Although I wasn’t able to participate in the hike today in Arenal. Arenal specializes from Monteverde with its huge lake, unique hot springs, and incredible views. Even from the hotel, I can see the magnitude and beauty of the Arenal volcano, something I’ve never seen before. Arenal seems to focus more on the tourism aspect rather than the ecological aspect like Monteverde. They often highlight their wildlife to tourists such as monkeys and other cool animals. While in Monteverde, we experienced a very strong focus on sustainability and preserving the forests, with less emphasis on tourism.
Costa Rica is an infamous spot for ecotourism, especially in adventure sports like ziplining through the forests and white water rafting. However, the pandemic greatly affected the tourist town of La Fortuna. La Fortuna is primarily built upon tourists and appealing to their needs through resorts like Los Lagos and fancy hot spring. But during the pandemic, no one was traveling let alone doing touristy things. As a result La Fortuna was not getting any income and all the residents of the town work for tourist attractions so residents were moving and the town was disintegrating. In the lecture, Alberto explained to us how it is not a good idea to have a town solely created and reliant upon tourism because if something like the pandemic occurs, they are not sustainable.
We also learned how it is challenging to sustain the level of tourism present in Costa Rica because is primarily based on the nature aspect. However, climate change is one of the things that affect that aspect as animals are becoming extinct and parts of the forest are changing.