Experience the thrills of the rainforest at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, in the southern part of Costa Rica, surrounded by thousands of acres of wilderness - the little known Piedras Blancas National Park. This ultimate rainforest adventure provides a great opportunity for adventurers to experience the rainforest at close range without sacrificing a certain level of comfort. For sure this is not the Hilton, but it is not a a mere base camp or ranger station either. Comfortable bungalows with private bathrooms provide a certain level of civilization without being removed from the powerful jungle ambience.
Esquinas Lodge is both, a lodge that offers adventure tourists a comfortable and safe environment from where to explore the many fascinating facets of the rainforest, and a research facility where scientists conduct important field studies to help us better understand the ecology and biodiversity of the rainforest.
All 14 rooms have a private bathroom with hot water shower, ceiling fan and full screening. Each room is decorated with colorful materials woven by the Guaymi and Boruca Indians and can be used as a single, double or triple room. Hummingbirds, parrots, toucans and many more of the 300+ species of birds found here frequent the trees and flowers surrounding the seven bungalows.
Esquinas Rainforest Lodge offers a large variety of tours and excursions in Piedras Blancas National Park, in the valley of La Gamba, and in the Golfo Dulce. Since there are no other lodges in the neighborhood, you will rarely encounter any other tourists on your excursions.
Guests can choose between easy, level, 30-minute walks and longer, more strenuous hikes which lead deep into the rainforest. The Esquinas forest is categorized as a 'lowland tropical wet forest' and contains over 140 species of trees per hectare (more than Corcovado National Park!) and around 2.500 species of plants. You will hike through secondary forest with a great variety of heliconias, ferns and other light-sensitive plants, as well as through primary forest where you can see 'walking palms', great buttress roots, giant trees with epiphytic orchids and bromeliads, passion flowers, and an amazing tangle of vines. You will see colorful birds, shiny butterflies, bizarre insects, frogs, and possibly monkeys, agouti-pacas, peccaries, or coatis. More than 360 species of birds have been recorded in Piedras Blancas National Park.
You don't nee to be experienced in horseback riding to enjoy this easy half-day tour. Just let the guides know whether you wish to walk, trot or canter. Our most popular horseback tour leads through the town of La Gamba to Chorro Waterfall, where you can bathe or climb up to a natural pond above a waterfall that is surrounded by beautiful rainforest. Another option is a ride into Valle Bonito for swimming and snorkelling in a clear jungle river where researchers have counted 26 (!) species of freshwater fish.
We drive through the rainforest of Golfito to reach the shore where we switch to a boat and make our way to Playa Cacao. Here we begin paddling up the coast in our lightweight kayaks, with time to observe the rainforest and stop at lonesome beaches for a swim in Golfo Dulce. The warm (85 F.) sea is very calm in the morning, providing us with good chances to observe dolphins. We can leave our backpacks, cameras or water bottles in the boat, which follows at a discreet distance. Whenever we decide, our kayaks are attached to the boat for a fast fun-ride back to Playa Cacao.
You can take a guided mountain bike tour on an easy, almost level road. These excursions are especially recommended for families with children. We suggest either a ride through the village of La Gamba to Chorro Waterfall, or a ride into Valle Bonito. They provide a good opportunity to observe rural life in Costa Rican. Take your swimsuits for a refreshing dip in a calm clear river pool or a shower under a roaring waterfall. We also rent out mountain bikes by the half-day.
After breakfeast, we drive through the rainforest to the town of Golfito. The motorboat ride up the beautiful coast of Golfo Dulce is an unforgettable experience, passing by uninhabited beaches surrounded by pristine rainforest. Dolphins are often seen, and some lucky guests have even observed humpback whales and whale sharks. After an hour, we reach isolated Casa Orquideas. Ron and Trudy Macallister have lived here since the 1970's and created a botanical garden full of colourful tropical trees and exotic plants including many species of orchids. After a tour of approximately 1½ hours, we have ample time for a swim in the 85 F. ocean and a picnic lunch on the sandy beach before returning to Golfito and the lodge.
