Has Costa Rica Lost Its Ecotourism Crown? We’re About To Find Out Firsthand…
I’ve had the pleasure of writing for Eco Companion for a few years now. It has completely changed the way I see travel and I feel honoured to be a part of such an inspiring company. The passionate team behind Eco Companion are on a mission to create a place for nature in tomorrow’s world. Now that sounds like a future I want to help to shape.
And I’m ridiculously excited to announce I’m off to the beating heart of ecotourism with Max, The Founder, and Andy, the man behind the Sweden video (watch it here). We’re off on an epic adventure next week, and I can’t wait to share all our favourite moments with you, and give you a sneak peek into Costa Rica’s most impressive spots.
Has Costa Rica lost its Ecotourism crown? Let’s find out…
Costa Rica has been leading the way when it comes to sustainable tourism for some time now. But as an ever increasing influx of tourists set foot on their land, we’re wondering, are they managing to continue to practice what they preach?
Has Costa Rica lost its ecotourism crown, or are they managing to maintain their high standards? I suspect the answer is the latter, but as with everything, until you actually touch down in a country, and delve beneath the surface, you can’t really tell what you’ll find.
But what we do know is that tourism currently represents around 5.8% of GDP in Costa Rica, and they’ve devoted around 26% of their land to national parks, protected lands and wildlife reserves. A few years back, the whole country avoided using fossil fuels for three months – now that’s pretty impressive.
A must-visit destination for Eco warriors and wildlife fanatics
This is a country that’s on everyone’s bucket lists. Who wouldn’t want to go to one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet? That means a whole lotta wildlife and plant life is at your fingertips! I can’t wait to come face to face with a sloth, walk in rainforests amongst butterflies and gaze upon an awe inspiring cloud forest.
Did you know that 10% of the world’s known butterfly species spread their wings in Costa Rica? Bring on the prettiness. From volcanoes and thick dense jungle to pristine beaches and swoon-worthy sunsets, this place literally has it all.
So what’s the plan? Our Costa Rica Itinerary…
If you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica but you’re not sure what to do, then you might want to take some handy inspo from our trip. We’re going out there to investigate their eco-travel scene, and film some of the mesmerising wildlife, so if you just want to sit on a beach in a pristine resort all day, this may not be helpful. Although we are staying in some plush hotels you might want to check out.
We are driving across the country as this seems the best way for us to see as many different places as possible in our 13 day trip. It allows us to stop off and hopefully stumble upon hidden gems and see a lot of the country.
We’re flying to Liberia airport in Guanacaste Province. As soon we set foot in Costa Rica we’ll be off on a two hour drive to El Establo Mountain Hotel. This is an absolutely stunning eco hotel set high in the mountains engulfed in a magical cloud forest.
‘El Establo’ means stables, and it’s a reflection of the hotel’s past; around 25 years ago the mountains were used by cattle farmers. I’m excited to gaze out and absorb the exceptional views over miles of cloud-covered rainforest. The hotel runs regular tours into the forest including special night walks.
We then leave the following morning to travel 5 hours to the Studio Hotel in San Jose. The decor and creative atmosphere of this hotel is inspired by Costa Rican art, hence the name. The bedrooms look modern and comfy, I can’t wait to get a good night’s kip in the huge king sized bed. Here you can also try 30 different international wines…now that’s my kinda place. Plus the rooftop swimming pool with views of the Central Valley looks very enticing.
I’m thrilled to be able to spend an evening in bustling San Jose, and to sample some local cuisine. The capital city is Costa Rica’s cultural epicenter, with an abundance of museums, art galleries and interesting neighbourhoods.
We leave the following morning and drive four hours to Selva Bananito Lodge in the Limon Province. Selva Bananito offers beautiful accommodation, but they also have a focus on conservation. Here, we can really lose ourselves in nature and focus on our surroundings.
This eco friendly accommodation resides at the foothill of the Cerra Mochilla near the Talamanca Mountain range. The bathrooms use solar heated water and the cabins are constructed using salvaged wood. I’m looking forward to having a siesta on one of the hammocks whilst gazing out at the rainforest.
We’ll be spending roughly three days at Selva Bananito. Whilst staying here, we’ll be going on a private tour of the nearby Sloth Sanctuary. Ahhhmazing. I’m going to get to learn all about these charming creatures from an expert and I’m literally brimming with excitement. They’re truly fascinating and very endearing animals.
Next up, we’ll be driving four hours to Poas Volcano, an active volcano located in Poas Volcano National Park. After leaving Poas Volcano, the next part of our trip takes us to the more remote Osa Peninsula.
We’ll be staying at Osa Conservation for two days where we’ll be learning about the conservation projects. Osa Conservation is a nonprofit organisation with one goal in mind, protecting the biodiversity of the precious and captivating Osa Peninsula. Amazingly, this remote area harbors 2.5% of the biodiversity of the entire planet in less than a thousandth of a percent of its total surface area. Yeah, this place is incredible. In fact, it was named by National Geographic as ‘the most biologically intense place on earth.’ Over 1000 insects, 463 species of birds and 140 mammals call this place home.
We will spend two days at Osa and then make the 3 hour drive up to Gaia Hotel & Reserve, a luxury boutique hotel in Manuel Antonio. It looks as though the rooms have spectacular views over the jungle and out towards the sea, and I’m dying to take a dip in the multi level infinity pool and take in the breathtaking surroundings. We’ve also go a cheeky spa treatment, which I’m sure will be much appreciated after trekking in the jungle.
Our final stop off will be at Hotel Bosque Del Mar, a sustainable oasis right next to the beach, but also within reach of the howler monkeys, iguanas and other wildlife living in the jungle near the sea. We’ll spend two blissful nights here, before heading to the airport to fly back home after an incredible trip.