Hidden in the lusciously green rainforest near La Fortuna you will find a little paradise within the paradise that is Costa Rica. I am talking about the quaint rainforest hotel Chachagua, which I had the pleasure of being invited to stay at for a few days. Getting there from town requires a shuttle or taxi drive through nearby villages and into the heart of the jungle. But it’s so worth it.
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The Best Ways to Explore Nature from a Rainforest Hotel
If there’s one thing you want to explore in the green heart of Costa Rica, it is its different kinds of forests. Did you know there are four types: rainforest (here in Arenal), cloud forest (Monteverde area), humid rainforest (down south west) and dry rainforest (south western).
So to see one, I thought it would be best to stay in one. The Chachagua Rainforest Hotel & Hacienda is nestled with its wooden bungalows right next to great hiking trails to go deeper into the forest and follow the winding stream that further up crashes down in a very picturesque waterfall.
I visited during the end of the rain season, which meant that the biggest trail was no longer clearly marked (mud gets everywhere, y’all) and so I had to miss out on exploring that. But even so, the horseback tours the hostel offers its guests were still an option to get off the muddy path. Too bad I am allergic to horses or I would have joined in. There are so many different activities on offer, including fishing, mountain biking or joining local tours and activities.
What I joined in instead was the night walk, which took about one hour and back on the path I had explored during the day. As I had learned before, seeing Costa Rica at night is an entirely different experience. This time around, I actually got to see several small frogs and a giant bullfrog, which are super rare. Needless to say, my little frog lover’s heart was jumping for joy (pun intended).
Tasting Costa Rican Cuisine from a Costa Rican Lookout
Wading through the rainforest and straining your eyes to be a quicker wildlife spotter than everyone else (I am mighty bad at this too and it doesn’t help that I am very competitive) sure took its toll on my energy levels and my tummy is never shy to tell me so.
Good thing we ended up right behind the hotel restaurant, which is located right next to the forest edge as well as the natural spring water pool. It’s all so close!
Breakfast is included for all guests to the Rainforest Hotel and depending on the day, you can have a full blown buffet with typical Costa Rican casado (rice with beans, tacos and filling, cheese and sweet plantains) or choose your breakfast style, for instance Costa Rican or American. Of course, you can have tea, coffee, water or juice as well. For lunch and dinner, you can try delicious steaks and the coconut flan dessert.
You can imagine my views were not only great with the food in front of me but also with the pretty flowers and high growing plants (don’t ask me for names, I don’t have any clue as to all these exotic plants) next to me. When the sun did its best to heat up the early morning droplets, hummingbirds would flit by and songbirds snatched pieces of bananas from a little bird food station.
Staying in Eco-Luxury Style
When it rained (it’s the rainforest, after all), I could watch the rain dance on the leaves and listen to the drumming on the straw roof above. With the umbrellas that were kindly provided by the reception, I stayed dry.
The clothes I had hung out over the edge of my chill out porch with its hammock, couches and tables did not, however. So let that be a lesson for you as well. The rainforest is unpredictable but it sure loves rain.
Speaking of my porch, I mostly stayed in at my table looking outside at the view over the other bungalows, the restaurant and the forest line. It was a great place for me to get my work done after a day out chasing the sun or running from the rain. Plus, being so close to the restaurant, I managed to snag the wifi. If you are staying here, you shouldn’t work though, but enjoy nature (the bane of travel blogger life).
And after dark, stay inside if you are not walking with a guide as you want to avoid a possible meeting with Costa Rican snakes and instead chill on your big bed and the comfy pillows or take a relaxing shower with the big rainforest shower head and the windows showing you the rainforest at the same time. Each bungalow is decorated in harmony with the surroundings and reflects
Sustainability Lived in Harmony with Nature
What I loved especially was not just the great decoration and eye to detail with references to the rainforest setting (branches as towel and toilet roll holders or drawer knobs), but the focus on sustainability that runs throughout.
It’s not only the branches that are used from fallen trees but also the tree trunk that gets turned into ceiling fans and furniture, for instance. Also, the restaurant bar is lit up from behind a counter made from colourful upcycled bottles and any kitchen waste is turned into fertiliser.
Each room is equipped with regular and special recycling bins As mentioned before, the hostel pool is fed by spring water and free of any chemicals. The rainforest hotel even has its own animals, mostly horses but also ducks and a pig. So, whenever you eat eggs, know that they have been recently picked from the many hens on the hotel site.
Moreover, everyone from the staff lives nearby with La Fortuna being the furthest location away, making the trip to work not as far. Also, all food and ingredients are locally grown with future plans involving a revival of the former organic farm on site. This will not only result in super nearby organically and ecologically grown food but also but will give guests an opportunity to learn more about local fruits and plants, such as sugar cane and plantenes.
Book Your Rainforest Hotel Stay Here
With all this rustic charm and beautiful setting, I definitely recommend Chachagua Rainforest Hotel for your next trip to Arenal and La Fortuna. If you’re keen on day trips to the volcano, know that it is not far and definitely makes for other great hikes.
A big thank you goes out to the Chachagua Rainforest Hotel for inviting me to their beautiful property. As always, my opinion is entirely my own.