Costa Rica

Because I’ve always wanted to…

Issue 54 / May 2023
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We at laterallife would like to wish everyone an enjoyable, sunny summer, whether in the UK or abroad.

Recently, I made my first, long overdue trip to Costa Rica. Having always been a bit sceptical about Costa Rica (more a Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama and Belize fan), I was delighted to be proved to be utterly misguided.  What I found was a very unpopulated, densely forested, extremely green landscape with beautiful coastlines on both sides of the country. Costa Rica has ecotourism down to a fine art. Happy people, stunning birds, exotic butterflies and sloths everywhere, and it feels really safe. The hotels I saw and stayed at were all superb. Below we shall give you a taster of what delights behold the traveller to Costa Rica and here you can find a sample itinerary to further whet your appetites.

With all our best wishes,
The Lateral Team

Finca Rosa Blanca
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Just 30 minutes’ drive from Jose airport nestled up in the hills with stunning views lies this 14 room coffee farm, Finca Rosa Blanca. The fertile soil allows for abundant coffee crops, which thrive in the tree-shaded 30 acre plantation, along with 140 species of bird. Beautiful gardens and a 22 metre swimming pool with a hot tub and waterfall complement the garden, along with a sensational farm-to-table restaurant known as El Tigre Vestido. Each guest gets a complimentary tour of the grounds with detailed descriptions of the growing, harvesting and roasting process, along with a tasting session, of course!

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Aguas Claras
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Aguas Claras is on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, 30km from the Panama border close to Puerto Viejo.  The accommodation here is right in a tropical jungle just a 2 minute walk from the beach and the hotel’s beach bar.  This was a lovely place to stay, with its 6 contemporary Caribbean bungalows, 6 suites, and a 2-storey Caribbean house enjoying a prime oceanside location with direct access to Playa Chiquita. Macaws entertain you from their treetop perches, as well as the resident sloth under the hotel’s boardwalk. Our highlight culinary find was an Italian restaurant called Pecora Nera, just minutes down the road.

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Lapa Rios
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Lapa Rios is set in the jungle on the Osa peninsula accessed by plane from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez followed by an hour’s car transfer.  There’s deep jungle here and terrific walking trails.  Surfing is reputedly superb.  This is a place only for those who are nimble of foot as the walkways to the connecting restaurant area to the rooms are somewhat challenging!

The Osa Peninsula is home to 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity with abundant primary rainforest and pristine beaches. Lapa Rios overlooks the sparkling waves of the Golfo Dulce. There are 17 luxe bungalows and villas beautifully appointed though ‘carefully green’ with solar powered indoor and al fresco showers. One wakes to howler monkeys calling as scarlet macaws squawk joyfully. Guided excursions spot sloths, armadillos, dart frogs and endless bird species. You may even be lucky and spot a jaguar or puma!

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Rio Perdido
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Deep in the San Bernardo lowland jungle is to be found Rio Perdido, a secluded activity gem along with its very enjoyable swim up bar! Formed by two converging canyons where the Rio Bianco’s cool waters meet the Rio Perdido’s hot thermal waters. 30 forest bungalows are connected by jungle paths to a superb dining area with massage rooms, spa and an endless number of interconnecting swimming pools. Thermal canyon springs, ziplining, white water tubing, running a mile of stunning changing landscape, hiking trails, mountain biking, cliffside yoga pods, and wildlife spotting. A true gem of a place.

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Tierra Magnifica
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Owned and managed by the convivial Steve Jacobus, Tierra Magnifica was his home once upon a time. It’s perched up in the jungle, a 5 minute tuktuk ride from downtown Nosara. Views are resplendent from your room, the pool, bar or dining table. Delicious food and a particularly good wine list. The local restaurant called La Luna is a must go for its supreme sunset views (see below!).

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Lagarta Lodge
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Guanacaste Province, Nosara on the famous Nicoya Peninsula. Lagarta Lodge is fabulously situated, with two rivers, expansive sandy beaches and woods along the Pacific shores of Costa Rica. I only visited this hotel but from my walk about one can soon see it’s a place for watersports, views and fabulous sunsets. Great lodge for families and no distance from the fun bars and restaurants of downtown Nosara.

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El Remanso
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El Remanso is truly special and one of my favourite jungle lodges in Costa Rica. Founded in 1999 as a family business, now in its second generation. The 14 accommodation units built from fallen timber and sustainable wood are set on 185 acres of jungle making the lodge the ideal starting point for endless nature hikes, bird watching, waterfall rappelling, canopy observations, zipline tours, night tours to discover the delights of moths, snakes and frogs, dolphin and whale watching, surfing lessons, mangrove and sunset kayak trips, as well as horse riding and swimming in rock pools on the beach. The fun is endless!

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Playa Cativo
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I spent a heavenly three days at Playa Cativo – unlike the other lodges, P.C is bang on the beach with jungle stretching for miles in all directions around it. It’s just a 30 minute scenic boat ride from the nearest airstrip. It is an eco lodge of sumptuous nature on the calm waters of the Golfo Dulce (the only tropical fjord in the Americas!). The birdlife around the hotel is exquisite and colourful, with an endless variety of exotic species. I saw whales and dolphins on both occasions I went out on a boat. The lodge is more geared to nature and wellness, and less to jungle wires! Perfect place to chill out with delicious food.

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Pacuare Lodge
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Pacuare Lodge is certainly the most famous eco hotel in Costa Rica, with only 20 suites and situated on the banks of one of the world’s most scenic white water wonders, the Pacuare River of Costa Rica. You raft in and out of the lodge, though there are age limits to this activity. On top of this are canopy tours, canyoning, and somewhere called ‘The Nest’. Sadly, I was unable to visit Pacuare due to a last minute kitchen fire but feedback from our guests is always superlatively positive and enthusiastic.

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Up Periscope: Zannier Sonop Camp, Namibia
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The second Zannier hotel in Namibia was opened in the stunningly remote stretch of desert between Luderitz and Sossusvlei and enjoys the exclusivity of its own 13,800 private acres of untouched Namibian desert wilderness. The 10 exquisite tents blend almost perfectly into the massive pile of boulders they are built amongst making the lodge almost invisible and in harmony with its surrounding.

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The awe-inspiring landscape is the real protagonist here and the activities on offer are focused on enjoying the desert and the achingly beautiful desertic surroundings. The guided excursions include horse-riding, electric fat bike or walking trails, hot air balloon safari and private sunrise or sunset safaris. After dark, the magic continues with an open-air cinema and stargazing under the endless African skies.

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