|Ecologically sensitive? An airplane turned into a luxury hotel in Costa Rica's Costa Verde park. (Costa Verde.com)|
The proposed 7-star hotel struck a lot of nerves: there was the specter of wealthy, insensitive foreigners partying in an ecological paradise; that of wealthy foreigners living the good life in a region where the indigenous people live in poverty; rich, powerful, pampered foreigns ignoring the indigenous peoples' ancient traditions.
|'Ecohabs' in Tayrona Park (Photo: Panoramio)|
But while the concerns are legitimate, it's also true that the hotel would generate income for local indigenous people and that the park already contains camping areas, private property and cabins, hotels and something called 'eco-habs' for tourists - not all of them ecologically ideal. What's more, illegal farmers have invaded parts of the park and the area is used by narcotraffickers for their exports. And rich tourists might include philanthropists and environmental activists who could protect the area's culture and biodiversity. It's sad but it's true that a Bill Gates or Ted Turner has a much easier time getting the attention of media and high officials than do indigenous leaders.
|Tayrona's coastline (Photo: Flickr)|
El Tiempo reports that 70% of Tayrona Park is claimed by private 'owners.' At least the polemic over the luxury hotel drew attention to the park's troubles, anyway.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours