Costa Rica, an Ecotourism Pioneer
In Costa Rica, travel is almost synonymous with ecotourism, and for a good reason: though small in size, this nation is BIG on biodiversity.
In short hours, you can travel from tropical beaches to cool mountaintops, from exotic rainforests to misty cloud forests and active volcanoes – the options are endless!
With this array of sights and experiences comes an equally varied selection of Costa Rica eco-hotels, rental villas, and all-inclusive resorts that cater as much to the environment as your comfort.
Costa Rica’s Protected Areas
In Spanish, “Costa Rica” means “rich coast,” a homage to the nation’s spectacular natural resources – and a namesake the country is passionate about protecting.
Costa Rica is regularly singled out as one of the world’s greenest nations, thanks to its environmental policies, responsible tourism projects, and initiatives to preserve its natural habitats and wildlife.
Over 26% of Costa Rica’s land area is designated as a national park, private reserve, or wildlife refuge. These protected lands shelter incredible natural diversity, including an estimated 4% of the planet’s animal species.
Ecotourism is a significant sector in Costa Rica. When you travel sustainably, it’s about more than a guilt-free vacation: you’re supporting local communities, helping fund land and animal protection projects, and investing in a better, greener future.
And it all starts with selecting your favorite eco-resorts in Costa Rica – sustainable accommodations that promise an incredible AND low-impact vacation.
The Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) has developed an initiative called the Sustainability Certification Program to promote and classify the country's eco-resorts. This program provides detailed guidelines for hotels to promote environmental programs and sustainable practices.
Eco resorts in Costa Rica are rated from one to five. Five meaning the most eco-friendly, which consider under three basic categories: Administration of Cultural and Natural Resources, Economic Success that Contributes to National Development, and Quality of Life Improvements in Surrounding Communities. Individual factors within each category include:
- Recycling projects.
- Reduced energy consumption.
- Hiring from within local communities.
- Eco-friendly cleaning products.
Choosing between Costa Rica's top eco-resorts is no small task and we're here to help.
Our travel consultants know these hotels and can help you choose an eco-friendly resort that meets all your other criteria, including price, star rating, and amenities.
Please email or call 1-800-606-1860, and let's start planning your eco-friendly Costa Rican vacation today!
FAQs About Eco Lodges and Unique Resorts in Costa Rica
What is the best rainforest to visit?
Arenal is beautiful and popular. However, if you're willing to travel further, the Osa Peninsula is a more untouched, wild rainforest area. It's home to the Corcovado National Park, the jewel of Costa Rica's national park system.
Can you stay in the rainforest in Costa Rica?
Of course! Let our travel experts know if you'd like to be in the rainforest.
One eco-friendly hotel we love in the rainforest is Lapa Rios.
It's a boutique eco-resort hidden away on the remote Osa Peninsula, set on its own private reserve. They offer sustainability tours with the highest available Certificate of Sustainable Tourism.
You can even participate in their reforestation program by transplanting a primary rainforest seedling to an area of secondary growth. Will you come back to see your tree in a few years?
Which part of Costa Rica is the best to stay in?
If eco-friendly is important to you, you'll find many options on the Osa Peninsula, like El Remanso Lodge, one of the first hotels in Costa Rica to provide its electricity exclusively on its micro-hydro system. It also has a composting system and local reforestation programs.
Where do celebrities stay in Costa Rica?
Many celebrities have stayed in the famous Papagayo and Arenal areas. However, other celebrities prefer more hidden locations.
One unique hidden resort we highly recommend is the Isla Chiquita Glamping Resort. An unforgettable stay in a deluxe tent on a private island will have you feeling like a celebrity.