Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Latin American Studies (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Daniel O. Suman

Second Committee Member

Marten W. Brienen

Third Committee Member

Ruben J. Hernandez


During the last decade the ecotourism business has boomed in Puerto Rico. There are significant increases in eco-related businesses around the Island. The majority of ecorelated businesses in Puerto Rico are tour guided adventures, canopy tours, surfing, biking, among others. All the activities mentioned above have the same purpose: physical activity and group interaction. These activities promote a healthier environment for the participants, which help increase their physical activity level and at the same time encourage the use of the green spaces. This study utilizes Dr. de Vries’ five direct contact mechanisms to identify their presence and potential impact at the eco-hotels and urban hotels in Puerto Rico: 1) reduce of stress and attentional fatigue, 2) promotion of physical activity, 3) enhancing positive social contact with neighborhood members, 4) healthy development of children, and 5) personal growth of adults and enhancement of quality of life. These mechanisms are associated with exposure to the green spaces. Interaction with the green spaces will helps to promote a healthier living for the participants and give them an option to avoid a sedentary life style. The interaction with the green spaces and benefits of this interaction can promote an increase in knowledge and understanding of the importance of the natural environment. The significance of the study in Puerto Rico is that it can bring to light the overall benefits of eco-hotels to the visitors, hospitality industry and developers.


tourism; eco-tourism