How to Be a Responsible Ecotourist

Ecotourism is one of the most profitable and important industries in Costa Rica. The unparalleled natural beauty and rich biodiversity make the country one of the most incredible ecotourism destinations in the world. 

Done right, visiting these locations can be great for globalization, environmental awareness, education, and sustainability. But done wrong, popular parks become cluttered, polluted, or endangered. Read this article from Casa Teresa to understand how you can be a responsible ecotourist when you visit the spectacular country of Costa Rica.

What is the Genuine Ecotourist Definition?

The answer isn’t completely cut and dry. According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, the colloquial ecotourist definition is: “​a person who goes on an organized holiday that is designed so that the tourist damages the environment as little as possible, especially when some of the money they pay is used to protect the local environment and animals.”

But the real ecotourist definition doesn’t have a simple answer. It’s a set of ethical responsibilities that accompany a global movement to keep natural parks sustainable for generations to come. Organizations such as Waterkeeper are dedicated to doing good for the community and the tourist experience through their nonprofit. Part of a larger global organization called the Waterkeeper Alliance, the Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper focuses on improving the immediate area. 

The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) defines ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people and involves interpretation and education.” 

As you can see, this movement goes beyond the environment: it involves preserving local communities and increasing environmental awareness through education. This cultural and social inclusion is another key element of ecotourism that goes overlooked.

Costa Rica: The Best Ecotourism Destination in the World

Costa Rica is the world’s poster child for ecotourism. Its extensive national park system and rich biodiversity make it a wonderland for observing rare biomes, species, and ecosystems.

In the 1970s, Costa Rica’s national park system expanded to include approximately 20% of the nation’s entire area. Nearly half a million acres of land are dedicated to preserving the natural environment! The efforts taken to preserve the environment in Costa Rica have been so successful that the country has become renowned around the world for its environmental awareness and sustainability.

But here’s a hard truth: funds from tourism are the main incentive for politicians to preserve the land, as tourism is often more profitable than ventures like mining, farming, or logging. Costa Rica National Parks are reliant on funds from ecotourists to continue their conservation programs. Spending your money on tours and park visits helps to keep the ecotourism destinations alive and pristine—just make sure you’re visiting the park in an eco-conscious way.

Some simple steps to take to be a responsible ecotourist:

  • Learn as much as you can about the ecotourism destination you’re visiting. Don’t stop at just learning the ecotourism definition. Learn how to observe the local wildlife, how to respect the local communities and cultures of the area, and how to protect a natural habitat. How you treat your developed homeland is often not the best way to treat a sensitive location. Even something as simple as rearranging rocks can affect local species’ habitats. Learning also enhances the experience like nothing else!
  • Minimize your footprint. Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints. It should go without saying that you should leave sensitive environments as pristine as the way you found them. Don’t litter, don’t use fire improperly, and don’t drain local resources.
  • Donate anything you can to land preservation and conservation. These national parks and protected lands rely on funding from visitors to fund their staff, conservation programs, and land management activities. With the drop in tourism in 2020, Costa Rica is now more dependent on tourist dollars than ever.
  • Respect local culture and traditions. Local communities, especially indigenous communities, have often been sustainably managing the land they live on for thousands of years. Even if a cultural concept seems strange to you, it should still be treated with due respect.

Personalize Your Ecotourism Destination Adventure at Casa Teresa Luxury Villa

Casa Teresa Luxury Villa view of the ocean from the kitchen

The best place to use as a base for your eco-tourism vacation is Casa Teresa! Our beachside villa features five ensuite bedrooms decorated with luxury and opulence in mind. Take a scenic helicopter ride, have a romantic destination wedding, or book a private tour at the ecotourism destination of your choice. The only limit to our capabilities is your imagination.

To inquire for availability or book your stay, contact Casa Teresa today.

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