For Costa Rica, sustainability, relaxation and responsibility are the primary focus.
Costa Rica Adventure
In the heart of the American continent lies a country whose density and greenery have become synonymous with biodiversity and conservation. Costa Rica is a land of towering mountains, volcanoes, forests, pristine beaches and unique ecology. Combined with the warmth of the Ticos, Costa Rica is a formidable leader in ecotourism and sustainable development.
The country accounts for less than 1 percent of the planet’s surface — 31,752 square miles — yet it’s home to 5 percent of the world’s biodiversity and 3.5 percent of the world’s marine life, making it one of the most biologically rich countries in the world. Costa Rica is home to thousands of native species. More than 500,000 species of flora and fauna can be found in Costa Rica, including approximately 900 bird species, plus hundreds of orchids, frogs and bats.
These natural treasures are worth protecting. To that end, Costa Rica designated 26 percent of natural lands as protected area, including the safeguarding of national parks, biological reserves, wildlife refuges, national monuments, wetlands and more. These actions reflect the commitment of Costa Ricans to preserving their natural heritage and have earned Costa Rica its worldwide fame as a sustainable destination.
Costa Rica is paving the way for new travel ethos too. Key examples include the Wellness Pura Vida campaign, Blue Zones and the latest steps in their Certificate of Sustainable Tourism program.
Wellness Pura Vida
Around the world, wellness travel is a growing trend, but in Costa Rica, it’s the norm. Currently, wellness therapies are sought by medical travelers as a preventive measure against stress. The World Health Organization considers stress a global epidemic, and the World Economic Forum believes it’s one of the costliest chronic diseases in medical care.
The Costa Rican lifestyle provides the ideal sanctuary, fostered by a way of life founded on the ideas of community, health and wellness. The concept of “Wellness Pura Vida” is the Costa Rican way to overall prosperity. It is the integration of a balanced state of health that includes physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
In Costa Rica, visitors can enjoy advanced techniques of relaxation and personal care, activities in a natural environment, and nourishing gastronomy. As such, Costa Rica is the perfect escape from stressful deadlines and office clutter to a renewed mind, body and soul.
Costa Rica Blue Zones
What are the Blue Zones?
One prime example of Wellness Pura Vida in Costa Rica is the Blue Zone, located on its Nicoya Peninsula. A Blue Zone is a concentration of some of the world’s longest-lived people, helped by good physical and mental health, a tradition of nutritious eating, solid faith and spirituality, a great deal of support from family, physical activity reflected in constant mobility, and having a reason for living. This concept emerged from a series of demographic and statistical works by Gianni Pes and Michael Poulain, but it became internationally known as a result of the investigative journalism of Dan Buettner, alongside a National Geographic team, and the subsequent publication of his book, The Blue Zones.
According to studies done by Costa Rican demographer Dr. Luis Rosero, of the University of Costa Rica, the concentration of inhabitants older than 90 with a healthy lifespan on the Nicoya Peninsula is unique in the world. The mortality rate of that population is 10 percent lower when compared to other inhabitants of similar age in the rest of the country.
According to recent data, the nonagenarian population consists of 865 inhabitants, which means that Nicoya will be painted blue for a long time. The number of persons over 100 years of age currently stands at 43. The life expectancy in the Nicoya Peninsula exceeds Costa Rica’s national average of 77.25 years for men and 81.9 years for women, according to Health Ministry data. It also has a population of over 5,000 inhabitants older than 75.
Other Blue Zones include Icaria in Greece, Sardinia in Italy, Okinawa in Japan and Loma Linda, California, in the United States. The Nicoya Peninsula is the only Blue Zone in Ibero-America and the largest in the world.
Costa Rica Sustainability
Certificate of Sustainable Tourism 2.0
Costa Rica has become a favorite destination for responsible travelers, lovers of sustainable tourism. The country offers authentic tourism products that allow tourists to engage in enriching experiences. This has been achieved thanks to a tourism development model driven by Costa Rica, which is built around social, economic and natural conservation. Through this model of sustainability, the country promotes sustainable use of natural and human resources and equitable distribution of benefits — to ensure that tourism growth, reflected in the increase in tourists, achieves the country’s ultimate goal of furthering human development.
More than 20 years ago, the country decided to position sustainability as a differentiator within the tourism sector and as a development model, through the Certification for Sustainable Tourism, known as CST.
Costa Rica has been a pioneer in the world, recognizing companies that are truly committed to sustainable tourism development. The impact of the Certification for Sustainable Tourism has been such that the World Tourism Organization named it an exemplary program that has succeeded in changing the form of tourism. In 2018, Costa Rica’s Tourism Board introduced CST 2.0 as an innovative, competitive, efficient, updated tool. The tool integrates the sustainable development goals of the United Nations and the global criteria of sustainable tourism.
With the use of CST 2.0, companies now have a distinctive element that provides competitive benefits and improves management by assessing aspects like corporate social responsibility. The process of certification of sustainable tourism companies is now reduced from one year to a few months. CST 2.0 was nominated for the Tourism Innovation Awards at the World Tourism Organization in January 2018.