Do you love to explore and travel the world? Do you like to immerse yourself in foreign cultures and landscapes to charge your batteries with valuable life energy? If so, then you may be one of the people confronted with an inner conflict, at least since Greta Thunbergs Fridays-for-Future-movement started: Should I stop travelling for the sake of the environment? If your answer this with a yes, then I congratulate you for your consequence. If not, in this blog you will find 5 ideas on how to make your Costa Rica trip environmentally friendly and leave the smallest possible ecological footprint.
Traveling saves the rainforest
But before we come to the tips, I would like to briefly show you how important tourism in Costa Rica is for the protection of the rainforest. In 1940, 75% of Costa Rica’s territory was covered by forest. Due to excessive livestock breeding and fruit farming the forest area was cut to a low of 21% by 1987. In 1990 tourism started to grow and the country realized that untouched rainforests full of wildlife have an immense touristic value. Protecting nature and making it accessible to tourists became more profitable than cutting the trees. Today, 52% of Costa Rica is covered by forests again and many species of animals which were almost gone 30 years ago are back. A massive abandonment of travel to Costa Rica would sooner or later have the effect of deforestation again. Is that really in our interest?
First step: Flight compensation
It remains a fact: The flight is the most polluting part of your trip. And if you don´t want to miss the journey, you only have two options: either you travel with guilty conscience or you compensate the CO2 emissions, for example with one of the popular platforms like www.myclimate.org. The compensation of a roundtrip flight from New York to San José in economy class costs about 35 US$ per person. Some airlines like United offer the voluntary offset of your emissions right in the booking process.
Second step: Choosing a climate neutral travel agency with a sustainability certificate
The Costa Rican Tourism Board certifies sustainable tourism companies with the “CST” (Certificado para la Sostenibilidad Turística) for more than 10 years now. If you want to be sure to choose the best travel experiences and programs for your trip, a local travel agency might be the best option. Make sure this agency is CST certified. This is a guarantee that your journey will be environmentally and socially compatible. Just a few agencies are additionally certified as climate-neutral companies (for example: www.aratours.com). Here you can be sure that the company measures, reduces and compensates all of its emissions.
Third step: Choosing a hotel with a sustainability certificate
Choose CST-certified hotels and you guarantee a gentle handling of the environment and the local people. Such hotels are doing hundreds of smaller and bigger things to minimize the impact in nature and maximise the positive impact on the social environment. It just feels great to stay in these hotels and I recommend you to ask for a sustainability tour at the reception. It is exciting to see what you can do to create a better world!
Forth step: A climate neutral Rent a Car company
Costa Rica is a paradise for those who want to explore the country with a rented car. You get anywhere and with a 4-Wheel-Drive car you reach especially beautiful and remote areas and beaches. But what about the emissions? Well, you still can´t avoid them. But you do have the possibility to rent your car with a certified climate-neutral company. Of course the offset is included in the price and for this reason you pay a little more than with one of the international car rental giants. Adobe Rent a Car is great example: they compensate 100% of the emissions of their fleet and in addition to that, it is a Costa Rican company and your money stays in the country you visit. Recently, a few electric vehicles have been put into operation on a trial basis. Learn more about Adobe Rent a Car and book your car directly here.
Fifth step: climate neutral transportation
Another option to travel the country in a sustainable way is with shuttle buses. You again have the possibility to use a climate-neutral company. Interbus also offsets 100% of its emissions, by investing in the National Fund for Reforestation and Forest Protection. Interbus is a hotel-to-hotel shuttle with a fixed schedule and you are travelling with a maximum of 10 other people. Learn more about Interbus and make your reservation directly here.
With this 5 ideas, you travel Costa Rica in a very eco and climate-friendly way and with a good conscience. It’s more than that: you are even contributing to the protection of the rainforest and into reforestation.
Do you have another ideas how to make your trip more sustainable? I am looking forward for your feedback!
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