A raft of rafting opportunities continues to await adventurous sorts planning to vacation in Costa Rica.
The country is seen as a pioneer in the eco-tourism movement but recent years have also seen the development of large oceanside resorts belonging to international hotel chains, properties many conservationists argue are incompatible with the concept of eco-tourism.
But Costa Rican eco-tourism veteran Rafael Gallo says those who worry that Costa Rica may be drifting away from its commitment to preserving nature needn’t be concerned, with the country strongly committed to protecting its green spaces.
“It’s a very unique place,” he says of a country that has set aside 25% of its land for national parks and has a further 15% protected by reserves. Tourism authorities state the country has over 5% of the world’s biodiversity.
Almost all the large all-inclusives are found in the northwestern Costa Rican region of Guanacaste, says Gallo.
And Gallo, involved in Costa Rican tourism since 1985 and who’s currently president of the International Rafting Federation, says the adventure tourism trade is also thriving in his country, home of the likes of ziplines , which have since appeared in many countries.
Costa Rican landscapes ensure that the country is suited for adventure activities, with Gallo believing that Costa Rica has “more rivers per square mile than any other place.”
That ensures that the country is suited for rafting with rafting options ranging from the relaxing to the thrilling, he continues, adding rafters frequently spot wildlife on their journeys.
Gallo notes there are plenty of other adventure activities – such as canyoneering, mountain biking, snorkelling and diving – available in a country home to such landscapes as rainforest, mountains, oceans and volcanoes, with 14 of the volcanoes being active.
Gallo is convinced that there will always be tourists eager to explore Costa Rican rainforest that provides a home for the likes of jaguars, monkeys, sloths, toucans and parrots.
“I think people are learning that being in the rainforest is as cool as being on the beach,” he says. “You’re just not going to get a suntan.”
Gallo’s company – Rios Tropicales – offers different Costa Rican adventure activities, including rafting, biking and kayaking.
In the photo
Seen here are Gallo, Debbie Fishwick of VoX International and Freddy Lizano of the Costa Rica Tourism Board.