Volcano in Costa Rica

What is eco-travel?

As more people seek ways to tread lightly on Mother Earth, eco-travel has become very popular. Also called ecotourism, this mode of seeing the world places emphasis on visiting destinations that have an ecological interest for conservational and educational purposes. Typically, eco-travel means visiting pristine and endangered environments where the natural resources and local people are the main attractions. Eco-travellers value sustainability, environmental responsibility, minimising their impact on the environment and fostering a greater awareness and respect for local environment and culture. A key component to eco-travel is that the financial benefits from tourism go directly to conservation efforts and back in to local communities rather than outside companies. Ecotourism is a relatively new concept that began to take root in the 1960’s and 70’s. Today, many countries promote this greener way to travel in order to promote conservation of their natural treasures and provide a needed source of income for vulnerable populations. Eco-travel might not be for everyone, but for travellers who are looking to learn, give back, and appreciate the natural world, it can be a life-changing experience. Over the upcoming weeks, we will highlight seven phenomenal eco-friendly destinations from around the world that we think are exciting for a number of reasons. Some offer visitors the opportunity to get lost in the natural beauty of the wild, while others are inspiring models of how tourism can positively impact local communities. Whether or not you have ever pondered the possibility of taking an eco-tour, perhaps these destinations will entice you to pack your bags and see the world in a whole new way.
Hot Eco Spot No. 1

Red-Eyed Tree Frog

Costa Rica

In terms of ecotourism, Costa Rica is a heavy hitter thanks to its abundance of wildlife, environmental sanctuaries and pristine tropical landscapes. Costa Rica, despite its demure size, boasts 26 national parks, which range from misty cloud forests in the north, to wetlands, volcanoes, beaches and the rainforests teeming with life. In fact, nearly one-third of Costa Rica is protected national parks and reserves. these wildlife refuges protect some 500,000 different species of plants and animals. This astounding natural diversity accounts for nearly 4% of the Earth’s total biodiversity. What makes Costa Rica all the more impressive, are the measures the government and private sector have taken to care for its natural resources. This, in turn has established Costa Rica as an internationally renowned and popular eco-travel destination. Thousands of visitors come every year to experience for their own rugged experience that is draped in organic beauty. Whether you choose to snorkel among coral reefs, enjoy white-water rafting or a mesmerising canopy tour, Costa Rica is sure to leave you in awe.
Manuel Antonio National Park
manuel antonia costa rica Blissfully located on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, Manual Antonio National Park is small, but saturated in natural wonder. Many outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers make the pilgrimage here to explore and learn about the rainforest's biodiversity, hike along the park’s many trails and observe some of Costa Rica’s various species of animal life including, monkeys, jaguars, sloths and crocodiles. Manuel Antonio is also offers some of Costa Rica’s most pristine beaches and visitors are welcome to swim and snorkel in the clear blue waters.

Park Information:

Address:Canton de Aguirre, Puntarenas, Costa Rica Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday 7:30- 16:00 Cost: £4 for adults, free for children under 12 Tips: Peak months are December-April so to avoid crowds, go between May-November. We recommend keeping a close eye on your belongings because petty theft is not uncommon.
Isla del Coco
Beautiful Rio Celeste Waterfall For a true ‘off the grid’ adventure, adventurous travellers need to head 550 kilometres offshore to the deserted Isla del Coco, the largest uninhabited island on the planet. Isla del Coco has been national park since 1978 and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1997. These important conservations efforts has meant Coco has been able to protect its fragile ecosystem, despite the continual threat of illegal poaching. Large school of hammerhead sharks in the blue The island’s unique ecosystem is home to many endangered plant, animal and bird species. It also includes dense tropical jungle, waterfalls and exquisite dive spots. Many avid divers come to Isla del Coco to swim with the diverse marine life that frequent its waters such as dolphins, manta rays, whale sharks and hammerheads. Unfortunately, this piece of earthly paradise comes at a price and tours to the island don’t come cheap. The boat ride to the island takes around 36-hours and because there is no accommodation available, tours include your food and lodging on board and scuba gear. This mean the price tag for a multi-day tour will cost a few thousand pounds. Park Information:Address: Province of Puntarenas, South Eastern Tropical Pacific Cost: Admission cost: £10. Tours will cost upwards of £5000. Tips: Before visitors can go to the island, they must obtain authorisation from the Cocos Island Marine Conservation Area.
Corcovado National Park
a tamandua walking on a tree at corcova national park in costa rica Called the 'crown jewel' of Costa Rica’s national parks, Corcovado holds the title for the largest and one of the most ecologically diverse. Nestled in the southwest corner of Costa Rica, this enormous reserve covers most of the Osa Peninsula and encompasses a whopping 103,290 acres. The topical rainforest contains a wealth of biodiversity, including the endangered squirrel monkey, turtles, anteaters, butterflies, colourful macaws and the elusive tapir. Hiking, backpacking and wildlife watching are the two most popular activities within the park. Park Information:Cost: £4 for adults, free for children under 12 Tips: Best time to visit is between January-April when the park receives the least amount of rain. Heavy rains fall between May-December, making the park hard to navigate and almost unrecognisable. Visitors who plan on doing a multi-day hik through Corcovado must register at the Osa conservation area administrative headquarters and reserve camp sites and bunkhouses.
Tortuguero
Tortuguero Beach Tortuguero is remote village and national park on the country’s Atlantic coast that is surrounded by lush jungle. The village is adjacent to a 32-kilometre stretch of black sand beach, where four different species of sea turtles, leatherback, green, loggerhead, and hawksbill come to nest. Every year thousands of these endangered turtles come here to lay their eggs between February and October. However, many visitors choose to come between November and January for a chance to watch baby turtles emerge from beneath the sand and shuffle into the water under the cover of darkness. There are a number of tour operators that take guests for night walks along the beach to witness this incredible event. Visitors to Tortuguero can also choose from a variety of jungle-related activities, that are sure to awaken the eco-lover in anyone. For those who want to explore on their own, there is plenty of hiking, kayaking, canoeing and bird-watching opportunities available. And for those who prefer the insight and help of a guide, there are canopy tours, tours through local banana plantations and boat tours that navigate the muddy banks of the Toruguero National Park. Canopy Walkway of Kakum National Park

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