Costa Rica is the most bio-diverse nation on the planet, and every year ecologists, biologists, botanists, and nature enthusiasts visit Costa Rica eco lodges and wilderness camps in order to experience that bio-diversity up close. Ecotourism is a hot and rapidly expanding industry in Costa Rica, and many resorts and lodges now specialize in adventure and wildlife tours.
Travelers who want to experience wildlife and fauna directly have lots of choices, from affordable and simple Costa Rica wilderness camps with cold showers all the way up to extravagant nature resorts with all the upscale amenities of a four star hotel. The following Costa Rica eco lodges and wilderness camps are among the most popular, and many others are available throughout the nation:
Arenal Observatory Lodge
- used to be a research facility but has been converted for visitor use. The rooms have been upgraded to accommodate tourists, and the views of Mount Arenal are truly spectacular. Toucans can usually be spotted in the trees that surround the observatory, and howler monkeys can be heard early each morning.
- La Paloma Lodge on Drake Bay provides front porch views of local flora and fauna and is situated next to the Osa Peninsula lowland rainforest. Separate cabins are best, but even the rooms in the main building provide great views. Meals are served family style with home baked bread. Vegetarian or special dietary needs are accommodated on request.
- Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge is located at the southern tip of the Osa Peninsula where Golfo Dulce meets the Pacific Ocean. Set into a cliff nearly 500 feet above the ocean, the views from all the rooms are excellent and dramatic. Separate cabins have large porches, outdoor showers, and private indoor bathrooms. A private trail leads down to a secluded beach and tropical waterfall. Hiking, horseback riding, and canopy tours are just a few of the many activities regularly offered.
- Corcovado Lodge Tent Camp is a great choice for students or travelers on a tight budget. The large, clean tents are situated right next to Corcovado. Just reaching the lodge is an adventure: A chartered plane takes guests to within 30 minutes of camp, and the remaining mile must be walked. Meals are eaten outside in the fresh air, and there is even a canopy tent available for those who want to experience sleeping on a rainforest platform.
- Tortuga Lodge is located on the Caribbean coast where Costa Rican sea turtles nest and hatch their young. When travelers think of ecology in Costa Rica, they tend to think of the rain forests in the west, but the eastern coast of Costa Rica is well worth visiting and has its own special ambiance and local Caribbean-style cuisine. Tortuga Lodge is one of the nicest eco lodge facilities in the area.
- La Selva Biological Station (www.ots.ac.cr) is located just south of Puerto Viejo beside Braulio Carillo National Park. Although La Selva is mostly a residence for scientists, students, and other researchers, the station also accepts tourists who seek lodging close to the rain forest. Accommodations are simple bunk beds and shared bathrooms. A few rooms are set up for families and feature both double and twin beds and private baths. The food is delicious and served cafeteria style in large dining hall, and visitors have access miles of hiking trails and over 3,600 acres of rainforest.
Costa Rica eco lodges and adventure camps are becoming tourism’s hottest direction. If you would like to experience Costa Rica’s biodiversity up close, talk to your travel agent about your planned itinerary and your comfort level. You will find that you have plenty of choices for ecotourism, and that the perfect Costa Rica eco lodge or wilderness camp is already out there, just waiting for you to discover it and return year after amazing year.