Responsible Travel

Costa Rica Sun Tours is a leading operator of nature and outdoor adventure tours, and it is our responsibility to establish sustainable practices in our office, our homes, and on tour with our guests to help protect our natural environments, promote sustainable travel, and set an example that others should emulate. 

We believe tourism should be educational, entertaining, and above all sustainable. We focus on a low-to-no environmental impact and strive to support the local communities that host us. All guides follow strict “green ethics.” Waste materials are packed out of the forest and collection of any kind of natural material is forbidden—even as a small souvenir. We work with businesses that share our environmental approach and beneficially involve local communities. We support programs throughout the country from planting trees toward the goal of carbon neutrality to protecting sea turtles. At the end of the day, each guest of ours will have made a positive impact just by being here with us, enjoying their vacation. 

Our company was among the first in Costa Rica to receive the Certificate of Sustainable Tourism designation, awarded by the Costa Rican Tourism Board. This award is given to companies who consistently achieve or exceed their standards of environmental sustainability, business ethics, and cultural sensitivity. We support conservation projects in Costa Rica ranging from rural development to sea turtle nest protection and community education. These efforts have been recognized with an Ecotourism Excellence Award from Conservation International. We are not content to end here and continue to reduce negative impacts on our environment and promote sustainable practices throughout all aspects of our business.

Guidelines for the Responsible Traveler

The following helpful reminders ensure you leave the lightest footprint and carry home the most meaningful memories. Use a licensed and trained guide—enjoy your experience knowing you are treading with utmost respect for wildlife and communities. We believe tourism should strengthen conservation efforts and enhance the natural integrity of places visited.

WILDLIFE 

  • Open your heart and mind—aim to leave with a greater understanding of and appreciation for the wildlife of Costa Rica
  • Wildlife viewing—understand guidelines and appropriate behaviors before you go, maintain a respectful distance when viewing and photographing wildlife—your guide’s spotting scope and the use of zoom lenses minimize wildlife disturbance
  • Do not pose for pictures with captive ‘wild animals’—these animals are often taken from the wild when young, mistreated, and killed when too large or difficult to handle
  • Don’t buy products made from endangered or wild animals and plants commerce in wildlife, wildlife products, or native plants is prohibited, and endangered plants and animals need our help to protect them!
  • Leave no trace—do not leave trash behind at natural areas—leave only footprints
  • Recycle—support reuse and recycle programs and dispose your garbage properly 
  • Too rare to wear—we are a proud member with Too Rare to Wear protection campaign for the conservation of the Hawksbill turtle. Hawksbill turtle or “Carey” (as it is locally known) is one of the species of sea turtles found in Costa Rican waters. It is considered a critically endangered species and in decline by the IUCN Red List and other conservation organizations. Because of its fragile status we want you to be aware that in Costa Rica you can find Hawksbill souvenirs such as jewelry, ornaments, and other decorative items in many of the local markets especially along both coastlines and in San José's capital city. To help you learn how to recognize Hawksbill Turtle items when shopping for souvenirs please see the links and photos below:

ENVIRONMENT

  • Open your heart and mind—aim to leave with a greater understanding of and appreciation for nature, conservation, and the environment
  • Use water sparingly—take short showers rather than baths, inform staff that you will reuse towels and bed linens rather than having them replaced—this will help conserve water
  • Turn down/off amenities when not in use—heating/air-conditioning, lights, television and so on
  • Charge your trip sustainably—utilize options that do not require batteries or bring rechargeable batteries for your essential travel items such as cameras, razors, and flashlights
  • Unplug before you leave—turn off lights and unplug household appliances while you are away
  • Travel light—pack only what you need, and don’t bring things that will become waste—by reducing the weight of luggage you can significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reusable water bottles—bring your own avoid buying bottled water
  • Offset your footprint—contribute to a credible carbon offsetting program to support conservation, renewable energy, and other energy saving projects

LOCAL COMMUNITIES

  • Be a positive influence on local communities
  • Be culturally sensitive
  • Open your heart and mind—aim to leave with a greater understanding and appreciation for the local culture and communities
  • Buy local—source local souvenirs, eat and drink at local cafes and restaurants—more meaningful for you and more beneficial for the community
  • Be sensitive with photography—ask permission first
  • Hablas Español?—learn a few words of the local language and use them when you can
  • Respect local culture and traditions—dress and act appropriately for the destination. Be respectful of local citizens’ privacy. Ask permission before entering homes or private land
  • Feedback—let your hotels and local operators know if you like what they are doing to operate responsibly. Make specific suggestions on what you would like to see changed
  • Speak up—we are part of the Paniamor program, in which we express our commitment not to participate in the abuse or sexual exploitation of children, and furthermore, we have the duty to report any such activity, weather it involves our guests or not