Discover the secluded tropical beaches of southern Costa Rica

Dolphin mother and baby playing in Golfo DulceOur location in the southern Pacific region of Costa Rica on the “Sweet Gulf” of Golfo Dulce by the Osa Peninsula is full of secluded beaches and amazing biodiversity.

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge recently received the Ecological Blue Flag Award for the fifth time for Playa Nicuesa being one of Costa Rica’s cleanest beaches. The area is a perfect destination for nature lovers and adventure-seekers. In our tropical rainforest Squirrel Monkeys in southern Costa Ricayou can find all four species of monkeyswhite-faced Capuchin, spider, howler and the endangered squirrel monkey, Scarlet Macaws, toucans, coatis, wild pigs, exotic snakes, ocelots and jaguars, to name a few. Golfo Dulce is a critical habitat for migrating Pacific Humpback Whales, dolphins and sea turtles.

Besides our Playa Nicuesa, nearby there are 4 tropical Costa Rica beaches that you don’t want to miss when visiting Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge.

Casa Orquideas Botanical Garden, Golfo Dulce, Costa  RicaPlaya San Josecito

Just around a small rocky point from Playa Nicuesa, to the south, is Playa San Josecito – a long crescent-shaped dark sand beach that steeply drops into the water. At the west end of the beach is Casa Orquideas Botanical Garden, a beautifully landscaped private tropical garden with hundreds of species of ornamental and edible plants that have been collected and cared for by Ron and Trudy MacAllister, who have lived in this remote region since the 1970s. Best features: taking a guided tour of Casa Orquideas Botanical Garden; fishing by kayak just offshore.

Playa Cativo

This pretty little beach is within the Piedras Blancas National Park up in the inner gulf. Playa Cativo also won the Costa Rica Ecological Blue Flag Award for 2014. When the tide is low, there is dark sand beach; when the water is high, you only have the manicured green lawns of Playa Cativo Lodge. Best features: snorkeling at coral reefs nearby; spotting Humpback Whales during whale-watching season.

Playa Cana Blanca, Golfo Dulce, Costa RicaPlaya Cana Blanca

Home to the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary, which rescues and rehabilitates orphaned and injured wild animals, Playa Cana Blanca is also contiguous with Piedras Blancas National Park. This is one of the few completely sandy beaches in Golfo Dulce, and it is gorgeous. Take a tour of the sanctuary and you’ll meet a wide variety of animals, from spider monkeys and white-faced monkeys to sloths, kinkajous, tayras, ocelots, anteaters and Scarlet Macaws. Best features: meeting the animals at Osa Wildlife Sanctuary and learning about their work; relaxing on the beautiful beach.

Beach at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge in Costa Rica

Playa Balina

This little-known dark sand beach is located in the inner Golfo Dulce, and is best known for snorkeling.

About Playa Nicuesa

The beach at Playa Nicuesa is mostly small pebbles with dark sand, fringed by palm and coastal almond trees – usually full of wild Scarlet Macaws. Our beautiful wooden yoga deck fronts the beach and magnificent Golfo Dulce. When you are here, be sure to try our adventure and nature tours in the rainforest and around Golfo Dulce. Best features: crystal clear water that changes color from bright blue to jade green; jumping off the Nicuesa Lodge dock into cool water; and watching dolphins swim past shore.

Article by Shannon Farley

Playa Nicuesa is one of Costa Rica’s cleanest beaches

Beach at Playa Nicuesa Costa Rica
People come to visit Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge in Costa Rica for its pristine tropical beach, beautiful rainforest, and jade green Pacific Ocean so clear you can see to the bottom.

Keeping the beach this unspoiled is a full-time job of Nicuesa Lodge staff – whose efforts were recognized last month when Playa Nicuesa received the important Ecological Blue Flag Award for having one of Costa Rica’s cleanest beaches.

The undertaking is definitely worth it, given that this region of southern Costa Rica is a giant conservation area that includes the world-famous Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula, the Piedras Blancas National Park and three other private reserves. The unique Golfo Dulce – “Sweet Gulf” – is a critical habitat for migrating Pacific Humpback Whales, and dolphins and sea turtles.

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Come and get it! Gourmet dining at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge

Dine gourmet on fresh fish at Playa Nicuesa Lodge
Food, glorious food! We all care about what we eat.

One of the great aspects about Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is that you don’t have to worry about where you are going to eat or what you will eat. All meals are included with your stay at the premier Costa Rica rainforest lodge, due to its remote wilderness location.

