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.
Interesting news has been happening recently at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge in southern Costa Rica.
In an effort to help restore coral reefs in the Golfo Dulce, Nicuesa Lodge staff has been collaborating with the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and the National Institute of Learning (INA) on the study project: “Ecological regeneration of coral populations present in the South Pacific of Costa Rica.” Since June 2015, they have been creating coral reef “nurseries,” transplanting fragments of coral onto artificial structures to grow coral gardens.
So far, according to Nicuesa Lodge Sustainability Coordinator, Natalia Solis, coral is successfully growing and they are planning to create another structure off the beach in the small bay by the Costa Rica eco-hotel.
All of the dedication to positive environmental practices and community social responsibility by the staff at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge were rewarded last month when the Costa Rica eco-hotel received the highest level rating of the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) program.
This is the second consecutive year that the Costa Rica rainforest lodge has received the highest rating of 5 Leaves in the CST Program by the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT). Playa Nicuesa Lodge is one of only 41 hotels in Costa Rica that have a 5-Leaf certification.
The CST program rates and certifies tourism businesses based on their compliance with natural, cultural and social resource management. CST consists of five levels, called “Leaves”; Level 5, or 5 Leaves, signifies that the company is considered “outstanding in terms of sustainability.” The rating process is very detailed and involves frequent inspections and evaluations; the highest levels are very difficult to obtain.
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!
When naturalist guides Erick Camacho and Jose Garro found the dead toucan below a tree near their staff housing at the Costa Rica eco-lodge where they work, it was an interesting discovery but just another day in the jungle.
However, the deceased toucan – or more importantly, its beak – has given a big boost of hope to saving “Grecia” the injured toucan in Costa Rica that had its beak mutilated by teenagers late last year and has become an international sensation as engineers and veterinarians try to design a prosthetic beak for the bird.
The beauty and life of the world’s oceans will be celebrated June 8 on World Oceans Day. The annual event by the United Nations calls people to action around the planet to protect our oceans and the amazing life that lives in them. This year’s theme is “Healthy oceans, healthy planet” with a special focus on eradicating plastic pollution.
Here in our corner of the world in southern Costa Rica, we at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge honor and protect the beautiful calm gulf of Golfo Dulce where we are located. We recently received the Ecological Blue Flag Award for the fifth time for keeping one of the cleanest beaches in Costa Rica.
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!