With its majestic forests, breathtaking natural waterfalls and unspoiled nature, Costa Rica has become a mecca for environmental tourism. Home to 7% of the world’s biodiversity and designated a “Champion of the Earth” by the UN in 2019, it has achieved the feat of doubling its forest area in just 30 years. But not everything is this tropical paradise is green.
It’s the opposite of mass tourism. A quarter of the country has been designated a national park and only 1% of those are open to visitors. Those that are can only be accessed for a few hours a day. ‘Nature is is our green gold’, explains tour guide Sonore Willis. ‘We have to conserve and protect it’. Costa Rica was one of the first countries to understand that ecology can pay off big. As well as reforestation, it has invested heavily in the development of renewable energies. The country produces all of its electricity from wind or solar power.
But the country’s economy is also dependent on intensive agriculture and it uses a record rate of pesticides per cultivated hectare. This has serious health consequences for the workers who work there. Another problem is the poaching of baby turtles. A special police force has been created to fight this new form of crime.
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