Costa Rica: The World’s First Carbon Neutral Country
Monday, December 9th, 2019
Visitors fall in love with Costa Rica for many reasons. President, and former journalist, Carlos Alvarado gave concerned nature lovers one more — an ambitious plan to make the entire country carbon-neutral by 2021. These days the nation stands out as a biodiversity and climate action leader. There is no better place in the world than Costa Rica to tour, learn and appreciate what these important paradigm shifts look like firsthand. In this article we’ll provide some related insider tips and help you to start traveling a lot more climate friendly.
President Alvarez signed off on the plan on February 24, 2019, and followed it up the next day by extending the country’s 17-year moratorium on oil exploration to 2050. This is in addition to their highly progressive biodiversity and single-use plastic reduction policies.
Costa Rica has a vested interest in setting an example to the world on ecological action. Climate models predict an uncertain future for Central America. Predictions include intense storms, drought, flooding, rising sea levels, and loss of coastline.
The country already runs circles around other countries’ carbon footprint reduction efforts. To illustrate, Costa Rican per capita emissions are one-fifteenth those of the United States.
Ticos, or Costa Rican natives, have committed to doing even more for their land and the planet. The plan includes a roadmap to a zero-emissions future for the country, with several interim milestones:
- An all-renewable power grid by 2030.
- A zero-emissions transportation system by 2025.
- A “just transition,” including transition assistance for Ticos currently employed in fossil fuel industries.
Yet, these goals will not be easy to achieve since transportation accounts for 60% of Costa Rica’s emissions. The plan does not include a ban on fossil fuels. It does not even call for the country to become 100% emissions-free —the plan offsets emissions with the vast carbon reserve in Costa Rica’s lush jungles and forests.
Costa Rica’s bold goal to become the world’s first carbon-neutral country is an example that other countries will emulate. Here are some eco-tourism opportunities travel junkies can use to vote with their pocketbooks for Costa Rica’s green future:
Visit an Organic Farm
Many eco-lodges have on-site organic farms to which visitors can contribute volunteer labor. Corsa Lecheria is an organic farm among the cloud forests, 50 minutes’ drive from San Jose. You can explore strawberry fields, ride on tractors, milk cows, taste farm-to-table cheeses, and help with the organic harvest.
Visit a Carbon-Free Spa
Many of Costa Rica’s spas do not even rely on the grid. The spa at Tabacón Thermal Resorts in San Carlos draws its heat from the limitless geothermal energy produced by the magma and lava inside nearby Volcán Arenal. Andaz Papagayo Resort hosts the Onda Spa, a carbon-neutral spa featuring nine spa rooms secluded amid the forest canopy.
Stay at an Eco-Friendly Resort
Regardless of your budget or the level of luxury you seek, you can find a resort that shares your commitment to the environment. The Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Resort in Heredia offers guests a lush setting to explore the farming and production of a signature Tico agricultural product—its delicious coffee. Lapa Rios Eco Resort, in Puerto Jimenez on the Osa Peninsula, offers a romantic setting worthy of any honeymoon. The eco-lodge helps to preserve more than 1,000 acres of primary and secondary rainforest, and assists in the development of the local community.
Carbon Neutral Travel
A big part of sustainable travel is carbon neutral travel. Scientists tell us that with climate change humanity must reduce its carbon footprint; however, that doesn’t mean we can’t still travel smart and consciously. Air travel is one of the greatest sources of personal carbon emissions so it’s important that we be able to offset those flights. That can be done a variety of ways, some of them surprisingly affordable.
Did you know that an economy round trip flight between New York City and London, UK emits 1.67 metric tons of CO2?! That one flight is nearly 10% of the average US citizen’s average annual per capita emissions of 16.24 tons in 2017. It is nearly equal to Costa Rica’s 1.77 tons annual per capita CO2 equivalent emissions.
For concerned and capable travelers, there are increasingly abundant, affordable, and trustworthy options available to voluntarily offset your travel party’s emissions. It’s great to offset as much of that carbon as possible so you can feel at ease and better connect with the beautiful places and people you travelled so far to meet.
There are a variety of online tools to help you calculate and estimate your travel carbon footprint. For starters, specifically offsetting air travel is a straightforward and effective way to neutralize your most significant source of travel-related carbon emissions. Offset and become one with the wonder and essence of journey.
Let us help you travel carbon neutral!
Beginning with the release of this article Central America Journeys is proud to introduce carbon offsets into our travel package quotes. Our updated travel enquiry form allows you to have carbon offsets added and itemized with your quote.
We’ll do the legwork and set you up with the offsets either with your air carrier or with one of our trusted partners at goldstandard.org, carbonfootprint.com, or cooleffect.org. All of our offset partners work with the highest integrity certified carbon offsetting projects worldwide.
Offsets go to a changing landscape of amazing projects such as planting biodiverse forests in Panama, providing cleaner cooking stoves in Rwanda, and carbon neutral water purification in Cambodia. What is great is that your offsets often go to help people in need. Now what could be better than that thought as you relax on the beach?
Are you ready to discover the wonder of Costa Rica while also doing your part? Let us help you craft an itinerary that encompasses your interests, passions, and quenches your wanderlust. Tell us what most intrigues you or let us make a recommendation and design an unforgettable travel experience. We are here to take the stress out of travel planning and ensure that your time abroad is spent fully enjoying your vacation, worry-free.
If your wanderlust is calling, why not start by filling in our travel enquiry form or give us a call at (877)509-6033. We take the stress out of planning and deliver highly personalized travel packages and concierge service for individuals, families, and groups.