10 Sustainable Ways to Experience Eco-Tourism in Costa Rica
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. Explore the Cloud Forests of Monteverde
  2. Visit the Tortuguero National Park
  3. Hike in the Corcovado National Park
  4. Experience the Arenal Volcano
  5. Discover the Marino Ballena National Marine Park
  6. Immerse in the Osa Peninsula
  7. Navigate the Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge
  8. Walk through the Piedras Blancas National Park
  9. Visit the Tenorio Volcano National Park
  10. Experience the Barra Honda National Park

There's a growing wave of travelers looking for sustainable ways to experience the beauty of our planet, and eco-tourism in Costa Rica is leading the pack. If you're one of these mindful adventurers, this list of ten sustainable ways to experience eco-tourism in Costa Rica promises to inspire your next journey. So, let's dive right into the heart of Costa Rica's eco-tourism scene, starting with the majestic Cloud Forests of Monteverde.

Explore the Cloud Forests of Monteverde

Imagine walking through a foggy wonderland, where every step reveals a new splash of green, and the air is alive with the chatter of exotic birds. That's what you can look forward to when you visit the Cloud Forests of Monteverde, a key player in eco-tourism in Costa Rica.

Here's what makes this spot so special:

  • Unique ecosystem: The Monteverde Cloud Forest is a rare type of forest characterized by persistent, low-level cloud cover. This creates a moist, cool environment that supports a diverse range of plants and animals.
  • Rich biodiversity: The forest is home to more than 2,500 plant species, 100 species of mammals, and 400 bird species. You might spot the Resplendent Quetzal, one of the world's most beautiful birds, during your visit.
  • Sustainable tourism practices: The forest is managed by the Tropical Science Center, a Costa Rican NGO committed to environmental education and sustainable tourism. Your visit contributes to the conservation of this unique habitat.

So, if you're all about immersing yourself in nature and supporting sustainable practices, a trip to the Cloud Forests of Monteverde is a must for your eco-tourism adventure in Costa Rica. Not only will you leave with awe-inspiring memories, but you'll also take comfort in knowing you've done your part in preserving this extraordinary ecosystem for future generations.

Visit the Tortuguero National Park

Next on our eco-tourism journey through Costa Rica, let's travel to the Tortuguero National Park. This park is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of waterways, rainforests, and beaches. What's more, it is one of the most important nesting sites for green sea turtles in the western hemisphere. Now, isn't that something?

Here's a quick snapshot of why Tortuguero National Park is a must-visit:

  • Animal encounters: Beyond sea turtles, the park is also home to various other creatures. You might spot sloths, monkeys and even the elusive jaguar if you're really lucky.
  • Water-based exploration: The park is crisscrossed by a network of canals, lagoons and rivers that you can explore by boat or canoe. This gives you a unique perspective on the local wildlife and scenery.
  • Supporting turtle conservation: By visiting during turtle nesting season and following the park's guidelines, you are contributing to turtle conservation efforts. The fee you pay to enter the park goes towards protecting these incredible creatures and their habitats.

With its rich biodiversity and unique waterways, the Tortuguero National Park is a must-see for anyone wanting to experience eco-tourism in Costa Rica. And just think, your visit could help protect a tiny turtle hatchling's journey to the sea. Now, that's travel with a purpose!

Hike in the Corcovado National Park

Alright, let's lace up those hiking boots — our next eco-tourism stop in Costa Rica is the Corcovado National Park. Nestled in the South Pacific region, this park is a paradise for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts alike. So, ready to hit the trail?

The Corcovado National Park is often referred to as the 'most biologically intense place on Earth' by National Geographic, and with good reason:

  • Flora and fauna: The park boasts an impressive array of biodiversity, with 500 tree species, 400 bird species, and over 100 mammal species. You might see scarlet macaws, tapirs, and even the rare Baird's tapir.
  • Hiking trails: The park offers various hiking trails that range from easy to challenging. Each trail offers unique views of the park's stunning landscapes, from lush rainforests to pristine beaches.
  • Guided tours: To protect the park's sensitive ecosystems, all visitors must be accompanied by a certified guide. This not only ensures the park's preservation but also enhances your experience with their expert knowledge.

