Lapa Rios is tucked away in the Osa peninsula, one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world. Some 375,000 acres (152,000 ha) make it one of the largest existing wet forests on the Pacific Coast of Mesoamerica. It boasts the “who’s who of endangered species,” from puma to ocelot and tapir, and the rain forest is teeming with wildlife.
Set in 1,000 acres (405 ha) of private rain forest, the fourteen-bungalow lodge is all about sustainable development, supporting the environment and the local community—built to prove that “a forest left standing is worth more than one cut down.”The main wooden lodge is thatched and furnished with wicker. Atop a wooden spiral staircase some 33 feet (10 m) above the dining room, the observation deck offers views from tropical rain forest to the Pacific coastline.
The local food is a revelation. Red snapper, burritos, or fajitas are served up in banana leaves. The smiling staff are jovial and eager to perfect their English. The fish seviche is tangy and fresh, tender pieces of fish blended with exotic fruit and lime juice, as well as sweet peppers and cilantro. Grilled jumbo shrimps taste surprisingly sweet on their olive linguine followed by sweet homemade brownies with macadamia nuts accompanied by glorious local coffee.
The bungalows are stunning, with wooden flooring, white and dark green linens, and romantic mosquito nets over the bed. Luxuries are kept to a bare minimum—with no televisions or phones, of course. Nip into the outside shower to hear the symphony from the jungle, or head to the cliff-top pool. Toucans, parrots, and scarlet macaws sit patiently while howler monkeys growl in the distance. The total immersion in nature is both invigorating and beguiling.