Costa Rica luxury holiday, activity & nature
Description of Costa Rica luxury holiday, activity & nature
Get a taste of this tiny country with an eight-day luxury tour, combining the comfort of eco lodges with the wonder of spotting rare birds as you raft on the Pacuara river. Costa Rica is the eco-tourist’s dream. Here, you can have a luxurious holiday that’s kind to the environment – think fewer gold taps, more toucans.
This holiday is both fast-paced and comfortable, and it really lets the natural beauty of the surroundings shine through. After a stint in a San José hotel, You’ll stay in a series of three eco-lodges in the jungle. Your first lodge is raft-in, raft-out, then you’ll travel between the others by road. All have wonderful perks, such as exciting jungle activities and spa facilities.
Your first port of call will be the Pacuare River, where you’ll raft in churning white water through steep canyons, then drift gently through calmer waters, keeping your eyes peeled for birds and butterflies. A two night stint in a world-leading lodge follows, where you can spend a day immersed in nature, before rafting again. Póas National Park gives you a chance to admire cloud forest, before staying in its midst (or should that be mist?) in your second lodge. Here, in the Costa Rican mountains, you can loll in the spa or dive into more activities.
Your last lodge is found in Rio Perdido, a natural dwarf forest reserve, where you can choose between a breathless day of zip lining and canyoning, or smothering yourself in volcanic mud at the natural spa. The trip ends with a flight from Liberia airport – or you can add an extension to the secluded beaches of Punta Islita.
PlanetEcotourism in Costa Rica is one of the key activities of its tourism industry. The country was a pioneer among of several in Latin America turning to ecotourism as a way of responding to the growing demand for responsible travel. Eco-friendly lodges and activities draw visitors to the many extensive national parks and protected areas around the country, and you will be impressed by the slick and professional way in which these policies have come to fruition.
Our local partners in Costa Rica, with whom we work to select accommodation and activities for you, have a declared policy of adhering to responsible attitudes toward waste and water management and energy resources. They aim to strengthen these principals through management practices of their employees. The companies seek to minimize the impact of visitors on the landscape and its wildlife, respecting the fragility of the ecosystems. They aim to respect local communities, supporting conservation and development initiatives. As part of their work, they engage in activities to promote the human development of the communities they visit.
One does not usually associate the word “luxury” with responsible travel, as in so many cases luxury facilities involve a disproportionate use of resources such as electricity and water. Happily, on this holiday we have selected very comfortable, first class properties with excellent eco-friendly credentials. Both their accommodation and adventure activities, including river rafting, abseiling down waterfalls, horse-riding and zip-lining, have been conceived to be respectful of the natural environment.
Clearly, by rafting to Pacuare Lodge you are saving on the fuel you would have consumed by travelling by road. The lodge itself is a model of commitment to responsible tourism. It was constructed with a minimum impact on the surrounding forest and river. No trees were cut down to accommodate the buildings, constructed using lumber from a reforestation project run by local farmers. The thatched roofs were made by nearby Cabécar indians in their traditional style using palm leaves collected in their forest reserve.
The company which organised the lodge’s activities, Aventuras Naturales, was the first adventure travel firm to acquire parcels of primary forest in this area solely for the purpose of conservation. Over the years, they have purchased 340ha of endangered primary rain forest along the Pacuare River for conservation.
With regard to local wildlife, the lodge is assisting in the study of jaguars in the forests along the Pacuare river by providing the researchers with food, lodging, and logistical support. The lodge is also reintroducing howler monkeys - eliminated in the area by indigenous hunters - to its forest reserve. You have the opportunity to take a canopy-level ride, or a guided wild-life spotting trek, to catch sight of some of the protected species thriving in this well-conserved rainforest.
El Silencio Lodge Spa - located close to Poás Volcano National Park - a hillside luxury lodge of smart wooden cabins (a member of the Relais & Chateaux Portfolio) - is very much concerned with ecological good practice. It is a participant in the Certification for Sustainable Tourism scheme - established by the Costa Rican institute for Tourism - promoting eco-friendly initiatives. Energy and water-saving practices have been adopted at the property. The grounds are integrated into the Costa Rican Network of Nature Reserves currently comprising over 200 members, together owning approximately 140,000 ha forest, with the aim of conserving the ecological balance there. For example, the lodge has establishes a biological corridor connecting two national parks.
Rio Perdido is a luxury lodge in the exquisite region of fertile plains and mountains close to Arenal volcano. State-of-the-art contemporary cabins are dotted throughout dwarf forest shading a sinuous river canyon, offering active adventures and a wellness spa. It too has a commitment to sustainability practices which translates words into action. While around 40 trees had to be felled to construct the access road, the property planted 1,000 new trees to compensate. The lodge carefully protects its forest from roaming livestock from surrounding farms. All the property’s electricity domes from a geothermal electricity plant. By 2016, it will produce its own organically grown herbs, spices, and a variety of vegetables and fruits to be used in the restaurant.
PeopleThe lodges and hotels we have chosen for you are active in their support of their local communities.
Pacuare Lodge provides environmental education and explains its sustainable practices to local people, its staff and guests. It makes donations and initiates projects in nearby communities. Infrastructure in this remote area is sparse and poorly maintained, and there are few employment opportunities, so the lodge make a point of hiring local people. All Pacuare Lodge staff are recruited in nearby communities and 95% of the rafting guides are from nearby Turrialba. The lodge donates equipment to local primary schools and it is happy to accept donations for them from you. They are also helping a nearby Cabécar Indian community to install a drinking water system.
El Silencio Lodge & Spa fosters good relations and synergy between the hotel and its neighbours. Local purchasing and hiring policies assist in improving the socio-economic situation of nearby farms and villages.
Rio Perdido, the lodge at Arenal volcano, is an active member of the San Bernardo community, supporting the San Bernardo Elementary School with much needed equipment and participating in local festivals. It is involved with the only local recycling company; an exemplary family-run project. The lodge has broadened the community’s employment opportunities by offering a successful programme of free English lessons