You can directly contribute to the conservation of the Costa Rica´s Osa Peninsula and the conservation programs of the Corcovado Foundation by taking a vacation! Click on the tabs to find out about staying at our non-profit hostel, purchasing tours from sustainable businesses and many other eco-tourism tips.
The southern Pacific tip of Costa Rica contains 2.5% of the entire world’s biodiversity, 30 different ecosystems and more than 15,000 species of animals and plants- it’s the perfect place to Green Your Trip!
Our non-profit hostel Drake Bay Backpackers was established in 2014 to provide travelers with quality, budget accommodation in the Osa and the generate funds for our conservation programs. Since then, we have won a certificate of excellence on Trip Advisor and a gold rating in their Green Leaders program, as well as raising over $17,000 for our environmental programs.
Dorm rooms at the hostel are available for as little as $13 per night and we offer free transfers from Drake Bay airport and the boat landing from Sierpe. The hostel is well-equipped with hot showers, cinema screen, volleyball court, huge self-catering kitchen and common area, river trails, lockers and tourist information.
Drake Bay Backpackers also operates as sustainably as possible by ensuring that we:
- Use only biodegradable products in showers, washing machine and sinks.
- Filter and recycle our grey water using a biogarden system
- Use energy saving lightbulbs, timers and sensors where appropriate
- Buy locally! Wherever possible goods such as eggs and cheese are purchased from local fincas.
- Make use of our hydroponic vegetable garden!
- Educate our guests about sustainable tourism practices
- Offer tours that are provided by sustainable operators
- Encourage guests to support the local economy by offering rural eco-tours and homestay options
The Corcovado Foundation helps local businesses to implement sustainable tourism practices through education and community development. One of our main achievements has been working with local families to create The Osa Rural Tours network. These very affordable tours help to create sustainable income for families and include hiking and horseback riding to pristine waterfalls, exploring beautiful lagoons and mangroves, learning about indigenous culture, and evening bug tours!
Since the creation of the Osa Rural Tours network, 11 families have been supporting in the creation of eco-tourism businesses- protecting 1200 hectares of forest. Through Drake Bay Backpackers alone, we have promoted and sold hundreds of tours, incentivizing these families to continue to protect the eco-systems on their land.
Our other main sustainable business initiative is the Make a Difference program. Members are hotels and tour operators which donate $1 per tourist per night to the environmental programs of the Corcovado Foundation.
Explore all of the businesses involved in our sustainable tourism programs in the interactive map below! You can book your Osa Rural Tour by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you a hotel or tour operator in Costa Rica? Become a Make a Difference Member Today!
We donated 7 mooring buoys at Caño Island, and 5 more buoys at San Josecito Beach, to provide boat captains with a proper place to anchor. As a part of this program, we also invited companies in Drake Bay to voluntarily commit to implementing responsible practices for their marine activities. The operators below display this logo and operate sustainably, according to our program guidelines.
Aguila de Osa, Hotel, Drake Bay.
Casa Horizontes Corcovado.
Casa Corcovado, Hotel, Drake Bay.
Jinetes de Osa, Costa Rica Adventure Divers.
Tranquilo Lodge, Drake Bay.
Pirate Cove, Hotel, Drake Bay.
Rancho Corcovado, Drake Bay.
El Mirador Lodge, Drake Bay.
Martina’s Place, Hostel, Drake Bay.
Guaria de Osa, Hotel, Drake Bay.
Responsible Marine Tourism Guidelines
All the businesses that have joined our Responsible Marine Tourism Program have committed to the following procedures:
- We only approach the school of dolphins or a group of whales, diagonally from behind.
- We never get between mothers and their calves.
- We don’t touch or feed marine wild life in any circumstances.
- We never extract shells, rocks or any other organisms.
- We respect the minimum distances: 100 meters for large animals, 50 meters for smaller animals and double these distances during breeding or calving season.
- We only perform whale or dolphin watching for 15 minutes in the presence of calves and 30 minutes when there are only adults present.
- We do not follow whales or dolphins at a speed faster than the last individual, to a maximum speed of 7 km/h. We withdraw from the site at a speed no faster than 3 to 4 km/h.
- Only one or two boats should be close to whales or dolphins and a maximum of three boats to a dive site.
- We avoid excessive noise.
- We never drop waste or liquids in the water.
- We educate our tour guests about responsible marine tourism
- We maintain our equipment to ensure the safety of guests and ecosystems.
- Our boats are properly equipped with fire extinguishers, life preservers, communication radios, first aid kits, GPS, compasses, anchors and life vests.
- We have a navigation certificate, safety procedures and an emergency manual.
- We never throw anchors onto reefs.
Would you like to become a Responsible Marine Tourism operator? Read the guidelines and Contact the Corcovado Foundation to apply.
Whether you are traveling in Costa Rica or in any other natural area in the world, please keep in mind the following suggestions, in order to diminish your impact on fragile environments.
As a responsible tourist you should:
- Enjoy nature but don’t chase or touch wild animals
- Leave everything, as you found it, don’t remove anything that is part of natural environment such as rocks, shells or plants.
- Stay on the trails; trails are designed to lessen the erosion caused by the transit of visitors.
- Encourage responsible behavior on the part of your group and others.
- Report environmental damage to authorities.
- Participate in local conservation activities.
Please, don’t feed the wildlife:
- Wildlife can be susceptible to human diseases. They can actually die from bacteria transferred from you, which have no ill effect on humans.
- Irregular feeding leads to an aggressive behavior towards humans and other species.
- When we feed an animal, we are actually affecting its` natural diet. Fruits, especially those containing pesticides, can upset their digestive system or cause dental problems that can lead to death.
- Feeding creates a dangerous dependency on humans that diminishes the wildlife’s survival capabilities.
- Feeding interferes with the wildlife’s natural habits and upsets the balance of their lifestyles.
- Contact with humans facilitates poaching and the trade in illegal wildlife and makes them an easy target for hunters.
- Please, help us spread the word, be an ecotourist by explaining to your fellow companions.
- Whether you swim, snorkel, scuba, or free dive; please help protect our reefs.
- Corals are colonies of very small animals which may take hundreds of years to form the structures visible today. Simply touching corals to see what they feel like can cause the death of an entire colony.
- Don’t walk upon or stand on coral, as this can kill the living coral polyps that are the builders of the reef structure.
- If a diver, practice buoyancy control skills before diving on any sensitive environment.
- Make sure you are not dragging your gauges.
- Don’t touch, pickup or hold reef inhabitants, and never pull octopus from their habitats.
- When approaching whales in an area, stay visible by approaching from the side, not from the front or rear
- Keep a safe distance of at least 100 meters from the whales
- Move at the same speed and in the same direction as the whales, and avoid sudden changes of speed and direction.
- Keep the noise level down and spend no more than 30 minutes at a time within the whales’ range. Finally, be considerate to other whale-watchers.