Biodiversity is what has made Costa Rica famous. Costa Rica is home to 5% of the world's biodiversity. What is biodiversity? Well, it is all living things in an ecosystem and guess what, we humans are living and part of an ecosystem. There are an estimated 500,000 species in Costa Rica and more bird species in Costa Rica than all of Canada and North America combined. One reason for so much biodiversity in Costa Rica is its position around 9 degrees above the equator putting it in the tropics. Costa Rica also has 25% of its land protected which is well above the 8% average of other developing countries.
Costa Rica's ecolodges play a very important role in biodiversity because by their design nature ecolodges have a low impact on the environment. If you look closely at the role biodiversity has, you will see that the phrase "no-impact" is a misnomer. If there were really no-impact among species and different biodiversity in an ecosystem, life would not flourish the way it does and your visit to a tropical ecolodge might seem like a walk in the desert. Every animal in the web of life plays its natural role in helping biodiversity. Some forms of biodiversity are small mushrooms which help in the decaying process of dead tree trunks which then return nutrients to the soil which allow for the next growth of oxygen producing trees that give us humans air to breathe which flows through each and every cell in our body allowing us to have life. Another form of biodiversity that impacts one one another is the symbiotic relationships you see in so many places in the tropics. Symbiotic relationships are all around us and are a front row seat in the process of evolution as different parts of biodiversity try and adapt to changing environments. One you see in all parts of the tropics is the symbiotic relationship that ants have with different species of trees. Some trees produce a nectar to attract the ants that they may feed on and in return the ant protects the tree from ground predators eating its fruits. There are even opposite cases where strangler fig trees take over and kill other trees for nutrients but you will notice the forest is not full of strangler figs because nature has its way of balancing out and certain mammals eat the and fruits and seeds of these strangler figs.
It is through the study, understanding, and conservation of this amazing balance of nature that we have
seen biodiversity flourish. It is through isolation and ignorance that we have seen biodiversity also struggle to survive. The Costa Rican ecolodges serve as an example of how ecotourism can offer visitors an unforgettable Costa Rica vacation and the visitors in return can leave a positive impact on the communities of these natural paradises.
Visit a Costa Rica ecolodge and chances are you might see one of the four different types of species of monkeys, or the two different species of sloths, the 850 different species of birds, thousands of different plants, and thousands of other species of insects, amphibians, and reptiles. A Costa Rican ecolodge is a place where life is at its full form and co-existing. So many different species make for the perfect place for a Costa Rica honeymoon or just your next Costa Rica family vacation.
Construction of a Costa Rican ecolodge is where the respect to the ecology and environment begins. It is known in the ecolodge industry that when building, supplies and labor should come from nearby communities or the same property you plan to build on. This can be seen in many different Costa Rica ecolodges. One example of this is the Lapa Rios Lodge where the actual steps on the hotel grounds are old pieces of the nearby railroad. They might not be the most beautiful looking steps but it is recycled wood, from a nearby abandoned railroad, built into their project with local labor.
One way to find out how much an ecolodge followed the "Golden Rules" of ecolodge-construction is to ask how long it took to build the lodge. Real ecolodges are projects that take time to build. When all labor and supplies are local this means that creativity and thought must take place and takes a lot more time than your conventional construction. It is important when using local labor that the wages are fair and time off is important. Giving your employees proper time off and not working them like slaves is a simple reminder of "community service". The best service to a community is giving family members time to be with each other and building a community atmosphere. When people are over worked the money might come in but the principles of family and community are eventually lost. Indians of ancient times worked on food and survival just two hours a day and the rest was considered time for spiritual practice or just socialize time with family. This all goes to show that building an ecolodge should not be a rush to get finished and how long it takes is a good indication of just how eco-friendly a lodge might be.
When the building gets going and supplies come in, the main idea is to use wood as it is a complete renewable source. If you can use recycled wood from other projects that would be best and replace any trees that had to be removed to offset your constructions. The construction of a Costa Rican ecolodge should have all of the modern day technologies of operating a business in a "green" manner and this is not just pretty badges and signs on your brochures and websites. The most important modern day technology which few people seem to be able to afford because they are drowning in debt from the "Time Bank" is education on building and living eco-friendly. The construction of an ecolodge should be done by the owners. Building an ecolodge is meaningless if the owner is just writing the check and not mandating eco-friendly construction policies and following through on a lifelong commitment to the principles of eco-tourism.
With all this mentioned above you should be on your way to enjoying a real Costa Rican ecolodge, most of which, at least on this site, are what we consider real Costa Rican ecolodges and suitable for your next Costa Rica family adventure.