Friday, April 29, 2011

Luna Lodge Costa Rica

Luna Lodge Costa Rica
The idea of Luna Lodge is a true success story that nature is in all of us. If you are a dreamer and love seeing dreams come true than this is the place for you. The owner of this lodge is a lady named Lana and her dream of protecting nature is what makes this Lodge what it is. When it comes to service there is literally just that aura of peace when you are in her presence that makes you never want to leave but stay and only hope that you can look and feel the same way as Lana. She is a lover of nature, understander of ecology, understander and teacher of the great inter-relations between all of nature including us. This is shown in the design of the lodge as it simply just looks interlaced into the deep green rainforest of the Southern Pacific.

The food is amazing and the wildlife is plentiful. It is a place of total peace and relaxation and if you are into yoga than you found the perfect spot. The location gives a whole new meaning to being off the beaten path. It is located about an hour from the famous Lapa Rios Lodge which that is even off the beaten path. The Luna Lodge is very close to the Corcovado national park entrance. Because of it's distance we have operated Costa Rica family vacations here but you have to be up for an adventure or at least be able to get into a good book, relax, and maybe enjoy some bird watching.

If you get the chance to visit make sure you visit when Lana is around the lodge which is usually always. Lana actually had the chance to host Costa Rica President Oscar Arias' first visit ever to the Osa Peninsula. There is not a better person I would put in charge for this duty of interlinking politics to the most peacefully natural area of Costa Rica.

Sleep Behind a Waterfall Ecolodge

Good Morning 

We have been operating this tour for years and having worked with the Chapman family on many different adventures we consider this the full ecotourism experience. It has been here behind this waterfall that Tom Ranieri and Costa Rican Resource has led countless amount of student and family groups to experience the incredible ecolodge that the Chapman family has developed trying to educate students and families on the importance of living with respect to the environment. We still consider this one of Costa Rica's best kept secrets and it will always have a number of outfitters visiting it but because of it's access it will never become a huge tourist destination. It starts with a very long and steep hike that might not be in everyones idea of a nice relaxing Costa Rica family vacation but if you make the hike half way you are treated to a beautiful permaculture garden which is a lesson on how nature survives and supports itself. Then you keep hiking for another 30 minutes and you arrive to two beautiful waterfalls and behind these waterfalls are beds that are set up, dining area, kitchen, and bathroom. The waterfalls you sleep behind are also used for a Costa Rica waterfall rappel adventure when visiting. There are a number of different hikes in the area and one of them is to the top of the famous Diamante waterfall which is a 600ft high waterfall.
Wake up to the Sound of a Waterfall

If you are interested in Sleeping behind a waterfall for your Costa Rica Adventure Tour.

Pacuare Tent Camp

Tent Camp Showers
When it comes to Costa Rica Ecolodges it is hard to beat the simple living of the Pacuare River Tent Camp. Here you will be living simple but at the same time be treated in style by your Costa Rican Resource river guides. The Pacuare Tent Camp is located about 1 1/2 hours into your rafting trip of day one. It is a flat open area surrounded by beautiful plants and above ground tents. During your stay at the Pacuare Tent Camp you have the option to take little hikes or just relax in the hammock with beautiful views of the river downstream.

This is not a luxurious ecolodge but it is a very well kept camping area where their are numerous bathrooms done in a very natural setting and always well maintained area for the tents which are supplied by the Pacuare River Tent Camp staff. If you are interested in visiting the Pacuare Tent Camp you better have your raft ready because the easiest access is by river. Ready for spending the night in the jungle and waking up to one of the most beautiful sites in all of Costa Rica, then just let us know and sign up for our 2-Day Costa Rica whitewater rafting tour. The family will love you for this if you put it in on your Costa Rica family adventure tour.

Pacuare Tent Camp

The Pacuare River is located just outside of the town of Turrialba about two hours from the capital city of San Jose. The Pacuare River is Costa Rica's most popular and most beautiful river for whitewater rafting. Our company supports all efforts to have this river protected in any future project of hydro-electric power.

Whitewater Rafting

Costa Rica is a narrow country that gets plenty of rain and has high mountains. You put all of this together and you have amazing adventure of whitewater rafting through the rainforest. Costa Rica whitewater rafting is some of the best on the planet. when it comes to Costa Rica ecolodges some of the finest are found arriving by raft on the famous Pacuare River. It is not just the Pacaure River that can offer you Costa Rica whitewater rafting tours as the country is filled with rivers that can give you a rafting adventure for all ages. This is a perfect tour for a Costa Rica family vacation allowing you and the family to be completely surrounded by nature.

Rivers for whitewater Rafting Costa Rica

Southern Pacific
-Coto Brus

Central Pacific
-Savegre River

Central Region Caribbean
- Sarapiqui
- Pacuare River
- Pejibaye River
- Reventazon
- Orosi River

Northern Region
- Corobici
- Rio Toro
- Rio Balsa
- Tenorio

This is a list of a few of the commerically rafting rivers in Costa Rica. Most of all rafting companies operate with certified guides approved by the ICT. If you are interesting in a Costa Rica whitewater rafting adventure reserve now.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

El Sabanero Eco-Lodge

When you hear the name Tamarindo you start to think of high rise buildings and a hot and heavy real estate market. The idea of a quiet Costa Rica vacation or romantic Costa Rica honeymoon does not come to mind.  Well, with the Sabanero Eco-lodge you can be just outside of Tamarindo and feel the real essence of Costa Rica which is the beautiful sounds and sights of nature.

Tamarindo and the Guanacaste area are what have been referred to as the "gold-coast". This area is not exactly an environmentalist idea of an ideal vacation spot as many large luxurious hotel chains have made their way on the scene and construction of not-so-eco-friendly residences are going up as fast as the eye can see. This is why it is so soothing to see the "El Sabanero Eco-Lodge" which is not in walking distance to the beach but has found a way to blend the "gold-coast" with a small and quaint style of eco-friendly living and making some money doing it. The views on TripAdvisor give it a solid full five circles which is hard to find these days.

This lodge has been called the friendliest and cleanest place in all of Costa Rica or the Paradise just outside of paradise. It is set up in chalet style and one of the best parts about this ecolodge are its rates. The rates for five-star service is well below the market price. This is a Costa Rica eco-lodge that can play a positive example of venturing into the unknown land of Costa Rica eco-lodges which is the highly developed land.

Central Region

With the central region of Costa Rica being home to the Central Valley which is where the majority of the population and commerce is, you can imagine it might not be the perfect setting for a Costa Rica ecolodge. Although once you start to look a little closer, you begin to notice that the Central valley is surround by beautiful volcanos and tall steep mountains. It is on the slopes and the other side of these mountains that Costa Rica is home to some of the most beautiful ecolodges on the planet.

The central region of Costa Rica is home to the Pacuare River which National Geographic lists as one of the top five rivers on Earth. It is here that your Costa Rica whitewater rafting tours can take you to some of the finest and most remote ecolodging in all of Costa Rica; where your only access is by raft.

Finding a Costa Rica ecolodge in the central region can give you a whole new look on ecology as you will most likely find places at very different elevations as compared to the conventional coastal ecolodges. Your elevation can bring you to areas of the paramo and cloudforest to down near lowland tropical rainforest. The central region of Costa Rica is some of the oldest lands the country has as the mountains have evolved out of the sea and make for limitless views of vacant green mountains.

Tiskita Jungle Lodge

If you like fruit then this is the ecolodge for you. With a collection of 125 different fruits you can be sure to get all the vitamins you need. The Tiskita Jungle lodge can be considered one of the pioneer ecolodges in the Southern Pacific of Costa Rica. It's here you will find many exotic fruits along with the famous Mangosteen which many argue is the best tasting fruit on the planet. You will hear that mangosteen is not native but in the world of ecolodges if the human species is part of the web of life would we just not be another seed disperser that decided to carry mangosteen to the Southern Pacific and drop some seeds?

