The country is almost self-sufficient. Most of its electricity comes from river hydropower, which it sells to neighbouring countries, and it has geothermal energy farms that tap into volcanoes, plus wind and solar power.
As for future threats, Gaia puts urbanisation at the top of the list. “Car ownership has doubled in the last 10 years and pollution is starting to fill the cities.
They aim to invest in a railway network while trying not to disturb nature. The current road system is awful. I had to drive through rivers,” she says.
Arriving in the rainy season and finishing in the dry, Gaia and her family swapped London’s pigeons for colourful toucans.
“We stayed in a lovely village on the Pacific coast. It was near a beach surrounded by forest and had a little pool. There were monkeys on the roof, toucans in the trees and scorpions in the kids’ bedroom. But they loved it and want to go back.
Waking up to birdsong, sun, monkeys and trees everywhere, you can stroll outside and there is the ocean swishing back and forth, it puts your life into perspective,” she admits.
So where is the rest of the world going wrong?