Two top scientists in Nicuesa Lodge

March 1-7: Drs. Howard Topoff and Carol Simon

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is excited to host Drs. Howard Topoff and Carol Simon – both formerly professors at the City University of New York and Research Associates at the American Museum of Natural History – during the first week of March. These two research scientists and study leaders of natural history will offer daily multimedia presentations focusing on the Natural History of Costa Rica – including the following topics:

Introduction to Rain Forest Animals & Plants

Social Behavior of Monkeys of Central and South America

Social Insects of the World

The Evolution of Animal Coloration

Poisonous Reptiles and Amphibians of the Rain Forest

The Evolution of Animal Communication

Courtship and Mating Strategies of Animals

Howard Topoff has spent 40+ years researching the social behavior of animals. His field research has been conducted in Central and South America, Africa, and in the deserts and mountains of Arizona. In addition to his publications in scientific journals, his more popular articles have appeared in magazines such as Scientific American and Natural History. His research has been featured on National Geographic Television, and Scientific American Frontiers.

Carol Simon is broadly trained in ecology, behavior and evolution. Her research on the social behavior of reptiles has taken her to many areas of North and Central America. Her current field research on reptile behavior is based in the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona.

Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge awarded Certificate of Excellence 2013 by TripAdvisor.

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, a unique and transformational lodge & retreat center for wellness retreats of all types, located in the pristine tropical rainforest of southern Costa Rica, recently won the 2013 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award.


The prestigious award celebrates hospitality excellence and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on, a travel review site. Only 10 percent of businesses on TripAdvisor earn the award, placing Playa Nicuesa’s lodge & retreat-site offering in the upper echelon of hotels & retreat centers worldwide.


Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, situated in a 165 acre preserve in the Golfo Dulce/Osa Region of Costa Rica, has received praise and recognition in reviews by TripAdvisor travelers; particularly by those who have organized retreats there: “I was privileged to host a wonderful Yoga Vacation here. It was all, plus more, than I could have hoped for. Nobody left untouched by the experience.”, claimed Cathy Daley, “Alive With Yoga” retreat organizer from Sarasota, Florida.


The lodge offers a unique adventure travel destination to host workshops related to yoga, meditation, and any other wellness areas. Workshop attendees are surrounded by the sounds of toucans, monkeys, and vibrant wildlife in the rainforest, along with the soft lull of the ocean’s waves: “The yoga platform is on the beach, beautifully situated, and the classes I had with our yoga teacher there touched me deeplycommented Ago; from Branford, CT who stayed on February 2013. Lodge is reachable only by boat, which assures the privacy required for a workshop to effectively inspire the spirit, creativity, and harmony of an eco-friendly and relaxed experience.


To qualify for the Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor. Reviewers rated Playa Nicuesa a 4.5 on average. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months. “A fabulous place to be in the Osa! Playa Nicuesa has it all, from lovely accommodations, gorgeous location, great food, great staff and so much to do in one of the most pristine places left on this planet! A real life changing experience. I am a yoga instructor and will be leading my 3rd yoga retreat at Nicuesa in February 2013!MWYoga from Laguna Woods, California.


Yoga group leaders, wellness centers or other workshop intermediaries can take advantage of the exclusive special rates Nicuesa Lodge offers to host workshops & retreats; which includes Tours, use of Lodge Facilities and Preserve, recreational equipment, three fabulous daily meals, and an excellent Guest-to-Staff ratio. As TCDaley expressed: “Everything about this place was wonderful… but the staff really made the biggest impression. I came away from this experience feeling, not only relaxed, but deeply inspired.” The lodge has extensive experience supporting the execution of wellness retreats, and our staff handles all operational details so that the organizer can focus on the marketing of their retreat and achievement of their own workshop goals.


Interested retreat organizers are invited to visit the Nicuesa Lodge website for full details (, and contact Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge in order to obtain further information [call toll-free: 866-504-8116 or email: [email protected]].

Complimentary lodging for familiarization-trips is available for retreat organizers interested in viewing the site before scheduling their workshops at Nicuesa Lodge.

What is it like to work at Nicuesa?

Being a yoga instructor and a massage therapist at Playa Nicuesa
is one in a life time experience… One of our Costarican yoga instructors, Nati Soto, shared with
us her side of the story…


Living and working at Nicuesa Lodge changed
my perspective on life. My expectations for this opportunity were really high,
and no doubt I had the time of my life. The knowledge and the fun that I experienced there is owed to the awesome people I was so lucky 
to spend the time with; guests,
co-workers, and the coolest managers you could ask for. 