This is a lodge where your tours will be based around nature and if you want adrenaline do not expect Costa Rica whitewater rafting tours, ziplinig, or canyoneering. Bike rides and surfing is about extreme as it gets.

This place is a simple lodge and a full out Costa Rican ecolodge abiding by all of the qualities to have this title.  Tiskita is located on the southern border of Costa Rica and the northern border of Panama. There are a few different ways to arrive and a 45 minute flight from San Jose to Golfito and then a 2 hour taxi drive from Golfito. If you are familiar with Costa Rica you know that anything that is a 45 minute flight from San Jose and then another 45 minute taxi drive will put you in the middle of the ocean or in a very remote setting and that is exactly what Tiskita Jungle Lodge offers. It is a great place for a Costa Rica vacation if you want to enjoy nature to the fullest and the TripAdvisor comments of the Tiskita Lodge describe it best as a "gem of the natural world".

Rancho Mastatal

If we as a company had to pick an ecolodge that we felt most represented the ideals of what an ecolodge should be and what society as a whole will one day maybe need to be it would be the Rancho Mastatal. This is a learning environment located nearby Costa Rica's newest and in most cases unheard of national park called La Congreja which means the crab.

Any ecolodge that has a quote from Thom Hartmann on the front of their site is a friend of ours. We feel this quote is worth repeating as it is said here:

They lived a sustainable way of life, seeing the sacredness of the world and the presence of the creator and divinity in all things, and generally led fulfilling lives with far more leisure time than working class citizens of the industrialized world will ever enjoy."

Thom Hartman

This lodge is operated by Tim and Robin who have very qualified profiles on their studies of sustainability. This is a lodge of simple lodging and full on educational learning. If you are interested in a Costa Rica family vacation and you want your kids to see how societies can be living sustainable than this is a pleasant and peaceful example of how humans can survive in harmony with planet Earth.

We as a company can only hope for the best for Tim and Robin and that their rooms are full and the message is heard at Rancho Mastatal. 

The location of the lodge is 2 1/2 hours from the capital city of San Jose driving about 1 hour pass the town of Puriscal on your way to Parrita and Quepos. As most ecolodges are this place is pretty isolated.

Selva Bananito Lodge & Preserve

This is a lodge that has the five leaves from the CST which stands for Certificate for Sustainable Tourism. This all looks good and you have to work hard to get five leaves but it is what is done after you are awarded the five leaves and that is why this is a yearly evaluation. The Selva Bananito Lodge is one of those special places where there is nothing between you and nature. This is  the beauty of sometimes not staying in a super luxurous place because all of the luxuries of a place can distract you from your time with nature. This is a great place for a Costa Rica family vacation if you want to teach the kids that it is possible to live simply but still in comfort. Another nearby activity would be to visit our Costa Rica Spanish school located in the surrounding mountains of Turrialba.

One of the more interesting things about this lodge is that it was built with waste wood that was used in logging activities decades ago. This lodge is located on the Caribbean side of Limon and situated back in the rainforest near the Bananito River. This is a lodge that is not for everyone. It is off the beaten path and a simple place but with real attention to the environment. If you are visiting this area of the country we suggest breaking up the drive and maybe visiting our Sitio de Mata project or joining us on the Costa Rica rafting tours on the Pacuare River.

Lapa Rios Rainforest Ecolodge

When it comes to ecolodges there are few that live up to the standard as Lapa Rios does. This is without a doubt your complete ecolodge. The Lapa Rios ecolodge is located in the Southern Pacific peninsula of Costa Rica and makes for the perfect spot for a Costa Rica vacation or if you want a romantic Costa Rican honeymoon.

The Lapa Rios ecolodge is 1,000 acres of protected land.  Most all of their employees are from the local community and doing everything they can to educate the employees, local community, and visiting guests on the importance of living sustainably with the environment. Eco-lodges that are real ecolodges, as is Lapa Rios, are priced high because they have to keep the hotels small in order to have the full ecolodge effect. This hotel is 17 rooms and expect to climb a few stairs on your way to and from the lobby if you get one of the rooms down below. It is a fancy hotel but in a rustic ecolodge kind of way. Everything is clean and the service is great. It is located on a ridge that has outstanding views of the Pacific Ocean below.

This hotel offers a number of nature hikes and a very interesting medicinal plant tour, local community tour, and the sustainable energy tour to show you first hand how the lodge is operated. We consider it very important that our clients take at least one of these tours during their stay giving them the full feel for staying in a real ecolodge.

To get to the hotel it is best to fly or you can drive to the town of Puerto Jimenez where you will be on a bumpy road for the last hour of your trip. The road in during the rainy season can be flooded so plan on traveling light because you might have to carry your luggage over the river. This is getting out into Costa Rica's unknown when it comes to ecotourism and it is well worth the trip that we wish all our clients would venture into at least for a few days during their Costa Rica ecotourism adventure.

Green Technology

Green technology is being used across the world now as an option for clean technology or also known as greentech. This type of technology is being used so little harm is done to the environment. It is now more important than ever that we dont just stop using fossil fuels but we match sure the fossil fuels we have left are used in developing green technology. Yes, it is true at the present moment almost all forms of energy that are being developed and certain green technologies at some point in the process have needed fossil fuels. Workers, scientist, buildings, computers, whatever might go into the process of developing world changing technology at somepoint in the developing process fossil fuels are used.

This does not mean dont fly or dont drive but what it does mean that if you fly down for a  Costa Rica vacation there is know better option than an ecolodge because here you can learn about the many green technologies and make an impact on the community.

Costa Rica ecolodges can teach you about the basics of green technology as most have solar panels, use compose, some wind, hydro, and many now even store agriculture organic waste for the use of it's fermated gases. Other technologies involve gardening.


A new and upcoming type of green technology is called biomimicry which is "bio-life" and "mimicry-mimic". This is the study of seeing how nature after 4 billion years of trying to get it right on this planet makes it work in simple ideas. One example of this would be the forest floor or a bed of a river. Take for instance the bed of a river is a solid ground made up of thousands of different rocks no two of which are exactly the same. When they are all together though they make a whole which is the bed of a river. Imagine we applied this to flooring in our houses. If we had many different types of rugs in our home if a small piece needed to be replace we would not have to gut the entire house but just that piece and any piece would work to replace it which would cut down on factories having to produce, transport, and store large supplies. The whole concept of mimicking nature has been around for awhile just think what the Wright brother's were thinking as kids when they saw a bird in flight.

Biomimicry is taking nature's most successful developments and turning them into everyday use. Because we are a planet that makes our living off of producing and consuming, the most sought after idea to mimic is materials from nature (biomaterials). An example would be spider silk which can be three times stronger than steel and flexible. The importance of mimicking nature is that their products are completely biodegradable. There is even a mushroom that can harvest styrofoam which at the present moment is one of the worst man-made materials for the environment.


Unfortunately the green technology is now branching into the geo-engineering which means there is a problem that we have to fix. The word Geo means Earth and the word Engineering means, to build. This is the study of trying to figure out how we can control the climate change of the Earth from the global warming we have caused with the use of fossil fuels. There are a number of different technologies that are part of geo-engineering none of which have been put to use. They range from fertilizing algea in the ocean to grow faster in order to absorbing more CO2, to flying huge mirrors into the stratosphere to reflect sunlight. The idea of painting every building on the planet white to reflect sunlight was even brought up. My favorite though is 1400 ships that are basically robots and float around the ocean removing salt from the ocean and shooting clouds into the atmosphere in order to reflect sunlight. These are all very smart ideas that may work and may not but I can promise you they are just short time fixes until we try and get this right. Until we realize that we have to be part of nature and not try to dominate nature we will always need the next green technology to allow us to keep living the way we live.

With a visit to a Costa Rica eco-lodge on your Costa Rica vacation you can experience the true essence of living like a human being under comfortable conditions but living with nature.

