Leave That Phone… At home

Winter is upon us and you are looking around the web in hope that you will find a worthwhile destination to pass your vacation in when suddenly you come across the term “Luxury Eco Resort”. That sounds great you think, but what does it really mean to me?

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Well, it means you will truly get away from your every day. Luxury Eco Resort means you will experience the rainforest and its wonders during the day and be able to relax in a 100% electronics free environment while resting in your bungalow at the end of it. There is no WiFi or television in the bungalows so that you are able to unplug and really take in the sounds, sights and smells of the rainforest and the ocean in front of you. There is, however, a king size bed, complimentary morning coffee, waffle cotton robes, a private outdoor deck, biodegradable bathroom products and the full attention of our staff.

It means a world class kitchen, with some of the best chefs in Costa Rica preparing fresh, locally sourced meals at Brisa Azul.

But finally, and most importantly, it means getting back in touch with nature. “Luxury Eco Resort” means leaving all that media fuss about a phone that bends behind and we recommend you leave your phone, at home.

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For Future Generations

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Here, at Lapa Rios, we believe that we are the safe keepers of one of the world’s most valued treasures, the Rainforest. We think that it is our responsibility, as inhabitants of the Osa Peninsula, to care for it and educate as many people as possible on the importance on keeping this ecosystem alive for future generations.

We believe in sustainable tourism and sustainable business and here are a few of the specific actions we take to take care of our surroundings:

1-Absolutely no caged animals or clipped birds. You will be able to experience these magnificent creatures in their own habitat and in the least intrusive way possible thanks to our experienced and knowledgeable guides.

2- Speaking about our guides, we hire local. Our staff is hired from within the area, with an emphasis on their education and training. We strive to be a positive economic force that can provide for the local communities.

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Local staff that know and care about their land.

3-We have a strict recycling policy, a waste separation and management system, and over 75% of the materials used in the construction of the bungalows are renewable.

4- There is always a forest guard on duty to prevent any illegal hunting in the reserve.

Overall, however, our most important action is change through education. All of our activities aim to highlight the importance for preserving this ecosystem and the different ways in which everyone can help.

Birding for Beginners

Birding or Bird Watching has been on the rise in the last couple of years and every day there are more and more people falling in love with this activity.

With thousands of people picking up birding every week, we are happy to say that there is no better place to start exploring the world of Bird Watching or Birding than Costa Rica. The Osa Peninsula, home to the Lapa Rios reserve is one of the most bio-diverse regions in the entire world and it will turn you into a life time bird watcher.

A few tips that will make  if you are just taking on this activity for the first time are:

1- Get a Guide; even experienced birders look for a guide’s expertise when traveling to a new location, so if you are just starting make sure you use a guide and use his/her knowledge to locate birds and learn about them.

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2- Invest in a good pair of Binoculars. Yes, this is not the ” No need to get a good bike until you get really good at biking” case. If you don’t get a good pair of binoculars all you will see is a fuzzy ball of feathers. Although you can see lots of birds at Lapa Rios using only your eyes, binoculars will enhance your experience, specially if you have decided this is an activity you wish to carry on with.

3- You need to know what to expect in the area and read about the birds. Knowing what you are looking for,  and knowing about what your looking for (where should you look, at the top of a tree, near the bottom, at a lake etc)  will make your first experience so much more exciting.

4- Take a tour with other birders, sometimes this tours are designed for beginners, but often you will have the expertize of a seasoned birder joining in. Birders are very friendly and love to share their knowledge.

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Helping Costa Rica’s Endangered Species

Costa Rica has only 1% of the land surface of the world and 5% of its biodiversity. This makes Costa Rica a very unique place. However, as in most countries around the world, there was a time in which the Costa Rica’s forests suffered from widespread cutting. This originated a crisis for 3 of Costa Rica’s most beloved residents the majestic emerald feathered Quetzal, Central and South America’s largest land mammal, Baird’s Tapir, and today’s guest, the agile and sleek Jaguar.

Costa Rica, has long changed its view on regards to economic development and now focuses on the conservation of its natural resources. One of the benefits of this is the creation of enormous national parks and private ecological reserves like Lapa Rios that serve as a safe haven for a great number of species.

One of this national parks is the Parque Nacional Corcovado, our next door neighbor on the OSA Peninsula and to which Lapa Rios Ecolodge serves as an important buffer.

