Rainforest Reserve

Carbon Neutral: Let's Plant Your Tree!

How the Rios Tropicales Reforestation Program Began


In 1989, Rios Tropicales purchased 90 acres along the Pacuare River near a small subsistence farming community. Rios bought the land from local community member Anibal Obando, whose large family had cut down significant tracts of rainforest to create farmland. We then turned around and hired the same Obando family to reforest most of their deforested former subsistence farm and grazing land, in alignment with our mission to collaborate with local community and to educate them, not just our guests, about the importance of environmental protection and reforestation.  That year we planted over five hundred trees as part of our reforestation program. We used all local species of seeds that had been previously collected on the same land. Our reforestation efforts have continued since 1989 on our expanded reserve property, purchased slowly over the years using company earnings. Reforestation projects have been a combined effort of seedlings purchases through funds from Rios Tropicales operations and outside donations.  Volunteer participants in tree-planting have included local communities, Rios staff, Costa Rica guests, and international guests.

2500 Acres Protected and Over 28,000 Trees Planted To Date


Today we have over 2,500 acres in our private rainforest reserve, which encompasses land from the river right bank of the Pacuare River where our Rios Tropicales Ecolodge is, up to the top of the Pacuare Gorge and extending along acreage high above the river next to the community of El Tigre.   We are proud participants in the original United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) worldwide tree planting campaign, begun in 2006 and continued annually until 2011. In 2011, after more than 12 billion trees had been planted world-wide, UNEP formally handed over management of the annual tree planting program to Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation, based in Germany.


Our original goal was to plant 5,000 trees in 2008; we surpassed that in May 2008 and upped our goal to 10,000 that summer. We reached 8,000 trees planted by late 2008 and increased our goal for the third time to 15,000 trees for the Planet. At present time we have continued tree-planting year-round, and are now up to over 20,000 new Costa Rican native hardwood trees planted at our reserve. Our big planting date during the Rafting World Championships in October 2011 was a total success. This was a huge boost  for the World Championship to become Carbon neutral. We have doubled our goal to plant more trees in 2011, thanks to E.A.R.T.H. University, clients, local communities, volunteers, participants at the World Rafting Championship, public and private entities to everyone that is helping us make up areas that had been deforested.

Plant A Tree in Costa Rica!

You can plant a tree when you come to Costa Rica and make a difference for the planet. If every visitor to Costa Rica planted a tree, imagine the difference it could make! In 2013, San Jose’s Tico Times reported a record 2.4 million visitors came to Costa Rica.

Here are the adventure trips for ecotravelers, where you can plant a tree in the Costa Rican rainforest.

Carbon Neutral (car·bon-neu·tral)


1. making no net release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, especially through offsetting emissions by planting trees.

Carbon neutral, also called carbon neutrality is a term used to describe the action of organizations, businesses and individuals taking action to remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as each put in to it. The overall goal of carbon neutrality is to achieve a zero carbon footprint. For example, a business may plant trees in different places around the world to offset the electricity the business uses. This practice is often called carbon offset or offsettingLearn more about our sustainable practices.

Rios Tropicales Is Carbon Neutral

Rios  Tropicales

Is  Carbon  Neutral

Rios Tropicales is carbon neutral, thanks to our private rainforest reserve of over 2470 acres of native Costa Rican hardwood tree species. We have protected over 1700 acres of primary rainforest from logging (and poaching!) and are reforesting another 300+ acres. Together, annually our mature trees and new seedlings mitigate over 12,600 tons of carbon annually.  Our total in-country operations, including vehicle transportation, lodge operations, and operations center and main office energy uses have been estimated at 4000 tons of carbon per year.  Formal third party certification for carbon neutrality is expensive, time-consuming, and often riddled with green-washing. We have not pursued formal certification at this time, because our rainforest reserve is mitigates between four and five times the amount of our carbon footprint of our total country operations. We understand if some readers want to see third party certification and encourage you to help reduce the bureaucracy and loopholes in the process so that is is reflective of authentic efforts.

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