I just got back from an amazing sustainable tourism trip to Costa Rica. One of the places where I stayed on my travels was Hotel Wagelia, Espino Blanco Lodge, in Turrialba, Costa Rica. I just loved the hidden away jungle vibe on this mountain hotel located in Espino Blanco Biological Reserve. If you are looking to explore the rainforest in Costa Rica, this is the perfect hotel.
Costa Rica Rainforest Hotel
Espino Blanco Lodge is a great destination for families looking to experience the rainforest in a real way. If you like adventure, you will love Espino Blanco Lodge! Each of the 10 cabins is built right off a path in the rainforest, keeping you safe and connected yet smack dab in the middle of the rainforest you came to see.
Each cabin is named for a city in Turrialba. I stayed in the Pavone cabin which had two big queen beds with mosquito netting. There was also a hammock on the porch and a table and chairs that would have been perfect for my family to gather around. In fact, I think the cabin will be perfect to bring my family back to as there is plenty of room for the 4 of us. My favorite part about the cabin was the bathroom which was very spacious and had an amazing corner window with a fabulous view of the forest.
I should mention that there is no electricity in the cabins at Espino Blanco Lodge but don’t freak out yet! They do have lights. They have a battery run light in the bathroom and a battery run large camping lantern hung from the ceiling in the main part of the cabin. The battery operated lights are approved to be gentler on the wildlife and owl population of Espino Blanco. They DO have running water with a toilet and warm showers so no need to worry about that.
Wagelia Espino Blanco Lodge Onsite Amenities Include:
- Bar and restaurant
- Parking lot
- Hiking Trails
- Bird watching
- Amphitheatre for 60 people
Espino Blanco Lodge is Rainforest Alliance Verified
Espino Blanco Lodge is Rainforest Alliance Verified, which means that their business, social, and environmental practices support sustainable tourism. As part of a Rainforest Alliance press trip, I had the chance to interview the property manager, Milano Rowe, on their Rainforest Alliance Verified status while I was there and here is what I learned:
Espino Blanco was purchased to protect from the area from clear cutting. Espino Blanco is a hardwood found only in that area. There are 260 species of plants on the Espino Blanco Reserve. The owner knew about running hotels but not about how to protect the forest so they were excited to begin working with the Rainforest Alliance to get guidelines and training from how to organize to how to protect the environment and workers. They achieved verification about 2 years ago.
The Rainforest Alliance taught them about about how to filter the waste water, buying biodegradable products, and protecting the natural runoff trails. The Espino Blanco Lodge used all local, certified sustainable wood for the buildings. They tried to build in the area that had been previously been cleared for cattle in order to avoid cutting down any of the forest. They have six walking trails of several lengths, with pieces of local poems posted along the trail. Everything they use at Espino Blanco Lodge is purchased locally in Turrialba- even the furniture is made from local sustainably grown wood.
The manager said that awareness of nature conservation and health is increasing in the ticos (local people) and they are proud to be a resource for people to come enjoy and learn without degrading the environment. As a visitor, I felt the same way! It was so beautiful and I enjoyed knowing that Espino Blanco was run in a sustainable way.
I will look for the Rainforest Alliance Verification frog seal when I plan travels in the future to ensure a sustainable trip! Have you given thought to sustainable tourism before? Do you think you would enjoy staying at a Costa Rica rainforest hotel?