Caribbean Region

The word "Caribbean" is all you need to hear to know that there must be an ecolodge nearby. In Costa Rica the Caribbean side is an area that offers a lot to a visitor in just 125 miles of Coastline. With a mixture of cultures from Afro-Caribbean to Bri-Bri Ancient Indian culture that is just the start of the mix. The topography of the Caribbean changes quite a bit also with the northern region being canals of wetlands in a very flat area known as Tortuguero which is Costa Rica most common nesting area for turtles. As you make your way south the Talamanca mountain region makes it's way inland where you find beautiful white sandy beaches at the base of the mountain range.

The little amount of developement other than the port city of Limon has made the Caribbean side of Cost Rica a perfect area for those interested in ecotourism on a Costa Rica vacation. It can begin treking back into the mountains where one of National Geographics top 5 rivers on the planet is located which is the famous Costa Rica whitewater rafting tours of the Pacuare river. The river makes its way out to the Caribbean ocean.

The Caribbean side of Costa Rica is filled with biodiversity and plenty of ecotourism activities along some of the most pristine beaches in all of Costa Rica. These are also some of the less crowded beaches making it the perfect spot for many of the Caribbean ecolodges. These Costa Rica ecolodges sit quietly in harmony with their natural surroundings and have the opportunity to involve Bri-Bri culture, Afro-Caribbean culture, and Spanish.

If you make your way to the Caribbean side for your Costa Rica adventure tour you might not even need much Spanish so don't worry about those Costa Rica Spanish schools because much of the language spoken on the Caribbean side is English although part of the ecolodges in the area is to preserve all languages of the native tribes.

South Region

The South region of Costa Rica is where the real gem of ecolodges are hidden. Costa Rica is known for having some of the best ecolodges on the planet and it is in the Southern Pacific Zone where many of them are tucked away into the deep forest of the Osa Peninsula. It is here you will find the Corcovado National Park which happens to be one of the most biodiverse places on Earth.

If you decide to visit the Southern Zone on a Costa Rica honeymoon or just a Costa Rica family tour you better get ready for some adventure. It is not the adventures of Costa Rica whitewater rafting that will give you a bumpy ride but it is getting out into the land that is virtually unknown. If Costa Rica had a wild wild west for their biodiversity, it would be down here in the Southern Zone of Costa Rica.

Most of the ecolodges in the area will suggest that you arrive by plane and/or boat, since much of the Southern Zone is part of a peninsula named Osa. It is possible to make the drive but you are looking at seven hours on paved road from San Jose and when you add in the who-knows-how-long of dirt road, you are looking at a full day of driving. It is this difficulty in getting there and remote setting that makes this area the perfect spot for an ecolodge. The communities nearby are rural allowing the ecolodges to play a very large role in the villages. The rainforests are plentiful allowing the ecolodges to play important roles in the communities of the flora and fauna. The lodges also work with many different animal protection groups such as for the famous jaguar found in the Corcovado National Park.

Costa Rica Ecolodges Contenido


Biodiversity is what has made Costa Rica famous. Costa Rica is home to 5% of the world's biodiversity. What is biodiversity? Well, it is all living things in an ecosystem and guess what, we humans are living and part of an ecosystem. There are an estimated 500,000 species in Costa Rica and more bird species in Costa Rica than all of Canada and North America combined. One reason for so much biodiversity in Costa Rica is its position around 9 degrees above the equator putting it in the tropics. Costa Rica also has 25% of its land protected which is well above the 8% average of other developing countries.

Costa Rica's ecolodges play a very important role in biodiversity because by their design nature ecolodges have a low impact on the environment. If you look closely at the role biodiversity has, you will see that the phrase "no-impact" is a misnomer. If there were really no-impact among species and different biodiversity in an ecosystem, life would not flourish the way it does and your visit to a tropical ecolodge might seem like a walk in the desert. Every animal in the web of life plays its natural role in helping biodiversity. Some forms of biodiversity are small mushrooms which help in the decaying process of dead tree trunks which then return nutrients to the soil which allow for the next growth of oxygen producing trees that give us humans air to breathe which flows through each and every cell in our body allowing us to have life. Another form of biodiversity that impacts one one another is the symbiotic relationships you see in so many places in the tropics. Symbiotic relationships are all around us and are a front row seat in the process of evolution as different parts of biodiversity try and adapt to changing environments. One you see in all parts of the tropics is the symbiotic relationship that ants have with different species of trees. Some trees produce a nectar to attract the ants that they may feed on and in return the ant protects the tree from ground predators eating its fruits. There are even opposite cases where strangler fig trees take over and kill other trees for nutrients but you will notice the forest is not full of strangler figs because nature has its way of balancing out and certain mammals eat the and fruits and seeds of these strangler figs.

It is through the study, understanding, and conservation of this amazing balance of nature that we have
seen biodiversity flourish. It is through isolation and ignorance that we have seen biodiversity also struggle to survive. The Costa Rican ecolodges serve as an example of how ecotourism can offer visitors an unforgettable Costa Rica vacation and the visitors in return can leave a positive impact on the communities of these natural paradises.

Visit a Costa Rica ecolodge and chances are you might see one of the four different types of species of monkeys, or the two different species of sloths, the 850 different species of birds, thousands of different plants, and thousands of other species of insects, amphibians, and reptiles. A Costa Rican ecolodge is a place where life is at its full form and co-existing. So many different species make for the perfect place for a Costa Rica honeymoon or just your next Costa Rica family vacation.

Ecological Construction

Construction of a Costa Rican ecolodge is where the respect to the ecology and environment begins. It is known in the ecolodge industry that when building, supplies and labor should come from nearby communities or the same property you plan to build on. This can be seen in many different Costa Rica ecolodges. One example of this is the Lapa Rios Lodge where the actual steps on the hotel grounds are old pieces of the nearby railroad. They might not be the most beautiful looking steps but it is recycled wood, from a nearby abandoned railroad, built into their project with local labor.

One way to find out how much an ecolodge followed the "Golden Rules" of ecolodge-construction is to ask how long it took to build the lodge. Real ecolodges are projects that take time to build. When all labor and supplies are local this means that creativity and thought must take place and takes a lot more time than your conventional construction. It is important when using local labor that the wages are fair and time off is important. Giving your employees proper time off and not working them like slaves is a simple reminder of "community service". The best service to a community is giving family members time to be with each other and building a community atmosphere. When people are over worked the money might come in but the principles of family and community are eventually lost. Indians of ancient times worked on food and survival just two hours a day and the rest was considered time for spiritual practice or just socialize time with family. This all goes to show that building an ecolodge should not be a rush to get finished and how long it takes is a good indication of just how eco-friendly a lodge might be.

When the building gets going and supplies come in, the main idea is to use wood as it is a complete renewable source. If you can use recycled wood from other projects that would be best and replace any trees that had to be removed to offset your constructions. The construction of a Costa Rican ecolodge should have all of the modern day technologies of operating a business in a "green" manner and this is not just pretty badges and signs on your brochures and websites. The most important modern day technology which few people seem to be able to afford because they are drowning in debt from the "Time Bank" is education on building and living eco-friendly. The construction of an ecolodge should be done by the owners. Building an ecolodge is meaningless if the owner is just writing the check and not mandating eco-friendly construction policies and following through on a lifelong commitment to the principles of eco-tourism.

With all this mentioned above you should be on your way to enjoying a real Costa Rican ecolodge, most of which, at least on this site, are what we consider real Costa Rican ecolodges and suitable for your next Costa Rica family adventure.

Carbon Emmisions

Everybody knows that we need to watch our carbon emissions but let's take a closer look at the present situation.

To put it simply we are past the point where we should to be. This is why it is such a good idea to do a vacation to a Costa Rican ecolodge. Every little bit helps and now according to NASA our planet is at 380ppm (parts per million) and our atmosphere should be at 350ppm. This rise in CO2 is due to human activity through the use of fossil fuels.

