Embracing the Indigenous Identity in Costa Rica through Tourism

Embracing the Indigenous Identity in Costa Rica through Tourism

Elemento Natural

Photo: Elemento Natural


By Roberto Lizano


Let's face it. Costa Rica is well known as a destination for its biodiversity, beaches and volcanoes, with all the adventures and activities surrounding them. But you can't compare Costa Rica's pre-Columbian patrimony with other countries like Guatemala, Mexico or some of the South American destinations whose main attractions are based on indigenous culture, history and legacy. But that does not mean Costa Rica doesn't have a rich heritage to share!


So, how do we bring the tourist's attention to our own indigenous communities and highlight what they have to offer? It's clear that bringing tourism to these areas will benefit them economically and culturally if we carefully incorporate sustainability.


The answer relies – we think – in embedding those destinations into an itinerary that already incorporates Costa Rica’s activities mentioned above. One of the challenges for the average tourist is the limited information available to them, they don’t have any way of really knowing if there is a nearby indigenous community or reserve near their lodging.


Elemento NaturalElemento Natural has designed a circuit that combines the usual fun stuff with 'new' fun stuff, so we can provide a richer and more authentic travel experience, including visits to at least four different communities across the country. Tours about their legacy such as the stone spheres, volunteering activities in their schools, visits to their reserves to enjoy their natural environment, opportunities to buy their incredibly well-crafted souvenirs, learning about their history in the most important museums – all these too frequently are forgotten by the standard itineraries.


That doesn't mean you won't get to see the volcanoes, relax at the beach, hike in the rainforest, whitewater raft or zip-line over the forest canopy. You will still do that, but you will also learn about the different cultures within our culture and you will help us create moments that will change the lives of your hosts and, of course, your own.

Photo: Elemento Natural

About Elemento Natural

Elemento NaturalElemento Natural, a personal ecotour operator in Costa Rica, cares about the tourist’s experience and also about the benefit tourism can bring to local communities. In addition to nature tours they create opportunities for cultural exchange to occur by asking customers to buy locally, to eat locally, to speak Spanish, to talk to the locals, to spend time in the communities. Elemento Natural operates on principles of environmental sustainability through its efforts in energy conservation, waste reduction and transportation, with a serious pledge to guest satisfaction. The idea is to offer guests what they want through custom tours, which may include all the features Costa Rica is known for, and also an educational, community component which ultimately enriches the Costa Rica experience.


>> See Elemento Natural's member profile


Contact Information

Roberto Lizano, Owner, Elemento Natural
Email: robertolizano[at]elementonatural.com
Phone: (506) 83263727




About TIES

As the world's oldest and largest international ecotourism association, TIES seeks to be the global source of knowledge and advocacy uniting communities, conservation, sustainable travel..




> The International Ecotourism Society 



The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will highlight global challenges and local opportunities, supporting sustainable development of tourism and promoting solutions that balance conservation, communities and sustainable travel.

Connect to Us   

Become a Fan of TIES   Share Your Videos with TIESLinkedIn   Pinterest

   Google Plus Vimeo