Costa Rica — long a destination for climate-conscious travelers due to its abundance of eco-resorts, amazing wildlife, lush protected areas, and vibrant coastlines — is upping its environmental commitment.
Now that its borders are open to foreigners, Costa Rica wants you, the traveler, to help. The country is on a mission to become fully carbon-neutral, and part of that quest involves addressing the massive footprint of international travelers arriving in their country and moving within it.
As such, Costa Rica is making a simple ask of travelers — offset the carbon footprint of your trip. Through a new initiative dubbed the Pura Vida Pledge, travelers can calculate the total emissions of their travel and make a donation that will be put to work removing that carbon from the atmosphere. According to a press release from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute, “if only 10 percent of the tourist emissions calculated were offset (476,541), an annual benefit of $3,574,063 would be achieved. This could fund the planting of more than 1.5 million trees, or support agroforestry systems in some 34,500+ acres.”
The country was recognized by the United Nations as a Champion of the Earth in 2019 for its commitment to sustainability, and this pledge is the latest step in the country’s ongoing efforts.
The process of actually offsetting your travel is simple. First, identify how much you owe using the online calculator. Then, make an offset donation through the site intended to remove the carbon emissions from your trip through projects like tree planting and renewable energy development. The best part is that it doesn’t cost much to offset your travels. A round-trip flight from Denver, Colorado, to San Juan, Costa Rica, for example, produces 1.58 tons of CO2 according to the calculator. To offset this, you’d need to donate $11.85. Add in a few dollars for ground transport and power consumption at your lodging properties (unless they’re powered by renewables, of which half the country already is), and you’re looking at a total requested donation of about $15 for a one-week trip.