If you're like me, and are always looking for ways to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, you've probably realized that traveling can be difficult to do sustainably. Between fuel waste from planes or cars and having less plastic-free options, travel can often come with a lot of eco-guilt. And while there's no way to do it perfectly, I feel that the destination you choose can make a huge difference! This past winter, I visited Costa Rica twice, and was happy to see the efforts a lot of people and companies there are making to be better to the environment.
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A Little About Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a beautiful country located in Central America. The climate is tropical rainforest, and the country's official language is Spanish. Costa Rica is known for its beautiful national parks, wide range of outdoor activities and having over 500,000 different species of wildlife. In my experience, most people were very kind and helpful, and the fresh fruit was absolutely amazing!
Why is Costa Rica Sustainable?
Costa Rica's efforts to sustainability are quite impressive. As of right now, 99.2% of its energy is renewable and there are programs in place to tackle deforestation, promote sustainable tourism and encourage living a more organic lifestyle. While shopping in stores, I noticed that they did not offer plastic bags. Restaurants typically used reusable tableware and cutlery, and offered items like paper straws and cardboard boxes as disposable or take-away options.
While I visited Costa Rica, I spent most of both of my stays at Anamaya Resort in Montezuma. This area is a bit difficult to get to from either airport, and it's recommended to stay overnight near the airport and then travel to Montezuma the following day using a tour company. I personally recommend using Zuma Tours for getting to and from Montezuma.
And while it is a slight challenge to get out there, I loved my stay at Anamaya! This wellness resort is known for hosting yoga retreats, which is the reason I was there in December 2021 and March 2022. The rooms are absolutely gorgeous and designed using non-toxic materials and organic fabrics. As a vegan, I was a little worried about the food at the resort, but the staff was extremely accommodating, a lot of the food was already vegan and most of it was both organic and locally sourced. The kitchen even has a compost bin and a basket of fresh fruit available for you to snack on all day.
The town of Montezuma is located right on the beach. There is a local market with plenty of options. The market does not provide disposable shopping bags, so be sure to bring your reusable one! There are several souvenir shops and restaurants as well. A restaurant I visited frequently, that had plenty of vegan options, was Sano Banano. They have a cute outdoor garden area where you can sit and eat, just be aware that this may include some unwanted interactions with local wildlife.
Traveling To and From Costa Rica
I traveled to Costa Rica from New York City and flew from JFK (John F. Kennedy International Airport) into SJO (Juan Santamaría International Airport). After staying the night in Alajuela, I made my way to Montezuma the following morning. For the way back, I basically repeated the same process in reverse.
When traveling, always look into the country's latest covid restrictions. As of right now, Costa Rica requires you to fill out a "Health Pass" online before you are able to enter the country. And in order to re-enter the US, you have to take and provide proof of a negative covid test prior to boarding your flight. For any trip, it's important to stay safe, and one of the ways I do this is by purchasing travel insurance. I always use and recommend SafetyWing. They are super affordable and provide excellent service!
Enjoy Your Trip!
I hope the information I have provided above has been helpful and maybe even inspired you to make Costa Rica your next travel destination! While there's no such thing as completely sustainable travel, doing things like carbon offsetting and traveling to more eco-friendly are great steps in the right direction. And if you need some ideas for sustainable products to bring along during your travels, check out my list on Amazon.