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.
On Saturday, Sept. 12 and Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, the beautiful Pacific gulf in southern Costa Rica by the Osa Peninsula will receive hundreds of swimmers for the 2015 Golfo Dulce Open Water Swimming competition, called “Cruce Aguas Abiertas Golfo Dulce”.
In this fifth competition of the 2015 Costa Rica open water swimming circuit, there will be a 1.5 km, 5 km and a 14 km marathon swim. The 14-kilometer event will be the first time swimmers in an open water competition in Costa Rica will cross the Golfo Dulce. Swimmers will enter the water at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge and swim 14 kilometers across the narrowest part of the gulf to Puerto Jimenez.
Starting this month in August, the tranquil blue waters of this Pacific gulf, between the Piedras Blancas National Park and the Osa Peninsula in southern Costa Rica, will receive the astounding phenomenon of the thousands-of-miles-long migration of Pacific humpback whales.
As southern winter turns the seas to ice in Antarctica, southern humpback whales swim north to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and as far as Costa Rica to its warm tropical waters to breed and give birth. Golfo Dulce is an important habitat for the endangered whales and is vital to the species’ survival, according to the Center for Cetacean Research of Costa Rica (CEIC).
A real-life encounter with humpback whales in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica is an unforgettable experience for anyone. You can see the whales on whale watching tours in Golfo Dulce from August to October.
What is it like to stay at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge?
The extraordinary Costa Rica eco-lodge is designed sustainably with lodge buildings tucked into the forest back from the beach. All construction is from beautiful tropical hardwoods taken from naturally fallen or farmed trees, and recycled materials.
For accommodations at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, there are three one-bedroom cabins, one cabin suite, one two-bedroom cabin, four rooms in the two-story Mango Guesthouse, and the two-story three-bedroom Jaguar House. All beds are either queen or twin-sized.
The one-bedroom cabins are very private, surrounded by forest to give you the unique feeling of nature everywhere. The cabins are built up from the ground on stilts, and feature a wall of louvered doors that you can open completely for panoramic views, or close for more privacy and at night. Cabins have one queen bed with mosquito netting; there is a ceiling fan, lights, safe box, closet, large plastic box to keep things dry, flashlight and oversize umbrella (handy in the rainforest!). The unique bathrooms have an open-air garden shower surrounded by high walls. Fabulous, natural, biodegradable bath products are from Costa Rican company Raw Botanicals. Two of the cabins are near to the main lodge building and one is closer to the beach.
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
A tuna farm is a floating cage in the open ocean, were tuna is born and feed until they reach the commercial size needed to be exported to Japan. The wasted produced by such a large quantity of tuna generate over nutrification of the water and red tides, reduces dissolved oxygen amounts, causes fish kills and damage to other resources of the gulf.
After all the protest and opposition to the farm, Costa Rica’s Environmental Secretariat (SETENA) stated it would no longer consider Granjas Atuneras de Golfito SA’s petition to construct a yellow fin tuna aquaculture project, or tuna farm, at the mouth of the Golfo Dulce. SETENA’s decision permanently closes the case on Granjas Atuneras, meaning that finally justice is done.
The gulf now is protected against tuna farm pollution, preserving the rich waters of Golfo Dulce. We can be certain that community efforts on keeping the health of this paradise will never stop, and the Nicuesa family is going to support these efforts every time!
It was 6:15am and we were all in the boat on our way to Río Esquinas and a group of eight Bottled Nosed Dolphins were playing and jumping off the water.
These dolphins are the most common ones in the Golfo Dulce and they are very smart mammals, they hunt in groups surrounding their prey from the bottom to the surface and leaving them no option but jump off the water.
These dolphins can swim as fast as 35 km/h (21 knots) and they need to come out to the surface so they can breathe.
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!