Costa Rica Encouraging Travelers to Offset Carbon Footprint

Costa Rica is now encouraging visitors to offset the carbon footprint generated in flights and land travel in order to facilitate the raising of financial resources for the Payment of Environmental Services Program (PSA), thanks to an agreement signed by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) and the National Forest Financing Fund (Fonafifo).

With the resources of this initiative, the planting of trees, the protection of the hydrographic basins, the natural regeneration, as well as the agroforestry systems in the farms and/or areas previously selected between both institutions will be promoted through the program of payment of environmental services, as is currently the case at Finca Flores del Bosque and Finca Integral El Jícaro in Sarapiquí.

Sustainable Tourism Development Model

Costa Rica has a tourism industry whose mainstay is small-scale companies: 94 percent are lodgings with fewer than 40 rooms. The commitment to conservation allows the existence of 54 percent forest cover, 26 percent protected areas (29 national parks and conservation areas) and 6.5 percent biodiversity.

The tourism development model of Costa Rica is based on sustainability, which includes three fundamental axes: The environmental, economic and sociocultural, which seek to generate well-being for the communities while respecting their identity and where the cultural factor is a differentiating element.

As an example, according to calculations made based on ICT visitation data for 2018, assuming that only 10 percent of the emissions calculated were offset, an annual capture of $3.57 million would be achieved—with which, more than 1.5 million trees could be financed in agroforestry systems.

How Will the Calculator Work?

In order to make the economic contribution effective, tourists must enter the website (, which takes them to the calculator to perform the following procedure:

  • Data: In this tab, the traveler must specify the country of origin and the respective airport, number of passengers, (whether it is an individual or family trip), country of destination and if the route is one-way or round-trip.
  • Results: Afterwards, the traveler goes to the “results” tab, which specifies the carbon dioxide produced by the trip, which is equivalent to the compensation that they will have to carry out.
  • Compensation: Once Step Two is done, in the "offset" tab, the amount in dollars to offset the gas emissions generated is specified. At this point the tourist can manage the payment with a debit or credit card.

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