So, if you're looking for an unforgettable eco-tourism experience in Costa Rica, don't overlook Corcovado National Park. Remember, every step you take on its trails is a step towards supporting the conservation of this extraordinary place. You're not just hiking, you're making a difference!

Experience the Arenal Volcano

Next on our eco-tourism list in Costa Rica is the Arenal Volcano. This isn't just an ordinary volcano. It’s one of the most active ones in the world! If you're someone who appreciates the raw power of nature, this is a must-visit spot.

Arenal Volcano isn't just famous for its fiery eruptions, but also for the eco-friendly activities it offers:

  • Hot Springs: The geothermal activity beneath Arenal creates natural hot springs. Imagine dipping in warm, mineral-rich waters while surrounded by the lush Costa Rican landscape. Sounds dreamy, right?
  • Arenal Volcano National Park: Home to the volcano, this national park is a biodiversity hotspot. Keep your eyes peeled for colourful frogs, coatis, and a variety of birds. Remember, you're in their home, so let's be respectful visitors.
  • La Fortuna Waterfall: Just a short drive from the volcano, this waterfall is a sight to behold. You can even take a swim in the pool beneath the falls. But remember, the water's chilly, so brace yourself!

Exploring Arenal Volcano gives you a unique perspective on the power of nature. So, are you ready for an eco-tourism adventure in Costa Rica that will literally make the earth move under your feet? Here's a tip: don't forget to pack your swimsuit and binoculars!

Discover the Marino Ballena National Marine Park

Taking the eco-tourism in Costa Rica under the sea, we land at Marino Ballena National Marine Park. I hope you're not afraid of getting your feet wet because this is where you get to dive into Costa Rica's aquatic life.

Marino Ballena National Marine Park is a marine conservation area, dedicated to protecting the rich biodiversity of Costa Rica's Pacific coast. Here's what you can look forward to:

  • Whale Watching: The park got its name, Marino Ballena, which translates to Marine Whale, from the humpback whales that migrate to its warm waters. If you're lucky, you might spot these gentle giants on their family vacation!
  • Snorkeling: Ready to meet some colorful locals? Don a mask and snorkel, and you'll be greeted by a rainbow of marine life. From playful dolphins to curious turtles, it's a vibrant underwater world out there.
  • The Whale's Tail: At low tide, a sandbar and two rocky reefs emerge, forming the shape of a whale's tail. It's a sight you won't forget, and an Instagram-worthy moment, if I may say so.

So, are you ready to ride the waves and discover the marine wonders of eco-tourism in Costa Rica? Just remember, while we enjoy these beautiful creatures and their habitats, it's our job to make sure we leave no trace behind.

Immerse in the Osa Peninsula

Let's take our eco-tourism in Costa Rica journey a bit further and explore the Osa Peninsula. This spot is a bit off the beaten path, but that's what makes it even more exciting, don't you think?

The Osa Peninsula is one of the most bio-diverse places on earth. In other words, it's a wildlife lover's dream come true. So, what can you expect to see on your adventure?

  • Jungle Trekking: The Osa Peninsula hosts Corcovado National Park, which is home to a vast array of wildlife. From tapirs to jaguars, and scarlet macaws to squirrel monkeys, you never know who you might bump into on your trek through the jungle.
  • Scuba Diving: For those who love the ocean as much as the forest, the Osa Peninsula offers some of the best scuba diving spots. Get ready to swim alongside sea turtles, dolphins, and a kaleidoscope of colorful fish.
  • Visiting Local Communities: Part of sustainable travel is supporting local communities. By visiting the indigenous communities in the Osa Peninsula, you can learn about their customs, traditions, and their connection to the land.

Immersing yourself in the Osa Peninsula gives you a chance to experience the heart of Costa Rica's eco-tourism. It's like stepping into a real-life nature documentary. Just don't forget to pack your bug spray!

Next up on our eco-tourism in Costa Rica adventure, we reach the Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge. This place is a haven for those who love water and wildlife. What's there to do in this refuge, you ask? Well, let's dive in.

