Playa Nicuesa Lodge, more than a exotic place

Coming from Canada, I can honestly tell you that I have never seen such an exotic place in the world as I have during my stay at Playa Nicuesa.  We all know that there are places on this earth with more wildlife, more forest, closer proximity to the ocean, but to see it and experience the beauty here first hand has been miraculous.  The Lodge is situated off the grid in the Golfo Dulce making you feel completely submerged in the ecosystem surrounded by hundreds of colourful and vibrant species.  There are 6 hiking trails on the property that venture into the rainforest.  One day you may see green and black poisonous dart frogs, toucans, different kinds of snakes and butterflies.   Doing the same path the next day you may come across crabs, squirrels, a swarm of army ants, white faced monkeys, a family of pizotis and wild pigs.  You are estonished with what you find each time and by spending quality time connecting to nature, you receive the healing benefits of mindfulness.  Enjoying the sacredness of the land is a gift in itself.  As a yoga teacher, creating a strong harmonious community is essential.  Viewing the food chain and “connecting the dots”, watching a pair of scarlet macaws snack on the almond trees beside the yoga deck or seeing a lizard run quickly across the pond, it is something to be experienced first hand.  Another gift from mother nature here is viewing the bioluminescence out by the pier at night, when the moon is not too bright, but the stars are still visible.  Even the water comes to life here.  I had the opportunity to go swimming in the bioluminescence and can tell you that it is the Pura Vida.  Pura Vida a common saying in Costa Rica which translates to pure life and that is exactly what Costa Rica and the Golfo Dulce offers.  The sounds of the tide, the rain and the frogs from the pond behind the yoga deck have made for the most tranquil spa and meditation music a yoga teacher could ask for.  I am grateful to have had the chance to stay here through the green season to unplug and it is as if I was on a personal retreat.  It definitely has not felt like work here and I cannot wait to return for another rotation next season!

The mysterious world of hammerhead sharks in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

Golfo Dulce Costa Rica

Golfo Dulce in Costa Rica is a critical habitat for marine life on Earth. The “Sweet Gulf” in southern Costa Rica gets a lot of attention for being a refuge for migrating endangered Pacific humpback whales. Not only the birthplace for whales but also for dolphins and endangered hammerhead sharks, the 31-mile-long (50 km) Pacific gulf is essentially a big watery “cradle”.

The Costa Rican environmental organization Misión Tiburón (Shark Mission) is lobbying the Costa Rican government to protect Golfo Dulce as the first sanctuary for hammerhead sharks in the world.

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Costa Rica is top 10 Green Country in the World

Costa Rica is named the third best Green Country in the World, according to the recently released 2014 Global Green Economy Index™ (GGEI).

The Global Green Economy Index™ (GGEI) measures the green economic performance of 60 countries and 70 cities in the world with regard to leadership and climate change, efficiency sectors, markets and investment, and environment and natural capital. The GGEI also assesses the public’s perception of a nation’s green performance. The fourth edition of the GGEI, published by Dual Citizen LLC, a private U.S.-based consultancy, was released at the end of October 2014.

In the Performance Rank, Sweden and Norway top the list, followed by Costa Rica in third place, and then Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Iceland and Spain for the top 10. Germany leads the Perception Rank, followed by Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, United States, Japan, UK, Finland and Switzerland; Costa Rica comes in at 14th place in this ranking. The Perception index is interesting given that Costa Rica ranks third in performance but 14th in perception; while China ranks 13th in perception and 55th in performance.

This is the first time that Costa Rica has been included in the ranking.

“Covered for the first time, Costa Rica records an impressive result, ranking third behind Sweden and Norway on performance and in the top 15 for perceptions overall, a notable accomplishment for such a small country,” states the GGEI. “Costa Rica’s overall top result on the performance measure is driven by impressive results on both the Efficiency Sectors and Environment and Natural Capital dimensions, making it one of only a few countries to achieve such strong results in both areas.”

Costa Rica performs well most notably in tourism where it is the top ranked country in terms of performance on the five areas assessed by the GGEI, the report notes.

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 Rainforest Lodge is located on a 165-acre private preserve in southern Costa Rica, bordered by the Piedras Blancas National Park and the pristine Golfo Dulce (Sweet Gulf), across from the Osa Peninsula. The region is a critical habitat for migrating Pacific Humpback Whales, hammerhead sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, Scarlet Macaws and jaguars.

The lodge is offering Green season specials through Dec. 15, 2014.

Article by Shannon Farley


A special place on the planet: Playa Nicuesa

Sometimes the places most worth visiting require a little more effort to get there. Like Playa Nicuesa.

I’ve taken a small 19-passenger plane 50 minutes south from San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, to the pancake flat coastal town of Puerto Jimenez. We disembark into the sweltering tropical heat of the near-equator and quickly jump into the air-conditioned taxi waiting to drive us five minutes to a rickety, dubious-looking boat dock. All smiles, we are greeted by our very friendly boat captain and guide, who assist our little group to clamber down the dock steps into the little panga boat – thankfully outfitted with a canopy roof.

