“If this is ecotourism, count me in!” That was what my husband said after stepping off the inflatable raft we had been on for the last hour and a half. We had arrived at Pacuare Lodge in Costa Rica and had been greeted by the manager with a big smile and an even bigger cup of hot chocolate – just in case the tepid water temperatures were too much for us northerners.
We were in the middle of the rainforest approximately 70 miles due east from San Jose and it was gorgeous scene. The Pacuare River is one of the Top 5 Rivers for whitewater rafting mostly due to its length, natural scenery and variety of class rapids. Almost every day, day trippers line up to tackle the six hour journey through Class II, III and IV rapids toward the Caribbean Sea. But alongside those day trippers were a few of us couples and families who wanted the extra excitement of staying at the Pacuare Lodge.
The Pacuare Lodge is a Certificate in Sustainable Tourism Level 5 certified eco-lodge run to benefit the local Cabecar Indian tribe. The people’s aim was to build a luxurious lodge that would value the environment (not one tree was taken down to build any part of the resort), provide local employment opportunities and preserve the heritage and culture of the tribe. They succeeded as Pacuare Lodge is brimming with nature, serenity, fun and life!
Luxurious villas, some with their own swimming pools, were surrounded by colorful tall flowers and trees. Although we did not have electricity, hot water was plentiful as each villa is provided with its own solar panel. All day, we could hear the rushing Pacuare River as well as toucans and monkeys calling out. The Lodge offers many activities including horseback riding, hiking, bird watching, yoga, massage, and of course, zip-lining and rappelling. The experience was humbling to say the least.
Irene Lane is the founder & president of Greenloons, a company dedicated to providing nature enthusiasts and wildlife conservationists worldwide with trusted information about responsible, sustainable, and certified ecotourism travel vacations and volunteer conservation efforts both in the U.S. and internationally. For more information, visit Greenloons at http://www.greenloons.com