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IELTS Reading Text 5

Eco Holidays in Costa Rica

A. Saving the world is something we all wish we could do but may never get the chance. One way we can make a contribution is through our daily lives and the choices we make. Ever since the ‘green’ movement people have become increasingly concerned about this issue. Sadly, we can’t all quit our jobs and go volunteer in the jungles of Peru or fight to save endangered animals in the Congo. But those of us who would like to do something this summer instead of sitting at home or on the beach now can without sacrificing a well earned break. E-Hols offer Eco Holidays in the exotic location of Costa Rica where holidaymakers can enjoy themselves in a less environmentally damaging way and have the holiday of a life time.

B. For holidaymakers like me, used to travelling in style and staying in four and five star hotels in Europe, an Eco Holiday can be a bit of a shock to the system. On my first day I was bustled into a local bus and travelled 60 km in scorching heat which took over 3 hours. Arriving at the Jose Bondita conservation park I was greeted by Mr Bondita himself. As we drove through the wild vegetation in his 4 by 4 to my wooden hut for the next 2 weeks he pointed out the vast array of iguanas, toucans and monkeys dotted throughout the reserve. In excess of 420 other species of birds are also said to be in the rainforest and along the rocky coastline on the borders of the park. For many of these creatures Jose Bondita is a safe refuge away from poachers and the animal trade.

C. Founded in 1984 the park shot to fame after a BBC documentary revealed its beautiful unspoiled landscapes and rugged terrain to the world and they haven’t looked back since. Everything on the site is environmentally friendly from the natural gas used to power the vehicles to the solar power for heating the water and all the amenities. Even the vegetables are grown locally and completely GM and pesticide free. Sustainability is paramount according to Mr Bonita who is keen to avoid turning the park into a tourist destination. Bondita is adamant that his park will not become commercialised. “We are not and never will be for that matter, in it for the money”. He asserts his desire to couple education and conservation, 2 themes which his park is built on. “We are not about holidays, we offer life changing experiences that will change how people view their role in our world” he says.

D. As I had purchased the standard ‘eco-tourist’ package I was granted full access to all the park’s activities and facilities. For those on a tighter budget there’s the ‘eco-basic’ package which includes a pass to the park and the facilities only. On my second day we headed off into the unknown on a jeep safari at dusk through the indescribably beautiful scenery. Looking for further excitement I later opted for a zip line tour of the rainforest canopy but turned down bungee jumping off the cliff. Although I still found time for some relaxing strolls and late night fire side chats with other visitors, all of whom were left amazed by the whole experience. My favourite free time activity though was feeding baby wild animals and even helping out with park maintenance fixing fences. By the time my trip had come to an end I had promised never to stay in a hotel complex again. It is safe to say that these experiences are not for everyone but provide a once in a lifetime experience which will alter anyone’s view of the importance of animal conservation.

E. With bookings set to increase even further next year Jose Bondita may become a victim of its own success. Demand has far outstripped the park’s capacity to comfortably accommodate visitors. Trails tend to be congested and as the amount of vehicles rises so does the impact on the natural ecosystem. The park itself is one of several in the area with more on the way as Bonita’s success seems to be spreading. According to a local council representative “we have become aware of the potential for attracting tourism and using that money to protect our environment”. In fact, yearly eco-visitors to Costa Rica are estimated at around 1.8 million. Actually, it is somewhat of an international success story. The revenue alone is in the region of $1.9 billion.

Questions 28-31

The passage has 5 paragraphs labelled A-E.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

  1. a large variety of animals
  2. a belief about the future of the park
  3. 2 dangerous sports
  4. a negative result of increased tourists
Questions 32-37

Complete the summary below using words from the box.

amazement belief bird break experience holiday
location perception park power refuge time

An Eco 33____________ offers an exciting and more environmentally friendly experience than normal more breaks. The Bondita park contains a large number of birds and other creatures and is a 34____________ where they are safe from hunters. Everything about the 35____________ is environmentally friendly. It is aimed to educate visitors and change their 36____________ of our world. There are many activities for visitors to take part in and guests are generally positive about the entire 37____________. The park has become popular and others will be created in the area.

Questions 38-40

Choose THREE letters A- F

Which THREE of the following benefits does the park provide according to the writer of the text?

  1. A. a memorable holiday
  2. B. luxury hotels
  3. C. a way to save animals
  4. D. a sustainable way of life
  5. E. an opportunity to meet similar people
  6. F. a range of packages to suit different budgets

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