Time Magazine Greatest Places

Belize and Costa Rica Highlighted by Time Magazine as Two of the World’s Greatest Places of 2021

Time Magazine recognizes two Central American countries in its annual World’s Greatest Places list. Step forward, Belize and Costa Rica!

After a year off, Time Magazine came roaring back yesterday with its 2021 list of the World’s Greatest Places. Or, what it says are “extraordinary places to explore.” And included in that list are none other than two – two! – Central American countries.

Belize and Costa Rica both get props in 2021. Selected alongside 98 other destinations by Time’s network of correspondents, both countries offer “new and exciting experiences.” This was the main requisite as the world begins reopening again.

Time called this years list “a tribute to the people and businesses at the forefront of [the travel and tourism industries] who, amid extraordinary circumstances, found ways to adapt, build and innovate.” Sums up the tourist industries in both Belize and Costa Rica very well.

It’s the third such list by Time, who started the feature in 2018. And it’s the first time it’s featured any Central American destination at all.

Belize got the nod for its environmental policies.

Time highlighted the stewardship of 236,000 acres of the Belize Maya Forest, some nine percent of Belize’s total landmass.

Earlier this year, a coalition of environmental agencies led by the Nature Conservancy bought the Belize Maya Forest. The hope is to create a biological corridor to connect the forest with the Maya Mountains.

Last year was a terrible year for Belize, affected by two hurricanes and the pandemic. But Belize has also seen a successful reopening of its travel industry. Covid numbers remain relatively low and there’s an extensive protocol plan to protect locals and tourists alike.

Time also included Costa Rica for its environmental policies.

It praised Costa Rica’s efforts in reversing years of deforestation. Forests now cover some 53 percent of Costa Rica.

Time also noted Costa Rica’s commitment to renewable energy and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

Like Belize, Costa Rica has been in serious trouble over the past year. The pandemic created one of the highest rates of job losses in the world, as tourism ground to a halt.

Since the country reopened, Costa Rica has maintained the safety protocols to ensure tourist safety. This comes despite a high Covid case count amongst the population.

James Dyde is the editor of centralamerica.com. He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.