  • Boat Tours: With its vast network of mangroves, boat tours are a popular activity in Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge. As you glide along the water, you can spot a variety of birds, monkeys, and even crocodiles!
  • Sea Turtle Spotting: The refuge is a nesting site for the endangered leatherback turtle. If you're lucky, you might get to see these majestic creatures lay their eggs or see the tiny hatchlings make their way to the sea.
  • Surfing and Swimming: Tamarindo is famous for its beaches. You can catch some waves, enjoy a swim, or simply relax on the sand and soak up the sun. Just remember to respect the environment and leave no trace behind.

Navigating the Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge is an unforgettable part of eco-tourism in Costa Rica. It's a place that truly embodies the spirit of harmony between humans and nature. So, are you ready to hop on a boat and start exploring?

Walk through the Piedras Blancas National Park

As we continue our exploration of eco-tourism in Costa Rica, we find ourselves at the doorstep of Piedras Blancas National Park. Nestling in the southern part of Costa Rica, this park is a lesser-known gem, but no less stunning. Ready to see what awaits you? Here we go.

  • Witness Diverse Wildlife: From howler monkeys to jaguars, the park is teeming with wildlife. Remember to keep your camera ready - you never know when you might spot a rare bird or a colorful butterfly.
  • Explore Waterfalls and Rivers: The park is home to several beautiful waterfalls and rivers. You can take a dip in the cool water, or just sit by the river and enjoy the serene beauty of nature.
  • Hike through Lush Rainforests: Put on your hiking shoes and venture into the rainforest. With its towering trees and beautiful flora, it's like stepping into another world.

Walking through Piedras Blancas National Park is like stepping into a nature documentary. It's a fantastic opportunity to see Costa Rica's diverse ecosystem up close. So, are you ready to lace up your hiking boots and set off on an adventure?

Visit the Tenorio Volcano National Park

Our eco-tourism journey in Costa Rica takes us next to the magnificent Tenorio Volcano National Park. Known for its awe-inspiring volcano and mesmerizing landscapes, this park offers a unique experience for all nature lovers. Are you ready to explore? Let's dive in.

  • Marvel at the Tenorio Volcano: This park gets its name from the imposing Tenorio Volcano. While you can't climb to its peak, you can still enjoy the breathtaking views it offers from different vantage points.
  • Be Amazed by the Celeste River: The Celeste River, with its unique turquoise color, is a sight to behold. The color comes from a chemical reaction between minerals in the water—a spectacle of nature at work.
  • Discover the Biodiversity: The park is home to a variety of animals, including tapirs, cougars, and numerous bird species. So keep your eyes open, and you might spot some of these incredible creatures.

Visiting Tenorio Volcano National Park is like stepping into a real-life fairy tale. With its stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife, it's a must-visit destination for anyone interested in eco-tourism in Costa Rica. So, are you ready to add this park to your Costa Rican adventure list?

Experience the Barra Honda National Park

As we continue our eco-tourism journey in Costa Rica, the Barra Honda National Park awaits us with its spectacular underground world. Known for its extensive cave systems and limestone caverns, this park offers a unique and adventurous experience. Ready for some spelunking? Let's get to it.

  • Explore the Barra Honda Caves: The park is famous for its caves, offering a different kind of adventure. Each cave has its unique formations, and some even have ancient indigenous drawings - a real treat for history buffs!
  • Enjoy the Hiking Trails: Barra Honda National Park isn't just about caves. It also has various hiking trails that offer stunning views of the Nicoya Peninsula. So tie up your hiking boots and enjoy nature's beauty.
  • Witness the Wildlife: The park is home to diverse wildlife. From howler monkeys to white-nosed coatis, you'll surely enjoy watching these creatures in their natural habitat.

Experiencing Barra Honda National Park is truly a unique and thrilling part of eco-tourism in Costa Rica. With its magnificent caves and diverse wildlife, it's sure to leave you with unforgettable memories. So, are you ready to take on the caves and trails of Barra Honda?

If you're passionate about eco-tourism and want to capture the breathtaking landscapes of Costa Rica, check out the workshop 'Find Your Way in Landscape Photography' by Sofia Podestá. This workshop will provide you with valuable insights on how to take stunning landscape photos, allowing you to document your sustainable adventures in a visually striking way.