Widely regarded as one of the industry leaders in ecotourism, Costa Rica has topped many travellers’ lists as the place to go for an ecotourism holiday. But ecotourism in Costa Rica didn’t emerge overnight; in fact, it took a lot of strategic management and development to get Costa Rica to this point. The Costa Rica Tourism Institute developed initiatives such as the Certificate for Sustainable Tourism, which has impacted tourism businesses across the board, but specifically in the accommodation sector.
Certificate for Sustainable Tourism in Costa Rica
The Costa Rica Tourism Institute developed the Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (CST) to help facilitate sustainability in a practical way. The CST also strives to improve the way in which Costa Rica’s resources are used in tourism, as well as provide opportunities for local communities within the industry. Ecotourism in Costa Rica has grown to a point where the most responsible way to continue is through the consideration and benefit for environmental, social, cultural, and economic facets of the country and its people.
In addition to the responsible tourism, the CST serves a larger purpose, one that facilitates economic sustainability. The CST actually engages businesses on an economic level that is intricately linked with sustainable practices. In becoming a CST certified business, tourism businesses are able to leverage the international marketing strategies developed and led by the Costa Rica Tourism Institute due to the CRTI’s heavy involvement with and promotion of the CST. This is what’s so excellent about the CST: in addition to having a market advantage, businesses also strive to operate on a much more sustainable level to achieve and maintain their CST label.
Ecotourism Accommodation in Costa Rica
Considering accommodation can sometimes be the worst offender when it comes to being unsustainable, it is of particular importance to have CST labelled accommodation providers. An example of the success of the CST is Cayuga, a group of sustainable accommodations that are leaders in Costa Rica’s ecotourism industry.
Cayuga, who operate and manage six ecolodges / resorts / inns / hotels in Costa Rica, actively promote sustainability at all of their properties in their daily business practices, with local communities, and worldwide. Cayuga’s management and operational style is such that guests never feel as though they are compromising luxury for sustainability. Cayuga’s makes ecotourism in Costa Rica a luxurious, stylish, and high quality experience.
Cayuga’s properties are varied, and cater to nearly every type of ecotourist (except, perhaps, the budget-conscious). All have CST labelling and are five-leaf award winners. These properties include the small, rainforest-nestled bungalows of Lapa Rios, an ecolodge and wildlife resort in the Osa Peninsula that welcomes families, small groups, honeymooners, and adventurers. Similarly, Arenas Del Mar, a beachfront rainforest resort, is full of wildlife and activities for all types of travellers. Latitude 10, however, is an exclusive beach resort, designed with luxury and relaxation in mind. Perhaps one of the most intriguing properties owned by Cayuga is Finca Rosa Blanca, a coffee plantation and luxury inn in the central highlands of Costa Rica. Here, ecotourism is alive and well, in what was Costa Rica’s first luxury boutique hotel. The surroundings are impressive, including rainforests and volcanoes, yielding some exciting ecotourism activities such as waterfall and canopy tours, horseback riding, hiking, and coffee tours.
Ecotourism in Costa Rica – Sleep Well and Sleep Green
Through programs like the CST and operators such as Cayuga, ecotourism in Costa Rica is flourishing and leading the way in Central America, as well as globally. Exporting Costa Rica’s ideas and practices on ecotourism could be very beneficial to other countries looking to better harness the business benefits of tourism through sustainable development. As Costa Rica has proven, the opportunity to do so is plentiful.
Photo Credit: Andrew Mace