“Why is Costa Rica so clean?” I questioned the airport taxi driver as we drove on the main highway passing through the scenic mountain towns. The taxi driver’s response surprised me: “The police fines us if we are caught littering and we want the ‘gringos’ to continue to visit.” His response reflects the combined efforts of the Costa Rican government and its citizens to be environmentally conscious – it is what drives tourism and is essential to the conservation and beauty of the country.
Costa Rica has implemented initiatives and measures that promote the environment. According to the Environmental Performance Index Report, the tiny nation ranks 30th worldwide (and first in the region) in sustainable development. Sustainability remains at the forefront of the political and economic agenda. Earlier this year, the Costa Rican President announced the ambitious goal to abolish fossil fuels and ban the single-use of plastics by 2021.
Ecotourism is a form of sustainable travel that has grown in popularity among ethical travelers. Costa Rica’s ecotourism accommodates responsible travelers by providing a wide array of options like eco lodges, eco adventure tours, and wildlife educational programs, all of which have a low impact on the natural resources and communities. Environmental conservation has become such a high priority concerning tourism that the Certification of Sustainable Tourism (CST) was created to verify and endorse the reputation of local businesses that claim to be environmentally friendly. During my travels, I witnessed many businesses proudly display their CST certifications.
Costa Rica is a unique travel destination, because its environmental policies highlight their determination to create an environmentally sustainable country; thus, making it an attractive destination for the consciously driven travelers. Aside from being one of the greenest countries in the world, Costa Rica also ranks high as one of the happiest. I would argue the two are connected.
 2018 EPI Report
 Irfan, U. (2018, July 17). Costa Rica Has an Ambitious New Climate Policy. Vox. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/7/17/17568190/costa-rica-renewable-energy-fossil-fuels-transportation
 World Happiness Report 2018