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In response to the demand for more green tourism !!

In response to the demand for more green tourism, Costa Rica’s government authorities developed a Certificate of Sustainable Tourism (CST) that they hoped would root out the “green washers” (businesses that abuse the concept of eco- or sustainable tourism)

Costa Rica’s tourist board, ICT, awards Blue Flags to clean beach destinations and lists certified “green leaf” eco-friendly properties on their CST website (www.turismo- A hotel can receive a maximum of five green leaves after completing an extensive questionnaire. Unfortunately, their website’s arrangement is a little confusing. Select a list of hotels geographically and those with only one or two leaves are not distinguished from more ecologically sensitive properties with three or four. Only when you select a list by “green levels” does it distinguish the number of leaves.

A big flaw in the designation process, argues fellow author and environmental proponent, Beatrice Blake, is that the survey favors large businesses and fails to credit smaller, more environmentally conscious hotels and lodges with lower consumption per guest. This is also a common complaint by small hotels against the tourism board, known as ICT. Also, the survey does not give special consideration for those with private nature reserves. Many of the more rustic and ecologically friendly lodges don’t even make the list.

However, CST’s green leaf approval does help travelers choose hotels that are at least attempting to follow ecological practices, especially those located in urban areas. Let’s hope that, as the process is fine-tuned, the certification process will get better and even more hotels will respond to the demand for environmentally responsible practices.

Note from the Author: We note in our reviews the tours, lodges and hotels we think have a positive environmental awareness and leave out those we suspect of “green washing.”

Live, Retire, Relocate to Costa Rica Book by Christopher Howard

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