By Helen Cross | December 14, 2010
Any true eco enthusiast should make Costa Rica the top of their travel wish list. One of the most ‘green’ countries in the world, Costa Rica has unparalleled eco credentials and is doing the upmost to protects its ‘rich coast’. This is a country that:
- Was named the best country for eco-tours in Treehuggers ‘Best of Green’.
- Is ranked 3rd in the world in the 2010 Environmental Protection Index
- Aims to become the first carbon neutral country by 2021
- Is ranked 1st in the Happy Planet Index.
- Contains 5% of the world’s biodiversity
- Has 25% of its land protected in National Parks
However, as with anything that makes money, the term ‘eco’ can be subject to abuse and has been used to justify charging inflated prices for underwhelming experiences. $50 eco walk anyone?! Here are the crème-de-la- crème of environmentally conscious activities in the country:
Ziplining and sky walks
The best way to get up close to the cloud forests of Costa Rica; ziplining provides an adrenaline fuelled trip through the canopy for those who wish to fly through the trees a la Tarzan whereas sky walks provide a more sedate experience from bridges suspended at dizzying heights.
Canoeing around Tortuguero National Park
Straight out of the jungle book, Tortuguero is mainly known as the location of numerous Sea Turtle Conservation projects which see thousands of volunteer a year. However, inland from the beaches, the true treasure of the area is the narrow, labyrinthine rivers of the Tortuguero National Park which can only be navigated by kayak or canoe and are completely untouched by commercial development. Engulfed by the lush jungle that surrounds you, kayaking these waterways is a great, no impact way, to get lost in nature. The confident can simply hire a canoe and set off, however guided tours are available which have the added benefit of allowing you to spot animals and plants that you may miss without the keen eyes of your native tour guide.
Dolphin and whale watching
Costa Rica is famous for its rich marine life and numerous tours offer the chance to spot the whales and dolphins that populate its waters. The Osa Peninsular is the last great wilderness of Costa Rica and boasts a wealth beautiful beaches, including the stunning Drake Bay and the epically biodiverse Cano Island. Humpback and Blue Whales frequent the area as well as Spinner, Bottle Nose and Black-Spotted Dolphis. Additionally Cano Island offers some of the best snorkelling and diving in the country, with opportunities to spot schools of white tip reef sharks, eels, sea turtles and stingrays.
Costa Rica is blessed with some of the most amazing wildlife in the world, however the animals that populate the country aren’t always treated as well as they should be. Help preserve the wildlife of Costa Rica by visiting one of the country’s animal sanctuaries: from the low key and rustic Rainsong Wildlife Sanctuary in Cabo Blanco to the Jaguar Rescue Centre and the world’s only sloth sanctuary (both in Puerto Viejo) there are numerous places where you can get close to Costa Rica’s animals at the same time as contributing to their conservation.
Inspiration: Unique Travel Destinations