesley-Vega

Susan Wesley-Vega

My name is Susan and I’m from the U.S., but have been living in Alajuela, Costa Rica for 15 years. I love discovering the specialness in every place I go. By writing about the fun and fabulous ecotourism hotspots in my adopted country, Costa Rica, I hope to inspire you to come and see for yourself!

View more stories

Stories you might also like