The family-owned Yandup Island Lodge is located on a private island across from the remote Playon Chico community on the Caribbean coastline of San Blas, Panama. The eco-lodge offers two tours a day: a visit to a beach on one of the archipelago's deserted islands and a cultural tour that connects guests to the local Kuna Yala indian community.
Ecolodges and Fun Stuff in Central America
So many beautiful places to stay and things to see in Central and South America.
This highlight come from this past winter when I was living and traveling through Central America. While I had a base in Coco, Costa Rica, I spent three months traveling around Central America, including Monteverde, Palo Verde National Park, and San Jose in Costa Rica, and Granada, Lake Nicaragua, and Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua. This photo comes from the bell tower of Iglesia La Merced in Granada.
If you're in León, Nicaragua, make sure to climb up the bell tower of its XVIII c. Cathedral (Central America's largest). When you emerge on the rooftop, domes lead your eye to a perfectly conical volcano on the horizon; stretching out below you will be a cityscape of tile and tin roofs, punctuated with palms and colonial churches, and beyond, a landscape of active geology.
The cathedral has survived several centuries of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and civil war. Wander the streets of this university town and get to know its friendly people, going about life on this hot coastal plain between the Pacific Ocean and the volcano-dominated Maribio mountain chain.
Sit in the shade and sip on some juice from coconuts brought into town on a donkey-pulled cart. Marvel at the size of the papayas. And in the hottest part of the mid-afternoon, take a siesta...
On the horizon just NE of León, Nicaragua, you can make out the giant black mound of Cerro Negro--Central America's youngest volcano. Until 1850, there was NOTHING here! Since then it's erupted dozens of times--coating the surrounding countryside and towns with ash and sand...So, from 'nothing' to 728 m (2,388 ft) high in just a few generations. And, perhaps foolishly, many visitors hike up and down into the crater. I went too. ("Look--everyone else is doing it!") One popular activity is to climb up with a beater surfboard, and then to SURF DOWN the loose pumice slope! Just don't fall...Scientists monitor the volcano carefully, but there's no barrier (other than common sense) to keep you from entering the sulfurous crater...for now.
Near the town of Tecpán in the western highlands of Guatemala are the ruins of Iximché. Perched on a hill some 7000 feet above sea level, this was the cool capital of the Kaqchikel Maya in the 15th and 16th centuries, at the time of the Spanish Conquest.
This was our first visit to Central America, and although we didn't have time to visit the more famous ruins in the jungle of Tikal, we were excited to come to this less-well-known complex. Iximché is off the beaten path for most non-Guatemalan tourists; and among the Guatemalans who visit here, most are indigenous Maya. Built at the end of the pre-Columbian period, this city was used for only a few decades before the Conquistadors would establish their rule.
But these ruins are hardly 'dead;' Maya families regularly come here for recreation and religion. The afternoon we were here, we saw a ceremony taking place. We didn't want to...
A woman walks past a door on the streets of downtown Antigua in Guatemala. Antigua is a picturesque colonial town, like many other colonial towns one might see in Central and South America. Old colonial buildings abound, as expected, but the city is also quite modern and has numerous modern amenities making it easy for tourists (as evidenced by the Wi-Fi sign in this photo!).
When U.S. school buses are decommissioned, they are reincarnated in Central America and given new life. Repainted and rechristened, they become tropical intercity transport worth taking. For travelers, a journey on one of these is an immersive Guatemalan experience as well as a nostalgic ride. For crossing international borders on land, many Centroamericanos ride on double-decker buses, from which you can look down on all the Panamerican Highway action; traveling from Guatemala through El Salvador and Honduras to Nicaragua, this was a typical scene, as we wondered, "are we there yet?"
Guests at Jicaro Island Ecolodge, a nine-casita resort in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, can kayak around the lake's 365 islets which formed when the Mombacho volcano erupted thousands of years ago. Early morning is the best time for spotting birds like Montezuma’s Oropendula, Ringed Kingfisher, Purple Gallinule, and Northern Jacana. I took this shot just after sunrise. Mombacho is looming in the background and two local kids are casting nets for fish.
When he learned we were on our honeymoon, a knowing smile stretched across Charlie’s face. Gazing pensively across the sea in the direction of a distant palm-tree skyline, the old Kuna man slowly muttered, “Ah, luna de miel en Kuna Yala…”
On our third trip to Central America, my new bride and I were no longer backpacking. No hostels during this trip. Though they do exist in Panama’s Kuna Yala, or San Blas Islands, we had aimed to stay in Caribbean luxury this time. And the Coral Lodge did not disappoint.
After departing from Charlie in El Porvenir, where we had awaited transportation, we took a choppy boat ride eight miles west of the Kuna Yala boundary. Along the way, we passed deserted islands so iconic that Hawaiian Tropic and Playboy shoot there. And the perfection above-ground was matched below the surface offshore. I’ve since snorkeled in oceans around the world, but never seen...
check out the kapawi ecolodge in ecuadorial amazon. remote area on tributary of amazon river. thatched huts on stilts looking into virgin rainforest. I was there not too long ago shooting, and the people were amazing. private huts and great communal area. make sure you have one of the guys take you fishing for pirhana!! -volunteer opportunities too!!
After spending some amazing times in Bogota, Medellin, and literally everywhere in between as we made the drive through the countryside, we flew to the jewel of the trip, Nuqui on the Pacific coast. After circling in on the small prop plane between the mountains and ocean we were picked up on a boat and taken down the coast. We spent an amazing week in this casita without electricity, next to the waterfalls, migrating humpbacks, surf, and little else.
During a summer studying in Costa Rica I visited many ecologically stunning places I would recommend visiting, and only one inn that stood out from all the rest. This friendly family run Eco country lodge is la Quinta Sarapiqui. The grounds are a destination in themselves. located on 10 lush acres that include walking trails, beautiful gardens, private porches with rocking chairs and hammocks, a river and pool to swim in, and a butterfly and frog gardens with ample species of both. While the lodge can arrange many day outing such as zip lining in the rain forest or horse back riding in the hills I spent the majority of my time enjoying the grounds at the lodge itself.
Included on the lodge is an organic garden that supplies their restaurant with fresh produce. The meals while simple were very Costa Rican, always including rice and beans and with the best pineapple I've ever tasted in...