Sustainable Tourism

This is a listing of our Conservation and Charity Efforts for Green Travel

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We are proud to promote sustainable tourism to this beautiful country we call home. My Costa Rica strives to educate and inspire our guests to make their Vacations to Costa Rica sustainable and have a positive impact during their stay here. Travelers can choose a Carbon Neutral Vacation to Costa Rica. They do this by planting trees to offset the environmental impact of their flights down here.

Also, some guests bring donations for a local orphanage down in their luggage. This we receive at the airport through our Pack for a Purpose program. Others make donations to the national park system or adopt a sea turtle through the Corcovado Foundation. Above all, every little bit helps and your donations go a long way to making sure that Costa Rica stays beautiful. We also want this for future generations to enjoy.

Association Community Carbon Trees

Association Community Carbon Trees

Sea levels are rising. Temperatures are increasing. Seasons are changing. Polluted air fills our lungs. Water shortages. Flooding. Desertification. Sadly, this is our truth. We are the reason climate change is happening at this exact moment. Deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels lead to alterations in the atmospheric composition. CO2 and other greenhouse gases trap the heat, which we receive through the sun. This is where tropical trees play an important role as a natural carbon recycler, but with the continued destruction we find ourselves trapped in this unavoidable cycle. However, we have the power to change this situation for the better. As we help you plan your stay in Costa Rica, let us start with your vacation! Let’s promote sustainable tourism together. 

ACCT Tree Nursery

Association Community Carbon Trees

We would like to introduce you to true Tree Ambassadors! Association Community Carbon Trees (ACCT) is a community-based nonprofit organization located in Costa Rica operating since 2009. ACCT has initiated several programs to reduce the impact climate change has on our planet. Their mission is to grow biodiverse habitats, combat climate change and create resilient community economics. With them you are able to give back to the environment on an ecological and social level. But before we take a closer look at the solutions, we have to fully understand the whole problem first.

 

National Parks next to Palm Oil Plantations and Cattle Farms

Although 28% of Costa Rica’s landmass is protected in National Parks and land reserves, deforestation is still a massive issue. Each year an area about the size of Panama is destructed worldwide for non-forest uses such as cattle operations, mono-crop agriculture, real estate developments and population growth. Big contributors to that problem are pineapple farms, palm oil plantations, and unsustainable coffee farms. Unfortunately, it is more feasible for local farmers to grow these crops than to conserve the rainforest. And the effects are severe. Loss of biodiversity and the extinction of species are only a tiny part to the repercussions. With deforestation comes Climate Change. Together with forest fires, it is causing 25% of total carbon dioxide emissions. The leading consequences are global warming, melting ice caps, rising sea level and expanding ozone holes, to only name a few.

Give back and Plant a Tree

This is where ACCT steps in and offers you the chance to Give Back. Their most popular program is to plant a tree. Planting trees close to the equator helps efficiently to cool our planet down. We are generally talking about the area between 23 degrees South and North of the equator. Tropical trees sequestrate a great amount of CO2. Therefore, they help with air pollution control as they absorb and store carbon to then convert and release oxygen. But how exactly are rainforest trees cooling our planet? They are able to convert solar energy into water vapor. In other words, trees are producing reflective clouds, which act as a natural cover for the earth’s surface. And if you have ever had the chance to stand in a tropical forest you know how cooling and refreshing the tree cover is.

Ecological Benefits

Besides the cooling effect, trees deposit high amounts of biomass. Fallen leaves, branches and seeds benefit soil as a fertilizer. This allows healthy microbes and fungus to grow. Additionally, all this organic material is a protein source for wildlife and the trees offer shelter to various animals as well. To guarantee a balanced habitat the vegetation planted needs to vary. That is why ACCT plants at least 50 different species in each location. Overall they are planting 100 native tree species in the San Juan de Dios valley and the area near Chirripo National Park. Another interesting and beneficial factor is the regulation of the water cycle. Every single tree recycles over 200 gallons (760 liters) of rainwater each year. When water hits soil covered by rainforest trees, it will be absorbed into underground reservoirs steadily. Whereas water which hits hot uncovered tropical soil will just evaporate quickly. Again, the protective tree cover provides the surface with lower temperatures allowing the water to be absorbed properly. This process is called “Evo-transpiration” and prevents extreme drought and flooding.

