Eco vacations: the best eco lodges in Costa Rica

What is an eco resort or eco lodge? An eco lodge is a hospitality establishment that has been conceived and is run with the aim of providing guests with a stay that is strongly oriented to nature-based experiences while educating them about the immediate natural environment and how to preserve it. Unlike green hotels –with which they share energy and resource-saving features-, the eco resorts are normally integrated in secluded areas that may be forests, beaches, jungles or mountains, away from the noise and pollution inherent to urban zones. This way, travellers get the unique chance to immerse themselves in the local culture, stay in close touch with nature and even learn and help to preserve the indigenous ecosystem.

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Booking your stay in an eco lodge

In their mission to limit waste and reduce all kinds of negative impacts that tourism may exert on the environment, eco lodges use eco-friendly, recyclable, biodegradable and organic supplies, and strive to ensure that most amenities and utensils made available are non-disposable. In the same manner and in order to offer guests a completely innovative experience that will feel nothing like a hotel stay, these small lodges are normally run by locals who are experts in the local flora and fauna rather than business people, and also make an effort to contribute back to the community by employing insiders who will be better tour guides than many trained professionals, using local produce to elaborate their dishes and devoting themselves to the preservation of natural resources.

Eco resorts and eco lodges typically specialise in a vast range of activities so that travellers have plenty to do during their eco vacation: from visits to natural spas to hiking and kayaking tours, yoga lessons, outdoor and water sports, harvesting and cooking classes, and trips to archaeological sites and natural reserves.

Eco lodges in Costa Rica

This sort of accommodation is frequently found in islands and tropical regions, among which Costa Rica –with both its Pacific and its Caribbean coast- stands out as home to some of the best eco resorts in the world. Such a denomination does not come as a surprise when talking about a land boasting tropical forests and paradisiacal views that is extremely rich in biologically-diverse ecosystems never discovered anywhere else on earth. Below you will find a selection of our recommended eco lodges in Costa Rica.

The Catarata eco lodge in Costa Rica

Location: this accommodation is superbly located in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, and provides confirmed guests with private shuttle services to and from Juan Santamaría International airport, approximately two hours and a half away. It also offers free parking spaces if you decide to hire a car. A short drive separates the lodge from nearby hot springs and waterfalls, while the non-smoking and accessible facilities afford stunning views of the Arenal Volcano, and feature blooming gardens where indigenous birds live, an onsite restaurant specialising in traditional food, a swimming pool and a Jacuzzi aside from other amenities.

Activities: while staying here, travellers may take day-trips to many natural sites of interest in La Fortuna such as geothermal spas, waterfalls, the Arenal Eco Zoo and adventure parks ideally located within easy reach from the accommodation.

Characteristics: this eco lodge in Costa Rica features complimentary WiFi internet in their premises, free parking spaces, laundry services, daily housekeeping and breakfast. Guests may choose to stay in family rooms with capacity of 4 adults and 2 children, double units or triple units.

Lookout Inn Beach Rain-Forest / Eco Lodge in Costa Rica

Location: the Lookout Inn is actually an eco resort on the beach that offers rooms and bungalows with ocean views in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Airport transfers are available to and from the nearest airports: Puerto Jimenez International (20 kilometres from the accommodation) and the domestic terminal Carate (1 kilometre from the lodge). It is ideally located to take short trips to the Corcovado National Park.

Activities: guests may enjoy the swimming pool with views, request massage services on site or go horse-riding, kayaking, hiking or bird-watching. The nearby Corcovado National Park is a mandatory visit.

Characteristics. All units of this eco resort in Costa Rica have private bathrooms with amenities and fall into the following categories: beach bungalow, family room, double room, quadruple room and deluxe room. The restaurant inside the premises specialises in international cuisine and serves meals all throughout the day.

Eco lodge in a natural reserve in Costa Rica

Location: the Cedrela eco lodge is situated in the heart of a natural reserve known as Cedrela in Copey, 46 kilometres away  from Playa Hermosa and some 40 kilometres from the nearest air passenger terminal (Tobias Bolaños International); airport transfers are provided for a small surcharge.

Activities: as a guest, join the organised daily tours and excursions to explore the reserve and its vicinity, or stay and try the scrumptious local dishes in its onsite restaurant.

Characteristics: the Cedrela eco lodge complex in Costa Rica has a diverse range of accommodation options featuring free WiFi and garden views that include cottages, bungalows, villas and double or twin rooms.

The Maquenque eco lodge in Costa Rica

Location: this environmentally-friendly accommodation is nestled in the tropical jungle in Boca Tapada, surrounded by local fauna and wildlife, with gardens where they grow their own fruits and vegetables. It takes about three hours to reach this point from San Jose International airport in Costa Rica, but so much to see awaits here that the journey is well worth it; airport transfers are offered at an extra cost.

Activities: although the Maquenque reserve features nearby markets and even an area with local dining outlets and bars few kilometres apart, it is known and valued for being a tranquil place ideal for nature lovers to admire the indigenous wildlife. Aside from that, visitors may enrol in a wide range of tours that imply activities like hiking trails, bird-watching, canoeing, boat trips to River San Carlos and even night safaris. Should they feel like staying at the lodge, there is a sports bar and a local restaurant inside the facilities.

Characteristics: the spacious rooms at this accommodation for your eco vacation in Costa Rica can be of double or triple occupancy or bungalows, and they feature private terrace and en suite bathroom with amenities. Complimentary breakfast is available.

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