Sustainable Ecotourism Hotel on a Private Nature Reserve
While at Punta Leona Hotel & Club, an ecotourism resort on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, keep your eyes open for spider monkeys, iguanas, and sleepy-eyed sloths frolicking among the boughs. Three well-marked trails lead into the resort’s 750-acre private nature reserve, a diverse ecosystem sandwiched between the dry forests of the northwest and the rainforests of the southwest. Within the reserve, you’ll quickly begin spotting the colorful avians on the hotel’s bird-watching checklist. More than 330 species of migratory and nonmigratory birds frequent its lush habitat, including scarlet macaws, toucans, and hummingbirds. Eco-friendly management of this reserve—in addition to water- and energy-conservation efforts—helped earn Punta Leona Hotel a Sustainable Tourism award from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute.
At the main part of the resort, verdant landscapes surround Selvamar superior guest rooms, which are tastefully decorated with dark wood furnishings and burnt-orange bedding. A short walk along private winding roads takes you to Mantas Beach’s golden sands. The road also ends up at Carabelas Restaurant, which serves a Costa Rican buffet.
This deal also includes a canopy tour, where you’ll whiz down a series of ziplines high in the nature reserve’s trees. Guests can venture out into the surrounding countryside on ecotourism day trips, including horseback riding in the mountains and a cruise to deserted Isla Tortuga. Or spend a day at the resort’s Natural Spa, where you can unwind with a coffee scrub, a volcanic-mud body wrap, or another one of the spa’s treatments.
Puntarenas, Costa Rica: Scarlet Macaws and Surfing at Popular Ecotourism Getaway
Located along the Pacific coastline, Puntarenas is Costa Rica’s largest province, extending more than 500 miles from the Panama-Costa Rica border up to the Gulf of Nicoya. Its proximity to beaches, national parks, and nature reserves makes the area a popular ecotourism spot. A good place to start is the beachside town of Jacó, which attracts surfers from all over the globe with consistently big waves and good breaks. Just a few miles inland lies Carara National Park, an 11,600-acre nature reserve that’s home to crocodiles, two-toed sloths, and hundreds of scarlet macaws, a rare sight in most parts of the country.
About 60 miles northeast of Jacó, Costa Rica’s capital, San José, is a cultural hub filled with colonial architecture, open-air artisan markets, and street vendors selling tamales and pupusas (stuffed flatbread). Further north, Arenal Volcano is one of the country’s most popular attractions. Before 2010, the 5,437-foot volcano was Costa Rica’s most active, frequently spouting plumes of ash and lava. Since then, the volcano has entered a dormant phase, but you can still enjoy its geothermal hot springs and steamy rainforest hikes.
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