ACCT Trees Planted Per Participating Family FarmSocial Benefits

After you got to know the main benefits tropical trees offer the environment now, it is time to have a look on the social aspects ACCT is improving with their “Plant a tree” program. To avoid farmers from destructing land and planting oil palms and other crops mentioned above, ACCT employs local Costa Ricans from the San Juan de Dios area in order for them to establish a secure income. During recent years the valley had suffered significant deforestation. Especially cattle farming was the leading cause of this event. Consequently, they built up a network of men and women, who are trained to become nursery caretakers, maintenance workers, and tree planters. They are educated in all steps to take care of the trees as each reforestation cycle covers a 25-year period. From transportation to planting and maintenance, they are supervising the trees for four years. As soon as they have outgrown the surrounding vegetation, they are passed over to the participating family. Until the tree reaches full maturity with an established carbon sequestration, the family ensures strong growth rates. These collaborations with the farmers are implemented to empower the local economy and community for the long run. It provides them with a home, food and a stable salary.

ACCT Tree StagesThe 25-year Cycle 

Every sponsored tree runs through several stages. It all starts with the seed collection from local intact rainforests or from existing reforestation projects. They are collected year-round and germinated in the Nursery afterward. In the next step, the seeds of which a few might have already begun to sprout are transplanted into small bags. This allows them to grow without disruption. While the seedlings develop slowly, the chosen land has to be prepared in terms of soil quality, grade of land and existing vegetation. These factors also determine which tree species can be planted in this specific location. In order for the young trees to grow without interruption from sharp vines or brushes, later on, the workers are cutting pathways or circles into the vegetation. When the trees are finally strong enough to be planted, they are transported by truck, trekking, mountain climbing or else to reach their final location. Every tropical tree is hand planted about five to eight meters apart. Throughout their first years, maintenance workers visiting the site up to three times per year to cut back surrounding vegetation. Again, this enables a proper growth until the saplings have overgrown neighboring plants. With 4 years of age, the tree developed strong roots and maintenance visits decreasing. Occasionally vines will be removed and the farmers receive a 21-year guidance plan. Finally, a diverse ecosystem is able to thrive again and through sustainable forest management locals have the chance to grow fruits and medicine, which will yield them up to $2,400 per acre instead of only about $60 per acre through cattle operations. That concludes the 25-year cycle, you are initiating by Donating to ACCT. Giving back to nature and local economies never were so easy!

Offset your Carbon Emissions

Furthermore, ACCT houses a Carbon-Offsetting Program. To understand this program fully, we need to start with the meaning of carbon footprints. The total amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activity is declared as a carbon footprint. Reducing your carbon footprint is crucial to prevent global warming from increasing. You might ask yourself now, how this is possible? Generally, there are four steps to reduce your carbon footprint or even become carbon neutral! First of all, you need to know how much greenhouse gases you are actually producing. There are several carbon footprint calculators on the Internet and even some apps exist to determine your individual footprint. Knowing your data then allows you to take action. Oftentimes it is the small things like turning off lights, buying local products or walking more, which add up and will make a difference. This step is all about reducing unnecessary carbon consumption and it is actually a lot of fun challenging yourself each day to improving your lifestyle. Hand in hand with reduction comes efficiency. Installing double-pane windows or even solar hot water heaters is an amazing way to go, however, it is a long, costly process. But do not forget that smaller actions like upgrading to LED light bulbs are equally important. That leads us to the last step: Offsetting your remaining carbon emissions. This happens by compensating them by using carbon credits. Offset one ton of carbon by planting one tree. Or better said, support ACCT with a $25 donation to contribute becoming a low-carbon economy.

ACCT $25 Running Costs Over 4 Years Per Tree

Become a Tree Ambassador Yourself

In a broader sense, there is only one value we truly need to survive. A place in which we are able to settle down, build up a life, work, eat and love. This value is our beautiful, blue planet we call Mother Earth. And as we only got this one place we take for granted every day, we should start now to give back a little. And as we are all caring a little more, we can make a great impact. In the end, humans need nature in order to thrive. Be a part of this positive movement. Reduce your carbon emissions. Become a tree ambassador! Plant a tree with us!

