Are you planning a trip to Central America and looking for the best eco-lodges in Costa Rica?
Sounds like just the right thing in a country that’s so lush and full of mesmerizing nature, right? When choosing a place to stay, it’s super important to pay attention to how they support or harm the environment. As you may know, tourism can be extremely harmful to your destination’s nature and wildlife. So the place you select as your accommodation can make a huge difference. You can lower your carbon footprint significantly by staying in accommodation with many sustainable practices in comparison to a standard hotel.

As a country well-known for its leading ecotourism, you can find a huge choice of so-called eco-hotels, eco-resorts, and eco-lodges in Costa Rica. But there’s one thing you need to know first: There are no official regulations for hotels and accommodations calling themselves “eco”. So the term is neither protected nor regulated. That’s why it’s important to do some proper research before booking a place to stay.
I’ve asked around among travelers who have been to Costa Rica and stayed in eco-lodges that were truly using sustainable practices in order to harm the environment less. And I’ve gathered their recommendations and honest experiences in this post.
So let’s dive right in.

Nature in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s incredible nature

1 | Luna Lodge, Corcovado National Park

Luna Lodge is located on the Osa Peninsula, a biologically diverse region on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. From Puerto Jimenez, the approximately 2-hour drive is an adventure in itself. You’ll cross small rivers and bumpy roads, so a 4×4 vehicle is necessary.

One of the first things guests will notice walking onto the grounds of Luna Lodge is the open nature of the structures here. Minimal exterior walls allow air to flow freely, reducing the need for air conditioning.
The communal platform where guests check in looks out towards the lush, green tapestry of flora and fauna. The air here is cleaner and more pristine, undoubtedly because of the surrounding rainforest and neighboring Corcovado National Park.

This remote destination is powered by hydroelectric energy. It was built on a steep hill to maximize rainforest views and give guests the feeling they are a part of the rainforest.

Wildlife is everywhere. From the platform of our bungalow, we had a perfect view of the lodge’s resident sloth. Toucans frequented the tree next to us. I spotted hummingbirds multiple times a day. The symphony of sounds – birds, cicadas, and distant, screeching howler monkeys – reminded me that I was somewhere special.

Booking a tour of Corcovado National Park through Luna Lodge is highly recommended. It’s important to remember that every day is new and different, and experiences will vary accordingly. On our tour, we were fortunate to encounter a troop of 12 to 15 monkeys, some just a few feet away from us. We also came across coatis on the ground roaming.

Luna Lodge also offers yoga classes and guided tours for lagoon kayaking, bird-watching, and rainforest night walks. After adventuring, guests can relax by getting a treatment at the lodge’s spa.

Luna Lodge is owned by Lana Wedmore, a Colorado native who dedicates much of her time to conservation. Her non-profit organization, The White Hawk Foundation, aims to protect the land surrounding the national park.

Contributed by Meeshka | Sand and Elevation

Check for the best rates for La Luna Lodge across many booking platforms right here.

Yoga Lodge at Luna eco-lodge in Costa Rica

Yoga platform at La Luna Eco Lodge in Costa Rica

2 | Tirimbina Rainforest Lodge, Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui

Located 44 miles from the San Jose Airport, Tirimbina Rainforest Lodge is one of the best affordable eco lodges in Costa Rica. The lodge is a part of the Tirimbina Rainforest Reserve in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, that offers basic but comfortable rooms in natural garden settings. So, during our stay, we often saw birds and iguanas as visitors near our patio.

Tirimbina Rainforest Reserve is a pioneer organization that works on environmental conservation, research and education, as well as offers different eco tours. However, out of the 345 hectares of tropical rainforest that the Reserve protects, only a fraction is open to visitors. The rest is accessible for research purposes only.

So, when you stay at the Tirimbina Lodge, you are part of a larger project supporting the ecotourism and sustainability practices of Costa Rica. You can explore the Reserve by purchasing a day pass, but we stayed at the Lodge that got us plenty of time to explore all the trails of the reserve. Accommodation price also includes access to the Reserve.

You can go hiking on the nature trails that allow you the chance to explore the flora and the fauna of the tropical rainforest of Costa Rica. There are couple of rustic hanging bridges, one hidden in the depths of the dense rainforests and another with terrific views of the Sarapiqui river below. Apart from that, you can sign up for specific tours like bird watching and chocolate making, which are some of the best things to do in Costa Rica.

Finally, at Tirimbina Rainforest Lodge, you know you are staying somewhere special, because David Attenborough, the famous biologist and broadcaster, had once stayed at this lodge.

Contributed by Pubali and Indranil | Paradise Catchers

Check for the best rates for Tirimbina Rainforest Lodge across many booking platforms right here.

Tirimbina Reserve in Costa Rica

Tirimbina Reserve surrounding the Rainforest Lodge

3 | Si Como No, Manuel Antonio

There are so many eco lodges in Costa Rica, and Si Como No Resort is without a doubt one of the best. Located in the small town of Manuel Antonio, this amazing resort is tucked away in the lush rainforest for a truly immersive experience, especially if you’re a nature lover.