There are a number of ways to reduce our use of fossil fuels. Geo-engineering which is one of the most advanced technologies dealing with this.  Some examples would be boats that shoot salt clouds into the air to reflect sunlight and growing more and more algae to help with absorbing and storing more CO2. These are all good, but at the same time just a quick fix until we start looking at how ecolodges live and try and replicate that in our daily lives when we get back from our Costa Rica vacation.

Trees are back to being scientists' favorite source of storing oxygen and getting excess CO2 out of our atmosphere.  It is now known that trees not only take in CO2 and store large amounts in their trunks but they also dispose of it into the Earth's surface allowing less to be in the atmosphere. If you really want to offset your carbon footprint the old "let's plant a tree" moto is the best thing you can do along with being less dependent on fossil fuels. Many governments are taking very slow action in this and Copenhagen 15 in 2009 did not have the result that environmentalists hoped for. After the failure of Cop15 and the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) attempt to convince the larger power nations it has been grass root movements that have led to everyday people making changes. The is a movement by Bill Mckibben, an expert scientist on climate change. It is an organization that encourages the world to come together and start realizing the need for changes. It is these changes that the Costa Rican ecolodges are good examples of, in most cases.

It should be stated that recent studies off the coast of California and in the frozen tundra are seeing methane released into the atmosphere. Methane is 20 times more dangerous as a green house gas than CO2. The methane is being released off the coast of California because cracks in the ocean floor from warming. The frozen tundras in Alaska have been storing methane for as long as it has been frozen and the problem is with slight increases in our temperature (2010 was the warmest year on record) this frozen tundra begins to melt and this trapped methane is released. With the rate that the Arctic is melting this could release very large amounts of methane. We hope you are seeing the importance of seeing Costa Rica Eco-lodges not just as a place for exotic adventure but as an example of an educational opportunity of small steps our society can make to live with nature.

This all starts with our carbon footprint. The warming of the planet, CO2 levels, extinctions, methane releases, and climate change are not the problem they are simply symptoms of the problem. The problem is our footprints on the planet. This is why Costa Rica ecolodges serve as a perfect example. You can find almost anywhere ways to cut down your carbon footprint and the bottom line is just to live a little simpler in all aspects of life. By making a Costa Rican ecolodge part of your next Costa Rica family adventure tour it is the perfect way to have low impact and become educated on learning how to live with respect to our planet.

How to Carbon Off-set your Trip to Costa Rica

If you make your trip with itineraries including Costa Rica ecotourism and visiting Costa Rica eco-lodges then you have made a good choice on making a low impact upon your arrival. What you might not have considered is your air travel to arrive to Costa Rica. Do not let this deter you from traveling because it is important that visitors experience and learn to do things in an environmental way and this includes air travel. Many eco-lodges in Costa Rica can offset air travel by making a small donation to FONAFIFO of Costa Rica which is Costa Rica's official Carbon Credit Foundation.

Along with offsetting your air travel you must also realize that little things ad up and this might include the famous not washing your sheets every night, don't take soap and shampoo from the hotel if you do not need it, walk when possible, or maybe even try not eating meat every meal, and most importantly allow yourself to be educated which will ultimately lead to a much smaller carbon foot-print in the near future.

Beach Eco-lodges

With 125 miles of Caribbean coast and a Pacific coast that measures over 700 miles giving Costa Rica over 800miles of Coastline in a country just the size of West Virginia you can imagine that there are plenty of spots for the perfect beach ecolodge. Costa Rican beach eco-lodges can be anything from a tent camp knocking at the famous Corcovado national park door or you can be in a luxurious eco-lodge for the perfect honeymoon.

A Costa Rican ecolodge is made up of a concern for the local community and environment including the waters of the nearby ocean. It is very important for beach ecolodges to do their part because they have the largest transit operator on the planet at their doorstep, the ocean. The moment a beach eco-lodge starts to make mistakes this can literally start to have its effects on the other side of the world through ocean currents that make up the water-cycle in our oceans.

The Costa Rican coastlines are all very different from each other. There's canals in Tortuguero, white sandy beaches in Cahuita, dry lowland beaches in Guancaste, and where the mountain meets the sea in Dominical. The beach ecolodges must do their part as Mother Nature has done. Just as ecolodges develop ways to protect the environement so does our planet. One example of this is through mangroves which work as nature's filter between salt and fresh water and controlling tides as waves come into shore. Mangroves are most commonly seen on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and are a perfect example of convergent evolution. This means that there are seven different species of mangroves from four very different plant families and they all look and act similar. Convergent evolution is when totally unrelated organisms have evolved into behaving and shaping their lifestyles to best suite the environment they are in as have the different species of mangroves have adapted to high salt and low oxygen levels to survive together. They are different plants but developed the same tools to survive in this type of condition.

As the mangroves adapt, it is just as important that the beach ecolodges adapt to the very different beaches of Costa Rica. If one ecolodge is running their lodge one way because the tides do not change much on the Caribbean that is fine. But on the Pacific side of Costa Rica you find much more significant changes in tides so it might be necessary for a beach eco-lodge to operate differently. Beach ecolodges, mountain ecolodges, and what should be every hotel and human habitat should be able to adapt to living conditions to co-exist with other species as the mangroves have.

A beach ecolodge can be an educational impact on the environment and the way the world looks at the living in a sustainable manner and co-existing with nature and other species. Costa Rica beach ecolodges are more common than any other type of ecolodge and they receive the largest number of clients allowing their voices on conservation to be heard by more people.  80% of all travelers decide to visit the beach during their Costa Rica vacation. It is vitally important that the beach ecolodges get it right on how to be a true ecolodge because they are often seen as the ideal place to spend a Costa Rica vacation.

Mountain Eco-lodges

Costa Rica is an ideal country for eco-lodges. Eco-lodges always involve the community and Costa Rica  is made up of very delightful, friendly local people in nice humble communities not to mention they were voted the happiest people on the planet. Along with the people Costa Rica has the natural beauties and these natural beauities inlcude two beautiful but very different coasts of beaches. In between those beaches are tall almost untouched mountain ranges. These mountain ranges start at sea-level and rise to above 13,000ft making for different types of forest and vegetation along with different types of temperature and fauna.

The Costa Rica Mountain ecolodges are a perfect escape from the city or from the hot beaches. A mountain in Costa Rica is where much of the wildlife is. It is the last frontier in many places and a place of splendid peacefulness where the rivers start their journeys winding down the mountains in search of the coast.

A mountain ecolodge can have a positive impact on the local community and environment because it is located above many other communities and ecosystems.  This means that your waters and everything you do to the environment affects everyone down the mountain which ultimately ends up in the oceans and beaches. You can see here that there is a connection of ecolodges in the mountains and ecolodges on the coast which is a smaller example of the larger connection between all living things in ecology. The Costa Rica ecolodges in the mountains are a perfect blend of mountain ecotourism in a peaceful setting and bringing peace to the environment at the same time. 

When a Costa Rica mountain lodge is very isolated it is almost forced into many characteristics of being an ecolodge. Being isolated requires a "survival" tactic to kick in which involves the community as a whole to fix a problem in a lodge. If you have lived in Costa Rica you will hear the world "Macgyver" and this is named after the famous TV show and it basically means we will fix it with what we have method as compared to calling a expert. This is a perfect example of a Costa Rican ecolodge. Many times you have to find a Macgyver method and more times than not your Macgyver method is coming from ideas in the local community that have had the problem before. This is similar to ancient survival knowledge being passed down from generation to generation just on a bit of a small scale.

Costa Rican mountain ecolodges are often known for their hiking and birding. There are often beautiful rivers in the area but high mountains bring the cold weather and it would make a Costa Rica whitewater rafting tour seem like you are in the Colorado River in December if you fall in. 

