Geography class: Trouble in Costa Rica’s eco-paradise as homebuyers heat up market

This article picked by a teacher with suggested questions is part of the Financial Times free schools access programme. Details/registration here.


  • AQA Physical Geography 3.1.6 Ecosystems under stress

This article is about Costa Rica. It looks at the issues of sustainability and ecosystems under pressure due to economic development, particularly with relationship to housing development, US and European expatriate and second home purchase and the tourist industry.

Click to read the article below and then answer the questions:

Trouble in Costa Rica’s eco-paradise as homebuyers heat up market

  • Briefly summarise the picture the author paints of the Guanacaste area of Costa Rica in terms of place and the people attracted to it in the first three paragraphs and in the descriptions of the houses for sale at the end of the article

  • Costa Rica has a rich ecology and is seeking economic development whilst protecting its diverse habitats. Create a poster emphasising these ‘green credentials’ to attract foreign buyers

  • Create a table of problems resulting from Costa Rica’s ‘construction boom’. Use the headings: Environmental, Social, Economic, Political

  • Costa Rica is keen to show the world that clean and green development is possible and profitable. What are the elements of its bold decarbonisation plan?

  • Could the Costa Rican template for a ‘living Eden’ (cleaner, greener and carbon free) be applied to other countries such as the present-day UK?

  • Investigate the potential and benefits of exploiting renewable energy resources for Costa Rica as well as the limitations and ecological problems that exist

View the full worksheet on the Royal Geographical Society resources site here.

Stephen Schwab, RGS