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  • Writer's pictureAlex Jiménez

Costa Rica: Pacuare

Updated: Jan 20, 2021

Pacuare EcoLodge combines luxurious appointments, unmatched service, and their celebrated sustainability philosophy with the natural gifts that the Pacuare River provides. Each of the bungalows is a unique, separate dwelling that’s close enough to the restaurant and reception that you won’t get lost on your way to dinner, but far enough in the rainforest that you’ll be fully immersed in the magic of our surroundings.

Photos courtesy of Pacuare Lodge & the Dominique Debay Collection

  • Property size: 20 accommodations surrounded by nature (1 Jaguar Villa with spring water-fed pool, 7 Linda Vista Villas with spring water-fed dipping pool, 1 Canopy Villa with spring water-fed pool, 4 River View Villas with waterfront deck, and 7 Garden Villas).

  • Style: Indigenous, casual vibe.

  • Recreation: Fitness center, pool, spa.

  • Outdoor activities: Optional experiences include whitewater rafting, canopy tours, canyoning, bird watching, visiting local communities, rainforest hiking, waterfall hiking.

  • Cultural activities: Cabécar Indigenous Hike, Cabécar Indian Rancho & Rainforest Hike, Rural Experience.

  • Gastronomic experiences: Consider booking a romantic dinner alongside the Pacuare River. The lodge will set up an elegant, private table for you near the river’s edge, lit by a fire pit and candles and surrounded by nature. You can savor an exquisite meal under the stars, with a small fire crackling nearby and the soothing sounds of flowing water and tree frog chirps.

Overview The Pacuare Lodge was built with minimal impact on the river and rainforest . No trees were cut to build the bungalows and facilities. Instead, lumber was purchased from a sustainable reforestation project operated by small farmers. Simple, and yet sophisticated, the indigenous Cabécar-inspired architecture, pristine rainforest, farm-to-table exquisite cuisine, and luxurious, well-appointed accommodations come together to offer an experience like no other.


Book Through Luxe Itinerary to Receive Virtuoso Upgrades & Amenities for 2020

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability

  • Complimentary Breakfast daily (inclusive in rates)

  • Dinner set up by the river bank with candles and firepit (subject to weather conditions)

  • Complimentary $50 Spa credit per room

  • Shot of Pacuare Lodge crafted beer

  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

You Deserve to be Pampered


Arrival Options

By River: There are no roads to Pacuare Lodge, so they use the river. The majority of guests arrive at the lodge after rafting on one of the world’s top whitewater rivers. Before the put-in, you'll drive through Costa Rica’s old capital city, Cartago, lush farmlands that blanket the slopes of Irazu and Turrialba volcanoes, and finally the rushing waters of the Pacuare River. Once you’re in the river, Costa Rica’s natural splendor surrounds you. Silver ribbons of waterfalls plummet down emerald-green cliffs. Blue morpho butterflies flutter past, their radiant blue wings catching the sun. In addition to the natural beauty, you’ll experience sheer exhilaration as you face the challenge of each huge wave, battling surging waters down miles of raging rapids.

When you finally reach the shores, you’ll have rowed, splashed, and floated along unspoiled rainforest and unmatched tropical beauty. The trip in is short - only an hour or two, depending on river conditions - but it is the perfect introduction to the enchanting environment that awaits you.

By Land:

If you’re not comfortable rafting into the lodge, don’t worry. You can get there by land, too.

The adventure begins as you travel through Cartago, Costa Rica’s old capital, through a quiltwork of croplands that cling to volcanic slopes, and towards the town of Turrialba. Sweeping vistas, quaint country houses, and dense vegetation provide the visuals.

The two-and-a-half-hour trip then skirts the slopes of the Irazú and Turrialba Volcanoes toward the north, and the Reventazón River Basin and Orosi Valley toward the south. Majestic scenery includes rolling fields of ornamental plants, sugarcane, coffee, and macadamia, and the jungle-covered mountains of the Talamanca Mountain Range.