Costa Rica Tourism code of conduct logo

The Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct is an initiative set up to protect children from sexual exploitation in travel and tourism. There are an increasing sensitivity and awareness to social and ethical issues in the tourism industry. This is the fastest growing economic sector worldwide. The global problem of commercial sexual exploitation of children. While the Costa Rica Tourism industry isn’t responsible nor accused of encouraging this complex social problem. They were asked to contribute and react to it.  We as an agency, dedicate ourselves to promoting responsible and sustainable Costa Rica Tourism.


 We can make a difference!

Costa Rica Tourism code of conduct girl boyCosta Rica Tourism code-of-conduct-prison-boyThe Costa Rica Tourism industry, through working directly with clients and through the coordination of services such as accommodation, transportation and tours is a unique position to combat this unwanted phenomenon. And take responsibility to increase awareness of it. Also, to report any observation of the commercial exploitation of children in the countries where we promote tourism. Through the implementation of the Code of Conduct, professionals in the travel industry show their commitment to putting ethics and values above profits by actively striving to promote socially responsible tourism and protect our greatest resources – our children.


Background and Influential Organizations Behind the Code

code of conduct fundacioncode of conduct sad girlThe tourism industry takes measures against the sexual exploitation of children since the early 1990’s. World Tourism Organization (WTO) a leading international organization in the field. They were one of the first to manifest their opposition to the development of tourism where children are exploited in their “Tourism Bill of Rights and Tourism Code” back in 1995.  In Costa Rica, the Code of Conduct, an important project for the tourist industry. Supported by The Paniamor Foundation together with the Costa Rican Tour Operators Association (ACOT). The Costa Rican Professionals in Tourism Association (ACOPROT) and World Vision Costa Rica funded by Fundecooperación.


My Costa Rica signs & supports the Code of Conduct

code of conduct boycode of conduct prisonIn November of 2012, My Costa Rica formally re-confirmed its commitment towards promoting responsible and sustainable tourism. We signed The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children and Adolescents from Commercial Sexual Exploitation in Tourism. As an agency, we have the firm commitment to preventing sexual exploitation of children and young people in all the destinations within Costa Rica. As professionals in the tourism industry, we have adopted the position of zero tolerance. Also strived to educate all members of our staff and providers of the importance of this initiative.

Costa Rica Tourism pack for a purpose logo

Pack for a Purpose when Traveling to Costa Rica

When traveling to Costa Rica, you can impact the life of many. It is easy, as you just have to use the space left in your luggage to bring supplies that are needed here. This is an excellent opportunity to make a significant contribution to what is desired at the place you visit. This can show how much you like the experiences you have on your vacation in Costa Rica. It is the perfect possibility to give something back and say thanks for the great time you had in the country. It can already help a lot when you only bring supplies of two to three kilograms.

 

pack for a purpose happy childrenShow how much you appreciate your stay in beautiful Costa Rica

The idea of Pack for a Purpose is to help those travelers who like to say thanks to the country where they go for vacation by bringing supplies. There is a need in countries all around the world. Often tourists do not know what could help the people at the places where they go. This is where Pack for a Purpose helps as they publish the list of needed things. Travelers can bring exactly the right supplies to make a contribution.


pack for a purpose staffUse space in your luggage to bring needed supplies

The procedure is easy. Have a look at the list of the requirements in the project. Pack some of these things in your luggage and hand it over to a My Costa Rica staff member as soon as you arrive in Costa Rica. It is important that you only bring things listed. This is what is needed and will help a lot. We will make sure to bring that stuff to the project, and you do not have to worry anymore about the logistics but just enjoy your vacation.

However, if you like, you can also visit the project you are supporting and bring them your supplies yourself. We can arrange this for you at the beginning or end of your vacation. Before packing your luggage contact your airline to find out how much you are allowed to take. It is important to pack the items so that they are easy to find when you arrive in Costa Rica. Please click here to see what supplies are needed for our project: Pack for a Purpose


View our projects and materials list here, in our official website in Pack for a Purpose. Pack for a Purpose

Pack for a purpose Costa Rica Pack for a purpose Costa Rica Pack for a purpose Costa Rica Pack for a purpose Costa Rica pack for a purpose

Booking Your Vacation With Our Agency

pack for a purpose school donations

Costa Rica Tourism unwto code of ethics logo

UNWTO Code of Ethics

The Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (GCET) is a set of principles directed towards; central and local governments. Also, local communities, Costa Rica Tourism industry, visitors, both international and domestic. Their purpose is to guide stakeholders in tourism development. Included in the Code are stipulations about the corporate social responsibility of travel agencies to use tourism as a vehicle to benefit local communities. They do this without endangering or risking the well-being of communities, but instead to bolster the local economy and environment.

