If you are a nature lover or a budding botanist, one of the most wonderful day tours you can take from Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is to Casa Orquideas Botanical Garden in Costa Rica. A short boat ride or kayak paddle around a small rocky point south of Playa Nicuesa will land you at Playa San Josecito. At the west end of the long, crescent-shaped dark sand beach is Casa Orquideas Botanical Garden.
Kayaking in Costa Rica in the “sweet gulf” of Golfo Dulce by the Osa Peninsula – one of only four tropical fjords in the world – it is like paddling across a giant mirror to the sky. Close to shore, the clear water’s blues and grays turn to liquid jade, reflecting endless shades of green palm trees and jungle that crowd the water’s edge. Look down and you’ll probably see colorful fish swimming below your kayak. Dense green rainforest and mountains fill the horizon.
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!
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.
For me, the Osa Peninsula is one of the most worthwhile places to visit in Costa Rica. The small stretch of remote rugged jungle in the southwestern corner of the country, bounded by the deep blue Pacific Ocean to the west and the placid Golfo Dulce to the east, is renowned by scientists, explorers and nature lovers as an astounding paradise.
Covering an area of 700 square miles, this last remaining stretch of tropical humid rainforest in Costa Rica is estimated to hold 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity. The natural report card is impressive:
- More than 700 species of trees, with close to 80 being endemic
- 463 types of birds, including the largest population of Scarlet Macaws in the country
- 140 species of mammals, including the exotic tapirs and jaguars
- 117 kinds of reptiles and amphibians
- More than 25 kinds of dolphins and whales
- 4 types of sea turtles
The southern Pacific Ocean, and especially Golfo Dulce (Sweet Gulf), are vital breeding and reproducing areas for endangered hammerhead sharks and the world’s migrating Pacific Humpback Whales. Activists have begun a campaign to create a “Multiple Use Marine Protected Area” for the waters along the entire coast of the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, to safeguard the abundant yet threatened marine life.
The Osa Peninsula protects more than 366,000 acres of land and sea in at least 13 national parks, wildlife refuges and private reserves – the largest being the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve (149,593 acres), Corcovado National Park (104,900 acres), Terraba Sierpe National Wetlands (66,850 acres), and Piedras Blancas National Park (34,642 acres).
What to do on the Osa Peninsula:
- Hike in one of the national parks and wildlife refuges
- Go snorkeling at the Caño Island Biological Reserve
- Go dolphin and whale watching in Golfo Dulce
- Kayaking on Golfo Dulce
- Surfing at Matapalo Beach
- Fishing in Golfo Dulce, or deep sea fishing
Where to stay by the Osa Peninsula
Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is an environmentally sustainable eco-lodge by the Osa Peninsula. Its 165-acre private preserve joins with the Osa Conservation Area. The unique adventure travel destination is located on the remote inner coast of the Golfo Dulce, backed by thick jungle and the Piedras Blancas National Park. The award-winning eco-lodge offers family vacations, honeymoon trips, nature and adventure vacations, and yoga classes and retreats.
Article by Shannon Farley
The mango house is great for all types of travelers. Especially a good choice for friends or families that want to be close, but also have the privacy of your own room with private bathroom. Also great for single travelers or those who are a bit nervous about staying in the jungle, as the mango rooms are more in an open area then the private cabins that are tucked into the rainforest. Also great for parties of approximately 6-10 that want to rent all 4 rooms at once.
2 storey, 3 bedroom house surrounded by lush jungle. First floor has a living room, bedroom and full bath with beautiful open air shower. Loft-like second storey with master bedroom, 2nd bedroom , full bath and large open terrace. Let the crashing of the waves lull you to sleep!