Another common characteristic about the Costa Rica mountain ecolodges is that elevation brings clouds and when you rise to around 7,000ft or higher you get into what is known as the cloud-forest. This is a part of the New World tropics where you will experience the true difference between New World Tropics of the Americas and the Old World Tropics of Africa and Asia. This difference is seen from the Costa Rica mountain ecolodges located in the cloudforest as you look all around and see different epiphytes growing on tree branches all around in the search for higher elevation to try and find sunlight. The science and learning of ecology is endless in a Costa Rica mountain ecolodge and the rest and relaxation makes for a perfect blend of Costa Rica vacation with having an positive environmental impact.

Make an Environmental Difference

The key to saving our planet through protecting our environment is sort of stated giving a little too much power to the human race. The fact of the matter is that the planet will do just fine. It might change extreme tempatures but with or without humans the planet is going to go on spinning for another 3.5 billion years it is guessed by most scientist.

Our planet is suffering from what some estimate 15,000 to 50,000 extinctions a year and this are unpresedented numbers as compared to a few hundred years ago their were only 4 specie extinctions a year. Global warming is based on scientific evidence and it is blatenly obvious that human activity could cause our extinction.  The head team of scientist including Jim Hansen of NASA has labeled our atmosphere to be safe at 350ppm (parts per million) and we have now rose above that to 380ppm which is  still on the rise and this is the reason for the heating of the planet, the melting of the polar ice caps, the melting of the frozen tundra which then realeases methane in,  the drastic weather changes, and extinctions.

Planet Earth has made extinct 99.9999% of the species that have ever lived on the planet making just .0001% alive today and of that small percentage exist humans. This is not a said thing it is because of the first 99% that we have evolved into a species with such a powerful mind that we can love and develope hope in times of need and adapt with tools that are needed to survive. But the sad part is that if we become extinct one day we will be the first species during the 4 billion year old Earth that brought extinction upon themselves while knowing it.

It is now that we a generation of literally not saving the planet but saving ourselves. There are a number of different ways to help and as long as those ways are foreign to everyone they will be "ways to help".  Yes, you can start by recycling, changing your light bulbs, and not using plastic bags at the supermarket. But the most important is knowledge of how to live and start doing it "naturally". Our suggestions as a Costa Rica educational tour company is to join us on a tour and we can help educate but this might not being the case for everyone. If you do not join us on a tour we think it is important to just read and educate yourself. If you understand global warming and the balance of the web of life you begin to naturally act in accordance to the laws of nature.

Websites of Interest:

Some of the literature we find interesting are:

Thom Hartman - Ancient Sunlight
Bill McKibben - Eaarth
David Suzuki  - Sacred Balance
Jim Hansen ----- Storms of Our Grandchildren
Janine Benyus -- Biomimicry

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Blue Flag Ecological Program

Costa Rica is one of those lucky countries that has both the deep blue pacific and the clear blue waters of the caribbean sea. These two different coasts make Costa Rica a perfect area for pristine beaches that can be home to many different types of ecolodges from rustic to luxurious.

If you are visiting on a Costa Rica vacation the last thing you want to see is a beautiful beach in a brochure and then filled with trash in real life. The Costa Rica coastal communities are taking steps to try and educate the local people on ways to keep beaches beautiful. The Blue Flag beach program is what has made the biggest impact and communities and hotels have been on board making some of Costa Rica's most beautiful beaches some of the cleanest and eco-friendly in all of the Americas.

The Blue Flag Program is an incentive for Costa Rican ecolodges and hotels to take action in making the beaches clean. The blue flags for beaches are given for a number of different reasons starting with keeping the beaches clean and being alert that no contaminated waters are being let out through rivers or other sources into the ocean. The area near the water is another concern, keeping it clean and safe for those visiting. The safety starts with being able to inform visitors on the currents of the ocean and having vigilance of the beach and it's waters.

This program has been in affect since 2002 and has had a very positive impact on the coastal communities. There's been a good deal of education is the schools of the area as to the importance of keeping beaches clean and waters in and around the coastline.


This is a phrase that was developed for the consumer. It is suppose to be a guideline into products and/or places that are having a very low to no impact to the environment. Although in recent years the International Organization for Standardization which gives credabillity to words and phrases said this phrase was too vague to be meaningful when shopping for products or when planning your Costa Rica ecotoursim adventure.

The phrase eco-friendly does not just apply to ecolodges and can be used in any type of business from retail, food industry, and many different parts of Costa Rican toursim such as Costa Rica whitewater rafting tours, Costa Rica Spanish schools and almost any type of activity you can imagine.

Eco-friendly is something that all businesses in ecotourism strive to have as a label. The difference between being truly eco-friendly or just using it as a marketing phrase comes down to if the friendship you have with ecology will affect future generations to come of if your friendship with ecology will only help fill your rooms for the next couple years.

 Being a friend to the environment is a simple way of saying that you are being natural. Because anything harmful to the environment is not natural. The phrase eco-friendly is a phrase that has developed for societies detatchment from nature. There are many events in modern societies that are quite eco-enemies doing much harm to the natural world and taking for granted many of the natural resources we exploit just to fill the need of powerful corporations. The eco-lodges of Costa Rica are eco-friendly in the fact that they make their way of business in a minimal or non harmful way to the environment but the real friendship to ecology comes by making friendships with people from abroad and sharing and educating the interconnectiness of the consuming world and the developing countries where many ecolodges are located. This friendship between two human species from two lands far apart and the sharing of the importance of spreading their friendship down the ecological web of life is the true meaning of being eco-friendly.

With 99.999% of the species that have ever roamed the planet Earth now extinct, it is only fitting that we hold on to the friends we have left and the only way of doing this is to live eco-friendly. Staying at an ecolodge in for you Costa Rica family vacation can make all of the difference in our world.


Recycling is becoming very popular and it is almost to the point that everyone is catching on and if you do not recycle it is somewhat "strange". There is an interesting way to think about recycling. We have seen that we are able to make bags out of recycled goods, we can craft wallets out of used card board, we can even wrap presents from recycled paper. This is all a very big step forward but what seems to be missing is the fact that we have found a way to wrap and bag our consumeristic lifestyles of all the stuff we feel we need. This is where the three R's of recycling will need to take on a fourth R. The three R's as we know are Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle while the fourth in should be Reject. This is simply stating if you do not need it, just reject it. The world is full of things humans do not need although our species thrives off of stimulus for our senses for moments of happiness in search of more stuff! This ultimately is a road to making more and more stuff which makes the topic of recycling just a waste of time.

Well again a Costa Rican ecolodge can give you a sense of recycling and that the things you do need are worth recycling and the things you don't need you can live without for a few days or even a week. This is one of the beauties of traveling and it is always more evident in a Costa Rican eco-adventure that as the days go by you don't even realize what you are living without until you get home. With population growth what it is, and the only true government to successfully govern all of the human species being Consumerism then recycling is one of our only ways to save not only our planet but also our species. People don't realize that the planet will save itself if we recycle or not but what might not be around for many years is humans because we live off of our natural resources and if we use them all we willingy were the species that chose extinction.

The ecolodges of Costa Rica are all dedicated to recycling and with this comes educating the local communities and kids about the importance of recycling. The recycle we know as plastic, paper, aluminum, and glass bottles are all recycled but it must be taken a step forward. The waters of the ecolodge must be recycled. Gray waters can be treated very easily and recycled onto the gardens. The same compost of the ecolodge can be used as fertilizer. If you take a look an nature and the ecosystems that make the natural beauties that surround the ecolodges, it is a process of constant recycling of nutrients and energy of the beautiful natural setting. It only makes sense that ecolodges take part in this cycle and that if you are on a Costa Rica family vacation you do your part to learn about recycling and although you might not live in a very natural setting in your homeland, you do your part of living as nature would by recycling at any chance you get.


