“Forget Costa Rica – Old news”… Really?

On December 27th, the Boston Globe published an article called: Where to go in 2015.  Not to anybody’s surprise, Cuba was the #1 pick and the recommendation was to “go there before the flood gates open”.  They are are probably right on with that recommendation.

Their number three pick (after Myanmar) was Nicaragua.  Here an excerpt of the article about what Nicaragua has to offer.

Jicaro Island Luxury Ecolodge
Local children on their way to school on Lake Nicaragua near Jicaro Island Ecolodge.

“It’s a land of rich biodiversity, with volcanic peaks, rain forests, beaches, and nature reserves. In fact, the country boasts nearly 5 million acres of protected parks and preserves, filled with wildlife, including exotic birds, howler monkeys, turtles, and giant iguanas. Start with a visit to the Spanish colonial town of Granada, with its grand cathedrals and well-preserved historical buildings. Hiking in lush rain forest jungles and smoldering volcanic mountains is nearby. It’s also the jumping off spot for visits to Lake Nicaragua, Central America’s largest freshwater lake, and Ometepe Island, a UNESCO biosphere preserve. The university town of Leon is known for its cafes, shops, and eclectic museums. Surfers and sun lovers will want to check out San Juan del Sur, a funky beach town and fishing village along the Pacific Coast.”

Local woman in Granada, Nicaragua
Local woman in Granada, Nicaragua on her way to the market.

We could not agree more that Nicaragua is an incredible destination and applaud the journalists of the Boston Globe for this recommendation.  We have been operating eco lodges in Nicaragua for over ten years and have a strong affection for the country and its people.

However, we also operate lodges and sustainable hotels in Costa Rica and do not agree with the opening of the section on Nicaragua that reads:  “Forget Costa Rica – old news”.  Costa Rica is a country that is unique and special and always worth a visit.

Osa Peninsula Wildlife Sloth
The wildlife observation opportunities in the rainforest of the Osa Peninsula are a big attraction for visitors to Costa Rica.  Here a three toed sloth near Lapa Rios Eco Lodge.

We agree that there are parts of the country, especially in the Guanacaste area, that have seen an excess of development of all inclusive and branded hotels.  This is not the Costa Rican model that makes a vacation here special.  On the contrary, it is a cookie cutter and mass tourism experience that could happen in any other country.  Most likely, in a few years, the “hot” destination Cuba will be overrun with such all inclusive resorts just like Cancun and the Dominican Republic.

All inclusive hotel
All inclusive branded hotel in the province of Guanacaste on the northwestern coast of Costa Rica.  This hotel could be anywhere in the topics…

See more on this topic in our blogpost:  Has Costa Rica lost its edge in Ecotourism?

So we invite you to check out the areas in Costa Rica that are very hot and special.  The southern Pacific Coast around Uvita was just recently featured in a segment on sustainable hospitality on CNN International with Richard Quest.

The Osa Peninsula is very much “off the beaten path” and offers unique and special wildlife experiences like nowhere else in the world.  And Santa Teresa and Nosara are hip beach towns that have not seen an influx of all inclusive and branded resorts and maintained its beach and surf vibe.

Harmony Hotel in Nosara
Guiones beach is also located in Guanacaste but away from the big developments of branded and all inclusive hotels.  It has maintained its vibe and laid back atmosphere.

The capital of San Jose and the Central Highlands are receiving more visitation than ever with culture, arts and food becoming more prominent tourism attractions.

Our recommendation for 2015:  Do a Costa Rica – Nicaragua combo.  See the best of both countries and decide for yourself what is news and what is not.  Need help with an itinerary suggestion?  Happy new year!!!

waterfall lunch at Lapa Rios
How about a romantic lunch in the rainforest next to a wild waterfall? Part of our Costa Rica – Nicaragua itineraries of the Cayuga Collection of Sustainable Luxury Hotels and Lodges.

 

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