Ecotourism in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has revolutionized its attitude towards its natural landscapes. Half of the country is covered in tropical forests.
Boasting 22 national parks, 10 wildlife reserves, 12 biological reserves, and 8 forest reserves, Costa Rica has become the embodiment of successful ecotourism as it strives to share its incredibly rich biodiversity with visitors while both conserving the natural beauty of these spectacular landscapes and improving the well-being of its native inhabitants.

Dating back to 1963 with the establishment of the Cabo Blanco National Reserve, ecotourism in Costa Rica has continued to gain strength over the years. Attracting over a million tourists annually and creating thousands of jobs, ecotourism is at the forefront of Costa Rica’s economy and by devoting a staggering 25% of its national territory to protected areas, the increasingly popular Central American destination is sure to see this key sector flourish long into the future.

From mangrove swamps to coral reefs to tropical rainforests, Costa Rica is home to a remarkable 12 different ecosystems which, thanks to ecotourism and the existence of hundreds of highly-knowledgeable local guides, can be carefully explored and appreciated by nature-loving visitors. Within these outstandingly-diverse habitats, tourists find themselves in absolute awe of not only the sheer number of plant species which surround them—the country has 13,000 plant species in total— but are equally mesmerized by the richness of Costa Rican wildlife.

Though it is blessed with 237 mammal and 361 reptile and amphibian species, Costa Rica’s main wildlife attraction has to be its flying creatures. Just 19,714 square miles in size, but Costa Rica has more bird species than the United States and a greater variety of butterflies than all the countries in Africa put together. Although hiking along the numerous rainforest hiking trails in the company of a trained guide is the obvious, and definitely an essential, Costa Rican ecotourism activity, visitors to the country may be surprised upon arriving to find out just how extensive the range of activities on offer is.

From coffee tours to horseback riding, whale watching to whitewater rafting, Costa Rica’s numerous ecotourism activities mean tourists will never run out of things to do. Moreover, whether learning about the local produce, providing nearby villages with financial support, or learning about the importance of environmental conservation projects, visitors should rest assured that each chosen activity will help contribute to the continued success of Costa Rica’s ecotourism industry in the future.

Following an unforgettable day of wildlife observation, adrenaline-filled sporting activities and educational enrichment, the Costa Rican ecotourism experience keeps on going for tourists who stay in sustainably-constructed eco-lodges, which can be found in the heart of the Osa Peninsula, along with the Caribbean coast, and around the base of the Tenorio Volcano. Close to nature and intentionally isolated, Costa Rica’s ecolodges depend on renewable energy sources, offer meals made from locally-sourced products, and provide tourists with a truly unique accommodation experience in which they are constantly treated to the breathtaking sights of Costa Rica’s outstanding landscapes by simply opening their blinds.