Sunscreen might help to protect your skin, but most are deadly to coral. When you go for a dip in the sea, some of your suntan lotion rinses off. And that’s a big problem when it contains ingredients such as oxybenzone, octinoxate or parabens (which most sun lotions do), because harsh chemicals can kill coral and other marine life.

Up to 6,000 tons of sunscreen are estimated to wash into coral reefs around the globe each year. And as the National Park Service cautions, rather than being evenly distributed, much of that sunscreen is concentrated at popular diving, swimming, and snorkeling sites—such as national Parks like Piedras Blancas here in the Golfo Dulce. 

We can all still make a difference. By putting our awareness into action, we can make different choices that lessen our impact on the ocean.

  1. You’ve already taken the first step—becoming informed!
  2. Choose mineral sunscreens, especially lotions containing non-nano zinc dioxide as the primary active ingredient.
  3. Look for reef safe sunscreens which are becoming increasingly available.
  4. Avoid aerosol sunscreen. Much of what you spray leaves a residue on the sand which is then washed back into the ocean. Your lungs will be healthier too, as aerosol sunscreens are easily inhaled.
  5. If you can, apply less personal care products before you go swimming; the fewer chemicals you bring into the ocean, the better. Some ways to protect your skin from harmful UV radiation without lots of sunscreen while on tour with us could be to use protective clothing and a hat.  Dermatologists say clothing is just as effective as sunscreen at protecting from the sun, with the only downside being it doesn’t completely cover the body.

If we lose coral reefs, we will have lost a vital ecosystem. We could also hurt our global economy—coral reefs are a major tourist attraction and source of income for Costa Rica. Be a part of the solution!

Sustainable Tourism

Tourism, one of the world’s largest industries, employs more than 235 million people worldwide and generates some 9.2 percent of the global GDP. While tourism is a vital source of income for many developing countries, it can also result in pollution, deforestation, inefficient energy use and cultural exploitation.

Be a Sustainable Traveler!

Your travel choices make a difference. By choosing sustainable businesses like Changing Tide Tours you will support businesses that conserve natural resources, protect plants and wildlife, and contribute to the well-being of local communities. You will also help to ensure that these treasures will also be there for future generations to enjoy.

What is Sustainable Tourism?

Sustainable tourism businesses are those that are profitable while conserving natural resources and benefitting local communities. Examples of sustainable business practices include conserving water and energy, supporting community conservation projects, recycling and treating wastes, hiring staff from neighboring towns, paying them just wages and providing additional training, and, sourcing locally-produced products in restaurants and gift shops.

Changing Tide Tours was recently awarded the prestigious place on Top Responsible Costa Rica Eco Tours 2019 by Terra Incognita. The list contains tours who go the extra mile by contributing to conservation, communities and education. You are welcome to join our community that promotes travel for good!

How Can You Make A Difference?

  • At the hotel: Ask about environmental policies and practices. Does the hotel support community development or conservation projects?
  • Language: Learn a few words of the local language and use them.
  • Dress: Learn about local conventions and dress appropriately. In many countries, modest dress is important.
  • Behaviour: Be respectful of local citizens’ privacy. Ask permission before entering sacred places, homes, or private lands.
  • Photographs: Be sensitive to when and where you take photos/video of people. Always ask first.
  • Environment: Respect the natural environment. Never touch or harass wildlife. Always follow designated trails. Support conservation by paying entrance fees to parks and protected sites or making a donation.
  • Wildlife or forest products: Never purchase crafts, clothing, furniture, or other products that are derived from protected or endangered wildlife or plant species. In many countries it is illegal to bring these goods back home.
  • Pay a fair price: Don’t engage in overly aggressive bargaining for souvenirs. Don’t short-change on tips for services.
  • Buy local: Choose locally-owned lodges and hotels. Use local buses, car rental agencies, and airlines. Eat in local restaurants, shop in local markets, and attend local events. Hire local guides: Enrich your experience and support the local economy. Ask guides if they are licensed and live nearby. Are they recommended by tour operators?

Feel free to get in touch with CHANGING TIDE TOURS to help you in your sustainable tourism decisions in Costa Rica!

A Dolphin´s Tale

Tours with Integrity

At Changing Tide Tours, we understand how important it is to have trustworthy, reliable and quality services. Changing Tide Tours considers each tour and guest unique. Our professionally trained crew are passionate about sharing their knowledge and excitement for Costa Rica’s marine life. That is what makes our tours one of the best in the region.

Fun tour!

Passengers on our intimate journeys are considered our personal guests, who by the end of their journey should be joyful, enlightened, sensitive to the fragility of Costa Rica´s marine environment, and have a true sense of place.

We do not seek volume on our tours; we aim only to provide a quality, thought-provoking and potentially life-changing experience. Everyone is welcome, whether you want to simply sight see from the deck or explore in the water to your heart’s content. Our charters are for anyone who hears the call of the ocean.

In a global climate of “loving nature to death” Changing Tide Tours educates guests about the plight of our local marine life, promote environmental awareness and stewardship to people from around the world, and leave them with compassion for our incredible sea life. Every member of our team works hard daily to make sure our guests are safe, having the time of their life, and leave with a better understanding of our host culture and precious resources. As a Company we strive to make sure our Guests leave the boat with a smile on their faces and an understanding of why we love what we do.

Our wildlife tours focus on education and conservation so that an interactive relationship can be maintained in the best interest of both humans and dolphins. We strive to foster admiration and deep respect for these wonderful marine mammals.

Reserve your tour TODAY!

Our Mission:

“Offer our clients safe and responsible travel experiences to natural areas that are sustainable, helping to conserve the environment and improve the well-being of local people in and around the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.”


Changing Tide Tours are the Golfo Dulce’s longest running tour operator. The Golfo Dulce is an area that is highly threatened by large-scale development interests as it enjoys a beautiful stretch of pristine beach and good road access. Part of the challenge we face is to accommodate the best interests and needs of the Osa’s communities, including developmental interests, while preserving the ecosystems and natural beauty of the Osa and Golfo Dulce. We feel it is our responsibility to protect and conserve the marine environment, for which we care so passionately about and have dedicated our lives to. We believe that it is everyone’s responsibility to reduce their impact on the environment as much as possible. We are proud to offer unparalleled service and safe, eco-friendly, unforgettable experiences for our guests while on vacation in Costa Rica on our shared and private boat tours.

To maintain this highest quality, Changing Tide Tours is a sustainable company with strict regulations in our operations and sustainable policies with the ecosystem, human development and community support in Costa Rica. We offer our guests dolphin and whale watching, snorkelling, mangrove, diving, costa rican fishing, as well as kayak tours. By setting the standard for high quality service, Changing Tide Tours will continue to be one of the Top Costa Rica Attractions.

Our Vision:

We strive to set a positive example within the Tourist Industry in Costa Rica based on our excellent service and healthy sustainable practices. We aspire to be the ideal model for sustainable and maximum efficiency in the maritime category.

Our Values:

  • Excellence
  • Sustainable Practices
  • Courtesy
  • Helpfulness
  • Respect
  • Commitment
  • Partnership
  • Solidarity
  • Community Support

Our Sustainable Practices:

We use the term ‘eco tour’ because we cover all of these points by:

-Using local captains, guides and helpers

-Paying for our employees to go on educational courses

-Our boats are made and brought locally, as well as maintained by locals


-Conducting beach and sea trash collections

-Buying our fruits from local sources

-Not printing paper flyers or posters, all marketing is done online

– We try to use quieter motors and less destructive gas

-We work with the local college, inviting students to learn about the different jobs involved with boat tours