Exceptional, fresh cuisine is served with flair in Nicuesa Lodge’s magnificent two-story tree house-style main lodge building. The open-air dining area lets you look out at the tree canopy (great for wildlife spotting), the forest, beach and ocean; an open side deck is perfect for gazing at the night sky packed with stars. Seating is family-style with everyone at the lodge, which leads to wonderful engaging conversations about that day’s adventures, other travels and the beauty of life.

Dining in the tree canopy at Nicuesa Lodge
You will be inspired by the abundance of fresh, healthy and wholesome ingredients. Head chef Edixon Lezcano brings a huge helping of creativity to Nicuesa’s menus. There are Asian influences – soy, ginger, citrus and tamarind sauces and dressings. There are Latino influences – quinoa, rice, beans, sauces and cooking methods. And then there are “Edixon influences” like homemade rich dark chocolate cake served with a sweet citrus sauce made from cas fruit (a kind of guava).

“I try to serve healthy cuisine that is low in fat, using natural products that are not artificial,” noted Lezcano, who has delighted guests with his fantastic meals for the past eight years at Nicuesa Lodge.

Dining - Typical breakfast at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge
All breads, tortillas, desserts, juices and sauces are made fresh on-site
. On Nicuesa’s 165-acre private reserve they grow tropical fruit trees like mangoes, star fruit, cas guava, oranges, lemons, papayas, water apples, bananas, plantains and coconuts. The edible garden supplies pineapples, sugar cane, basil, spinach, and other vegetables and herbs. They even grow cacao trees and offer a chocolate tour to show you the delicious process of making organic chocolate.

Dinner - Fresh fish at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest LodgeFishing is a popular pastime at the Costa Rica eco-lodge, which is a bonus for the kitchen. “If someone goes fishing and catches fish, we serve it the same day along with dinner to treat everyone,” said Lezcano.

There are always vegetarian and kids’ options at all meals. Happy hour is one of the best times of the day, when guests gather for exotic tropical drink specials and tempting appetizers every night before dinner in the candlelit bar.

Costa Rica eco-lodge Playa Nicuesa sits on the Golfo Dulce (“Sweet Gulf”) in southern Costa Rica, next to the Piedras Blancas National Park and across from the Osa Peninsula. It is an area of pristine tropical wilderness – a unique adventure travel destination. Contact Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge to book your Costa Rica family vacation, honeymoon, nature and adventure vacation, or yoga retreat.

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge Costa Rica
Article by Shannon Farley

Daydreaming about snorkeling at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge

Spotted eagle ray in Costa Rica

I’m sitting at my desk, meant to be working. What I’m really doing is daydreaming about snorkeling at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge.

I’m remembering the feel of that delicious water – not bath-water warm, but not cold either. I’m thinking about how clear the Golfo Dulce water is, and how vibrantly it changes color from deep jade green next to the shoreline where it reflects the jungle, to bright blue where it mirrors the immense sky. I’m remembering the thrill at seeing wild dolphins splash and play near us. And most of all I’m thinking, I need to get back to Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge and go swimming and snorkeling in Golfo Dulce!

Beach at Playa Nicuesa in Costa Rica

Costa Rica eco-lodge Playa Nicuesa sits on the Golfo Dulce (“Sweet Gulf”) in southern Costa Rica, next to the Piedras Blancas National Park and across from the Osa Peninsula. It is an area of pristine tropical wilderness – something you don’t see every day.

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See wild dolphins at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge in Costa Rica

Dolphin Bottlenose, Golfo Dulce, photo by Earthwatch
The last time I was at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, I was down at the beach cooling off from the hot sun in waist-deep tranquil waters of the Golfo Dulce, when suddenly there was a splash very close behind me. I turned quickly to look out toward the Gulf and was greeted by three Bottlenose Dolphins calmly gliding past me parallel to the beach. They had come easily within 15 feet of me. I was so surprised that I simply froze and watched their effortless beauty as they swam away up the coast.

Humpback Whale breaching in Golfo Dulce
This is how it is on Golfo Dulce in southern Costa Rica. You can be sunning yourself on the dock at Playa Nicuesa Lodge and a dolphin or a sea turtle will serenely pass by. During whale-watching season, you might see a Humpback Whale mother and her calf just offshore. Almost always will you see dolphins when you go on a boat tour of the Golfo Dulce or kayaking in the mangroves of the Esquinas River.
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Join the campaign to listen to nature by visiting the Costa Rica rainforest

Costa Rica Golfo Dulce and rainforest

In Conservation International’s “Nature is speaking” videos, the pervading message is “the only way to save ourselves is to listen to nature.” The environmental organization uses famous actors’ and actresses’ voices with beautiful video footage of nature in widely popular video campaigns to promote their important manifesto:

“Human beings are part of nature. Nature is not dependent on human beings to exist. Human beings, on the other hand, are totally dependent on nature to exist.”

