Costa Rican Trails wants you to be an active member of our environmental policies and programs to protect our environment. For us, it is very important to minimize your impact while in our country. Here are some tips and information that you should try and remember. We acknowledge that some of this advice may be more difficult to take on board while traveling, than it would be to incorporate them into your daily lives at home. However, if you only put into practice some of our suggestions, in our country and at home, it will certainly contribute to reducing our impact on the planet. You can be a responsible traveler while you are on vacation, so Costa Rican Trails gives you the opportunity to participate and have a positive impact on the places you visit. All these environmental tips will help you to explore the city, visit our National Parks, have adventure, hike into the rainforest or simple enjoy your vacation in luxury, and at the same time you will be contributing to the well being of communities and to the conservation of our planet.
Our Mission: To provide our clientele with unique, nature oriented and ecologically responsible travel programs that will bring together the best components of Costa Rica. Since you are a Responsible Traveler, do not forget to:
Plan: Responsible Travel starts with planning. Before your trip, research the web, consult guidebooks, make contact with the tour operator or simply ask questions to obtain as much data to making informed choices before your trip.
Be a responsible consumer: By looking for information about responsible travel, sustainable tourism or ecotourism, and knowing more about the destination’s social, political and environmental issues you can get to know more how to be a responsible consumer. Consult our website and learn more about our commitments and best sustainable practices.
While on Tour:
RESPECT the local environment and the local culture and traditions.
PROTECT our nature and the natural treasures.
PRESERVE local resources
How to do this? , follow these suggestions:
1. Use plastic bottles which can be recycled. Some plastic bottles are not recyclable. Try to use glass bottles (returnable) for sodas etc. Aluminum cans are the next best option as they are at least recyclable.
2. To avoid buying more disposable bottles, carry a water bottle and always check if there is somewhere to fill it up at your hotel/ restaurant
3. If you have to buy bottles, buy the biggest you can and just refill from there, especially if you plan to stay in the same place for a while.
4. Consider purifying your own water to avoid creating garbage.
5. Try to avoid excessive wrapping and plastic bags which are all to readily dished out for each small purchase.
6. Try not to waste water when you are not using it, e.g. do no leave the faucet open while you brush your teeth.
7. If you shop in a local market take your own bag or have them place everything in one large plastic bag instead of numerous small ones.
8. You can also reduce the amount of garbage you produce as a result of traveling by using a digital camera instead of using film (the process of developing film can produce a lot of waste unwanted photos are non recyclable and often end up in the trash).
9. Use a re usable containers for your soap so that you can use your own soap and avoid half using the small hotel soaps which come individually wrapped (if you use hotel soap, use one and take the remainder with you! It will just be thrown out).
10. Try to use biodegradable soaps and organic sun block or bug repellent.
11. Avoid using excessive cosmetic products e.g. hairspray, mousse, aftershave, perfume and if you must use them, try and find effective environmentally friendly alternatives e.g biodegradable shampoos, crystal deodorants which last longer etc (most containers for these products are non recyclable).
12. Avoid using disposable products e.g. plastic razors, single use contact lenses.
13. Try to use re chargeable batteries or eliminate use of batteries entirely e.g. use a wind up or solar torch or radio.
14. Where available use recycled paper for letters home, trip diaries, toilet paper, etc.
15. Please remember to recycle whatever you can while you are traveling. Some products that can not be recycled in the host country can be recycled in your home countries, so please take them home when possible.
How to save Electricity:
16. If your hotel has a policy to minimize laundering or towels and sheets, support it by using them several times.
17. Always remember to turn off lights and air conditioning whenever you leave your hotel room.
18. Lights, fans, TVs, radios, computers - if you are not using it - turn them off!
Food and health:
1. Never eat foods that you know are from endangered or threatened species (research these before you come to the country).
2. Try to buy and eat locally grown and locally processed foods wherever possible, rather than food products shipped from long distances, which use more energy (fossil fuels for transport and generally more packaging).
3. When possible, consider using alternative natural medical products for common travelers illnesses. Avoid leaving behind pharmaceuticals in the local water and soil (this is becoming a detectable problem in first world countries, thought to affect aquatic organisms like fish and frogs).
