Pacuare to Papagayo: A Luxury Conservation Adventure in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has always been a favourite destination of ours, whether for a burst of adventure or the chance to lose ourselves in the natural world. Covered by dense rainforest and fringed by wild coastlines, a countrywide commitment to conservation and sustainability have only drawn us in further. In search of ‘la pura vida’, we’ve traversed every inch of jungle to craft the perfect journey through Costa Rica. A journey that will see you canyoning down a waterfall one minute and harvesting your dinner the next, you’ll get to know locals Jose and Don Juan as you learn all about Costa Rica’s green perspective. In between, you’ll retreat to luxury lodges in unique locations, from wild riverbanks to volcanic foothills. Travelling in the company of expert guides throughout, you’ll discover an authentic Costa Rica.

Private Dining on a Remote Riverbank

Touching down in San Jose, you’ll quickly leave the city behind as you head straight out into the rainforest, tracing the Pacuare River. The adventure starts before you’ve even arrived at your first hotel as you journey down an off-road track by 4×4 before crossing the river by cable car to check in. Pacuare Lodge sits high up on the riverbank with an infinity pool that seemingly reaches out into the jungle and beautiful rooms that occupy their own corner of the canopy and will be your home for your first two nights. Starting the trip off in style, we’ll arrange for you to enjoy a private firepit dinner down on the riverbank tonight.

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Discover Indigenous Culture in the Talamanca Mountains

Tomorrow, you’ll set off in the company of an expert naturalist guide through the Talamanca Mountains. Your destination? The Nairi Awari Indigenous Territory. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to meet local communities and learn all about Cabecar culture from one of the best-preserved native cultures in Costa Rica. On return to the lodge, you’ll then enjoy a traditional Cabecar lunch with a menu designed around native ingredients and prepared according to traditional methods, with an oven dug into the earth. Refuelled, we’ll then turn up the adrenaline factor in the afternoon as you head out canyoning through the rainforest, rappelling down a series of waterfalls and cascades before relaxing back at the pool at Pacuare.

White Water Raft to a Sloth Conservation Project

Leaving Pacuare behind the next morning, you’ll say goodbye with a twist as you take to the river on a white water rafting adventure out of the hotel. Navigating class III rapids, you’ll raft through virgin rainforest before coming to a secluded riverbank where a gourmet picnic awaits. From here, it’s onto Proyecto Asis, an animal rescue centre specialising in the conservation of Costa Rica’s most iconic resident – the sloth. You’ll meet expert biologists as you learn about the vast diversity of fauna in Costa Rica and the various initiatives taken to protect it before continuing onto your hotel for the next three nights. Hidden amid the jungle of Arenal Volcano National Park, Nayara Tented Camp is a perfect marriage of adventure and luxury with its beautiful tents bringing you your own slice of the rainforest.

Volcanic Hikes, Nocturnal Wildlife & Sustainable Dining

Your days in Arenal will be spent adventuring from all angles, exploring this natural playground by zipline, tubing, canyoning and networks of hanging bridges. However you choose to see it, we’ll send you off with an expert naturalist guide so you never miss a sighting. Whilst here, you’ll also meet a good friend of ours, Don Juan, at the farm he has dedicated to living as sustainably as possible. Here you’ll have the chance to learn about farm-to-table crops – and taste them. The next day will see you set off across Arenal’s volcanic landscapes as you hike its many lava trails, learning how native wildlife has been able to flourish here in the wake of past eruptions. Hiking through a private reserve, you’ll have the landscape to yourself before settling down with a picnic overlooking the dormant crater. Your time in Arenal then comes to a close that evening on a nocturnal hike through the rainforest as you see yet another side to Costa Rica’s varied wildlife.

An Eco-Luxury Hideaway

From Arenal, it’s up into the mountains of Upala where you’ll spend the next two nights at the eco-conscious Origins Lodge. After an adventurous few days, you’ll have the opportunity to take it a bit easier here with farm to table cooking classes and time exploring the surrounding landscapes. One of our favourite ways to see the region is undoubtedly by horseback as you tack in the microclimates of this beautiful corner and look out over the endless Guanacaste plains.

Relax on the Beaches of Papagayo

Your final stop of this Costa Rican discovery comes in the form of the Papagayo Peninsula where you’ll spend a final two nights in the lap of luxury at Four Seasons Papagayo. Relaxation is an art form here with ayurvedic wellness and an expansive spa welcoming you with open arms. But there’s also watersports, four pools and a host of restaurants if that’s more your idea of relaxing. Time for one last conservation initiative? The Coral Reef Propagation Project out on the Bay of Culebra is not to missed as you contribute to coral rehabilitation efforts in the area. There’s also the opportunity to lend a hand in the Creciendo Juntos community outreach programme too to see the importance of sustainability in the community. Give back, but take some time for yourself too as before you know it, it’s time to return home.