A Costa Rica adventure tour and a visit to an ecolodge should start out with the understanding of what exactly have we done with energy in the past and what can be done in the future? Costa Rica ecolodges are a market for green travel but they are also a miniature replica of how we must start to operate our planet.
Many years ago the sun gave planet Earth energy through the sunlight it was shining down, with that energy plants evolved, these plants then died and kept stored energy 400 million years ago as they decomposed and sunk into the center of the Earth. Man evolved 200,000 years ago and our population never passed 1 billion people over the course of 200,000 years. It was man 200 years ago that started to suck these 400 million year old dead plants which still stored energy and we pumped it up to the surface of our daily lives which is known as oil and coal. Man essentially discovered ancient sunlight and through this ancient sunlight we grew more and more food. In growing more food and transporting ourselves at faster rates our population has grown from 1 billion to 3.5 billion in just 200 years. The ancient sunlight energy we are removing from the ground is non-renewable and will be gone in our children's generation.  We now must not only use different sources of energy but do it in a way that we do no harm to our environment. It is through visiting a Costa Rican ecolodge that we see that mankind can make a commitment to clean sources of energy.

When it comes to energy there is no better place for clean energy than Costa Rica. Costa Rica ecolodges take advantage of the knowledge and the resources of operating on clean energy. With solar, hydro, geothermal, and wind energy there are a number of different options. Costa Rica has two coasts and high mountains which lends itself to a nice heavy wind. Costa Rica is 10 degrees above the equator which allows for good solar energy when the clouds are not too thick of course. Costa Rica gets plenty of rain which allows for hydro energy in small streams or rivers. Costa Rica also has 6 active volcanos that can be used to generate geothermal energy. Not to mention this allows for some of the best whitewater rafting tours in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica ecolodges even take it a step further by trapping methane which comes from the  manurer of livestock and organic matter. Methane is one of the most dangerous greenhouse gases which can trap heat 20 times more effectively than carbon dioxide. Ecolodges and many local homes in Costa Rica are able to store the methane from their livestock through a process of allowing the manure to dissolve in a closed unit and transport the methane through tubes to the source of where energy is needed. This process allows less methane into the atmosphere. Some of the different uses of energy are for cooking and heating in different ecolodges and homes throughout Costa Rica.

Most Ecolodges in Costa Rica will live life off the grid and you might have to survive without A/C units and it might be lights out at night. With solar energy generating usually enough energy for lights anytime you really never know.

There are a few large hotels in the US as of 2010 that have incorporated the hydrogen fuel cell which it's only offset is water. This could be the next for Costa Rican ecolodges as this country plans to be the first carbon neutral country by 2020. This means everyone will have to do their part.

Water Treatment Plants for Ecolodges

Did you know that only 3% of the Earth's water is fresh and of this 3% most of it is made up of the glaciers and frozen ice. This leaves us with less than 1% of our Planet Earth's water as drinkable. This is why a true ecolodge must give it's undivided attention to protecting all water and wasting none.

The ecolodges of Costa Rica have a responsibility that every hotel, lodge, home, farm or any such facility that will take in water or dispose of water for living purposes. Doing this in a friendly way to our environment which includes the nearby communities is only possible through water treatment plants. When out in very rural areas it is easy to take the easy way out and go along with the sang that "well they are doing it so I guess it doesn't matter if we do it". That is the exact reason why there is a need for eco-friendly lodges, ecotourism, and sustainability. We have to re-treat our minds just like the water, to what is eco-friendly and how we should behave in and around our environment.

The waters that are made in our everyday lives that need to be treated before returning back to the environment can come for cooking in the kitchen, organic waste from washing plates, shower water, brushing your teeth, and anyother type of water related activity. This type of treatment is especially important in Costa Rica where heavy rains and flowing rivers can transport waste very far distances in just a short but strong afternoon shower. When the rains come they can soak into the Ecolodge grounds and mix with waste water. This all has to have a very careful and constant eye of being looked at.

What does Water Treatment Plants do for the Water?

The waste water that is produced by an ecolodge can do harm to local communities affecting humans and ecosystems. Three of the main functions of water treatment plants is to remove solid waste such as plastics, rags, and smaller particles such as sand and dirt. The second main function is to reduce organic matter in the water. This process is done by naturally occurring bacterias that help break down the organic matter. The third function of water treatments is to restore oxygen. If water does not have enough oxygen it is not suitable for life. By restoring oxygen through a water treatment plant the water is ready to go back out into the natural environment and sustain life. These are just the small things to look for when visiting an ecolodge and maybe a good thing to educate the family on when you decide to take a Costa Rica family vacation and try and learn about the different ways to protect the environment.

Ecotoursim & Ecotoursim Activities

Ecotourism is a phrase that has been used with pretty much no regulations. The definition of ecotourism is "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people". Ecotourism is when, taking all aspects of your trip, there is the least amount of impact on the environment and you leave knowledge that can help the local community and take knowledge back that can impact your life when you get home.

Ecotourism is a look into the simple way of life and a look at the what the world would look like if consumerism was not the ruling government of our time. Ecotourism is traveling on simple means but this does not mean you can not enjoy a luxurious Costa Rica eco-adventure. This simply means attention to detail is taken with regards to impacting the environment and local communities.

What ecotourism can do for the local community is often discussed. To be on a true Costa Rica ecotourism adventure you will need to somehow provide financial benefits for local conservation which by just traveling in an ecotourism trip you hopefully are making happen. You also want to build environmental and culture awareness. You want to educate and be educated on the many wonders of the natural area you will be traveling. You want to understand the web of life in the ecology of the area and if at all possible see and understand how the system works to supply and sustain life. With these simple understandings that most nature guides can interpret, you will get a true feel for a Costa Rica ecotourism experience.

Another label of ecotourism is to support the social climate for change in certain areas. Costa Rica is known as an ecotourism paradise. As a visitor from another country, your example and kind suggestions (e.g. telling a child not to litter) can make a positive impression.

Ecotourism Activites

A Costa Rica ecotoursim adventure trip should involve a number of different things from being educated, to maybe doing community service work, or even just relaxing in and around nature.  If any activity can involve a local community you are staying true to your eocotourim roots. This can be simply having a local family prepare fruits or asking to stop at a local place to eat during your activity.

With the idea of ecotourism being as little impact on the environment as possible you can imagine that using alternative energy sources is the way to go.  It is also very important that all local guides are being used. The ecolodge should have this in place upon arrival that guides from the local community have been trained and in return work for the lodge and money essentially goes back into the community.


If you are on an ecotourism adventure you can do some Costa Rica hiking in and around your ecolodge and if you are up for some real adventure gear your itinerary in the form of treking where you actually use no car and just hike to your next stop. This limits the different parts of the country you can hike but you can actually do a coast to coast adventure where you stay in local communities and some hotels and never use a car.

Costa Rica Whitewater Rafting

Now if you really want some excitement and some energy from the water cycle then Costa Rica is the perfect spot and whitewater rafting is the perfect activity. With the amount of rain Costa Rica gets every year and mountains that get as high as 13,000ft with a country that is only 50 miles wide you can imagine some of the best rapids in the world. Costa Rica whitewater rafting tours lend itself to some of the most ideal ecotourism activities. You can visit local indian reservations and learn about ancient cultures as you use the force of the water to make your way down the river.


Sea-kayaking can be done with very low impact to the environment and in Costa Rica sea-kayaks are often used in areas of mangroves, calm rivers, and the ocean. These are activities that can be done right from your ecolodge instead of traveling large distances from your lodge.


If you are staying at an ecolodge chances are if you wake up early in the morning you will have the option of seeing a number of different birds. Even if you are not a birder it is hard not to get excited about seeing some of the most beautiful animals Costa Rica has to offer. Everything from the Quetzal, macaws, and toucans make birding an exciting no impact on the environment activity.

Rappeling or Canyoneering

Looking for a little more adventure than you can try Costa Rica waterfall rappels or making your way down a Costa Rica canyoneering adventure. This is quite the adventure and both involve a bit of adrenaline. Some ecolodges you can hike from the lodge and make your way into a canyon but it invovles getting dirty and usually some vertical intense hikes.