As we zip across the calm blue-gray waters of the Golfo Dulce (“Sweet Gulf”) for our 25-minute boat ride to Playa Nicuesa – the only way to get there – I am mesmerized by the scenery. The horizon is filled with dense green forest and mountains; the Gulf stretches on and on like a giant mirror to the sky. There are no buildings to be seen, not even another boat. And I wonder if this is what Costa Rica must have looked like hundreds or even thousands of years ago.

Soon, we are pulling up to the long, very solidly built boat dock at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge. Here, the clear water looks like liquid jade, reflecting the endless shades of green of palm trees and jungle that crowd the edge of the pebble and sand beach. We are helped off the boat by smiling, friendly staff, and as we walk down the dock toward shore, I nearly expect to see Ricardo Montalban of Fantasy Island come out to greet us.

The extraordinary Costa Rica eco-lodge was designed for sustainable travel. Lodge buildings and bungalows are tucked into the forest, preserving the beautiful coastline. Everything is constructed from naturally fallen or farmed trees and recycled materials, like the roof tiles made from recycled plastic banana bags and other plastics. Lights and electricity come from solar panels and a biodiesel generator that burns recycled fast food oil and other vegetable oils. All water on the property is potable, being piped in from a mountain spring and filtered. The Costa Rica rainforest lodge is one of only three dozen hotels in Costa Rica that have received the highest rating in the Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program (CST).

Guests are spread out around the lodge area – located on a 165-acre private preserve that borders the Piedras Blancas National Park – in six private cabins and the four-room two-story Mango Guesthouse. Beautifully built accommodations are very comfortable, and feature bathrooms with a high-walled open-air garden shower.

Over the next three days at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, I enjoyed dolphin and whale-watching to see migrating Pacific Humpback Whales that come into the pristine Golfo Dulce to give birth and breed – we saw a mother whale and her calf. I hiked in the rainforest on lodge trails; kayaked in the mangroves of Esquinas River; enjoyed a yoga class; sat at the beach and relaxed; swam in the warm Golfo Dulce; and had fun socializing with other guests at happy hour every night in the bar, and while savoring delicious, fresh, creative dishes from Nicuesa’s commendable kitchen.

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is located by the Osa Peninsula on Golfo Dulce in southern Costa Rica. To get there, drive or fly (NatureAir or Sansa Airlines) to either Puerto Jimenez or Golfito. Nicuesa Lodge will pick you up by boat and transfer you to the lodge (about 30 minutes one-way). Included in lodge rates are all meals, boat transfers, all taxes, all meals and snacks, unlimited self-guided hikes on preserve, use of kayaks, snorkeling and fishing equipment.

Article by Shannon Farley


Top U.S. scientists to be guest lecturers at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge

Dr. Howard Topoff and Dr. Carol SimonDrs. Howard Topoff and Carol Simon – both professors emeriti of The City University of New York and Research Associates at the American Museum of Natural History – will be guest lecturers for the week of March 1-7, 2014, at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, a member of Enchanting Hotels & Resorts Costa Rica.

Immersed in the dense tropical rainforest bordering the Piedras Blancas National Park in southern Costa Rica, Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is a unique Costa Rica eco lodge. The remote wilderness retreat is located on a 165-acre private preserve; the only way to get there is by boat across the pristine waters of the Golfo Dulce from either the towns of Golfito or Puerto Jimenez.

Golfo Dulce and Playa Nicuesa, Costa RicaThe area is part of an immense biological corridor extending from the world-famous Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula to the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve and the Piedras Blancas National Park, down into Panama. The inner sea of Golfo Dulce, known as a tropical fjord, is a critical habitat for migrating Pacific Humpback Whales, and resident and migratory communities of dolphins – Bottlenose, Spotted and Spinner – and sea turtles.

For the past 30 years, Drs. Topoff and Simon have been study trip leaders for The Smithsonian Institute, The American Museum of Natural History, Naturalist Journeys, Elderhostel, and several cruise lines. The husband-and-wife team’s specialty is animal behavior, tropical ecology and evolutionary biology. Their educational programs and entertaining multimedia presentations are highly popular.

Army ants in Costa RicaDr. Topoff has spent nearly 50 years researching the social behavior of animals, notably on army ants and slave-making ants, conducting his field research in Central and South America, Africa, and in the deserts and mountains of Arizona, USA. In addition to his publications in scientific journals, his more popular articles have appeared in magazines such as Scientific American, Natural History and National Geographic. Dr. Simon specializes in ecology, behavior and evolution, principally researching the social behavior of reptiles in North and Central America.

Nicuesa Lodge rainforestAt Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge in March, the scientific researchers will give daily multimedia presentations focusing on the natural history of Costa Rica:

  • Introduction to Rainforest 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 Rainforest
  • The Evolution of Animal Communication
  • Courtship and Mating Strategies of Animals

For more information and reservations, contact Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge. The award-winning eco-lodge offers ecotourism, nature and adventure vacations, family holidays, honeymoon trips, and yoga classes and retreats.

Article by Shannon Farley

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