Costa Rica is a sustainability pioneer. Most of their energy, over 98 percent, comes from clean and renewable energy sources. The majority of that is hydroelectric, while the rest comes from a mix of geothermal, solar, and wind energy sources. Costa Rica is also home to a ton of biodiversity as well as gorgeous beaches, jungles, and volcanic landscapes. Roughly a quarter of the country’s land is secured as wildlife reserves, national parks, and protected zones, meaning it can’t be developed.
It makes sense for a place so blessed by nature to respect its gifts when it comes to tourism as well. As a result, tons of eco-lodges have sprung up to house the many travelers who flock to the warm temperatures in central America.
The term “eco-lodge” simply means accommodations that aim to have the least impact on the surrounding natural environment. And with more and more travelers making environmental friendliness a priority, these types of hotels are only gaining in popularity.
Read on for the best of Costa Rica’s eco-lodges.
Certified as carbon negative in 2012, this La Fortuna-area spot bills itself as an off-the-grid paradise. Rancho Margot is a sustainable ranch that features a medicinal plant garden, natural pools, jungle bungalows, miles of trails, and more. Guests can enjoy twice-a-day yoga, indulgent massages, and opportunities to learn more about the farm via guided farm tour. Visitors can even experience a natural soap-making class; during my visit, I added aromatic local flowers and volcanic rock to mine for exfoliation.
At the ranch, the food is grown on site and even the furniture is crafted on the property using renewable resources and salvaged parts. Other features, like living plant roofs, help regulate the temperature. The use of hydroelectricity and solar power make it clear that Rancho Margot is a great example of an eco-friendly establishment.
Plus, while Rancho Margot itself is beyond lovely, this property also offers tours to explore the surrounding region near Lake Arenal. Kayak experiences, hikes, and horseback riding are just some of the activities offered. It’s easy to see that Rancho Margot both talks the environmental talk and walks the environmental walk.
Our next suggested property lies close to the Nicaraguan border, almost directly due north of the Costa Rican capital city of San Jose. Maquenque Eco-Lodge is only accessible by boat from the nearby San Carlos River. The property consists of 68 acres of natural beauty ensconced within the Maquenque National Wildlife Refuge. Maquenque is especially great for travelers who enjoy birding, as nearly 600 different species of birds have been detected in the region.
There is a reforestation project on site where visitors can plant trees, plus a large organic garden. The staff at Maquenque also adhere to planned programs for saving water, responsible waste management, and lowering energy expenditures.
Guests can get excited about this sustainable space, complete with charming treehouse rooms, canoeing experiences, rainforest night walks, and more. It is truly a hidden gem and a great example of an eco-lodge, Costa Rican style.
This property is situated on Costa Rica’s West Coast near Dominical. Danyasa combines a yoga retreat center with an eco-lodge for a winning result. Active travelers will love this spot, as the nearby beach is a great location to try surfing. Additionally, Danyasa adds an adventure travel angle with offerings like waterfall rappelling, zip-lining, stand-up paddleboarding, and more.
The center has artfully upcycled shipping containers and fashioned them into chic yet sustainable accommodations. Other environmentally-friendly features include stainless steel straws and biodegradable toiletries. Danyasa Eco-Retreat truly makes the most of its stunning location on Costa Rica’s biodiverse Pacific Coast.
This place is actually a combination nature preserve, cafe, hotel, and farm located in the Monteverde area. Valle Escondido focuses on permaculture methods on its Hidden Valley Farm. The team has also planted thousands of trees in the area. They celebrate nature through interactive night tours of the preserve as well as bird watching, waterfall hiking, and day flora and fauna tours.
The associated eco-lodge, called Valle Escondido Preserve and Monteverde Inn, allows free access to the preserve plus breakfast served in the pretty open-air cafe. Guests can expect to enjoy stunning views of the Nicoya coast while they enjoy the pristine Costa Rican jungle environment.
Chachagua Rainforest Eco-Lodge
There’s a reason this next spot was featured in the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die -- it’s truly stunning. Chachagua is located by the Arenal Volcano and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. The ecolodge is committed to sustainability and even has an ecologist on staff. Additionally, their jungle-inspired eatery, Colibri, uses produce grown fresh using organic methods right on the property.
Travelers can expect a number of great excursion options, both on and off site. Examples include horseback riding, rainforest tours (both day and night), and birdwatching tours. Chachagua Ecolodge is also located very near natural hot springs for a dose of wellness.
Cala Luna Boutique Hotel And Villas
This property is located in Tamarindo on Costa Rica’s pretty Pacific Coast. Cala Luna offers a luxurious spin on sustainability. The on-site chef specializes in locally-sourced, eco-friendly cuisine. The hotel also harnesses renewable energy sources like solar power and opts for bamboo straws to reduce plastic use.
Visitors can expect to unwind in this scenic spot that focuses on wellness experiences. A full spa is there to serve the weary traveler, while open-air yoga, surf lessons, and fishing excursions ensure that there’s always something new to discover in Tamarindo.
It’s obvious from this list that Costa Rica is the perfect destination for the eco-conscious global traveler. Not only does its government prioritize sustainability, but there are numerous responsible properties from coast to coast in this beautiful country. From luxury boutique spots to rainforest inns and coastal eco-lodges, Costa Rica truly delivers when it comes to eco-friendly accommodations.
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