Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is about as far off the grid as it’s possible to get in Costa Rica. Golfo Dulce laps at the front door, while the trails of Piedra Blanca National Park beckon from the backdoor. To get there, you can fly in from San José or enjoy a 6-hour drive through some of the best scenery in Costa Rica to one of two jumping-off points: Golfito or Puerto Jimenez; there, you’ll be met by your hosts. The rest of your journey is by boat.
Once at Playa Nicuesa, you’ll find you have arrived at the perfect blend of sustainable tourism and luxury. Guestrooms include private terraces, open-air showers and a window into some of the most diverse and spectacular rainforest anywhere. Meals feature fresh, organic ingredients and emphasize the flavors of Costa Rica, with a cosmopolitan twist. Clearly, the lodge’s emphasis on minimizing its carbon footprint has not compromised its dedication to sumptuous luxury.
Whether its wale gazing from the dock or sunset yoga to the sound of gentle waves, hiking or making chocolate from local cacao trees, there is never a dull moment during your stay in this off the beaten path sanctuary in the Costa Rican rainforest.
But, after a long flight from the U.S., we think you’ll get even more out of your visit to Costa Rica with a stopover at one of Distinctive Hotels other boutique properties near San José, before continuing on to Playa Nicuesa.
Grano de Oro, in the center of downtown San José, is about 20 minutes from Juan Santamaria International and even closer to San José’s domestic airport. Once privately-owned, the hotel is an architectural gem of tropical colonial style. Each room is a uniquely decorated and luxuriously appointed reminder of a bygone era. With its central location, San José’s cultural and historical past is within easy walking distance. The Central Market, dance clubs, restaurants, theatres, and museums top an extensive list of things to see and do.
If you’re anxious to get out of San José but not quite ready to head for Playa Nicuesa, Peace Lodge is an hour north of the airport. The lodge sits within the grounds of La Paz Waterfall Gardens on the slopes of Poas Volcano and its elegantly decorated rooms complement the surrounding gardens in the cloud forest. Paved trails meander past a series of five waterfalls, as well as a variety of exhibits, including an aviary, hummingbird garden and butterfly observatory—all open to hotel guests.
Of course, there’s no reason you can’t sandwich Playa Nicuesa between the two hotels, one coming and one going, to make your Costa Rica vacation can be the best of three worlds.