Paradise beaches, nature, forest and even volcanoes. But what matters most is the high investment in sustainable tourism.

Costa Rica is a privileged country in the international tourism segment. Every year it attracts thousands of visitors from around the world, mainly Europeans (this segment has grown by around 14% in the last ten years). Part of this is due to the diversity of biomes to be found throughout the country. Despite the values being relatively high, the beaches and volcanoes are the main attractions, offering trails in unique landscapes that differ greatly from the European scene, its most assiduous visitors.

Photo: Ian D. Keating / Flickr

The first investments by the government started to happen massively in the years from 1980 to 1990 and since then it has increased frequently, creating a sector with ample return for internal investments. Much of Costa Rica's economic circulation takes place through tourism.. However, with the growth of visitors – as well as the industrial sector – the country of Central America began to face difficulties and problems related to pollution and aggression to the environment that, over time, could demotivate one of the main economic sectors of the country. From then on, a new attitude was implemented, invested in and motivated: ecotourism.

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Today the Costa Rica is a pioneer in the area of sustainability and a model in ecological practices in the industrial sector in the region and in the world. It houses and conserves around 5 percent of the world's biodiversity and 3.5 percent of its marine life. Currently, 25 percent of the national territory is protected by environmental laws and 30 percent of natural lands are protected and preserved. About 90 percent of its electricity comes from sustainable sources. Since 2012, the small country has plans to become the world's first carbon-free country, which affects the ecosystem on a large scale and exacerbates the greenhouse effect worldwide.

Photo: Becky Matsubara / Flickr

In the mid-1990s, a specific department was created that regulates, develops plans and executes actions for ecological enterprises aimed at conscious tourism, called Certificaciones y Responsabilidad Social Turística. The body's premise is to value and protect the culture of the local community, guarantee the quality of life and the economic and sustainable success of tourism. It is also the responsibility of CST to inspect the destinations most sought after by visitors and ensure that environmental protection plans are being guaranteed.

The Costa Rican population has also noticed the changes that have taken place over the last few years, and, together with the State, has started to apply sustainable practices in their daily lives. It is common to see in its citizens a pleasure in preserving and protecting the environment, celebrating it with its diversity in typical annual festivals.

Photo: Eric Nouaille / Flickr

There are specific tours aimed at ecotourism, where you can go through mountain and sea trails, visits to more than 28 national parks. Wildlife can also be observed, observing, of course, the rules of preservation. Watching endangered birds in wildlife refuges, as well as spawning sea turtles along coastal channels. All tours are guided for the safety of tourists as well as a way of respecting natural preservation.

It was from the problem presented that the Costa Rican government began to adopt attitudes of change, otherwise it would affect the country's economy on a large scale and also the quality of life of its inhabitants. Currently, Costa Rica occupies an exceptional position in the ranking of countries that adopt environmental preservation practices and serve as a model for countries in the American continent and around the world.

» 7 destinations to visit in Central America
» 9 Eco Lodges to Stay in Costa Rica
» 8 beautiful cities to visit in Costa Rica
» Costa Rica: The country that exudes biodiversity and itineraries for those who love ecotourism

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