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Costa Rica Eco Travel

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                                                              Costa Rica Eco Travel
                                                                   By Lisa Khajavi



   The evolution of 'Ecotourism'

 As a world-wide leader in nature-oriented travel, with 5% of the world's biodiversity within only .035%
of the world's land, Costa Rica continues to be in the spotlight for ecotourism. Since 1993, tourism has
been the top generator of foreign revenues for Costa Rica, surpassing both bananas and coffee. The
ICT (Costa Rican Institute for Tourism) acknowledges that the tourism in Costa Rica has become
mainly ecotourism. It is easy to see why, with Costa Rica's 26 national parks, 58 wildlife refuges, 32
protected zones, 15 wetland areas or mangroves, 11 forest reserves, 8 biological reserves, as well as
12 other conservation regions. The array of flora and fauna is staggering. Martha Honey of the CESD
(Center on Ecotourism and Sustainable Development) cites the following:

 "This West Virginia-sized country boasts more bird species (850) than are found in the United States
and Canada combined, more variety of butterflies than in all of Africa, more than 6,000 kinds of
flowering plants (including 1,500 varieties of orchids), and over 35,000 species of insects. Costa Rica
is, as former minister of natural resources Alvaro Umana put it, a biological superpower." (Honey 2003)

 All of this natural wonder in the most stable country both socially and politically in Central America,
perhaps even all of Latin America, is heaven for especially the ecotraveler. To its credit, Costa Rica
has the highest percentage of protected land in the world (Fenell and Eagles 1990). Further, Costa
Rica has preserved these lands and natural habitats in such a way that they are more accessible to
tourists than those of any other country in the region (Budowski 1993). The small size of the country is
a huge factor as well; a traveler has the opportunity to visit more destinations per visit if desired.

The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) defines ecotourism as:

 "Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of
local people."

The history of ecotourism is interesting. The term 'ecotourism' was coined in 1983 by Hector
Ceballos-Lascurain, one of Mexico's top architects as well as renowned environmentalist and
Ecotourism expert. Ceballos-Lascurain is the Director General of the Programme of International
Consultancy on Ecotourism (PICE), and special advisor on Ecotourism to the World Conservation
Union (IUCN). The following definitions are quoted from Ceballos-Lascurain in an ecoclub.com article

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Meet the Architect of Ecotourism.

 1983 definition: "Ectourism is tourism that involves traveling to relatively undisturbed natural areas
with the specific object of studying, admiring and enjoying the scenery and its wild plants and animals,
as well as any existing cultural aspects (both past and present) found in these areas." His hope was
that the result would be that people would become more knowledgeable and aware of nature and thus
likely to be more involved in conservation issues. This very desire came to fruition.

 He revised the definition in 1993, which was then adopted by the IUCN in 1996 as its official definition,
which states: "Ecotourism is environmentally responsible travel to relatively undisturbed natural areas,
in order to enjoy, study and appreciate nature (and any accompanying cultural features, both past and
present), that promotes conservation, has low negative visitor impact, and provides for beneficially
active socio-economic involvement of local populations."

 What began as a niche in the early 80's has grown exponentially with far-reaching effects. From the
roots of ecotourism sprang 'responsible' and 'sustainable' tourism, and as seen above ecotourism is
now defined to include the latter. In October of 2008, United Nations Foundation Founder and
Chairman Ted Turner joined the Rainforest Alliance, the United Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP) and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to announce the first-ever
globally relevant sustainable tourism criteria at the IUCN World Conservation Congress. The new
criteria was developed to offer a common guide to the burgeoning practice of sustainable tourism and
to help consumers, businesses, governments, non-governmental organizations and education
institutions to ensure that tourism has positive, rather than negative effects on local communities and
the environment. To find out more, check out www.SustainableTourismCriteria.org.

 In order to promote tourism providers that practice sustainability, the Costa Rican ICT developed the
Center for Sustainable Tourism (CST) which provides certification to businesses that are committed to
sustainable practices. The certification is given at levels from 1 to 5 green leaves, with many
businesses currently certified and in process. The Rainforest Alliance recognizes the CST as a valid
entity to promote and ensure sustainable practices in Costa Rica. Countless others in tourism are
involved in sustainable practices in Costa Rica that are under the radar. Also there is the newly formed
Costa Rican National Chamber of Ecotourism (CANAECO) which is Rainforest Alliance affiliated. With
all of these organizations to help promote and enforce authenticity, backed by huge consumer
demand, there is sure to be more and more in the tourism sector on board to protect Costa Rica's
priceless ecosystems and communities.

 NatureAir and NatureVacations are proud to practice environmental and social responsibility.
NatureAir is The world's first certified Carbon Neutral Airline and presents an informative video at
http://www.natureair.com/carbonneutral/ . Also to learn more about our biodiesel program see
http://blog.natureair.com/.

If you are interested in Ecotravel or Ecotourism in Costa Rica, speak with an expert contact us here:
http://www.naturevacations.com/. We can provide you with invaluable advice about anything you have
interest in regarding ecotourism in Costa Rica.




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                                                        Traveling In Costa Rica
                                                             By Carmen Ross



 Costa Rica is full of fascinating things to see and do. When you visit Costa Rica the first thing that you
will notice is the friendly environment that permeates every aspect of the society in Costa Rica. And
there are not many places on earth that are as beautiful all year round as Costa Rica. In Costa Rica
you will be able to sit on the beach and luxuriate under the sun or choose from a variety of adventures
that you just cannot find back at home.

If you are staying in Costa Rica you will want to check out all of their fabulous museums. There are
over 30 different fantastic museums in Costa Rica and each of them will take your breath away with
their amazing artifacts. You will find some of the most fantastic finds in Costa Rica at their museums.
These museums are a great way to spend the day when you need a little break from the sun and the
beach.

The sun in Costa Rica is powerful so be sure to bring some good sunscreen and a hat, getting
sunstroke in Costa Rica is no way to enjoy your vacation.

There are many other gorgeous sites to see in Costa Rica besides the sun and the museums and one
of them is the variety of trees. If you love the outdoors then Costa Rica is the place for you. There are
many hikes and treks that you can go on in Costa Rica that will thrill your senses. You will get too see
a good portion of the wildlife in Costa Rica as they go about their daily business, which is always fun
and exciting. Costa Rica is a great place to visit either on your own or with others.



Carmen Ross is the owner of Costa Rica Travel And Real Estate Site. (
http://www.costaricatravelandrealestatesite.com). Her site contains information and resources for
people interested in traveling to Costa Rica and living in Costa Rica.




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