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You're Invited: Ecotourism in Costa Rica

1/11/2011 6:30:27 PM

Tags: Costa Rica, Osa Peninsula, Peninsula de Osa, ecotourism, Costa Rican tourism, Finca Bella Vista, Finca Exotica, Rancho Margot, Finca Luna Nueva, Robyn Griggs Lawrence

       costa rica   

    For years I’ve watched with unconcealed envy as my friends, one by one and two by two, have journeyed to Costa Rica. Every one of them has returned with tales of vibrant rainforest, hidden waterfalls, cutting-edge organic agriculture and a thriving ecotourism industry. Next week I’m going to see for myself. 

    Ecotourism, a relatively new segment of the tourism industry, is defined as purposeful travel to appreciate natural areas’ culture and history without altering the ecosystem’s integrity. Costa Rica’s tourism industry—based largely on ecotourism—brings in about 1 million visitors per year and generates about $1 billion, making it the country’s second largest industry after silicon chip production. The Osa Peninsula, with its rich biodiversity, is a hub for ecotourism. On Friday, phototographer Barbara Bourne and I will travel down south to check it out. 

    We invite you to join us as we visit some of the best eco-lodges that Costa Rica has to offer. We’ll visit Finca Luna Nueva, where lodges are built using fallen timber from the certified organic biodynamic farm and the Sacred Seeds Sanctuary showcases a rare collection of more than 300 traditional medicinal plants and herbs, Rancho Margot, a 400-acre teaching community based on sustainable rural tourism and conservation with an organic working ranch, Finca Bella Vista, the world’s first planned, modern treehouse community (akin to the Ewok village in Return of the Jedi) and Finca Exotica, where we’ll have the opportunity to work on a thriving organic farm and explore the world-famous Corcovado National Park right next door. I think Finca Exotica owner Lana Wedmore sums up the spirit of the place when she explains why she built her farm and eco-resort. “I saw the importance of the Peninsula de Osa, and I wanted to be involved in the healing of our Great Mother Earth,” she says. “I began to understand the significance of ecology and that all living things are inter-related.” 

 Barbara and I hope you’ll join us as we learn more about the rainforest’s rich diversity, talk with some of the folks who are building their dream treehouses at Finca Bella Vista, hike to waterfalls and volcanoes and taste the local, organic food that’s so abundant on the Osa Peninsula. Starting Monday, we’ll post blogs and videos every day (as long as we have wi-fi access). 

 I’m already questioning whether I’ll return from this paradise. Can we entice you to start daydreaming about life on the peninsula as well? 

Photo above: Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula is home to pristine beaches and rainforest. Photo by Barbara Bourne 


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