Subscribe via E-Mail

Get all of our news delivered fresh to your inbox every morning! Just tell us your name and where to send it using the form below.

PS – We hate spam too. We don’t sell or share our list with anyone, and we never send commercial email.

Friday, January 29th, 2016  |  USD: Buy 531.29 / Sell 543.92
20 years

Costa Rica describes as “outrageous” exclusion from Ethical Traveler list

Communications Minister, Carlos Roverssi (archive image).

Communications Minister, Carlos Roverssi (archive image).

March 14th, 2014 ( The government of Costa Rica is describing as “outrageous” its exclusion from the 2014 list of The Developing World’s 10 Best Ethical Destinations, an annual ranking produced by California nonprofit, Ethical Traveler.  Costa Rica had been included in the 2013 ranking.


Costa Rica slid backwards in key metrics such as environmental protection and human rights violations, according to Michael McColl, Ethical Traveler’s co-founder and director of communications.


McColl said that Costa Rica is a major hub for human trafficking and its government allows persecution of activists working against the illegal shark finning and sea turtle trades.


Ethical Traveler’s founder and executive director, Jeff Greenwald said the ranking allows travelers to “vote with their wings.”


Ethical Traveler has published its ranking since 2006, which aims to encourage responsible globetrotting and to be mindful of the impact of tourism dollars to one country over another.


Communications Minister, Carlos Roverssi and Juan Carlos Borbon, General Manager of the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) said Ethical Traveler’s claims were unfounded.


Roverssi described Ethical Traveler’s allegations as part of a “smear campaign” by “leftist groups” who want to damage the “good name of Costa Rica.”


Roverssi also added that some environmentalists such as Paul Watson have been responsible for damaging the country’s reputation, adding that Watson is considered a fugitive from justice by Costa Rica.


“If you have any doubts about what is being done in Costa Rica, come and look,” Roverssi said, adding that the country has made great efforts in combating shark finning and human trafficking.


Borbon, for his part, described the claims as “outrageous.”


Costa Rica was included in the top-10 ranking in 2011, 2012, and 2013.


Prior to those years, the country was excluded from the list for several years because World Vision considered the country a notorious destination for sexual predators.

costa rica news

ATTENTION: If you are seeing this message,


Get our news delivered fresh to your inbox every morning.

Click here to subscribe to our email list. We hate spam too and never send commercial email.

Like us on Facebook and receive our news in your timeline

  • John Dungan

    This is only logical. CR is infamous for its many years of false claims to be “ECO-friendly,” provides little to no protection against the proliferation of ladrones, and in reality only pays lip service to most of the ethical things that travelers might want.

    • mhogan

      Looks like the rest of the world is starting to see CR for what it is; a trend to continue, I’m sure. You may be able to fool the locals since they have an interest in nationalism but through the eyes of world travelers, CR is becoming less and less attractive. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising or the worst prescription for shunning visitors. Anti-foreign policies and attitudes are coming home to roost.

  • expatin paradise

    Roverssi’s characterization of Paul Watson is exactly why Ethical Traveler said that the Costa Rican “government allows persecution of activists working against the illegal shark finning and sea turtle trades.” The Charges against Watson are BS, and Costa Rica’s insistence on using international law enforcement to prosecute them are ridiculous. The government has gone after Watson as if he were a serial killer or sexual predator, while notorious scammers who ripped off large numbers of Costa Ricans are virtually ignored by the government.

    I don’t know that Costa Rica is a hub for human trafficking any more than its neighbors or any other country. Certainly, human trafficking has been discovered here, but that is likely because Costa Rica has been more diligent about policing its borders than its neighbors. Costa Rica has also intercepted far more drugs and drug money than its neighbors, although those drugs and money moved through the territories of the other countries in the region.

    • Sven Finn

      Watson is a patholigical liar now grovelling after the CR government so he wont end up as Japanese fodder in jail where he belongs. Many of us know what sort of con man Watson is, to the CR government, Watson does not care about you he’s only sucking up as usual to save his own miserable hide.Lock up Watson the crooked so called conservationist to save the whales. Dont be conned by this jerk who has no morals no values , liars dont.

      • stfree

        The International Court of Justice has just ruled that the Japanese are NOT whaling legally and must cease immediately. The ruling states that they cynically used the “scientific” cover to promote a nationalistic aim. So who is the criminal? Watson, who badgered them for their illegal whaling? Or the Japanese who have been found in violation of the law?

  • Fernando Gerdano

    What about eco friendly, clean and green, pura vida, no artificial ingrediants?? That is all we hear, what we don’t hear is pollution is rampant, the rivers in CR are some of the most polluted in the world, business’s and home raw sewage dump directly into them, plus hospital waste and regular home garbage. Shark finning is legal and a huge industry, turtle eggs are regarded as a delicacy. The infrastructure of the country is falling apart, every major highway is falling apart and the country does not have the knowledge, the money or the desire to fix them. Makes for major traffic jams daily. Just about all the car and especially motorcycle drivers have no idea how to drive and drive very aggressively. The bigger, faster vehicle has the right of way. Moving violations are almost never enforced. CR has the highest usage of pesticides in the world (look it up) so enjoy those fresh fruits, veggies and stomach cancer all. Violent crime is all over the country, the police are untrained and unequipped and not paid enough to handle crime. Just about all the police forces is corrupt anyhow. When they finally do catch someone they just let them out of prison right away anyhow, judges in the country are corrupt and useless. Armed home invasions happen everyday all over CR. The current president is perhaps the worst the country has ever had and there have been some awful ones. A couple of them are supposed to be in jail now for taking bribes and other crimes but “somehow” they are not. CR is a very expensive place to take a vacation, used to be reasonable but now rates are very high and tourist are gouged the worst. After getting ripped off when you get to the airport you must pay an exit tax to leave the country..gee thanks. Pura vida

  • El Torito

    Sadly, Roverssi, Borbon, and countless other Costa Rican officials fall to realize that “you get what you give”. The Ethical Traveler list merely points that out.

  • Yeims

    I’m very sorry, but after having lived here for more than 30 years, there simply is no way I could possibly associate ethics with Costa Rica.

  • jdennisg

    Environmental protection is a joke in Costa Rica. Watson’s situation is a case in point. Why does Costa Rica insist on prosecuting him? for what? Costa Rica is bowing to the demands of Japan and China, and not the environment. This is not a non-corrupt country, nor is it ethical. Just look at the roster of Presidents and their crimes!

  • Luis Diego Campos

    Hey guys CR has a complaint department just be early because there will be a long line, and you might have to wait a little bit more today because of a soccer game…..Pura vida maes.

Popular Content