Safari Floats

This is a low adrenaline tour than can be very educational in flor & fauna of the area. The rivers are often good spots to see animals. Safari floats can be done in the mangrove or in calm areas of rivers.

Night Hikes

Night hikes have become famous and if you are into seeing creatures that really dont want to see you than going out for a night hike is your best time for that. You will never want a local guide more than on a night hike as knowing where you are going and what to do when you encounter a large cat or a poisonous snake seems like just another walk in the park for a local guide.

Medicial Plant Tours

Medicinal plant tours can be found at many ecolodges and are a very important role in ecotourism. You are giving back by playing student and allowing the local guides to share their knowledge which just instills it in their community through repitition. When we say "WOW!" on a tour they are energized to go home and share it with their children. Our interest sparks a culture rejuvination which can last for generations to come and in certain rural areas when health care might not be minutes away it is amazing to learn what the locals can do with their native plants.

Local Community Tours

A local community tour can range from anything from you educating yourself in a Costa Rica Spanish schools and living in homestays and experiencing full immersion. A community tour can also be a daily hike through the local village outside of the ecolodge walls where just mingle with the people, learn about the local economics, and environmental conditions.

Community Service

One of the main requirements all over the world for being an ecolodge is your support for the local community. Before the agriculture revolution 10,000yrs ago it was communities that made the human race thrive and evolve into where we are today. Everything was based on the whole of the community. If one person was hungry the whole community did not eat until that person was fed. This is easily seen in ancient indian traditions that nobody ate at a ceremony until everyone had their food, something that modern day societies find hard to make a reality.

With respect for the community comes respect for the land. Communities of many years ago lived on current sunlight. It was the sunlight that hit the land, that produced the food, that fed the families. Without respecting the land they would have all starved.

With a real ecolodge you see this respect for community in a much deeper sense. Community service of an ecolodge is complete respect for the whole of the community and not just the employees, hotel books, or food of the guest. It is concern for the community inside the ecolodge grounds and outside of the ecolodge grounds including the people from young babies to the elderly. This can be seen in working in school projects to inviting elders to be part of certain activities and decisions in the community.

Another community service which should take an important role in any ecolodge is the food supply. In a world that has an addiction to fossil fuels and much of this being the transport of food, it is very important that ecolodges use local food and involve the community as everyone can be part of organic farming. The community service of teaching local residents about growing without pesticides is just as valuable as teaching English which can also be a positive community service project.

While teaching English can be important in an ecotourism country like Costa Rica it is just as important that ecolodges are advocates for preserving local cultures, languages, and forms of medicines. Many ecolodges are located in areas where older cultures are dying and in need of preservation. An ecolodge  can play an influential role in a community by promoting the local cultures which often includes a particular dialect, herbal medicines and cures and a love for the Earth.

Being part of an ecolodge involves community service and more important the ecolodge must not be invovled in the community but be a part of the community as an educator and a student of many of the magical wonders that are outside of the ecolodge. The greatest service to a community is living with respect to it's members and the land that supports the life of the community.

Central Pacific Hotels Costa Rica

The Central Pacific is one of Costa Rica's most interesting spots and you might not notice just zipping down the coastal highway but the National Park of Carara and the Tarcoles River happen to be the division between the tropical dry forest of the Northern Pacific and the tropical humid forest in the Southern Pacific.

This can be interesting when picking a hotel for your Costa Rica Family Vacation in the area of the central Pacific because you will have the option to see many different species that might be endemic to the two different types of areas. You also have mass populated areas separated by long deserted coastline with not much in between except simple lodging and an occasional isolated luxurious hotel. Your two most common places would be Jaco and then the town of Manuel Antonio which is home to one of Costa Rica's most beautiful national parks.

The Central Pacific is also known for having a good local population as the beaches closest to the Central Valley Hotels and homes are all located here making it an easy day trip or a weekend get away for Ticos or tourists who are in the Central Valley. The new Caldera Highway which makes driving to the Central Pacific from San Jose just over an hour is now open as of 2010 and cuts drive time down to about half of what it use to be.

There are often a number of Costa Rica adventure tours to pick from in this area and they are often stretched out by the coastal highway. If you are into ziplining, ATV tours, birding, nature hikes, whale and dolphin watching, Costa Rica rafting tours, and much more you will find all of this in the Central Pacific. You can also find great places to eat with views of the deep blue Pacific. You can even find a number of Costa Rica Spanish Schools in the area of Manuel Antonio or some surf classes at almost any beach you want.

Kid Rafting in Costa Rica

Our years of running Costa Rica Adventure tours for families with kids of all ages has made us experts on Costa Rica whitewater rafting rivers that keep the kids wet but in the boat. Take a look at our one day tour of the Pejibaye river.

6am --------- Leave San Jose Area for Turrialba

8am --------- Breakfast in the Mountains of Orosi

10am ------- Enter Pejibaye River

1pm --------- Take out and Have lunch

3pm --------- Arrive to San Jose Area

Cost: $55/person (Minimum 4 people)
Includes: Breakfast and lunch, all transportation, and rafting equipment with guides
Things to bring: Change of clothes, towel, shoes that will not fall off and can get wet, camera if waterproof.

Pacuare River 2-Day Tour

Pacuare River 2-Day Tour

Day 1

6am ------------- Leave San Jose Area for Turrialba

8:30am --------- Costa Rican Breakfast in Sitio de Mata

10am ------------ Put in Pacuare River

12pm ------------ River Lunch in Pacuare River

3pm -------------- Arrive to Pacuare River Camp Site

5pm -------------- Happy Hour Fruit Punch or Cocktails

7pm -------------- Dinner is Served

Day 2 

8am ------------- Breakfast

10am ----------- Start Rafting the Pacuare Canyon!

12pm ----------- Hike to Waterfall

1pm ------------- Take out and have lunch

4pm ------------- Arrive to San Jose Area

Cost: $190/person (Minimum 2 people)
Includes: All meals listed, all transportation to and from San Jose area, all rafting and camping equipment along with linens and towels.
Things to Bring: Flashlight, sunscreen, change of clothes for camping, sleeping, rafting, and change of shoes or sandals, rafting shoes that can get wet and will not fall off, camera if waterproof.

Pacuare River Rafting 1-Day Tour

6am --------------- Leave San Jose Area for Turrialba

8:30am ---------- Local Costa Rican Breakfast in Sitio de Mata

10am ------------- Enter Pacuare River

1pm -------------- Take out Pacuare, bathrooms for changing, and drive to lunch just 5 minutes away

4pm -------------- Arrive to San Jose Area

Cost: $65/person (Minimum 2 people)
Includes: All transportation to and from San Jose area, breakfast and lunch, rafting equipment and personal guides
Things to Bring: Change of clothes, shoes for rafting that will not fall off and can get wet, lots of sunscreen, camera if waterproof.
Note: We have secure buses and you can leave any valuables with our drivers at during your rafting adventure

Central Valley Hotels Costa Rica

The Central Valley of Costa Rica is home to the majority of the population and the capital city of San Jose. The San Jose Airport SJO is Costa Rica's busiest airport and most Costa Rica Vacations or business comes in and out of the Central Valley.

The Central Valley is located at 3,000ft above sea-level and is surrounded by Poas, Irazu, and Barva Volcanoes and mountains. The three main cities that make up the Central Valley of Costa Rica are Alajuela, Heredia, and San Jose. All of these cities are home to many different hotels that provide different options when looking for lodging during any type of Costa Rica Adventure.