Melo, boat captain

has been seven weeks since a captain with a beautiful smile, Melo, picked me
up for a wonderful 30 minute boat ride from Puerto Jimenez to Playa Nic
uesa.  A ride that I was able to take many other
times, and to Golfito and around the gulf as well; sometimes to pick up new guests,
to help with errands, to represent the lodge on recycling campaigns,
or just for the fun and pleasure of being there. 
Those boat rides made me realize all the amazing secrets that this water holds, and the different
sensations that you get just by staring at it. 

Looking calm and still like if the surface of
the water was a mirror, it can suddenly be disturbed by a jump of a dolphin -or
many dolphins-, the bright yellow skin of a sea snake only seen in the Golfo Dulce, or
by a turtle trying to swim unnoticed beside your boat.  

Sea Snake (Pelamis platurus)
Once the boat approaches Playa Nicuesa’s
pier you get involved in the magical feeling of becoming part of the rainforest
and the mountain. The lodge and cabins are very
beautiful and cozy structures, but my favourite place of all with no doubt is
the yoga deck. It is placed in between the beach and the lagoon, so that on one side
you have a very strong energy from the waves striking on the shore, and on the
other side you have the peaceful water moving very slowly and very wisely from the lagoon, to the river and finally into the sea.

Sunset at Yoga Deck

The yoga deck was my every day sanctuary,
the place where we practice yoga and massage.  Every day at least twice a day I did the most
beautiful walk from the lodge to the deck on a wooden path over the lagoon,
always taking the time to see all the humming birds flying around the flowers, animals walking on the side or swimming
underneath the bridge. Nature fills up the
platform with the purest energy. 

The only problems I had to deal with, while I was there, was the fact that you needed to speak a louder during the
yoga class because the macaws are being louder than you; being distracted on
meditation by an ant eater sliding down of a palm tree next to you; the
strength you needed to hold your body into an Asana (posture) while the rain got you; to
get astonished by a big cruise ship going by while practicing balancing postures; getting lost during a massage distracted by a group of dolphins doing
360 jumps in front of you; or get your breath stolen every time a lightning strike illuminating the dark platform during a evening massage. 
All of these moments made me feel so small in
front of that big infinity that is the
ocean, but made me feel one of the pieces that completes the puzzle. 

Dancing with the staff

Working here you really get to relate to the guests, we share every meal with them but you actually end up sharing more
than that, lots of good talking, music, laughs, drinks and even some dancing.
People come here from all over the world and for that reason I got the chance
to hear stories from very different situations and very diverse points of
view. I
learned a lot from everybody that I spent time with. I learned
a lot from Verónica, our Sustainability Coordinator. Sustainability is very strong in Nicuesa, and from her I learned the importance of it. I also learned from her and the
rest of the staff  a lot about the flora and fauna of the Golfo Dulce and the Osa region.  

Hiking in the trails

Working at Nicuesa Lodge was a great and
refreshing  experience, but LIVING at Playa Nicuesa… that’s a life time
experience. There are so many things to do in your free time: running in the trails, swimming in the calm sea, and discovering the incredible biodiversity of the area. The food
is awesome, healthy and fresh, both of the cooks are excellent!! But, the greatest of all is the people that you
live with, the regular staff of the lodge, people that showed me their hearts,
taught me to see live from an angle I never saw before, they laughed with me
all the time and got to my very soul.

I started my journey on my first day going
snorkeling  with Joe, Vero and Sandra; and ended it hiking very
early in the morning with Vero, one hour before leaving Nicuesa. But, in between I did so many amazing things in this magical place… I went running on the trails with
Amelia, started practicing acroyoga with Sandra and Kattia, fishing with the
boys, hiking to the waterfall with Cuy, tracking puma with Felipe,
dancing lessons with the staff -different types of dancing: cumbia, salsa, bachata, reggaeton, and even belly dancing!

Jumping from a palm tree during high tide

I had so much fun jumping off the dock on low tide with everybody
and jumping off the fallen palm tree at high tide, took couple of cooking lessons, swam to see the bioluminiscent planckton at night, visited the Old farm house, went kayaking the river, did
the loop trail, visited the wild life refuge and botanical garden
with guests, went to cheer for my Nicuesa boys at the soccer games, watched a
movie at the neighbour’s, watched the stars laying at the dock, relaxed at the hammocks. I loved to hear the
stories from the local staff, incredible people that have been living in this jungle since they were little. 

This morning Juan Pablo brought me to Puerto
Jiménez to take my flight back home. I already know that I’m going back being a
more open person, willing to become a better human being and to give my best to
the world.

Flying back home