Our La Gamba Village Tour (for groups of 10 persons or more) includes a visit to the school, where a presentation of folk dances is given, a 'refresco' at a local 'pulperia', and a visit to an exhibit of local handicrafts at the town meeting hall. The tour is free of charge, but we recommend a small donation to the school and encourage you to help the local women by purchasing some souvenirs. Long-time favorites include jewellery crafted from rainforest seeds and home-made organic soaps and shampoos.
We hope that our individual guests will also have an opportunity to see the village where our employees and their families live. The town center is a leisurely 25-minute walk from the lodge. We can also arrange a short stop during a horseback or bike tour.
The mangroves of the Rio Coto estuary are an amazing heaven for wildlife: numerous species of waterbirds, howler, white-faced and squirrel monkeys, caimans and crocodiles. Our boat tour through the meandering mangrove swamp, where it is unlikely to encounter any other tourists, is preceded by a drive through the rainforest to Golfito and includes a stop at Zancudo Beach for a picnic lunch and swimming.
After a drive through the rainforest to Golfito, you board a motorboat for a scenic 3-hour trip around Golfo Dulce, an inlet which separates Piedras Blancas National Park from the Osa peninsula. Due to the many rivers that flow into the gulf from the surrounding rainforest, the ocean is rich with minerals and provides a rich source of food for many marine animals and mammals. Three species of porpoise live and breed year-round in the gulf, and humpback whales can be seen at times. There is a 90% chance of observing bottlenose dolphins playing and swimming by the boat. It is not permitted to swim with the dolphins; you must remain in the boat.
This 8 to 10 hour tour is certainly is one of the most rewarding adventures a lodge in Costa Rica has to offer! It combines a horseback ride to the end of Valle Bonito, a hike through untouched primary rainforest all the way to the coast, a beach picnic, a swim in warm Golfo Dulce, a boat trip along the coast to Golfito, and a drive through the rainforest back to the lodge. The 3- to 4-hour hike from Valle Bonito to San Josecito beach passes through the very center of Piedras Blancas National Park and is steep at places. Good physical health and stamina is required.
Wilson Botanical Garden (Organization of Tropical Studies) in Las Cruces Coffee Plantation Tour in San Vito (Coto Brus) with hot springs Full-Day Tour by light plane to Corcovado National Park (Sirena Station)Scenic flights over Osa Peninsula, Piedras Blancas NP and Golfo Dulce.
You will be picked up in your city hotel and drive to San Josť airport. On a 50 minutes flight to Golfito you enjoy breathtaking views of the south pacific coast. A representative of the lodge will pick you up at Golfito airstrip. Transfer to Esquinas Rainforest Lodge.
Included meals: lunch, dinner
Choose your adventure from the range of options (see above). Included in the program are:
During your stay at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, you will be able to choose from the following activites.
Please book and arrange your tours at the reception of the lodge
Enjoy an active rainforest adventure according to your own pace and ability and choose your daily activities from the excursion menu. Three meals are included for each day of your stay
In the morning an agent of the lodge takes you back to the airstrip of Golfito, from where you fly back to San José. Transfer to your city hotel.
Included meals: breakfast
|16 Apr 2010 - 30 Oct 2010||1 Nov 2010 - 30 Apr 2011||1 May 2011 - 31 Oct 2011|
Minimum number of participants: 2
Rates may vary due to currency exchange rate fluctuations.
Please note that your luggage on this excursion is limited to 12kg including hand luggage.
Extra nights can be added if desired.
NOTE: All our Costa Rica adventures can be combined to form individualized packages. Please ask if you need help creating your own itinerary. We also offer fly drive packages and some short mountain biking and white water rafting tours that are not mentioned in the index. Please ask.
For booking inquiries and further information please contact Sacred Earth.