What can I do to minimize my impact?
There is a lot you can do to be a responsible traveler. Here are some basic ideas:
-Purchase native trees through an organization to offset the carbon footprint made by your flight to Costa Rica. Depending on the species, it will take almost 20 years for a tree to grow to a significant CO2 consuming size!
-Bring along a reusable water bottle. Don’t purchase disposable water bottles as most plastic in the world never reaches recycling centers, and the energy to produce them as well as the years it takes for them to disintegrate are depressing. Most tap water in Costa Rica is great, and in the few places where it’s not, there will be clear signs warning you.
-Visit as many national parks as you can fit into your itinerary. Visiting nature reserves not only offers you a great chance to see wildlife at its best, but also foments the creation and protection of natural areas. When governments see the amount of visitors a protected area attracts, they are more motivated to protect and create more parks.
-Purchase local products, and purchase them directly from the producers if possible. That helps distribute wealth more evenly.
-Obviously don’t purchase anything made with wildlife, whether it be feather earrings or turtle-shell jewelry. There’s no excuse!
-Do not feed animals, as this disturbs their natural behavior and can eventually damage their digestive system, as well as their attitude towards humans.
-In a nutshell, as the saying goes: “leave only footprints, take only pictures”.