Si Como No Resort commits to sustainability in several ways. For starters, the resort is powered by solar panels. They also use biodegradable toiletries and have an on-site garden which they use in many of the dishes for the two on-site restaurants. Beyond the resort grounds, Si Como No has a wildlife rescue program and also offers educational activities for guests who want to pitch in to the cause.

Amongst many things, one of Si Como No’s biggest draws is its convenient location right along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and within minutes of Manuel Antonio National Park. At the resort, the rooms are designed to blend seamlessly into the surrounding rainforest, making for a truly immersive experience. The on-site restaurant also whips up some amazing local cuisine made with fresh produce from the on-site organic garden.

As for activities, the resort is just a short walk or drive away from Manuel Antonio National Park, which is known for its pristine beaches, fun hikes, and wildlife. To try out the local nightlife or shop for souvenirs, you can walk to Manuel Antonio’s city center, where you can find many restaurants, bars, shops, and more.

Hands down, Si Como No Resort is one of the best eco-lodges in Manuel Antonio, let alone Costa Rica. The resort is fully committed to sustainable practices, provides amazing rooms and activities, and is perfectly located right along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It’s the perfect jumping-off point for nature lovers looking to soak in some good ‘ole Mother Nature and escape from busy city living.

Contributed by Pierre | wayfair with pierre

Check for the best rates for Si Como No Resort across many booking platforms right here.

4 | Essence Arenal, El Castillo

Essence Arenal is an ecolodge with a permaculture farm in El Castillo in the province of Alajuela. It is the perfect place if you want to visit the Arenal volcano, Serro Chato, the hot springs, and waterfalls but don’t want to stay in the busy center of La Fortuna, which most travelers use as a base when visiting this area of Costa Rica.

El Castillo is a tiny, more rural village that sits on the slopes of the mountains near Lake Arenal. Essence Arenal is located pretty high up and boosts magnificent views over the lake and the surrounding area. They offer a lot of room options to choose from, from private rooms to casitas for long-term travelers as well as glamping tents in the jungle.

Sustainability runs through every aspect of this hotel. Water is sourced from a natural spring, 90% of the energy they use is solar-powered, the permaculture garden is pesticide and chemical-free and the restaurant exclusively served vegan and vegetarian dishes.

They also care about mental health and offer yoga classes and a holistic spa where you can book wonderful treatments like Reiki and sound therapy and even nutritional consultations. You absolutely can’t miss the jacuzzi, which is located outside on the top of the mountain with views over lake Arenal!

Contributed by Annelies | Travelers & Dreamers

Check for the best rates for Essence Arenal across many booking platforms right here.

View from the mountain on the village and Essence Arenal, one of the best eco lodges in Costa Rica

View of El Arenal volcano

5 | Pecuare Lodge, Siquerres

Pacuare Lodge is not far from Costa Rica’s Atlantic coast, near Siquerres. There are no roads to the lodge. Guests arrive one of three ways: whitewater river rafting, crossing the river on a gondola, or by helicopter. This upscale eco-lodge on the banks of the Pacuare River is within the boundaries of the Pacuare-Matina Forest Reserve, 25,000 acres of protected land.

No trees were cut to build Pacuare Lodge. Buildings were constructed from lumber from a reforestation initiative. The lodge is powered by hydroelectricity and solar panels and staffed by locals. The result is an all-inclusive resort that offers guests an experience of rustic luxury and adventure rooted in Costa Rican culture.

We stayed in a River View Suite that features an outdoor solar-heated shower. The terrace was spacious enough that I could roll out my yoga mat and practice while my husband sat in the hammock, taking in the sights and sounds of the river.

We took advantage of the lodge’s activities and tours during our stay. We ziplined across the rainforest canopy, rappelled down rock faces, and hiked to a nearby waterfall and forest pool. We also enjoyed walking down to the river, where river and jungle views restored us.

For families planning their next adventure vacation, note that the minimum age requirement for staging at Pacuare Lodge is seven years old.

Contributed by Meeshka | Sand and Elevation

Check for the best rates for Pecuare Lodge across many booking platforms right here.

Pacuare Eco Lodge, Costa Rica

Riverview Suite at Pecuare Eco-Lodge in Costa Rica

Tips on what to pay attention to when looking for eco-lodges in Costa Rica

As the term “eco-lodge” is not protected, and there are no official regulations for when someone can call their hotel an eco-hotel / eco-lodge in Costa Rica or anywhere else in the world. For travelers this can make it really hard to actually find sustainable accommodation. When I was traveling through Costa Rica, I got the feeling that some called their B&B an eco-lodge just because it was built out of wood.

So always check the accommodation’s website to see if they follow some of the following sustainable practices:

  • Support sustainable projects in the community
  • Pay attention to waste separation and recycling
  • Have certain measures for saving resources (like water and power)
  • Offer mostly organic and local food
  • Used local or recycled building materials

While it’s not easy to find places that fulfill all of these factors, if they strive to meet some of them is always a good sign.

What’s your experience with staying at eco-lodges? Are there any eco-lodges in Costa Rica that you can recommend? Let me know if you have any suggestions that you’d like to share with other travelers. Just leave a comment below!

More about Traveling in Costa Rica

More about Central America

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