Tourism in Costa Rica - Natural Attractions - Beaches - Ecotourism and Adventure Tourism
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Costa Rica Vacation and Travel Guide
Tourism in Costa Rica is one of the country's main economic and fastest growing sectors.
The main comparative advantage of Costa Rica is its National Parks and Protected Areas System, which covers about 25% of the national territory, the largest in the world in percentage, and which shelter a rich variety of flora and fauna, which is estimated to contain 5% of the world's biodiversity in less than 0.1% of the Earth's land mass.
In addition, Costa Rica has numerous beaches both in the Pacific Ocean and in the Caribbean Sea, with both coastlines separated by only a few hundred kilometers, and also tourists can safely visit several volcanoes located in National Parks.
At the beginning of the 1990s, Costa Rica came to be known as the main poster child of ecotourism, a period in which arrivals of foreign tourists reached an average annual growth of 14% between 1986 and 1994.
Tourism inCosta Rica
Ecotourism in Costa Rica
Ecotourism is extremely popular with international tourists who visit the extensive network of national parks and protected areas. Costa Rica was one of the pioneers in this type of tourism and the country is recognized internationally as one of the few that has true ecotourism destinations. In 2006, 54% of foreign visitors visited national parks or protected areas, with at least two parks visited, and in the case of European tourists the average climbs to three protected areas.
In recent years several of the country's top travel service providers have been recognized internationally for their commitment to the concept of positive tourism for the planet. Examples include local airline Nature Air and Hotel Punta Islita as winners of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, sponsored by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), and Lapa Rios Ecolodge as winner of the Sustainable Standard-Setter Award from the Rainforest Alliance.
Costa Rica's Biodiversity is one of the attractions for ecotourism. One notable species is the red-eyed green frog. Flag of the Ecological Blue Flag Program in Playa Langosta, at the entrance of the National Marine Park Las Baulas, Guanacaste.
Signal showing the certification programs in which the hotel participates or is associated. The four-star rating of the Blue Flag Ecological Program and three sheets of the Certification Program for Tourism Sustainability are shown.
The Arenal Volcano is one of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica, San Carlos, Alajuela.
Manuel Antonio National Park is a popular destination for its four beaches located within a natural environment, Quepos Puntarenas.
Rio Celeste (Blue River), located within the National Park Volcano Tenorio, is within the most popular destinations of domestic and foreign tourists.
Blue Flag Program
Implemented in 1996 and inspired by a similar program developed in Europe in 1985, the Blue Flag Ecological Program was created with the objective of promoting tourism development while at the same time limiting the negative impacts of this activity, through the organization of Community in order to avoid contamination and protect the health of visitors.
The program assesses the environmental quality of coastal areas in terms of beaches and sea water quality, access to and quality of drinking water, wastewater treatment and waste management, citizen safety and educational campaigns . After the first evaluation, ten beaches were awarded the distinction, and the award-winning sites usually do a lot of publicity among potential visitors. Until 2008, and based on the assessment made in 2007, beaches managed to maintain the distinction while eight beaches lost it, including some popular destinations such as Playa Tamarindo, Playa Ocotal and Playa Manzanillo. All the beaches that lost the distinction presented fecal contamination of its waters.
Voluntary Certification Program - Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (CST)
Developed in 1997 by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute, the public body responsible for the development and regulation of the tourism sector, the Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (known as CST) is a voluntary program introduced to convert "the concept of sustainability into Something real "through" improving the way natural and social resources are used, to motivate the active participation of local communities, and to support the competitiveness of businesses. " The program was oriented to all types of businesses in the tourism sector, but started only with the hosting providers. In 2007 the evaluation to obtain the CST considers a total of 108 parameters. As of June 2008, of 3,000 hotels and tour operators, only 94 have the Certification for Tourism Sustainability. Some travel operators in the United States and Europe promote small hotels that obtained this certification through the travel packages offered to their customers.
Ethical Destinations of the World
Costa Rica has been included in the "Top 10 Ethical Destinations of the World in Development" lists for both 2011 and 2012. This is an annual ranking produced by "Ethical Traveler" magazine, which is based on a study of Developing countries around the world to identify the best tourist destinations among this group of nations. The measurement uses categories such as environmental protection, social welfare and human rights.
Nudist Hotels in Costa Rica
At least five hotels in Costa Rica allow nudists. Nudism is forbidden on beaches, although it is known that in some places it is normal to find naked people from time to time.
Beaches and Adventure Tourism in Costa Rica
According to surveys conducted in 2006,30 the most popular destinations are natural areas, in a combination of ecotourism with rest and adventure activities: sun and beach (55%); Observe flora and fauna (44%); Visit volcanoes (43%); Trekking (41%); Bird watching (30%); Rides at the top of the canopy or "canopy" tours (26%); Bungee jumping from bridges (11%); Surfing (11%); Snorkeling (10%); And rafting (7%). Cultural activities such as visiting museums, art gallery and theaters correspond to 11%, and business travel correspond to 17%.
Seven Costa Rican resorts were included in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards 2012 list for the top 15 resorts in Central and South America. The resorts included in the ránquin are Xandari Resort and Spa, Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica on the Papagayo Peninsula, Punta Islita Hotel, El Silencio Lodge and Spa, Los Sueños Marriott Ocean and Golf Resort, Arenas del Mar) and it Westin Playa Conchal , Resort and Spa in Playa Conchal. The selection of the winners is based on surveys conducted by the magazine among its subscribers, who evaluate the quality of the rooms, service, food, location, design and activities. Two hotels were also chosen by the magazine among the top 5 in Central America, the Grano de Oro Hotel in San Jose and Hotel Villa Caletas in the Central Pacific, Puntarenas.
