Sustainable Tourism & Rural Community Tourism
Take the Challenge
Experience the Real Costa Rica
Costa Rica is known for its outstanding natural beauty. This jewel of Central America has a flourishing culture discovering only experiencing it.
Rural community tourism is an opportunity allowing you to experience firsthand how Costa Ricans live and how they strive to conserve the environment. Rural community tourism implements the community associations. The communities own private ecological reserves or are located near areas of ecological and cultural. All offer visitors a mixture of cultural and environmental adventures in addition to the usual tourist services such as accommodation, tours and crafts. People who visit have the opportunity to discover the real Costa Rica, explore more than just the popular tourist trails and meet people committed to preserving the rural area.
- Stay in villages located in beautiful rural surroundings and get to know local people and their customs.
- Explore magnificent forests, fascinating mangroves, and observe the rich diversity of wildlife with experienced local guides.
- Spend time with women fishers on the Island of Chira and learn about their way of life.
- Pick your own vegetables from an organic garden.
- And much more!
You will have the opportunity to listen to stories about rural life and share your own experiences in conservation. See the authentic Costa Rica, off the beaten path, in rural areas where you can learn from the people about their efforts to preserve the environment. Activities
- Bird watching
- Canopy exploration
- Eco / nature / wildlife
- Educational / research / volunteering
- Guided tours
- Horseback riding
- River rafting / kayaking
- Scuba diving / snorkeling
- Visits to conservation projects
- Volunteers accept
- Walking / hiking
Be a Sustainable Traveler! Why choose to travel sustainability? Because your travel choices make a difference. By choosing sustainable businesses you will support businesses that conserve natural resources, protect plants and wildlife, and contribute to the well-being of local communities. You will also help to ensure that these treasures will also be there for future generations to enjoy.
What is Sustainable Tourism? Sustainable tourism businesses are those that are profitable while conserving natural resources and benefiting local communities. Examples of best management practices include conserving water and energy, supporting community conservation projects, preserving, recycling and treating wastes, and sourcing locally-produced products in restaurants and gift shops. Sustainable businesses also hire employees from neighboring towns, pay them just wages, and offer them additional training.
What is Rural Tourism?Rural tourism means that local residents can be entrepreneurs on their own land rather than being pressured sell it. People who previously would have only been gardeners or maids in an ecolodge now are the owners of their own tourism destinations, providing visitors with memorable experiences of nature and local culture.
How Do I Know if a Business is Sustainable? Many tourism businesses claim to be “green” or “eco-friendly” – but what does that really mean? How can you know if these businesses are really environmentally and socially responsible? Many hotels, tour operators, and other businesses have demonstrated their commitment to sustainability by participating in a sustainable tourism verification program. This means that they have been audited by an independent, third-party program and have met a vigorous set of environmental, social, and economic criteria. CST, Certification for Sustainable Tourism, is a product of the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT). The CST was designed to differentiate businesses of the tourism sector, based on the degree to which they comply with a sustainable model of natural, cultural and social resource management. CST is regulated by the Costa Rican National Accreditation Commission and consists of a scale of 5 “levels” of sustainable tourism achievement. SustainableTrip.org has strict guidelines for participation – all of the hotels, tour operators, and other businesses listed on their site must be verified by the Rainforest Alliance. The sustainability claim of each business is confirmed by their staff before it is included on the site, so you can be assured that all of the businesses on SustainableTrip.org are taking concrete actions to conserve natural resources and support local communities.
How Can You Make A Difference?
- At the hotel: Ask about environmental policies and practices. Does the hotel support community development or conservation projects?
- Language: Learn a few words of the local language and use them.
- Dress: Learn about local conventions and dress appropriately. In many countries, modest dress is important.
- Behavior: Be respectful of local citizens’ privacy. Ask permission before entering sacred places, homes, or private lands
- Photographs: Be sensitive to when and where you take photos/video of people. Always ask first.
- Environment: Respect the natural environment. Never touch or harass wildlife. Always follow designated trails. Support conservation by paying entrance fees to parks and protected sites or making a donation.
- Wildlife or forest products: Never purchase crafts, clothing, furniture, or other products that are derived from protected or endangered wildlife or plant species. In many countries it is illegal to bring these goods back home.
- Pay a fair price: Don’t engage in overly aggressive bargaining for souvenirs. Don’t short-change on tips for services.
- Buy local: Choose locally-owned lodges and hotels. Use local buses, car rental agencies, and airlines. Eat in local restaurants, shop in local markets, and attend local events.
- Hire local guides: Enrich your experience and support the local economy. Ask guides if they are licensed and live nearby. Be sure they are recommended by tour operators?
- The Rainforest Alliance, an international conservation organization, helps the tourism industry protect the environment and provide sustainable livelihoods, builds travelers demand for sustainable tourism and enables them to travel responsibly, and promotes sound international standards for sustainable tourism.
Our Mission is to promote environmental sustainability, social, cultural and economic initiatives and Rural Community Tourism of our partners, through the living natural environment by strengthening self-governed independence and transmitting an authentic experience to our customers. For our Sustainability Tours, we work only with tourist operations that are environmentally responsible and that comply with quality and sustainability criteria when selecting our suppliers, products and services we offer.