Costa Rica – successful story of sustainable tourism

October 1, 2022

Costa Rica is pioneer of sustainable and eco tourism worldwide. Ecotourism in Costa Rica started several decades ago with the creation of the National Park System and the establishing of the infrastructure which would provide eco lodging to guests visiting the country.

Costa Rica ecotourism has achieved world wide leadership, and is respected as a visionary economic activity which brings guests to protected areas with the intention of helping its conservation, both of flora and fauna, while allowing and contributing to economic and social development and growth of the local population.

Ecotourism is the most relevant economic activity in the country, which has in recent years developed into a broader trend, called sustainable tourism, allowing for bigger developments, that, however, stay focused on sustainable principles based on Costa Rica Ecotourism, where it finds its origin.

Despite covering only 0.03% of the planet’s surface, the country is ranked among the top 20 countries with the most biodiversity. Spread across only 51,100 km2, Costa Rica is home to an estimated half-million living species, which represent about 4% of the world’s biodiversity. This makes it the perfect place to visit and relax in harmony with nature.

Ecotourism in Costa Rica is well exemplified by numerous eco lodges around the country and one of the most authentic is the Selva Bananito Ecolodge, located in the upper Bananito River Watershed, in the Province of Limon, Costa Rica. The Ecolodge Selva Bananito has been conceived from its origins as a way of protecting the natural resources it set aside to guarantee the drinking water supply to the Harbor City of Limon (100.000 inhabitants) while “harvesting” these resources through the added value of different nature and adventure activities.

Selva Bananito Ecolodge operates minimizing the impact on the environment, not only during the construction of the lodge by using over 80% of all precious woods obtained from waste woods or salvaged woods, but also during its operation by for example heating the water with solar energy, recycling, not using noisy and polluting generators etc.

The lodge is built on family farm which was purchased in 1974 for farming and wood exploitation. Despite a logging permit, owning family decided to declare the untouched part of the farm a private, biological reserve ( 850 hectares or 2000 acres ). The lodge was built as an alternative source of income. This was a moral, not economical decision, since it is unlikely that the income generated by the lodge will ever approximate the commercial value of the protected wood.

During the stay in Selva Bananito Ecolodge you will be in opportunity to learn more about eco tourism and sustainability, to have introduction and workshops of sustainable tourism but also to have numerous activities such as bird watching, horse riding and flying over jungle on gyroplane. During the flight on gyroplane you will be able to see jungle in all its glory, waterfalls, Caribbean sea in the distance but main purpose of this activity is making you aware how this eco system is important both to animals and people so you can appriciate it more. After spending some time in Selva Babananito Ecolodge you will be more aware of eco tourism solutions and you will be able to spread idea of sustainability to your friends and familly.

Eco tourism together with adventure tourism and sustainability is important for local people of Costa Rica but for tourists that are visiting Costa Rica the main benefit is awareness tourism – idea that they can learn and understand more about ecology and how to protect the planet and to see it on a practical level.