Costa Rica: Wins Top Sustainable award by National Geographic

Costa Rica Recognized for Top Sustainability by National Geographic and Other Recent Awards

Costa Rica has long been considered one of the top destinations for people from all around the world. That’s why, prior to the pandemic, this little country saw upwards of 3 million visitors each year. When selling Costa Rica as an incentive or meeting destination, DMCs can talk all day about our picturesque beaches and fertile rainforests, but sometimes statistics and awards speak more than descriptions. Here is a list of some of the most recent awards Costa Rica has been recognized for.


Costa Rica is One of Eight Sustainable Destinations for 2021 and Beyond

Awarded by: National Geographic
Year: 2021

National Geographic ranked Costa Rica as the second most sustainable destination out of their top eight countries. Some of the reasons they recognized Costa Rica above almost all others for superior sustainability were:

Protected Land

Costa Rica is proud to protect 25% of its land. Visitors can find protected land divided between national parks, biological reserves, national wildlife refuges, and other more specific protected areas.


In land mass, Costa Rica takes up only 0.001% of the world’s surface area. Yet, Costa Rica also constitutes a whole 2.5% the earth’s total biodiversity. Part of this incredible biodiversity is due to its geographical position as a bridge between North and South America. But a large part of this is the dedication the government and people of Costa Rica have given to maintaining our land as a haven for all plant and animal life.

Natural Conservation

In addition to plant and animal life, Costa Rica has proven a dedication to all natural conservation for the last five decades. In fact, in 2019, 99% of energy in Costa Rica was generated from renewable sources, such as:

  • Hydropower
  • Wind power
  • Geothermal
  • Biomass
  • Solar panels

Costa Rica is the Best Destination for Wildlife and Nature

Awarded by: UK Selling Travel
Year: 2019

One of the UK’s leading travel publications, Selling Travel, selected Costa Rica as the top destination for wildlife and nature. All of the previous reasons related to conservation and biodiversity, readers cited the impressive variety of flora and fauna that can be seen both far and close to populated areas.


Costa Rica is the Best Beach Destination

Awarded by: Tripexpert
Year: 2019

Costa Rica boasts two different coastlines: both the Pacific and the Caribbean Atlantic. Between these two coasts, travelers can enjoy over 1290 km of coast. Dotting this coast are countless beaches and a year-round mild tropical climate.


Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano National Park One of the Best of the Best

Awarded by: Tripexpert
Year: 2021

TripAdvisor ranked Costa Rica’s favorite Arenal Volcano National Park as the 6th best national park in the world. The Arenal Volcano National Park is just over 12 hectares large and home to two volcanoes. The second, lesser known volcano is called the Chato Volcano. Visitors have enjoyed hot springs, waterfalls, lake sports, and more activities in the larger 200,000 hectare Arenal Conservation Area.


Costa Rica is a UN Champion of the Earth

Awarded by: United Nations
Year: 2019

The UN’s highest environmental and sustainability recognition is the Champion of the Earth. In 2019, they awarded Costa Rica for continuing to dedicate effort to becoming a carbon-neutral country. The UN wanted to specifically acknowledge the policy leadership category for the plan to reach 100% carbon neutrality by 2050.


Costa Rica is Consistently Ranked the Happiest Country in the World

Awarded by: Happy Planet Index
Year: 2006-On

Wellbeing, longevity, equality, and sustainability are just some of the characteristics that the Happy Planet Index (HPI) measures when determining the happiest countries in the world. Costa Rica has consistently ranked happiest or near the happiest countries since 2006. Some of the factors earning Costa Rica this recognition are the strong social networks, long life expectancies and a tiny ecological footprint. 

In addition to the Happy Planet Index, the UN’s Gallup Poll also ranked Costa Rica as the 12th happiest country in the world.


Costa Rica’s Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport Named Best Airport in Latin America in its Size Category

Awarded by: Airports Council International (ACI)
Year: 2020

This award by the Airports Council International was based on departure and arrival surveys filled out by passengers at airports throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The international airport in Liberia, Guanacaste (LIR) was also recognized for its continuous service and commitment to quality improvements.

Costa Rica Named the Leading Destination in Central America and Mexico

Awarded by: World Travel
Awards Year: 2019

Costa Rica was recognized as the best destination in Central America and Mexico in 2019. There were 10 other tourism awards given to entities and locations in Costa Rica, including:

  • Best New Hotel
  • Best Hotel
  • Best Boutique Hotel
  • Best Resort
  • Best City for Urban Getaway

These aren’t the First, Nor the Last International Awards for Costa Rica

Costa Rica may be small, but it has an impressive reputation around the world. While most visitors don’t choose Costa Rica as their chosen destination because of the awards, it is a confirmation of the commitment the country has to having the best tourism infrastructure and providing the best experiences.

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