COSTA RICA TRAVELER TIPS

100% ECO-FRIENDLY

We at Manuel’s Tours are 100% eco-friendly and we take great care about the environment – our everyday office!

Manuel’s Tours is intent on introducing and sharing an eco-friendly message in each tour that we offer. We maintain a consistent presence in several community programs and environmental education activities.

As you visit the beautiful National Parks and shorelines of Costa Rica, it is important to remember some common-sense behaviors that are important to consider. By adhering to some simple best practices, it is possible to not only have the time of your life but to also respect the local culture and astounding wildlife around you. Here are 15 actions you can take yourself to become an eco-friendly traveler:

 

1. BRING A WATER BOTTLE

Thousands of plastic bottles are contaminating our National Parks, rivers, and oceans each year. So, don’t forget the BPA-free water bottle that you can refill as many times as you’d like. In fact, we’ll even be happy to refill your bottle for you!

2. DON’T WASTE POTABLE WATER

Be sure to rinse off quickly or take short showers when visiting National Parks as it could reduce water expenditure by up to 80%. The water in the National Park is safe to drink and is considered a valuable resource.

3. STICK TO THE TRAIL

When hiking, please stay on marked trails and maintain a safe distance from the wildlife you may encounter. A trek “off the beaten path” could result in the trampling of endangered plants or damage of an animal’s habitat. Following marked trails ensures you won’t harm our native fauna and flora.

4. DON’T FEED THE ANIMALS

Under no condition should a National Park visitor EVER feed the wildlife. This type of activity has a severe negative consequence to an animal’s natural behavior and instinct. Some animals, especially monkeys, can die from the bacteria transferred from your hand. It is imperative that the animals live a balanced lifestyle based on their natural environment.

5. BE PREPARED, BE AWARE

Before a trek into the wilderness; please be sure to plan accordingly. Research weather conditions, tide forecasts, terrain difficulty levels, and expected wildlife. The better your preparation, the more you will enjoy your time in nature!

6. KEEP ANIMALS STRESS FREE

There is never a reason to agitate an animal in its habitat. For the best educational sightings, maintain a safe distance and watch quietly. Most creatures don’t desire to be photographed and made famous.

7. SUPPORT LOCAL ARTISANS

If buying souvenirs or keepsakes, seek out domestic sources for quality items. Your local purchase preserves our culture and eliminates the market for foreign goods. Don’t buy anything made from endangered flora or fauna. Not only would that be inappropriate but could also be illegal.

8. PLASTIC BAGS ARE OLD NEWS

You want memories of your trip to last for years, but 500 years is too long! Plastic bags can take that long to biodegrade so please bring a re-useable shopping bag when shopping or carrying personal items. We have come a long way from the 20th century.

9. PROTECT THE OCEAN

When snorkeling, swimming, scuba diving, or surfing, don’t touch or step on the coral and try not to stir up sediment. The reef’s ecosystem below is just as fragile as the jungle’s ecosystem above and should likewise be respected.

10. ECO-FRIENDLY TOUR OPERATORS

Do some research before choosing a tour operator. Do they hire local guides? How do they give back to the community? What role do they play in the preservation of area resources? Will they provide you an educational  experience.

11. AVOID THE UNETHICAL

Don’t hire companies that promote questionable touring practices. Any promotion of hands-on encounters with wildlife, such as the opportunity to hold the various species, is a red flag. If you participate in such activity, you are supporting the abuse of animals, which frequently occurs around the world.

12. SNACKS AND GOODIES

There is no reason to bring the entire supermarket with you when venturing on a wildlife experience. By limiting the type of food you bring into the park, you also limit the opportunity for animals to reach into your bag and grab a fistful of snacks.

13. EAT LIKE A LOCAL

There are several restaurants and traditional sodas steps away from the National Park that serve a variety of local fare. Drink a locally brewed, high-quality beer for a unique taste. Experience the local flavor that abounds in Costa Rica. Let your taste buds be adventurous – it’s carbon friendly!

14. BE AT HOME

A hotel is your temporary home away from home and should be respected as so. Multiple usage of towels is greatly appreciated and positively impacts water use. Please be sure to turn off the TV, lights, and air conditioner when venturing out. And always treat the hotel staff with respect and courtesy.

15. BEACHCOMBERS BEWARE

It is prohibited to remove shells, sand, rocks, and coral reef from beaches or wildlife refuges inside Costa Rica National Parks. Our law even requires a permit for collecting sea shells on public beaches. Enjoy your time but keep the environment 100% natural and intact.

MODERN TECHNOLOGY, SOCIAL MEDIA, AND DRONES

Over the years the Costa Rica tourism industry has progressed in leaps and bounds. This rapid change comes with unique demands and increased responsibilities. Most recently we have experienced an influx of technology-enabled visitors that are intent on capturing perfect still images, dramatic moving pictures, and carefully angled shots. The results are then delivered via social media to audiences of awe inspired viewers who seemingly thrive on the unique imagery. But as with any advancement, consequences are not always considered.

The natural environment mustn’t suffer in our quest for perfection. To be a responsible and ethical eco-traveler, you should familiarize yourself with the many internal rules and governmental laws that directly impact your experience in the wild. Here are some simple steps you can take to ensure our environments safety when touring throughout Costa Rica.

1. Research zoning laws in relation to drone use.
2. Check for necessary equipment permits before venturing to special locations.
3. Consider an animal’s real-life experience before approaching too close.
4. Understand how bright lights and flashes could disturb a nighttime species.
5. Research your local area and educate yourself on best practices before your experience.

Manuel’s Tours is intent on introducing and sharing an eco-friendly message in each tour that we offer. We maintain a consistent presence in several community programs and environmental education activities. Please visit http://www.manuelstours.com/ for additional information so you and your family can become eco-aware and properly enjoy a well-guided tour of your choosing!

We encourage all visitors to explore freely and enjoy their time abroad in our country. Your collaboration with our efforts to maintain the existing natural environments are greatly appreciated. Preservation and conservation are of the highest priority, so generations to come may also enjoy the beauty of Costa Rica.

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