Rafting pioneer debuts web site, environmental initiatives to celebrate milestone.
San Jose, COSTA RICA – Award-winning Costa Rican adventure travel outfitter Rios Tropicales celebrates its 30th anniversary this year leading eco- and family-friendly rafting, recreational kayak touring, sea kayaking, hiking, mountain biking and nature watching trips throughout Costa Rica. The country’s largest outfitter on the iconic Pacuare River, one of the best jungle rafting trips in the world, the company has exposed more than half a million people to the beauty and thrills of whitewater rafting and other activities in some of the most pristine jungle in the world.
With a new web site (www.riostropicales.com) designed to make finding and booking the perfect trip even easier, and help travelers peruse Costa Rica’s many and varied adventure travel options, Rios Tropicales is also celebrating a host of national and international ecotourism awards recognizing its industry-leading conservation efforts. Most recently, Rios Tropicales became the first adventure company in Costa Rica to win the Gold Medal in Trip Advisor’s prestigious Green Leaders™ Award program (http://www.tripadvisor.in/GreenLeaders),which helps travelers plan greener trips by highlighting businesses meeting strict environmental standards.
“It’s feels great to reach three decades, knowing that we’re protecting the environment while exposing people to one of the best rafting trips in the world and a variety of other Costa Rican adventures,” says Rios Tropicales co-owner and president Rafael Gallo. “It’s natural to try and protect such an incredible resource.”
Delivering “authentic, sustainable adventure for almost all ages,” Rios Tropicales’ crown jewel offering is providing day-long and multi-day trips on a 21-mile, Class III-IV section of the Pacuare, taking guests through world-class whitewater and waterfall-filled rainforest. Overnight guests, who are helped to plant four trees each at the put-in to offset the carbon footprint of their flight, stay at its award-winning roadless, riverside eco-lodge, powered by a hydroelectric turbine.
The company’s sustainable tourism practices fall into four major categories: reforestation, community projects, environmental education, and river conservation programs. In 2008, the company won a National Geographic Geotourism Award for sustaining the local environment and culture, and in 2011 it hosted the World Rafting Championships, the first carbon-neutral event of its kind. In its three-decade history, Rios Tropicales has protected over 2,000 acres of primary and secondary growth rainforest, while reforesting 100 acres with more than 20,000 native Costa Rican hardwoods in the largest private rainforest reserve in the Pacuare basin. Nearly 13,000 tons of carbon is mitigated annually thanks to their private reserve.
As well as helping stop poaching in the watershed and championing efforts to restore the threatened jaguar, ocelot and green macaw, it also collaborates with local communities to share ecotourism practices; helped defeat the region’s proposed Dos Montanas dam by forcing the country’s first-ever Environmental Impact Study; and launched a foundation to teach environmental education in local schools.
“It’s a beautiful area and one that we’re going out of our way to help preserve for everyone,” says Gallo.
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