Selva Bananito Lodge

Eight best ecolodges in Costa Rica

Caribbean: Selva Bananito

The Stein family made a moral decision to leave 850 hectares of their family farm untouched, and to build a lodge (predominantly out of wood discarded by loggers) as alternative source of income. They demonstrate how environmentally-sound ecotourism can and should be done, restricting the number of guests, eschewing electricity, harnessing solar energy to heat water, using bio-degradable soaps, composting, recycling glass and plastics, and purifying water using bacteria, enzymes, and water lilies.

They established Fundación Cuencas de Limón, to boot, a nonprofit organization dedicated to watershed protection and educational programs, and offset carbon emissions produced by your air travel by planting trees. Just as importantly, with its trails, rivers, cabins in stilts and views across to the Cerro Muchilla and Amistad Biosphere Reserve, the Steins have created in Selva Bananito, a place sufficiently sublime as to convert even a casual visitor into a fervent ecologist. There is much here to keep twitchers happy, but it is best enjoyed by those with a spirit of adventure. Not only are 8-hour jungle hikes involving 60 river crossings and rappelling down an 80-ft waterfall, galloping horse rides and tree climbing on the activities menu, but the journey from San Jose, particularly during the rainy season can be a little, ahem, challenging.

www.selvabananito.com. 3 days / 2 nights packages includes transfers from San José, 3 meals, introductory tree-climbing, waterfall tour and horseback ride at $355-$375 pp (valid until Nov 30 2007. Self-drive deduct $45 pp)

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