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A view of Lapa Rios from the air

Today, Lapa Rios Ecolodge, as a part of the Osa Peninsula, forms part of one of the last bastions for the Jaguar in Central America. The Jaguar is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and the largest in the Western Hemisphere; It is a carnivore with a length from 1.2 to 1.9 meters and can weight up to 120 kilograms. The beauty and might of this animal was recognized by pre-Columbian Central and South American civilizations who included it almost unanimously in their mythology as a symbol of might and royalty.

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We are proud to be home to such a majestic creature at Lapa Rios and to be a part of the conservation effort in Costa Rica.

10 Interesting Facts About Costa Rica

Here are some interesting facts about Costa Rica!

1. Costa Rica provides free education until grade 11 to each citizen, as well as health care.

2. Prices in Costa Rica, as compared to those in other Central American nations, are actually rather high, due to the comparatively high standard of living.

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A tropical waterfall in the Corcovado National Park

3. There is drinkable tap water in most areas of the country, especially those where tourists frequent.

4. Costa Rica is a small country that encompasses just 0.03% of the world’s land mass but with over 500,000 plant and animal species, Costa Rica represents close to 4% of the total biodiversity on Earth.

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I spy with my little eye a monkey perched in a tree.

5. It rains year round in Costa Rica, so make sure to bring a light rain jacket on a trip here!

6. The busiest times of year are Christmas, New Years and the week leading up to Easter Sunday, which is locally known as Semana Santa.

7. Costa Rica has been a peaceful democracy without a military for more than 60 years, and as a result is often referred to as the Switzerland of Central America.

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Celebrating Childrens Day at Lapa Rios

8. Costa Rica has a literacy rate of 96% and an average life expectancy of 78.

9. Around 25% of Costa Rica is protected as national parks, a percentage which ranks among the highest in the world!

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10. Costa Rica is on track to become the first carbon-neutral country, with 99% of the country’s energy needs meet through a combination of geothermal, hydroelectric, and wind power.

 

A Day at a Tropical Ecolodge

Ready to see a day at Lapa Rios Ecolodge? Here we go!

Wake up to the call of this little bird, and many others like it. With Lapa Rios being set back in the beautiful Corcovado National Park, the hotel comes alive with the wildlife that surrounds it.

Screen Shot 2014 07 08 at 4.52.23 PM 300x226 A Day at a Tropical EcolodgeIndulge in a sweet morning with a cup of freshly brewed local and organic coffee, accompanied by our famous pancakes and some fresh tropical fruit on the side!

Pancakes 300x225 A Day at a Tropical EcolodgeNow it’s time to get out exploring. Take a hike into the vibrant and beautiful national park, and enjoy natural waterfalls, lush foliage and all sorts of exotic wildlife.

Waterfall low res 199x300 A Day at a Tropical EcolodgeAfter some tiring hiking through the wilderness, it’s time for some lunch! Delve into the volcano salad. Loved by guests for being light, nutritious and packed with flavour, this is a great selection from our extensive menu!

 A Day at a Tropical EcolodgeNext you can enjoy some tortilla making classes right at the hotel! This is a perfect way to learn a little about the culture of Costa Rica, while acquiring a new skill to show off when you return home. This simple staple food is easy and delicious to make.

Tortilla 2 199x300 A Day at a Tropical EcolodgeNext, it is time to soak up some sun in the best way imaginable. Enjoy a massage on the beach right out in front of our property. While your muscles are tenderly massaged, enjoy the sounds of the ocean crashing onto the warm sandy beach.

spa 200x300 A Day at a Tropical EcolodgeNow it is time for a relaxing and beautiful horseback ride along the beach. With the sea to your right and the jungle to your left, this is truly a fantastic experience.DSCN2772 300x225 A Day at a Tropical EcolodgeAnd finally, we drink, and we eat!

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gazpacho soup 300x225 A Day at a Tropical EcolodgeWe hope you enjoyed your visual tour of a day at Lapa Rios Ecolodge!

 

 

What To Do at Lapa Rios

Lapa Rios Ecolodge is world renowned for offering guests memorable and inspiring tours into the wilderness that surrounds this sustainable hotel. What some people don’t expect, is to enjoy a host of other cultural and educational tours during their stay with us! Here are three of our favourite tours:

1. Local Medicine Tour
The local medicine tour takes guests through the rainforest surrounding Lapa Rios, and teaches them about some of the traditional medicinal uses of various plants and seeds. This tour is great for everyone, covering topics from nature and medicine to culture and customs. The tour takes about three hours to complete, and is rated medium for difficulty, requiring guests to hike into the tropical hills.

