Tour Guide: Carb-Free Costa Rica

Beloved Traveler senior researcher Meg is in the midst of planning her honeymoon—she’s thinking warm, English- or Spanish-speaking (her fiancé is Salvadorian), and on a budget. She thought Costa Rica would be nice, but found that hotels were either super-luxe (and out of her budget), or very rustic. “I’d like to have hot water,” she confesses. “And I want to see the sloths in the trees, but not be in the trees with the sloths.” It is her honeymoon, after all.

So the Traveler research team was put to the test, and we think we might have found something that works. Travel company NatureVacations has created a 100% carbon-neutral Costa Rica vacation. That means every pound of carbon emissions their customers use on their seven-day/six-night journey is offset in some way. And travelers like Meg won’t have to worry about hot water—the accommodations are definitely eco-chic.

How exactly does this carbon-neutral vacation work? Upon arriving in San Jose, all vehicle transfers from the airport to Finca Rosa Blanca for the first night’s stay are carbon-neutral certified and use bio-diesel fuel. The next day, travelers are again transported by the same eco-friendly vehicles to Tobias Bolanos Airport where they will fly (on carbon-neutral airline NatureAir, pictured right) to Lapa Rios Ecolodge (above), located on 1,000 acres of private nature reserve. During the next five days at Lapa Rios, visitors will get to: plant a tree, take a sustainability tour of the lodge, learn about traditional Indian medicines of the rain forest, go on an environmental walking tours of the reserve, and eat organic, sustainable cuisine.

Of course, I couldn’t find any information on how the flight from the States to Costa Rica is offset… it looks like that is up to the traveler’s own prerogative.

For other eco-conscious tour operators, don’t miss our Tours of a Lifetime in the May/June issue of Traveler.

Photos: Lapa Rios Ecolodge (above) NatureVacations (above right)

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