Fun kayaking tours & vacations in Golfo Dulce Costa Rica

Kayaking on Golfo Dulce by Playa Nicuesa Lodge

At Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, there are plenty of opportunities for kayaking in Golfo Dulce.

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.
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Protecting the rainforest of the sea in Golfo Dulce Costa Rica

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.

Coral reef restoration Golfo Dulce Costa Rica

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.

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Whale watching in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica starts in August!

Humpback Whale in Golfo Dulce, photo by Lenin Oviedo of CEIC

Whale watching season has returned to the Golfo Dulce in Costa Rica and Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge!

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.
Humpback Whale mother & baby in Golfo Dulce
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.

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Costa Rica joins six countries in pledging to reforest 20 million hectares of Latin America.

Great news for our country and Latin American forests: Costa Rica joins six countries in pledging to reforest 20 million hectares of Latin America.
Costa Rica continues to make news around the world. What a best way to start the year with such great news, not only for our beautiful country but for all of Latin America.

It turns out that Costa Rica among other 6 Latin American countries  (Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador and Chile) have commited themselves, and according to AFP reports, in pledging to reforest 20 million hectares – about the size of Uruguay – of degraded land by the year 2020. This statement was made during the 12-day talks amongst the world’s nations taking place in Peru under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN FCCC).

It is of great importance for all of these nations to commit themselves into such a responsibility that will make the whole world become even more aware of the actual climate changes and damage it has been resulting due mainly because of deforestation.

This group, now known as the “20×20 Initiative, has come to the following hectare amounts each:

Costa Rica and Chile: 50.000 hectares each.
Mexico 8.5 million hectares
Peru 3 .2 million hectares
Guatemala 1.2 million hectares
Colombia 1 million hectares

The Ecuadorian Minister of Environment, Lorena Tapia, expressed that  “with funding and support from the national government we will succeed in restoring 500,000 hectares by 2017” during the meeting in Lima, Peru.

As for Costa Rica interests, according to Mr. José Joaquín Campos director of the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (Catie), its main priority is  to reestablish the lands of Puriscal, Turrialba and some of Guanacaste´s zones.  In order to achieve this, Mr. Campos mentions that it will be necessary to have a joined work with the Ministry of Environment and Energy (Minae).

It is hoped that all this effort doesn´t stay only on paper and that the people involved will accept the challenge and assume their responsibility. In this way, not only our most important natural resources will benefit but also our next generations for years to come.

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 sustainability highlights:

  • Lodge buildings are located on less than 2% of property – 98% is a private protected area.
  • Used recycled construction materials, such as: roof tiles on the lodge and cabins made from recycled plastics, including banana bags.
  • Wood came from naturally fallen trees, permitted by the government to be pulled out of the forest by oxen, or from farmed trees.
  • Electricity is provided by solar energy. Panels are located on main lodge structure. Back-up generator runs on recycled vegetable oil.
  • Solar drying room used to dry all of the lodge wash.
  • Hot water is provided by on-demand propane which means that the propane is used only when the hot water faucet is turned on.
  • Received the Ecological Blue Flag Award for clean beaches.

Article by Gabriela Serrano.

Harnessing the sun’s energy in the Costa Rica rainforest

A lot of people ask us about our solar drying room at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge in Costa Rica. Given that we are a Costa Rica rainforest lodge – and that it does rain in the rainforest – a frequent comment in our guest reviews is how happy people are to have a place available for drying out wet clothes.

Guests who stay at our Costa Rica eco-lodge receive a cloth cotton laundry bag upon check-in, with their cabin or room name printed on it. Guests are invited to bring the laundry bag with any wet clothes to be dried to the main lodge building in the morning at breakfast time. Give it to a staff member and the clothes are hung up in the solar drying room. Lodge staff does not wash clothes – guests may do this in their sink or shower.

On a hot sunny day, clothes usually dry in one to two hours. Even on an overcast day, guests should receive dry clothes back in the afternoon of the same day.

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is dedicated to sustainable travel and has received the highest rating in the Costa Rica Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program (CST). The lodge dries all of its towels, sheets, bedding, etc. using solar energy. On a sunny day, 24 loads of laundry can be dried in three to five hours!

How does it work?

The solar drying room is located in a natural clearing in the rainforest behind the main lodge buildings, near the tree nursery and compost area. The floor of the drying area is made of gravel stones which heat up quickly, radiating that heat upward toward drying items. The stones also hold the heat if the sun goes away behind clouds.

A clear polycarbonate roof absorbs and reflects the sun’s heat, creating an “oven effect” with the stone floor. The roof is slanted at an extreme angle to create a circular air flow. Sides of the drying room are open for air ventilation and circulation. Lastly, aluminum rods are used for hanging wet items, because the aluminum also heats up quickly and helps with the drying process.

The entire system is very efficient. You can learn about our solar drying room on our Sustainability Tour when staying at the lodge.

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). The only way to get there is by boat across the Golfo Dulce from either the towns of Golfito or Puerto Jimenez. 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

 

Playa Nicuesa is a top sustainable hotel in Costa Rica

What does eco-tourism and being sustainable really mean? Is that just recycling the trash or turning off a few lights?

At Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge in Costa Rica, sustainability means much more. The Costa Rica rainforest lodge is one of only three dozen hotels in Costa Rica that have received the highest rating of Five Leaves 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. CST consists of five levels, called “Leaves”; Level five, or Five Leaves, signifies that the company is considered “outstanding in terms of sustainability.”

“Our goal is to provide guests with an experience that they will always remember fondly: Excellence, friendly service, high-end accommodations, educational opportunities and unique, well-run adventure activities, and to provide this experience while operating the lodge in the most environmentally-friendly manner possible,” explained Playa Nicuesa owners, Michael and Donna Butler.

The extraordinary Costa Rica eco-lodge was designed in harmony with the environment constructed from naturally fallen trees and recycled materials. Immersed in the dense tropical rainforest bordering the Piedras Blancas National Park and the pristine Golfo Dulce (Sweet Gulf) in southern Costa Rica, Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is located on a 165-acre private preserve. Adding to its uniqueness, the only way to get there is by boat across the pristine waters of the Golfo Dulce from either Golfito or Puerto Jimenez.

“We traveled all over Costa Rica and other parts of Central America to find and create a special place where one can intimately experience the natural world of both the tropical rainforest and the Pacific Ocean,” expounded the Costa Rica rainforest lodge owners. “Our plan was to create a place that offers the comfort of a lodge and the activities and diversity of an adventure tour.”

The area is part of a giant conservation area including the world-famous Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula. The unique tropical fjord of Golfo Dulce is a critical habitat for migrating Pacific Humpback Whales, and resident and migratory communities of dolphins and sea turtles.

Playa Nicuesa sustainability highlights:

  • Lodge buildings are located on less than 2% of property – 98% is a private protected area.
  • Used recycled construction materials, such as: roof tiles on the lodge and cabins made from recycled plastics, including banana bags.
  • Wood came from naturally fallen trees, permitted by the government to be pulled out of the forest by oxen, or from farmed trees.
  • Electricity is provided by solar energy. Panels are located on main lodge structure. Back-up generator runs on recycled vegetable oil.
  • Solar drying room used to dry all of the lodge wash.
  • Hot water is provided by on-demand propane which means that the propane is used only when the hot water faucet is turned on.
  • Received the Ecological Blue Flag Award for clean beaches.

Check out Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge Green Season Specials for adventure, nature, yoga, relaxation and comfort at great prices through Sept. 30, 2014.

Article by Shannon Farley