 

Costa Rica Tourism to Strengthen Human Rights

unwto code of ethics signingunwto code of ethics my costa ricaTaking into account the swift and continued growth, both past and foreseeable of the tourism industry. The Code draws a primary focus of consideration to issues concerning human rights, social inclusion, gender equality, accessibility. Also, the protection of groups that are vulnerable and host communities. In particular, there are ten articles in the code which include tourism’s: contribution to mutual understanding and respect between peoples and societies; tourism as a factor of sustainable development; and rights of the workers and entrepreneurs in the Costa Rica Tourism industry.


Supporting the local Economy

unwto code ethicsMy Costa Rica investigates every vendor or provider we endorse. We respect local vendors and artisans educated our clients on the practice of fair trade and respect the culture and traditions of the communities of our tour destinations. We also teach our clients about the importance of Eco- Friendly Travel. Also, protecting wildlife and their natural habitats, and encourage the purchasing products that are not made using endangered plants or animals.

Many of our nature vacation packages offer our travelers the opportunity to see Costa Rica’s conservation efforts and extensive national park system. Being an informed and respectful traveler includes proper education and practices by the tourism sector.


Making Costa Rica Tourism Great

unwto code of ethicsMy Costa Rica understands the importance of the WTO Codeof Ethics, voluntary in its implementation. We even educate our clients on how to be a responsible traveler. In signing this accord, we promise to promote and develop tourism while taking a stance to contribute to local and national economic development, international understanding, peace, prosperity and universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.

Costa Rica Tourism Climate Conscious Travelers Logo

Carbon Neutral Vacations to Costa Rica

Climate Conscious Travelers – Carbon Neutral Vacations to Costa Rica

Climate Conscious Travelers (Viajeros con Conciencia Climatica (VCC)). A program offered by the National Chamber of Ecotourism (CANAECO) in Costa Rica. This program also aims to offset the carbon emissions caused by international flights by tourists flying to Costa Rica. Also, nationals who travel abroad. Visitors do opt for carbon neutral vacations to Costa Rica to show their commitment to the environment and protect the country for future generations. My Costa Rica’s proud to Promote Sustainable Costa Rica Tourism and offer our guests a way to minimize the negative impact of travel here.

Costa Rica Tourism Reforestation Projects

The compensation’s carried out by the National Forestry Financing Fund. Called FONAFIFO (Fondo Nacional De Financimiento Forestal). They do reforestation projects in critical areas of the country to offset the carbon emissions and also make efforts to save and protect forests, especially the ones visited a lot by tourists such as the Manuel Antonio National Park and Arenal Volcano. The reforestation takes place with native species, which has a lot of positive impacts such as it prevents soil erosion, conserves resources, biodiversity and water sources and it ensures oxygenation of forests.

CANAECO

CANAECO the National Chamber of Ecotourism of Costa Rica founded in 2003. A non-profit organization bringing together legal entities as well as individuals related to ecotourism. They also advise their members and provide them with information, as CANAECO wants to strengthen the relationships within the sector. They aim to encourage sustainable tourism practices to help to protect the countries natural and cultural heritage. They are the representative body for the sustainable tourism sector and promote the development of ecotourism, as before 2004 there did not even exist a precise definition of ecotourism in Central America.


Climate Conscious Travelers WaterfallFONAFIFO

The National Fund for Forestry Financing, the main body of the forestry sector. Presently, they develop different initiatives to protect the environment, in particular, the forest plantation. With funds, they protect the countries forests also important water sources. They also support financially private landowners, who have forests, maintaining and protecting them instead of cutting them down. One important project is, of course, the reforestation to compensate the consumption of fuel on the trip to Costa Rica.

 

 

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