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  • Writer's picture5 Senses CulinaryTours

Leave Your Leaves

Updated: Dec 24, 2020

Costa Rica is a small country with a very big commitment to its nature and people. It is called the land of the volcanos, but it is so much more, an isthmus bridging south and north Americas with 800 miles of coastline. An abundance of wildlife like no other. The fact that they have a rainforest, a cloud forests and the dry forests all concentrated in this small diverse country is exceptional. Costa Rica has two seasons, dry and green, neither should effect your visits year round.

About the size of tiny West Virginia, it has almost 26% of its land designated as natural reserves, wildlife refuges and to include 30 National Parks! It is said that 5% of the world’s biodiversity is right here in Costa Rico. It shelters more than 6,700 marine species in its surrounding waters and 90 of those are unique to the planet. In one day you can watch the sunrise over the Caribbean and enjoy the mountains crossing to see the Sunset over the Pacific. This is also the path of some 5 million migratory birds who converge from the Arctic Circle, Alaska, the Canadian tundra, the U.S. Great Lakes and the east and west coasts of the United States.

It inspires you to get outside and enjoy nature making you feel alive, the sounds of nature provide all the music needed, especially at night with the choruses of amphibians, insects, birds, and monkeys. And of course, one must take part in the heart pumping adventures of zip lining, repelling, white water rafting, along with standing at the edge of a bubbling volcano.

Costa Rico is at 90% carbon neutral with water and wind producing their electrical power needs. I don’t get into politics, but it appears that this democracy has its ducks in a row, perhaps I should have said Scarlett Macaws. The government has a plan in place to attract the “right” tourism – only sustainable. No mega resorts are wanted, actually 90 % of the hotels and lodgings are under 40 rooms. This offers a warmer feeling of interacting with the local, Ticos and Ticas, as they refer to themselves.

I think one thing that summed it up for me as a traveler as why this small country stands out is "they walk the walk.” The biodiversity of the surrounding forest was not only sustained, it was actually increased by replanting much of the natural habitat for the indigenous wildlife. At El Mangroove, a stylish beachfront property on the Gulf of Papagayo, they have initialed a truly wonderful way to give back with Leave Your Leaves, a lifetime’s contribution. This is a program of sharing their dream of a better tomorrow with small actions today. You purchase an indigenous tree for planting in a specific ecological preserve in Costa Rico’s Blue Zone. There is a ceremony and certificate that gives you the actual GPS coordinates along with the native tree species. Adoption couldn’t be sweeter. It is true La Pura Vida which means “pure life” but it is more than a phrase, it is a way of life in Costa Rica. Remember when you travel, where ever you travel, Leave Your Leaves and contribute growing roots that will preserve and thrive in your footprint.

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