Environmental problems? One cannot find them in Costa Rica - the cradle of ecotourism. In the middle of 80th era of ecotourism began, and Costa Rica got very alluring for those, who were longing for clean air, limpid waters and untouched forests. Of course, at that time in Costa Rica cities and industrial zones occupied only 5% of its territory and 20% percents were protected as national parks and preserves. Soon they became highly profitable business. Even presidents were owners of some of them. The more tourists chose ecotourism in Costa Rica, the more land were declared as zones, where it is no access for poachers and woodcutters. Only Indians from reservation had permission for hunting there.
It was the beginning. At our days, nearly one third of country's land is allotted for preserves. Since 1993, tourism and ecotourism in Costa Rica bring in the bigger revenue, than any other brunch of economy. As you need to pay to 30-40$ in order to enter the park's territory, ecotourism is preferred by well-off holyday-makers form Canada and USA in the main. Diversity and resplendence of local wildlife attract them. Natural resources in Costa Rica are unique; one would find here 70% of all plants that grow on our planet, there are 850 kinds of birds and observation of them is a real science. It is forbidden to buy, to feed them and to purchase stuffed birds too.
The same forests on the island Ñoño (500km from Costa Rica) inspired Michael Kraiton for his "Park of Jurassic period". In 1997, the book was used as the foundation for Steven Spielberg's film, which became a break-through in the world of cinematograph. A few years earlier, in 1880th detached forces (contras), struggled with Sandinista government, based on this island. Farmers abandoned Coco for fear of war in Costa Rica, not till the last years they can return these fertile soils.
However, not only national parks and preserves form the base for ecotourism in Costa Rica. 120 volcanoes are open for visitation, 70 of them are active. Arenal is admitted as the most fire-spitting one. For 3000 years life peacefully lasted at the foot of it. There was not the slightest suspicion, that one of the emerald hills can conceal the danger of death, until the new volcano firstly woke up 300 years ago.
The next eruption was caused by strong earthquake in 1968. The village on the northern slope vanished from the face of the earth. Several government projects were advanced with the purpose of securing people against volcanoes. Some of them offered to bombard volcanoes during eruptions, other considered that it will be better to fill up craters with cement; the thirds suggested fixing large iron lattices-neutralizators into craters. The fight against lava, ash, acid rains was not begun.
Now Arenal starts its activity after relative calm again. Quite a few "volcanologist" succeeded in ascent to the top and peeped in. As a rule, they were not seen anymore, that is why it was prohibited approaching the crater.
Specialists recommend remaining near volcano no more than 20 minutes to avoid sulphuric gases poisoning and receipt of burns of mucous membranes. Sometimes there is so much ash, that volcano is closed and those who choose ecotourism in Costa Rica are forced to wait for opening in Zarkero - the nearest city to Arenal.
Town Zarkero came into existence in province Alahuela at the end of XIX century. In 1964, Evangelist Blanco Renesa founded world-famous park of cypress figures. For 37 years, he has been working on maintenance of his masterpieces.
Proposal from USA, Canada, Spain, Disneyland were made to him; nevertheless, master preferred Costa Rica and only in provincial Zorkero you can visit park of wonderful ecosculptures.
There is an interesting omen bound with this park: if you go under long beautiful arc of cypress, you will undoubtedly come back in Costa Rica. Maybe it is true, ecotourism in Costa Rica finds its new adherents easily.