Costa Rica: The “Greenest”, Happiest Country in the World

Volcano Arenal, Costa Rica

If you’ve been reading this blog consistently, you know one of my pet topics is the environment.  So, if you’re thinking about new cruise ideas, give this one some serious thought: Costa Rica.

Here’s something I’ll bet you didn’t know… Costa Rica ranked third in the world, and first among the Americas, in terms of the 2010 Environmental Performance Index. Additionally, Costa Rica plans to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021.  (Just FYI, that means that if all goes as planned, they will have a net zero carbon footprint!)

Hey, and guess who ranks first in the Happy Planet Index and is the “greenest” country in the world?  (Want to find out more about how the world’s countries rank?  Download the hpi-2-0-results.xls report.)

All this makes the country, in my humble opinion, a great cruise option.  These people know how to preserve and protect their environment- and the natural beauty of this area is the foremost reason to visit there, isn’t it?

Natural wonders abound, of course.  I recently read an article on what the citizens think are the top 7 natural wonders there, and I’ll paraphrase it here. (If you’d like to read Ian Harrison’s article in its entirety, click here. It’s got some gorgeous photos.)

7. Monteverde Reserve- This is a private nature reserve, filled with wild flowers, birds and animals. Camping is allowed, but reservations fill up fast.

6.  Poas Volcano- A world record stratovolcano with two crater lakes and regular geyser eruptions.

5.  Tortuguero Canals- Tortuguero National Park is reachable only by air and sea- but the canals, lagoon and swamp habitats provide the perfect home for a wide variety of wildlife.

4. Light Blue River- Located within Tenorio Volcano National Park, the river contains sulphur and calcium carbonate that gives it an incredibly beautiful blue color.

3. Chirripo Mountain- Chirripo Mountain is the tallest in Costa Rica, at an altitude of 3,820 meters (that’s about 12533 feet, for those of us not on the metric system), and home to abundant wildlife.

2.  Arenal Volcano- Gorgeous and unpredictable, Arenal is the most active volcano in the country.

1.  Cocos Island National Park- It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home to a staggering amount of flora and fauna.

It sounds breathtaking doesn’t it??

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