Sustainable Tourism in Costa Rica: Join Costa Rica’s Friends of the National Parks Club
If you have ever visited Costa Rica, then you’ll know that this paradise is the ultimate ecotourism destination. There are not many places in the world that have pristine, white-sand beaches, dense tropical rainforest and an abundance of bright, beautiful wildlife.
Beginning in September, 2010, travelers to Costa Rica can enroll in the membership program, “Amigos de los Parques Nacionales,” (Friends of the National Parks, Costa Rica) created by ProParques, Fundecor and the Costa Rican government institution, SINAC. Special vacation packages are available for individuals, organizations and businesses to promote awareness and a commitment to the protection of Costa Rican wildlife.
Recognized worldwide as a pioneer of sustainable tourism, Costa Rica has come up with this innovative idea that allows tourists to actively participate in wildlife conservation throughout this beautiful country. If you’re planning a vacation in Costa Rica, then the Friends of the National Parks program is a great way for you to give back and help ensure the sustainability of one of the most fascinating places in the world.
Friends of the National Parks, Costa Rica
Individual Vacation Packages
Jaguar, Macaw, Turtle and Morpho (Butterfly) Memberships: valid from 14 days to one year and eligible for discounts at over 250 affiliated tourism companies.
Corporate Vacation Packages
Rainforest Membership: Become a rainforest founding partner
Orchid Membership: Register your local business
For a small fee, members are given a smart card that grants them access to twelve national parks in Costa Rica as well as other benefits. Participating National Parks include: Poas Volcano, Irazu Volcano, Guayabo, Palo Verde, Carara, Manuel Antonio, Corcovado (Sirena), Cahuita (Puerto Viejo), Tortuguero (Cuatro Esquinas), Arenal Volcano, Rincon de la Vieja and Santa Rosa.
If travelers are unable to visit all twelve Costa Rica National Parks in the allotted time frame then the remainder of funds on each card will be credited as a donation to the Costa Rica National Park Fund. Donations collected will be used to improve working conditions of Costa Rica’s national park rangers and the installation and maintenance of public facilities in each of the national parks including footpaths, washrooms and informational signs.
Figures released from the Costa Rican governmental tourism institute show that approximately 86% of visitors to Costa Rica visit a national park and the membership program would be a great way to ensure the not only the maintenance of these parks but also the protection of all other conservation areas. Costa Rica hopes to raise $1 million over the next five years through the Friends of the National Parks program (Amigos de los Parques Nacionales).
For more information, visit www.amigosdelosparques.org or purchase an Amigos de los Parques Nacionales smart card at Juan Santamaria International Airport (San Jose) or Daniel Oduber International Airport (Liberia) as well at participating National Park entrances throughout Costa Rica.