“Nature doesn’t need people. People need nature,” is the message displayed at the end of every Conservation International video. “If they don’t figure out that they are a part of nature, instead of just using nature, they won’t be around,” cautions actor Robert Redford to humans, speaking as a redwood tree in one video.

“One way or another, every living thing here needs me,” advises actor Harrison Ford in the organization’s video about the ocean. “If nature isn’t kept healthy, humans won’t survive. Simple as that.”

There is a lighthearted video on beautiful flowers and their key role in nature, and a foreshadowing of doom about water and the power of the oceans. There is a video about the crucial importance of coral reef on the planet, and a dramatic chilling message about destroying the soil. The rainforest is most importantly our source for air, and Julia Roberts as Mother Nature tells us that she does not need us, but rather we need her.

Roberts’ narrative sums up the significance: “Some call me nature. Others call me ‘Mother Nature.’ I’ve been here for over 4.5 billion years – 22,500 times longer than you. I don’t really need people, but people need me … when I thrive, you thrive. When I falter, you falter, or worse.”

Playa Nicuesa bungalowYou can be an advocate for nature and see the ocean, coral reef, rivers, rainforest, soil, flowers and Mother Nature’s beauty at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge in Costa Rica. The extraordinary Costa Rica eco-lodge is located on a 165-acre private preserve on the Golfo Dulce (“Sweet Gulf”) in southern Costa Rica. The sustainably-designed property borders the Piedras Blancas National Park and the Osa Peninsula.

Costa Rica is named the third best Green Country in the World, according to the 2014 Global Green Economy Index™ (GGEI). Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge has received the highest rating in the Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program (CST) by the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT).

Article by Shannon Farley

Costa Rica joins six countries in pledging to reforest 20 million hectares of Latin America.

Great news for our country and Latin American forests: Costa Rica joins six countries in pledging to reforest 20 million hectares of Latin America.
Costa Rica continues to make news around the world. What a best way to start the year with such great news, not only for our beautiful country but for all of Latin America.

It turns out that Costa Rica among other 6 Latin American countries  (Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador and Chile) have commited themselves, and according to AFP reports, in pledging to reforest 20 million hectares – about the size of Uruguay – of degraded land by the year 2020. This statement was made during the 12-day talks amongst the world’s nations taking place in Peru under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN FCCC).

It is of great importance for all of these nations to commit themselves into such a responsibility that will make the whole world become even more aware of the actual climate changes and damage it has been resulting due mainly because of deforestation.

This group, now known as the “20×20 Initiative, has come to the following hectare amounts each:

Costa Rica and Chile: 50.000 hectares each.
Mexico 8.5 million hectares
Peru 3 .2 million hectares
Guatemala 1.2 million hectares
Colombia 1 million hectares

The Ecuadorian Minister of Environment, Lorena Tapia, expressed that  “with funding and support from the national government we will succeed in restoring 500,000 hectares by 2017” during the meeting in Lima, Peru.

As for Costa Rica interests, according to Mr. José Joaquín Campos director of the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (Catie), its main priority is  to reestablish the lands of Puriscal, Turrialba and some of Guanacaste´s zones.  In order to achieve this, Mr. Campos mentions that it will be necessary to have a joined work with the Ministry of Environment and Energy (Minae).

It is hoped that all this effort doesn´t stay only on paper and that the people involved will accept the challenge and assume their responsibility. In this way, not only our most important natural resources will benefit but also our next generations for years to come.

Green tourism, also called eco-tourism and sustainable travel, is what Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge in Costa Rica is all about. The Costa Rica eco-lodge by the Osa Peninsula is one of only three dozen hotels in Costa Rica that have received the highest rating in the Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program (CST). Created by the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT), the CST program rates and certifies tourism businesses based on their compliance with natural, cultural and social resource management.

Playa Nicuesa sustainability highlights:

  • Lodge buildings are located on less than 2% of property – 98% is a private protected area.
  • Used recycled construction materials, such as: roof tiles on the lodge and cabins made from recycled plastics, including banana bags.
  • Wood came from naturally fallen trees, permitted by the government to be pulled out of the forest by oxen, or from farmed trees.
  • Electricity is provided by solar energy. Panels are located on main lodge structure. Back-up generator runs on recycled vegetable oil.
  • Solar drying room used to dry all of the lodge wash.
  • Hot water is provided by on-demand propane which means that the propane is used only when the hot water faucet is turned on.
  • Received the Ecological Blue Flag Award for clean beaches.

Article by Gabriela Serrano.