The bus trip ends in Santa Marta, where you board a four-wheel-drive vehicle for the remaining six-kilometer gravel road journey to the banks of the Pacuare River. Views of the mountains covered by dense jungle couldn’t be more dramatic! Advancing down the road, you plunge ever deeper into the beauty of the zone until you arrive at the Pacuare River, the Cabécar culture’s symbol of life. The adventure continues as you leave the four-wheel-drive vehicle and cross the river on a hanging gondola that carries you above the river via a 100-meter cable running from riverbank to riverbank. At the other side an electric car will be waiting for you to take you to the hotel´s lobby where a refreshing cocktail awaits your arrival.

By Helicopter: Guests may arrange arrival by helicopter, too. It’s always eye-opening to experience Costa Rica by air: you see how varied the landscape is in such a small landmass, travel over rushing rivers and craggy volcanoes, verdant forests and colorful farmland. It’s a beautiful ride. Helicopters land in a sandy beach adjacent to our lodge.


Located on an 840-acres private reserve in the heart of the Talamanca Mountains, every aspect of the lodge exists in symbiotic harmony with the natural surroundings.

Map courtesy of the Dominique Debay Collection Gastronomy The Pacuare Lodge’s kitchen staff is made up of young people from nearby communities. They don’t really have a chef; they’ve simply developed the talent of local people and taught them the secrets of great food. Guests are often surprised by the novel combinations of flavors, local ingredients, innovative recipes, and beautiful presentations. It isn’t fancy, but it’s delicious enough to warrant opening a bottle of good wine, which is why they keep a cellar well stocked with vintages from around the world. Here you’ll enjoy delicious, fresh food that's organic and locally grown. They produce much of the fruit, vegetables and tubers served at the lodge’s restaurant on their own organic farm, Las Nubes de Tuis, in the mountains above the Pacuare River. It’s all part of their attention to detail and commitment to supporting local communities, protecting the environment, and ensuring that every guest has a natural, healthy and enjoyable stay.

Photos courtesy of Pacuare Lodge & the Dominique Debay Collection


Jawa Juü Spa is a unique experience for the mind, body, and soul. They harness the rainforest’s natural energy to create a healing environment unlike any other. The Pacuare River Valley is home to the ancestors of the Cabécar indigenous people, who have lived in the middle of the rainforest for 3,000 thousand years.

The name Jawa Juü is derived from a Cabécar term meaning “the house of the healer.” Spa treatments integrate the wisdom of ancient cultures and their traditions of spirituality and healing. The mission of the spa is to preserve the past and grow with the future as an oasis of renewal and restoration.

Photos courtesy of Pacuare Lodge & the Dominique Debay Collection

Local Immersion & Giving Back

The Pacuare Lodge is engaged in various projects to study and conserve the wildlife in the local area, in partnership with Costa Rican Universities and nonprofit organizations. They’ve also partnered with local communities to help improve their basic services and livelihoods, while working to raise environmental awareness. With your support, they can accomplish even more to ensure that the Pacuare River’s natural and cultural treasures are preserved for future generations.

  • All Pacuare Lodge staff is from nearby communities and 95% of the rafting guides are from Turrialba, the closest city to the lodge.

  • The lodge donates school supplies and other materials to three primary schools in the communities nearest to the lodge. Pacuare gratefully accepts donations from the guests, transferring them to the schools in their entirety (no administrative fees deducted).

  • Organic products are used as much as possible in meals served at the lodge and on rafting tours.

  • Bungalows are illuminated with lanterns and candles and what little electricity used at the lodge is clean energy generated by a turbine in a nearby stream.

  • The lodge’s bathrooms are equipped with biodegradable soap and shampoo and the water for their showers is solar heated. All the lodge’s wastewater flows into state-of-the-art septic systems to avoid pollution of the nearby river.

Photos courtesy of Pacuare Lodge & the Dominique Debay Collection

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