Most Popular Beaches in Costa Rica
- Manuel Antonio Beach in Manuel Antonio National Park, selected by Forbes magazine in 2011 among the list of the 12 most beautiful parks in the world.
- Cahuita beach in Cahuita National Park, Limón
- Playa Puerto Viejo, Talamanca, Limón
- Manzanillo Beach, Limon
- Gandoca Beach, Limón
- Playa Tamarindo, Guanacaste
- Playa Flamingo, Guanacaste
- Playa Conchal, Guanacaste
- Playa Jacó, Puntarenas
- Playa Herradura, Puntarenas
- Playa Montezuma, Puntarenas
- Playa Zancudo, Puntarenas
- Playa Santa Teresa, Puntarenas
- Malpais Beach, Puntarenas
- Playa Matapalo, Puntarenas
- Ostional Beach, Guanacaste
- Playa Negra, Guanacaste
Top Natural Attractions in Costa Rica
National Parks and Biological Reserves of Costa Rica
- Isla del Coco, in the Isla Cocos National Park, World Heritage declared by Unesco
- Conservation Area of Guanacaste, Patrimony of Humanity declared by Unesco
- La Amistad International Park, World Heritage declared by Unesco, Costa Rica-Panama border
- Chirripo National Park
- Corcovado National Park
- Tortuguero National Park
- Cahuita National Park
- Tapantí National Park
- Santa Rosa National Park
- Braulio Carrillo National Park
- La Selva Biological Station, Organization for Tropical Studies (Private Reserve)
- Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Monteverde, Puntarenas (Private Reserve)
- Volcanoes of Costa Rica
- Volcano Poas in the Poas Volcano National Park, Alajuela.
- Irazu Volcano in the Irazú Volcano National Park, Cartago.
- Arenal Volcano in the Arenal Volcano National Park, Alajuela.
- Turrialba Volcano, in the Turrialba Volcano National Park, Cartago.
- Rincón de la Vieja Volcano in the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park, Guanacaste.
Tourism in Costa Rica is one of the country's fastest growing economic sectors, and since 1995 it has been the main source of foreign exchange for its economy. Since 1999 tourism has generated more income for the country than the export of its traditional banana, pineapple and coffee crops together. The tourism boom began in 1987, with visitors increasing from 329,000 in 1988 to a million in 1999, reaching a record 2.34 million foreign tourists in 2012.
In the ranking of the Competitiveness Index in Travel and Tourism of 2011, Costa Rica reached the 44th place, ranking second among Latin American countries after Mexico. The competitive advantages for developing tourism ventures are in the area of human, cultural and natural resources, in which Costa Rica is classified in the 33rd place worldwide, and ranks in the sixth place when considering the natural resources factor in isolation. The 2011 TTCI report also points out that the main weaknesses of the Costa Rican tourism sector are its small number of sites of cultural interest (classified 104), the time necessary to open a commercial establishment (classified 125), the state of the transport infrastructure (111) and the poor quality of port infrastructure (132).
With an annual income of US $ 2,156 million in 2011, the tourism industry in Costa Rica received 30% of tourism revenues in Central America, and stands out as the most visited destination in the isthmus, with a total of 2.2 million Foreign tourists who visited the country in 2011, followed by Panama with almost 1.5 million and Guatemala with 1.2 million visitors. In 2012 the country reached the historical record of visitors with 2.34 million tourists, of whom 864,340 came from the United States. With around 500 visitors per thousand inhabitants, Costa Rica has one of the highest per capita tourists in the Caribbean Basin.
Most foreign visitors come from the United States (39%) and Canada (7%), and from European Union countries (16%), allowing you to receive on average approximately US $ 1000 per visitor, per visit Among the highest in Latin America. In 2005, tourism accounted for 8.1% of the country's GDP, representing 13.3% of direct and indirect jobs. Since the early 2000s, tourism has generated more foreign exchange income than the export of bananas and coffee together.
Health tourism is emerging as a great opportunity for Costa Rica, and on November 26, 2012, the Government of Costa Rica declares, through executive decree, health and welfare tourism as a public interest.
Discover Costa Rica
If you are planning to travel to Costa Rica, whether for business or tourism, in addition to the passport and visa, we recommend you to check the following information: International Airports, Airport security rules, Type of luggage allowed and weight limits, Most visited cities, Driving in Costa Rica, Electricity, Time Stripes, Business Hours, National Holidays, Weights and Measures, Commercial Practices and Etiquette Rules.
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Costa Rica International Airports
In Costa Rica there are two international airports:
The Juan Santamaría International Airport (IATA Code: SJO - ICAO) is the main airport in Costa Rica. It is located in the City of Alajuela, 18 km from the city of San José within the Central Valley in the northern region. The airport serves airlines that fly to Central America, North America, South America and Europe. It receives flights from the main points of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, some points of South America and Europe.
Daniel Oduber International Airport (IATA Code: LIR, code ICAO: MRLB), also known as Liberia International Airport, is located in the northwest part of the province of Guanacaste, 13 km away. West of the city of Liberia and 15 km from the tourist beaches in Costa Rica, provides easy access to destinations in the northwestern area of Guanacaste.
If you are planning to travel to Costa Rica, whether for business or tourism, in addition to the passport and visa, we recommend you to check the following information: International Airports - Airport security rules - Type of baggage allowances and weight limits - Most visited cities - Driving in Costa Rica - Electricity - Time Stripes - Business Hours - National Holidays - Weights and Measures - Label Rules and Commercial Practices
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