With a unique mixture of indigenous and Afro-Caribbean cultures, a more humid climate, and a relative lack of tourism-related infrastructure, Caribbean Costa Rica is worlds away from the country’s more visited Pacific coast. Several community-based tourism initiatives are fighting to preserve the region’s character.
Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:
"Largely undeveloped. Climate likely restricts tourism growth. Activities related to nature and ecology, especially deep-sea fishing and diving, are the main draw. In general, the area is culturally and socially intact."
"These communities have fought against marinas and oil exploration and for the preservation of their culture. That is why there is still some hope."
"It retains an authenticity lost in the locations where big hotel chains have become more and more visible."
"Pockets of growth, but much beauty remains."
From the November-December 2010 issue of National Geographic Traveler