Greg S. Kowalski
Sustainability Studies student
While on my ten day study abroad trip in Costa Rica I was able to visit three distinct forests, several cities, and even a beach. My trip was coordinated by the Office of International Studies at IUSB. What I observed was nothing short of amazing and the people I met along the way were truly passionate about their country as well.
The first place we stopped was the cloud forests of Monteverde. This unique forest system is being preserved through the efforts of the Costa Rican government as well as several private entities. The hotel we stayed at was built into the landscape in order to disturb as little as possible. They had recycling containers in the rooms as well as larger ones on the grounds. They also promoted sustainability by asking patrons to not put their towels or linens out to be washed everyday so that they could conserve water. The next stop on our trip was Arenal, so named for the Arenal volcano, where we got to see the tropical rain forests. The hotel here had the same practices as the previous one, which leads me to believe this is common in Costa Rica. One of the unique places we visited here were the Baldi hot springs with the water being used coming from the nearby volcano. While this was a large resort I felt that by utilizing the natural hot water for the springs it helped them to achieve some level of sustainability. Once we left Arenal we headed to Nicoya and the families we would stay with for the remaining week. Here we experienced the final of the three forests, a tropical dry forest.
I felt that many of the people of Nicoya practiced sustainability, maybe without even realizing it. While we were there we walked everywhere and while I did this I noticed in the evening that many of the houses were dark even though people were home. They didn’t have every light in the house on while they were home, only the room they were in, I also noticed while walking downtown that they didn’t have the big flashy signs that we are so used to seeing here. There is much to be learned from Costa Rica about sustainability, and there is also much that can be learned here as well. If you would like to know more about taking a trip to Costa Rica or just about sustainability in general you can contact the Center for a Sustainable Future at IUSB .