When the journey AND the destination leave you spellbound
I love adventure.
And there are very few luxury lodges in the world that offer their guests such an exhilarating first impression as Pacuare Lodge, set deep in Costa Rica’s wild Talamanca Mountains.
Like me, guests at this remote eco-escape are encouraged to bypass traditional transportation means and arrive at the lodge via a breathtaking river-raft ride down the majestic Pacuare River.
I was picked up at my hotel in San José (in the hotel’s shuttle bus) and driven through the picturesque countryside. The route passed through the historic Colonial Capital of Cartago and along the flanks of the commanding Irazú and Turrialba Volcanoes. Each was blanketed in tropical forests and fields of coffee and exotic-looking food crops.
Mid-journey, we stopped at Bocadito del Cielo Restaurant—a local favorite I was told— for a hot breakfast of traditional Costa Rican classics. The restaurant overlooks the sweeping Orósi Valley, Reventazón River, and Tapantí National Park.
After driving for another hour down into the Caribbean lowlands, we arrived at the Linda Vista Pacuare River put-in. Myself and the other guests were relieved to learn that all our luggage and valuables would be stored in waterproof bags and delivered to the hotel in separate rafts.
We then donned the required protective helmets and lifejackets while English-speaking guides explained our adventure ahead.
In all, the 1.5-hour float covered nearly 7 km of Class II and III rapids interspersed with peaceful stretches of calm waters. I have to admit that the profound natural beauty we encountered that day often left me and the other rafters speechless.
The trip passed through a winding mountain gorge blanketed in emerald jungle foliage and brilliant cascading waterfalls. Apparently, this unique river habitat is home to hundreds of birds, animals, and aquatic species. They were largely undisturbed by the passing rafts, which gave us an intimate glimpse into their lives.
Upon arrival at the Lodge, I was welcomed with a fresh Maracuya (passion fruit) beverage before being shown to my accommodations and waiting luggage.
Considered one of the world’s most scenic rivers, rafting the Pacuare was one of the most memorable adventures I’ve had so far.
My time at Pacuare Lodge was definitely too short, but there’s no doubt that the experience and the memories I made will endure a lifetime.
And to top it off, the final goodbye was actually the most breathtaking highlight of my vacation overall!
Like arriving, leaving the lodge is also by river raft. A thrilling 3-hour rafting adventure through Class III and IV rapids to be precise. When not surging with excitement, the river passed through pristine stretches of virgin rainforest and sleepy townships. Midway through the trip, the guides even prepared us a delicious lunch that we ate wide-eyed and happy on the grassy riverbank.
Take-out was near the small Caribbean town of Siquirres, which was a perfect launching point for a new escapade into beautiful Costa Rica.
Arrival by Land or Sky
I was told that people not keen on rafting can also get to Pacuare Lodge by car or by privately chartered helicopter. Guests going by land will be picked up in the lodge’s 4X4 at the Linda Vista river put in and driven in. The 6 km trip is over gravel roads that wind through the mountains.
Upon arrival at the Pacuare River, guests cross to the opposite bank in a suspended Gondola. An electric vehicle is waiting on the other side that then takes them the short drive to the lodge.
Helicopter transport, on the other hand, is organized through the lodge.
For information regarding Helicopter Charter Service, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; or call Toll Free from the U.S. & Canada: 1-800-963-1195: From the UK: 0-800-051-6420.