The country’s ecolodges are among some of the most visited in the entire world, and from this travel trend arose new perspectives on sustainability in travel within the country. A burgeoning example is the walkable car-free beach town of Las Catalinas on the coast of Guanacaste.
Taking architectural influences from the favorite cities of the New World Tropics and Europe, this car-free vacation destination shows how thoughtful urban planning can create a place that is sustainable for the environment, and provide a healthy, active, and connected lifestyle in the process.
By building to the scale of biking and walking, homes and buildings make clever use of space and topography. Anywhere in town is at a short walking distance, prompting some of the best car-free day trips and open air activities, which offers a drastically reduced town footprint that is better for people, more sociable, and better for the surrounding nature.
Las Catalinas was designed with both people and nature in mind. Physically removing the need to plan for cars, parking, and garages gave the ability for town’s own timeless traditional architecture to develop.
The way of life in a place off limits to vehicles is also fundamentally different from a destination built to accommodate cars. The urban density brings family and friends physically closer together. Walking along the street makes for a more social atmosphere, where it’s natural to say hello and meet new people.
A car-free town is also better for children. Without cars on the streets, it’s safe for them to explore and experience freedom that they might not have in a city with heavy car use. The atmosphere is one of a welcoming neighborhood, where kids can walk to a friend’s house and then set out to explore the pedestrian streets, plazas, beachfront, and forested trails all within a short walk of home.
It’s a change from the constant need to be driven around by mom or dad, and for the youngest visitors of Las Catalinas the difference is profound.
Travel Car-Free Anywhere, Anytime
In Las Catalinas, it’s possible to travel sustainably, car-free, and take advantage of all the many activities available in and around town. Between experiences on land, in the water, and throughout its cobbled streets, the many pursuits of Costa Rica are at your doorstep, wrapped in a way of life that offers freedom and a strong connection to nature and each other.
There’s no need to plan for traffic, which also means no extraneous emissions. Thanks to the work being done in town, the reserve, and in Costa Rica, visitors here embrace a memorable and fulfilling vacation car free that’s also conscious of your ecological impact.
The Best Breaks in Guanacaste to Visit from Las Catalinas
Sitting in the heart of one of the world’s premier surfing regions, Las Catalinas provides a surf basecamp with access to many of the area’s breaks. From the legendary Witch’s Rock to the shores of ...
Work is in progress on some new mountain biking trails through the nature reserve, which aim to unlock a new part of the forests of Las Catalinas. Tackling the southern highlands, these trails will ...