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Off the beaten track

The wonders of Costa Rica - Part two

Hugo King-Fretts November 28, 2014


The people of Costa Rica have an admirable focus on preserving their beautiful country, and as such the much-needed tourism industry has had to build itself around Mother Nature.


The result is ecotourism: resorts and hotels that utilise their environment – be that rainforest, volcanic land or the coast – to create unique, atmospheric and exciting accommodation for visitors to all parts of the country.


On his recent trip to this diverse country, Senior Designer Hugo King-Fretts experienced a number of different types of accommodation available on our Costa Rica tours, and here he shares his views.


Rainforest Lodges


Pachira Lodge (Tortuguero)



“The lodge resorts in Tortuguero are only accessibly by boat – or small plane – so just getting there was an experience, a journey in itself.


“Pachira Lodge is located just five minutes from Tortuguero National Park. This means the wildlife and nature from the forest blend seamlessly with the lodge accommodation, so you could very well find yourself sharing a drink with the howler monkeys.”


Selva Verde Lodge (Sarapiqui)



“The location of the Selva Verde Lodge is particularly important as it links two key areas of the rainforest. This allows the migration of many species of animals including birds and mammals, so a big selling point is the wildlife on your doorstep.


“The main structure was built using only fallen trees – redwoods and hardwood – from the surrounding forest and it's still standing strong 30 years later. As good an example of eco-tourism as you can get.”


Around the volcanoes


Arenal Springs Resort



“The rooms were absolutely beautiful, with views up towards the conical volcano, which is the real draw of this hotel. It’s also higher up on the luxury scale, so couples and honeymooners can have a lavish stay here while remaining close to nature.


“The surroundings are fantastic and you can make the most of them on one of the many nature walks available. There is also a ‘thermal river’ at the property, which offers guests the chance to relax in warm, mineral water from sources around the volcano.”


Up in the cloud forest


Hotel El Establo (Monteverde)



“This is where tourism in Monteverde began. El Establo was the first commercial property here, set up by a group of Quakers who fled their homes in the early 1950s to escape the 2nd World War. Being pacifists they wouldn’t allow their youth to go to war, so they got together with a few other families and headed to Monteverde just at the time the region was starting to be inhabited.


“Pacifism met naturalism here and nature reserves were created. The hotel also has its own zip line course which allows guests the opportunity to view the cloud forest from above the canopy.”


Tip top luxury


Parador Hotel Resort and Spa (Manuel Antonio)



“Sustainable luxury is possible – and this hotel shows exactly how. It overlooks the sea and is just a short walk to the beach, so there’s yet another different type of holiday experience to be had.


Through local sourcing and the management of resources, this hotel has been given the sustainable Tourism Award by the tourist board.


“The beach itself is unique. You might share your sunbathing spot with crafty raccoons or iguanas, and because of the Maritime Law preventing properties being built within 200 metres of the coast, the view of the forest cascading down on to the beach is magical. In other countries you look back and just see hotel windows.”


Parador is available as part of a tailor-made itinerary only. Please speak to one of our destination specialists if you would like to know more.