Why is Costa Rica the most ecological place in the world?

As well as leading the Happy Planet Index for 2016 from a total of 140 countries, Costa Rica also has an enviable reputation for being one of the most ecological countries in the world.

A huge 94% of its energy comes from renewable sources, and Costa Rica is aiming to have a carbon neutral economy by 2021. This is a country that takes its green credentials seriously and we explain how that came about.

Historical sustainability

At the roots of the Costa Rican people is an appreciation of the wildlife around them.

If we look back to their Mayan and Aztec ancestors, they believed that the quetzal bird was sacred and therefore only royalty and priests wore its feathers during ceremonies. The feathers were even valued as greater than gold.

This is no doubt why the beautifully coloured bird is still so prominent in Costa Rica’s cloud forests. In fact, The Monteverde Cloud Forest in the centre of the country is home to the world’s largest collection of quetzals.

Ecology for all to enjoy

The inhabitants of Costa Rica have developed their culture by listening to nature rather than trying to override it, and protecting their forests and wildlife for everyone to enjoy. By abolishing its standing army and ploughing its resources into the environment as well as healthcare and education, Costa Rica is preserving its idyllic environment and conserving its future.

Making all of its natural wonders – including rainforests, volcanoes, beaches and estuaries – more accessible to the public means that visitors are more aware of the need to protect this heritage. This in turn helps preserve Costa Rica’s ranking as the most ecological place in the world.

A happy long life