There are few ways to make a grand entrance in the jungle, but arriving at Costa Rica’s Pacuare Lodge via a white water raft is one of them.
Set deep in the Central Highlands’ rainforest, no roads lead to this eco-lodge, so if you decide against navigating the Pacuare River’s rushing rapids, you might drop in from above by helicopter, or even cross the river by a hanging gondola.
But the lodge packs in an itinerary designed to thrill naturalists as well as adrenaline hunters. Go zip-lining over the forest canopy for an unbeatable view, before having breakfast or dinner on a treetop platform; meet with indigenous communities and glimpse Costa Rica’s amazing wildlife on rainforest hikes.
You’ll stumble across all types of exotic birds: toucans, red-throated ant tanagers and black-cheeked woodpeckers are all hot spots. Listen carefully and you’ll even hear the loud gurgle of the Montezuma oropendola.
Some of the wildlife is less shy than others. The lemur-like kinkajou is adorable, but mischievous, too, often making for an unlikely dinner companion as they nonchalantly stroll into the lodge.
Look out for tracks of ocelots, jaguarundis, pumas and jaguar – learn all about the latter from the camera-trap footage taken from the lodge’s decade-long jaguar research programme.
This commitment to sustainability is evident throughout the whole site. Clean energy is the big focus, with electricity generated by a turbine in a nearby stream. No trees were felled to house the bungalows, which are lit up with lanterns, creating a natural warmth.
You can then wash off the day with the solar-heated water – or take a dip in the infinity pool, framed by rainforest and the sounds of nature.