Puntarenas Province, Puerto Jiménez, Costa Rica
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The Magic of Lapa RiosMy second trip to Costa Rica proved to be just as magical as the first. Last year, I traveled all around the country, from San Jose to Guanacaste to Uvita. This time around, I ventured to the Osa Peninsula, which is home to more than half of all of Costa Rica's animal species.
Another difference between this trip and the last was that Costa Rican Vacations, a tour company that specializes in Costa Rica family resorts, planned my entire trip. This allowed me to really relax and not worry about any of the logistics. They checked in on me several times throughout the trip, giving me peace of mind throughout.
As soon as I arrived to Lapa Rios, I knew I was in for something special. The resort is situated on more than 1,000 acres of primary and secondary rainforest. There are 17 bungalows and each feels super secluded, complete with indoor and outdoor showers. Not only is it among National Geographic Unique Lodges, but it’s also part of the Cayuga Collection, a series of boutique, eco-friendly properties across Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua.
The first thing I noticed was the spiral wooden staircase that leads from the open-air restaurant to the observation deck above. It felt like I had stepped into some fairy tale world, or onto the pages of a novel full of adventure. Later that night, I got caught in one of the strongest rain storms I’ve ever experienced and, despite being drenched from the one-minute journey from my bungalow to the restaurant, I felt alive like I hadn’t in months. There’s something about rain that forces you awake and it was in the moment that the real magic began unfolding.
Each day, I’d wake up to scarlet macaws, a famous type of bird in Costa Rica that the resort is named after (‘Lapa’ is the Costa Rican name for scarlet macaws), flying in pairs across the sky. I’d hear monkeys, insects and so many other forms of life hidden within the lush rainforest that surrounded me.
One of the aspects of Lapa Rios I really appreciated was the “all-inclusive” aspect. Unlike the all-inclusive resorts I’ve visited in the Caribbean, everything about Lapa Rios was curated and geared toward small groups. Food was all local and their menus changed daily. Tours are also complementary, and there’s quite a few options. I signed up for several, including their morning bird walk, their evening night tour, as well as their “Matapalo” tour that takes you to three nearby beaches.
The trip coincided with a special birthday of a loved one, so I was thrilled to learn that Lapa Rios had a “plant a tree” program where guests could take a baby tree and plant it in either the primary or secondary forest. After four days of getting pampered, it was really nice to give back in this small way. I also visited the local school, another program Lapa Rios offers, and met so many sweet natured, kind hearted children.
Oddly enough, the biggest blessing of staying at Lapa Rios—besides the stunning views and friendly staff—was being disconnected from my phone. Lapa Rios purposely only has wifi in one section of the resort, which really forced me to ditch my work for awhile and simply live in the present moment.