Jungle Retreats In Costa Rica

Posted on: 22 October 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Costa Rica is the perfect destination for anyone seeking a jungle experience that is teeming with wildlife, waterfalls and canopy tours.

It was Christopher Columbus who discovered and christened the country Costa Rica, which literally translates as 'Rich Coast.' 

Top and tailed by Nicaragua and Panama respectively, and flanked either side by the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica has pristine Robinson-Crusoe-style beaches, stunning waterfalls, volcanoes and dense jungles, making it home to the greatest density of species in the world.

The country is divided into twenty national parks and eight biological reserves, and 25% of the country is environmentally protected and home to many endangered species.  It is also a world-leader in eco-tourism, and in  2007 the Costa Rican Government said that plan to make it the first country to become carbon neutral by 2021.

Considered one of the most bio diverse regions in the world, there is plenty of wildlife to spot and wilderness to explore.  Nature trails by foot, horse or bike, waterfalls to discover, and rainforest canpoe tours.  Twitchers will be in their element with 850 species of birds - the equivalent to the number in North America but crammed into an area the size of Kentucky.

Read on for a run-down of the ultimate Costa Rican jungle lodges.

Pacuare Lodge

The owner of Pacuare Lodge, Roberto Fernando first paddled by the lodge’s remote site over twenty years ago and dreamt of buying this land.   Today it is a sublimely natural experience that respects and protects the environment.

You can bird watch, hike, swim, fish, explore the rainforest canopy, visit a traditional indigenous community, or simply relax, soaking up the sights and sounds of the rainforest.

The Pacuare Lodge’s eco-friendly bungalows are surrounded by exuberant tropical foliage, nestled between the river and their private nature reserve which conserves 300 hectares of primary rainforest. 

Kayaking in Costa RicaThe lodges are all made of wood from tree farms and palm thatch collected in the rainforest by their neighbouring Cabecar Indian. Each bungalow combines sustainable practices such as solar-heated water and low-impact septic systems with comforts such as orthopedic mattresses and spacious bathrooms.

Most people stay on 2 or 3 day river rafting packages, but you can also visit the lodge without descending the Pacuare River if you aren’t a fan of getting wet.  Rates range from $326 for a one night stay to $776 for a 4 night stay in the basic room.  Other options are available including a beautiful honeymoon suite. 

For rates and booking visit http://www.pacuarelodge.com/php/rates.php

Jungle Tarpoon Lodge

A lot less rustic than Pacuare, this lodge is situated on 100 acres of land, netsled between the Parismina River lagoon and the Caribbean Sea.  Activities include bird spotting, hikes through the jungle, kayaking into the silent world of little visited lagoons, fishing or simply relaxing on the private beach.  

An eco-safari itinerary is available which includes a rainforest tour, a trek up the mountains and the cloud forests, turtle watching on the beach and a trip to Arenal Volcano.  The tour costs US$2100 as a 6 night trip or US$1200 as a four night trip.

For further information visit http://www.jungletarpon.com

Esquinas Lodge

Hidden in the jungle of remote Piedras Blancas National Park in southern Costa Rica, Esquinas Rainforest Lodge is surrounded by thousands of acres of untouched wilderness. It is a retreat for nature lovers wishing to experience the sounds and sights of a tropical rainforest in a tranquil, undisturbed atmosphere. 

Located near the village of La Gamba, only three miles off the Interamerican Highway and a 30-minute drive from Golfito airport, tours include jungle hikes, a mangrove tour, kayaking, moutain biking or horseback tours.

Accommodation can be booked either in the lodge itself or at the nearby beach cottage or a recently opened Jungle Villa postioned on a hill only 100 meters from the main lodge.  

Prices start at US$145 per night in high season, although packages are available. 

For further information and pricing visit http://www.esquinaslodge.com/rates-and-packages.html

Encanta La Vida

Encanta La Vida which translates as "Enchanted Life" is an upscale jungle adventure lodge located in the tropical rainforest of southern Costa Rica. Situated on the tip of the remote and exotic Osa Peninsula, Encanta La Vida is nestled between the jungle slopes of Cabo Matapalo and the pristine secluded beaches of Pan Dulce, Backwash and Matapalo.

The enchantment begins with the primal setting in one of the most bio-diverse rain forests in the world. Watch an incredible variety and abundance of wildlife including monkeys, toucans, macaws, butterflies, coatimundi, aguti and sloths, all from the comfort of the lodge.

This upmarket lodge has a new poolside full-service bar and you can have your choice of romantic poolside dining or private seating in the dining room. Activites include kayaking, tree climbing, waterfall rappelling, fishing, horse riding and dolphin spotting.

There are five choices of accommdation and prices range from US$85 per person per day including three meals and tax (single occupancy at USD$135) to US$95 per person per day.

Visit http://www.encantalavida.com/accommodations.htm for further information and prices.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Canopy walkway in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica.The spectacular Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Feels like walking in a grandiose green Cathedral. Wind-sculptured elfin woodlands on the exposed ridges are spectacularly dwarfed, whereas protected cove Monteverde rainforests have majestically tall trees festooned with orchids, bromeliads, ferns, vines, and mosses.

Poorly drained areas support swamp forests while parts of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, dissected by deep gorges, have numerous crystal clear streams tumbling over rapids and waterfalls.

The variable climate and large altitudinal gradient has helped produce an extremely high biodiversity. Spectacular wildlife includes the Jaguar, Ocelot, Baird´s Tapir, Three-wattled Bellbird, Bare necked Umbrella bird and the famous elusive Resplendent Quetzal.

Tours include a hike through the jungle with an experienced biologist to learn about the natural history of the area before you experience the awesome adventure of rappelling down waterfalls. You will be given a class to learn the basics of rappelling and then will rappel down a small waterfall before the final adventure of rappelling the mighty 100 foot King Louis waterfall.

The Monteverde Costa Rica canopy tour is also a must.  Sky Trek is a system of trails, suspension bridges, and zip lines that offers visitors the opportunity to observe, and appreciate tropical vegetation from different vantage points, above the rain forest canopy.

Various packages are available and are listed at http://www.monteverdeinfo.com/canopy/selvatura/ and they also have an excellent section on various hotels available including http://www.monteverdeinfo.com/monteverde/hotel.htm.

Getting There

Flights to Costa Rica start at £537 upwards and flying time is typically around 14 hours.  Visit http://www.cheapflights.co.uk/flights/San-Jose-(Costa-Rica)/ for further information.

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