5 Interesting Tours Helping Locals & Wildlife In Costa Rica

By Sky Fisher

Costa Rica is a destination known for its wildlife and nature, home to 5% of the world’s biodiversity. There are  many opportunities for ecotourism in Costa Rica or to take part in local traditions, though it’s important to ensure these experiences are benefitting the local community. These five interesting activities support either the local environment or community while allowing visitors to experience all that Costa Rica has to offer.

One of the many residents of the Jaguar Rescue Foundation

One of the many residents of the Jaguar Rescue Foundation

1. See Local Wildlife At The Jaguar Rescue Foundation (Puerto Viejo) 

Price: $18 per person for a 1.5-2.5-hour tour.

Just steps away from the infamous party culture of Puerto Viejo, the Jaguar Rescue Foundation offers daily group and private tours providing visitors a glimpse of Costa Rica’s diverse wildlife. Contrary to the name, the Jaguar Rescue Foundation is not (currently) home to any jaguars, but instead houses monkeys, toucans and deer. All of these animals have been rescued with the ultimate goal of being released back into the wild. Moreover, proceeds from the tour go directly to helping the foundation rehabilitate and release as many animals as possible.

What are your favorite ethical #tours in #CostaRica? Here are ours! #travelgood Click To Tweet

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2. Assist With Sea Turtle Research (La Palma)

Price: $100 per person for a six-hour tour

Latin America Sea Turtles (LAST) is a unique organization of 40 nations dedicated to protecting sea life — particularly sea turtles — from extinction. Their Costa Rica research station is located just outside of La Palma on Playa Blanca. It’s from this beach that they allow travelers to join them at sea where they look for the precious sea turtles. If one is caught, it’s given a health check-up and released back into the wild. Guests are allowed to participate in both the capture and release as they learn the importance of protecting the species.

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3. Savor Chocolate In The Reserva Biológica Tirimbina (Sarapiquí)

Price: $30 per person for a 2.5-hour tour

Chocolate was one of the most important products for the Mayan and Aztec cultures of Central and South America. Though the treat — and the process of making it — has evolved significantly, travelers can head back in time in the Tirimbina Forest at a former cacao-growing plot. Visitors learn about the history of the cacao plant, its sustainability, and the process of chocolate making before sampling local chocolate. The organization is affiliated with several local businesses that offer local, homegrown treats.

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4. Visit A School In The Cloud Forest (Monteverde)

Price: $17 per person

The Cloud Forest School of Monteverde is a progressive bilingual school located in the cloud forest. Visitors to the area can support the local scholarship fund by taking a student-led tour of the school as they walk through the surrounding trails and learn about the environmentally-based education offered. It’s a unique way to explore alternative education and have a unique experience at the same time.

Here's how you can #help wildlife and locals in #CostaRica! #travelgood Click To Tweet

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5. Make Coconut Oil With COTORCO (Osa Peninsula)

Price: $30 per person for a three-hour tour 

COTORCO is a group based on the beautiful Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. They use funding from their tours to employ locals to monitor beaches and help protect the sea turtle population. Through a COTORCO tour visitors learn how to make raw coconut oil by collecting coconuts from the beach and grating the meat themselves. It’s a unique experience that gives back to the community in many forms.

Have you ever experienced ecotourism in Costa Rica or ethical excursions? Please share your experience in the comments below!  

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Sky Fisher is a small-town country girl with a passion for travel. She's spending 2015 traveling from Costa Rica to Mexico, immersing herself in local culture and volunteering along the way. Follow her adventures at Sky vs World.

1 Comment

  1. Fantastic list, these sound much better than simply sight seeing, thanks for sharing… I have been told that the coffee tours are also pretty amazing.

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