Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 315-343

First online:

Sustainable ecotourism in Costa Rica: the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve

  • Bruce AylwardAffiliated withIIED, c/o TSC
  • , Katie AllenAffiliated withIIED, c/o TSC
  • , Jaime EcheverríaAffiliated withIIED, c/o TSC
  • , Joseph TosiAffiliated withIIED, c/o TSC

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The paper discusses the sustainability of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve in the context of Costa Rican ecotourism. While the history of the Preserve is somewhat unique, the analysis of visitation, financial, ecological and economic factors provides a convincing case that tourism at the Preserve is sustainable. The experience of the Preserve is also put in the context of Costa Rican ecotourism, particularly to the national parks. The paper concludes that the Preserve has played a very important role in the development of Costa Rica as an ecotourism destination. Nonetheless, the failure of experience at the Preserve to inform recent changes in national park pricing policy reveal that Costa Rica has yet to fully capitalize on the experience gained and lessons learned at the Preserve.


ecotourism economics Costa Rica sustainability parks