“Save the Rainforest.” That phrase never meant much to me until I slept in the rainforest, up in a tree. Sure, the rainforest hosts over 50 percent of the planet’s biodiversity, but it’s hard to comprehend how important that is until you’ve been there. I spent a week in Costa Rica exploring the trees (there’s over 700 species), monkeys, insects, fabulous flowers and the rivulets of water that support the life teeming in the jungle.
At Finca Bellavista, a developing sustainable treehouse community, we slept in a treehouse next to a majestic waterfall that produced an authentic noise no sleep machine could induce. The community perches on over 300 acres of secondary rainforest that the founders saved from being clearcut for logging. Matt and Erica Hogan, founders of Finca Bellavista, have created a place that coexists with the natural environment. All of the electricity is currently produced by on site solar panels and they are planning to install a hydro-electric generator. A nursery and thousands of trees planted at base camp produce fresh food for residents and visitors. It is a location where you can live consciously with a low impact on the environment, and enjoy myriads of adventures right out your door from waterfalls and swimming holes, to rainforest treks, to ziplining and exploring Costa Rica’s National Parks.
Our next destination was a remote eco-lodge with charming bungalows and gourmet meals. Luna Lodge is a relaxing paradise committed to rainforest conservation. There people can take yoga classes while looking over the primary rainforest spilling into the Pacific Ocean and hearing a variety of birds cackling and whistling. With guided bird watching tours, gold panning, and surfing or kayaking visitors can fill their days with activities or lounge in a hammock, absorbing the forest ambiance. Lana Wedmore, owner of the lodge, employs 22 native Costa Ricans who live in on-site housing. Through sustainable tourism she educates visitors about local culture and the crucial role the rainforest plays on the planet.
While driving from the airport near San Jose to the Osa Peninsula we stopped at beaches and quaint restaurants to experience a bit of authentic Costa Rican culture.