By Greg S. Kowalski
Sustainability Studies Student
Having seen some of the biodiversity of Costa Rica first hand I would just like to let everyone know just what a beautiful country it is. In my travels I was fortunate to visit three distinct forest types. They were: the cloud forest of Monteverde, the rain forests around Arenal, and the dry tropical forests in the Guanacaste region. So from this you can see just how biodiverse Costa Rica is, all three of these places are within a half days drive of one another. The climate stays between eighty and one hundred degrees Fahrenheit in the lower elevations, and the unique geography, which contains mountain ranges with a few active volcanoes, lowlands with diverse wetland areas. and even islands off the coast where Jurassic park was filmed. Much of this information can be found at ecoDestinations – Costa Rica. You will also find links there to more sustainable travel experiences available other than the three I mention above, there you will also see a reference to ¡Pura Vida!, which literally translates to “pure life” but is used widely throughout Costa Rica to exemplify a wonderful experience.
Costa Rica protects about twenty five percent of its land through national forests and preserves as well as in private ownership. Costa Rica accounts for only .03 percent of the world’s total surface, including oceans, but accounts for more than five hundred thousand species or about 4% of the world’s total. With this much at stake it is no wonder that the government and the people of Costa Rica are doing what they can to promote their diversity through any means possible, whether it be inviting the scientific and conservation communities in or just educating tourists and the public in general about all they have to offer. While we were there we saw nocturnal animals while on a night hike in Monteverde, where we also hiked and zip lined through the cloud forest for what was a truly amazing view of the beauty of this land. We also hiked to the base of the La Fortuna waterfall all the while observing diverse rainforest and also here we took a boat across Lake Arenal which provided astounding views of the Arenal volcano. We also visited the beaches of Samara where we took a two mile kayak trip out to an island in the Pacific ocean to snorkel and explore. These little trips made the plane ride and many bus rides well worth the while just to see this amazing country.