When you get in touch with Nature:
1. Never buy authentic archeological artifacts or souvenirs made from materials such as turtle shells, coral or from endangered plants or animals.
2. Avoid buying souvenirs that are made with endangered species or species that have to be killed to be made into a craft, support crafts made from renewable resources.
3. Do not collect insects, flora and fauna without permission. Leave them for everyone to enjoy.
4. When walking, stay on the trails and close gates behind you. It helps to lessen your impact on the forest. Remain very quiet on the trail.
5. Try to pack snacks that don’t have individual wrappers, or pack your lunch in a reusable box.
6. Hire a local naturalist guide when you do not travel in a group, guides can provide a deeper interpretation of the natural areas you visit.
7. Avoid feeding, harassing or touching wild animals at all times.
8. Avoid wearing perfume or any other strong scents.
9. Do not move whenever you are observing animals of plants in the wild.
When Camping and the proper use of Water:
1. Use toilets where they exist, if not bury human waste in a hole 20cms deep. Human waste should be buried at least 50 m from water sources.
2. Try to use biodegradable soaps or detergents.
3. Do not wash shampoo or detergents off directly in rivers or the ocean, but as far away as you can (4 m minimum).
4. Avoid making fires.
5. Use a T-shirt when snorkeling or at the beach, since sunscreen or sun tan lotions are harmful to the marine life.
Use of Transportation:
1. For short distances use public rather than private transportation, where possible to reduce fossil fuel use.
2. If possible, walk or use a bicycle. It not only helps the planet, but it keeps you in shape as well!
When Traveling with children and babies:
1. When visiting the country, try and teach your child about the local environmental issues. Point out good and bad practices.
2. Encourage your child to snack on fruit rather than sweets, explain that fruit has a biodegradable wrapper!
3. If traveling with a baby, try to use cotton diapers. If cotton nappies are simply not an option, you can always use biodegradable diapers.
Do not forget also to:
1. Respect cultural differences in language and dress. Always ask for permission before taking someone’s picture.
2. Try local brands for food and drink, this helps local communities.
3. Buy hand crafted goods and souvenirs produced by local artisans.
After your Trip:
Think of how all these environmental suggestions have benefited you and our country, just by taking some easy steps. Apply them at home and consider to participate or contribute in this important effort to protect the Earth.
Try to always apply these tips, learn more about the Best Practices for the environment. Sustainable tourism is the key to protecting the livelihoods and natural resources of local communities with limited economic resources, whose culture and traditions are also in danger of being lost. Be a part of it.
Local environmental issues:
Find out what are the important environmental issues in the country. Good environmental practices (e.g. reduce, reuse, recycle!) are often the same in different countries. Talk about these issues with people you meet.
Think about where you are eating and staying, and support the more environmentally friendly businesses. If you stay in an Ecolodge, talk to the owners / managers, ask how do they manage their garbage, do they recycle, do they use treatment plants to reuse their water? , Do they practice or contribute to conservation, do they support the local communities in any way? These questions can also be asked at any hotel you visit.
Many countries have interesting volunteer opportunities with environmentally-oriented organizations. If you have time and interest, support these efforts by volunteering.
Costa Rica Sustainable Tourism
Costa Rican Trails participates in Sustainable Tourism Policies and follows environmental guidelines and programs to protect our environment. Please see these environmental tips for travellers.
Don’t leave your possessions unattended whenever you are in a public area (hotel lobby, transport, airports, restaurants, national parks etc.).
Use the safe deposit box of your hotel for your valuables.
Ask for information at the front desk of your hotel about the safest routes and means of transportation, especially during night time.
Exchange money currency only at banks and approved exchange offices. Bank transactions require a passport (not copy).
Use ATMs that are located in public, well illuminated areas. Don’t allow strangers to stand near you and avoid taking unsolicited help. Count your money and put it away prior leaving the ATM.
If you are traveling far from your hotel, take your passport. If you are only traveling a short distance from the hotel, it is recommended to bring along a copy the page in your passport with personal information and the page of your last stamp. Keep the original in a safe provided by the hotel.