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2. Plant a Tree
Lapa Rios is proud to involve their guests in the reforestation program they run. Guests transplant a primary rainforest seedling to an area of secondary growth, while learning about the tree they have planted and its role in the ecosystem. Guests also each receive a certificate to show that they have done so, becoming a meaningful and fun souvenir for their time in Costa Rica. Trees can also be planted on behalf of others who are not present, and certificates are awarded for those as well. This activity is usually available in the morning or the late afternoon, and only takes about 20 minutes.

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3. Visit the Carbonera School
Lapa Rios Ecolodge lives and breathes sustainability, aiming to achieve not only environmental sustainability, but social and economic sustainability too. The construction of the Carbonera School in the early 1990’s is an integral part of our mission. Having helped offer children education in this remote part of Costa Rica for more than two decades through this school, hotel staff truly are proud to be a part of this amazing enterprise. Guests are encouraged to take a trip to this school, and converse and play with the local children during one of their breaks. It is a great way to learn more about the local culture, and test our your Spanish too!

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Costa Rica Climate

Lapa Rios Ecolodge is located on the Osa Peninsula, in the southern part of Costa Rica. Costa Rica is classified as a rainforest or very humid tropical forest, and is covered in booming ecological areas. Being fairly close to the equator (between 8° and 11° North latitude), Costa Rica doesn’t really experience the four seasons that North America does, and rather, has only two. The dry season, and the green season (or rainy season).

waterfall 300x200 Costa Rica ClimateThe dry season lasts from December to April, and the rainy season goes from May to November. Despite the daunting name for the North American summer and autumn months, Costa Rica is truly a year-round destination. The rainy season, or as it is often called, the green season, brings a renewal of the wilderness. Many animals are found to be more active during this time. The forests are rejuvenated from the long warm dry season, and a balance is established.

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During the green season it rains about 3-4 times per week, and typically in the late afternoon, leaving the morning as a lovely time to explore. The rain is also warm and pleasant, so it’s actually quite exciting when it happens. Temperatures in Costa Rica remain relatively constant throughout the year, generally fluctuating between 22 and 30 degree Celsius (70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit).

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Packing List for Lapa Rios Ecolodge

“AHH! My flight leaves for Costa Rica tomorrow morning at 5:40 am!” Says Lapa Rios guest at 11:12 pm the night before.

2013 10 10 12.30.41.jpg 300x225 Packing List for Lapa Rios EcolodgeWell, have no fear, we’ve got you taken care of! Here is a packing list for our Ecolodge.
-2 swimsuits
-comfortable walking shoes/hiking boots (for those jungle adventures)
-sandals/flip flops (for around the resort)
-socks
-undergarments
-2 pairs of shorts (quick drying material is great, avoid heavy cottons)
-1 pair of pants (quick drying material is great, avoid heavy cottons)
-3 tee-shirts
-1 long sleeve
-1 sweater
-1 rain jacket
-toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, make-up)
-sunscreen
-a book (preferably one you don’t mind getting wet, because all that time by the pool might result in it getting wet!)
-a flashlight
-rubber boots (useful but not essential)
-a Gopro or other waterproof and durable camera (for documenting all your adventures!)

Here is a short list of things you won’t need to bring.
-shampoo/conditioner (we provide it)
-electronics (there is no internet here, so minimizing the number of these you have is an easy way to keep your baggage light)
-high heels

Now get packing!

Sustainability in Costa Rica

Sustainability is truly at the core of everything at Lapa Rios Ecolodge! Since our hotel opened, we have been committed to preserving and protecting the incredible wildlife and wilderness that surrounds us.

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Our property from above.

Being the first hotel in Costa Rica to earn five-leaf status, we are incredibly proud to say that we have been running a sustainable hotel for almost two decades. So what qualifies us as a sustainable property? Among many other things, we have pigs on-site that eat up all our food waste!

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Just some cute pigs on our property!

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Getting a little love.

We also try to educate guests during their stay with us, through guided tours and general conversation, on the positive effects of acting in sustainable ways. With many tours focusing on everything from our environmentally friendly practices to exploring the wildlife, we know that one of the best ways to make change is to educate.

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Learning about the rainforest on the medicine tour.

We are passionate about the environment and its protection. We want future generations to get a chance to see all the beautiful and humbling wilderness that we see every day. To learn more about our sustainability practices go here!