Nicuesa Lodge welcomes guests for Christmas with fun activities

Beach at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, Golfo Dulce

Christmas holidays are nearly here! How fun it will be to spend Christmas and New Year’s on an amazing tropical beach alongside the incredible Costa Rica rainforest. Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge welcomes guests who will be spending their Christmas vacation in Costa Rica with us. Our staff is looking forward to celebrating holiday festivities with you and we have lots of fun activities lined up.

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8 Wildlife Spotting Tips for the Costa Rica Rainforest

White-faced monkey at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge in Costa Rica

The Costa Rica rainforest is full of wonders and wildlife – you just need to know how to look. The thrill of seeing a wild animal in its natural habitat, even if only for a moment, is unparalleled.

Costa Rica hosts more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity: 208 species of mammals, 870 kinds of birds, 1,250 kinds of butterflies and 8,000 different moths, 160 species of amphibians, 220 species of reptiles, and 34,000 types of insects. You’re certain to see something! Follow these tips to increase your chances of seeing wildlife in Costa Rica.
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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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Playa Nicuesa Lodge, more than a exotic place

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!

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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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

 

Count your blessings in Costa Rica this Thanksgiving on a yoga retreat

Thanksgiving is about gratitude and being thankful for our blessings. This year, why not spend the Thanksgiving holidays giving thanks for all that is good in life on a rejuvenating yoga retreat in Costa Rica at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge.

Imagine retreating from the busyness of everyday life to relax and restore your energy in the rainforest, with 80-degree warm gulf waters at your doorstep and monkeys, Scarlet Macaws and coatis as your neighbors.

Accessible only by boat, the remote oceanfront Costa Rica rainforest lodge is located on the breathtaking Golfo Dulce (“Sweet Gulf”) just across from the renowned Osa Peninsula. Playa Nicuesa’s 165-acre private reserve joins into the Piedras Blancas National Park. The extraordinary Costa Rica eco-lodge was designed for sustainable travel and holds the highest rating in the Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program (CST) in Costa Rica.

Starting Nov. 23, 2014, the Yoga Meditation and Sound retreat with international yoga instructor Shonna Annapurna Brown and international recording artist John William Bauld, lasts five, six or seven nights. You choose how long you will stay.

The yoga retreat includes two daily yoga classes, meditation, and evening kirtan concerts with the instructors. Yoga classes will be classical hatha yoga, which improves breathing, flexibility, strength and vitality in the body while calming the mind. There also will be Mantrasana Yoga with live music, a meditative hatha yoga class set to live mantra music; and restorative yoga. Yoga classes will be held on the beautiful yoga deck on the beach (shaded) or at the tree canopy-level main lodge building.

Kirtan is soothing participatory music using ancient Sanskrit mantras that opens the heart, purifies the mind, and generates harmony and divine love, retreat information explains.

The retreat package includes accommodation at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge for five, six or seven nights, all meals, boat transfers, guided adventure activities, unlimited self-guided hikes in the preserve, use of kayaks, snorkeling and fishing equipment.

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