If you want to be in the city where all the hustle and bustle is you can find places in the center of San Jose and if you are looking to be on the outskirts of the Central Valley looking down at a high elevation with perfect cool mountain weather then you can also find lodging that fits. Large hotels for conferences to small hotels for a Costa Rica honeymoon package are all found in the Central Valley. If you are looking to dine and shop in style, some of the finest restaurants and shops in the Americas are in the Escazu area and within walking distance of world class hotels. Most of your hotels in the Central Valley can offer day trips via car or in-county flights or being in the center is often an advantage as you can get to almost any part of the country in less than a days travel through Sansa or NatureAir or making the drives outside of the valley. The tours from the area are day tours to the beaches, cloudforest, Costa Rica ziplining,  Costa Rica whitewater rafting, or the many different volcano craters Costa Rica has easy access to.

Caribbean Hotels Costa Rica

The Caribbean side of Costa Rica is a 125 mile stretch from the border of Nicaragua to the border of Panama. It is a mix of lush rainforest and a number of different Costa Rican ecolodges. On this coastal stretch you can find Tortuguero which has been referred to the Venice of the rainforest. You will also see the Port of Limon and inland from there the famous Costa Rica whitewater rafting rivers.

When you hear the word "Caribbean" though nothing else comes to mind except for white sandy beaches. This is true for Costa Rica also.  The word Carib means belonging to American Indian populace and with a mix of Bri-Bri ancient Indian culture and an Afro-Costa Rican culture it makes for the perfect blend of culture and natural beauty. The Caribbean side is like no other part of Costa Rica. Where the Pacific is more mountainous, most of the Caribbean side is just rolling hills but in the Southern zone the Talamanca mountain range makes is way towards the coast.

The Caribbean side is home to a number of different places to stay and if you are on a Costa Rica family vacation or just looking for your next Costa Rica adventure tour you can surely find plenty of things to do in the area. It all starts at the many different unique options one of which is Costa Rican ecolodges.

Almonds and Corals Hotel

This is a Costa Rica ecolodge with 5 leaves on the CST level for Certification for Sustainable Tourism. If you want to be sure where you are staying is environmental friendly and with a very luxurious touch then this is the place for you. One of my favorite things about this place is that it is on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. In my opinion just as beautiful as the Pacific side. 
The Almonds and Coral Hotel is located in the beach area of Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge and you will experience beautiful white sandy beaches along with some of the deepest rooted cultures in all of Costa Rica. This location allows you to experience the Afro-Costa Rican culture along with the Bri-Bri's ancient native culture which is a scale of the conservation this hotel has.

The lodge is located very close to the border of Panama which puts it around 3 1/2 hours from San Jose but well worth the drive. If you are interested a Costa Rica Spanish School you can stop by our Sitio de Mata Project on the way out to this beautiful ecolodge and take advanture of the beautiful Pacuare river being on the way there which could lead you to another one of Costa Rica's most beautiful ecolodges which is the Pacuare Camp Site.

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge

If you are looking for a Costa Rica Eco Lodge and you want to get away from it all even the roads then this is the place for you. Located in the Southern Pacific area of Costa Rica Eco Lodge Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is only accesible by boat. You will take a boat across the Golfo Dulce and arrive to a water front lodge that is surrounded by rainforest.

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge
You do not have to take our word for it but TripAdvisor rates it a 4.5 on a scale of 5 which gave it a rating of "Excellence" in the year of 2010. This is an ecolodge that is known for taking good care of you. If you are looking to go out and adventure on your own this might not be the place for you. But if you are looking to be pampered and be taken on guided hikes then here you have it at Playa Nicuesa you will find perfect service, food, and very nice lodging.

The Southern Pacific area of Costa Rica is considered one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet and your animal sitings will be excellent with everything from monkeys, macaws, anteaters, and if you lucky maybe even a jaguar. Expect to do adventures such as hikes and snorkeling there are no extreme adventures in the area such as Costa Rica whitewater rafting.

The rates depending on what time of year you travel and the room you pick will run from $180 - $300 a night. This is also an ecolodge that has 4 leaves on the CST level of Certification for Sustainable Tourism which shows that their lodge has a very low impact on the environment and they are involved in the local community.

When looking for you next Costa Rica adventure tour consider staying in a place like Playa Nicuesa Rainforest lodge as it can make such an impact on a family vacation.

What is an Ecolodge?

Lapa Rios Costa Rica Ecolodge
Costa Rica is known for ecotourism along with many other types of tourism. The ecotourism is without a doubt the best type of tourism (that is just our own company's opinion). With ecotourism comes all sorts of ideas of how to travel with little or no harm to the environment. The most common way to enjoy ecotourism is to stay at a Costa Rica ecolodge.  An ecolodge can range from arriving only by raft in Costa Rica whitewater rafting tours to remote ecologdes or being at the populated Manuel Antonio but staying at a place with a real commitment to the environment. To put it simply anyone can really just call themselves an ecolodge and have many pretty plants at the entrance but there is a real science to becoming an ecolodge. It should be noted also that as long as being an ecolodge and a green company is a positive marketing tool, this just means we as a world community, are in the process of taking steps towards a sustainable planet with respect to nature. All hotels should be ecolodges and all tourists should travel in an eco-friendly way. It needs to be to the point where it is not talked about or marketed, it is just done. Bad habits change slowly and people have to be educated. We are seeing this with recycling. Gradually families are doing it along with school, industries etc. Hopefully, it will soon just be a part of life.  That is where we have to be with "ecolodges" but until then we can only hope that they just set an example in the direction that our world needs to be moving and continue to give people a "true" eco experience and not try and deceive anyone.

Costa Rica Ecolodges

Costa Rica is a country that makes for the perfect ecolodge. If you want to be on the ocean surrounded by rainforest then there is a spot for your lodge. If you would like to stay in a lodge at an elevation of 10,000ft with the Quetzal bird nearby then there is  a lodge for you. With all the ecolodges in Costa Rica there is a standard for what makes you an ecolodge. There are rating services by CST (Certification for Sustainable Tourism) who awards leaves from 1 being the least eco-friendly to 5 leaves being having your eco-awareness to the max. Last I checked there were 7 hotels in Costa Rica that had 5 leaves some of them being simple lodges to even a near 5 star hotel in the Manuel Antonio area. The true test of an ecolodge comes after you are certified. This is where the human mind must take a step forward beyond a simple leaf system and actually be eco-friendly for the sake of nature and the sake of future generations. Maybe instead of leaves on websites they should put pictures of our grandkids or even our kids as this has to be a project thinking of them and not just immediate sales on rooms for having 5 leaves as an ecolodge.

What makes an Ecolodge Eco-Friendly

The idea of being an ecolodge is to have little to no impact on the environment. There are hotels that build their entire enfrastructure with labor from the local community and materials from the local area cutting down on importing things from far distance and being less dependant on fossil fuels. This is all in the building process and when the operation gets started is when it becomes tricky. One of the most important in our opinion is food. Many ecolodges have gardens that grow their own food and if you can grow a premaculture garden that would be best and/or atleast organic on hotel grounds gardened by local labor.

Being involved in the local community is always a part of being eco-friendly. This should involve preserving local culture in our opinion and if there are Indians nearby you are in luck because you can make extra efforts to preserve cultures that are in dying need of conservation. Community help can be in a number of different ways but if at all possible should involve sustainable education such as gardening, different impacts on the environment, and most importantly educating to care for present and future generations which ultimately generates the interest of conservation.

Finally the ecolodge itself should operate with as low of impact as possible to the environment in allowing it's guest to feel part of the action through maybe not running water, not having A/C units, planting trees to offset their jet they arrived to the country in, washing towels and sheets as little as possible, and taking their own food to the compose. The ecolodge should operate off of alternative energy such as solar or hydro. The ecolodge should educate through optional evening talks about conservation in the local area and global warming. The ecolodge should be using graywater for plants.

Our company supports ecolodges all over Costa Rica. You must look and investigate to make sure if what you are getting into is really an ecolodge with first priority "green trees" or first priority "green bills". Our Costa Rica Spanish School is what we consider an eco-school and our comapny operates as much as possible with little to know impact trying to offset car rides and many more projects we have going on.