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Paradise!January 2020Casa Zephir in Amazonita Eco Lodge was more that we'd dare expect it to be. the open dining/living area grave us beautiful views of the valley below and the tropical foliage. Full kitchen with anything and everything. I'd intended to cook, though had a flu (yes, had the shot), so didn't. The bedroom, even here in the remote area, had cute towels folded into swans. The main bathroom was spacious. I treated myself to using the outdoor shower, because it was fun. No hot water here, and no paper in the toilet, though that's usual throughout the area. The road from the main road to the village was graded while we were there. I don't think we needed the 4WD, though there is a ford on the way to the property. We had some breakfasts and dinners at the restaurant on site (down the hill). Okay and easy more than gourmet. Very friendly family and extended family that manages the place. Stay here. And if you think of it, bring something for the 8 yr old girl and her 2 yr old brother. Easy drive to Puerto Jimenez for lunch beach, supplies, etc., though road probably wilder at night. I found different prices for this property on different sites. Lokal had the best--and best service! And Conservation Association of Dos Brazos is an amazing group, helping their community. I encourage people to books tours, or see what supplies you can donate.
A magical journeyJanuary 2019Lokal delivers a truly special adventure in this amazing corner of Costa Rica. We experienced the beauty of this place over and over again each day — hiking in the rainforest, listening to howler monkeys, watching scarlet macaws fly overhead, swimming in waterfalls, snorkeling with schools of fish, watching the sunrise from a mountaintop. But the real magic was in experiencing every bit with our local hosts. We were welcomed into homes and businesses in a very genuine, connected way. We shared meals and stories. And we learned so much about what it takes to preserve this special place. Beauty is all around in the Osa — in its landscapes, wildlife and people.
My experience in the Osa changed meJanuary 2019It is safe to say that I am not a "nature person." I am an Angeleno, a city girl, never really went on hikes, except occasionally on a park trail. Never really camped or roughed it except for two times in my life where I had my blow up mattress and feather pillow in tow. I wanted to experience something profound and push myself outside my comfort zone so I booked this trip with Lokal and I am so delighted that I did! Not only was every day filled with some incredible magical experience in paradise that left a mark on my soul providing me with everlasting memories, but this trip also changed the way I viewed tourism in general. What Lokal has curated is not just a beautiful trip, they are helping to forge the path for good. A social movement connecting travelers with meaningful cultural experiences. Where your money supports the community you visit. I am so grateful to Eytan and Lokal for providing me this opportunity to experience the profound beauty of the Osa and to change this harden city girl into a nature lover and a conscious traveler.
It’s an adage you’ll hear everywhere from the pink sand beaches on the north side of Playa Conchal to the colorful, musical city streets of San Jose. You’ll soon learn that the simple life is more than just a greeting, a goodbye, or a way to describe when all is well.
Pura vida is a way of life. It’s something you feel when you’re trekking off-the-beaten-path in rural Costa Rica, learning about culture from the locals, and getting lost on a rainforest adventure. Costa Rica will remind you to slow down, take it all in, and connect with the beautiful landscapes and delightful people surrounding you.
If there’s one thing that visitors remember most about Costa Rica – besides the spectacular nature – it’s the Tico people. A colloquial term for Costa Rican nationals, Tico’s are the embodiment of the term pura vida – happy, welcoming, and full of life.
The traditions, customs, and foods of Tico culture are a combination of the ancestral traditions of the indigenous people that inhabited the land before colonization and the cultures that arrived over the course of modern history.
For a taste of traditional Costa Rica, head to a soda to sip a cafecito with the locals and try the typical rice and bean breakfast (aka Gallo Pinto). Better yet, see the coffee culture first-hand with a visit to a coffee growing community and have a traditional Tico dinner with a local family.
Elsewhere in the country, listen for the rhythms of salsa, merengue, cumbia, and bolero. You’ll be enchanted by the calypso beats of charming Caribbean coastal towns like Playa Chiquita, where you can learn to bailar like a local at one of many religious and street festivals happening throughout the year.
When you’re keen to practice your Spanish, get lost in the local markets, where you can interact with long-time vendors that have generations worth of insights into Costa Rican history, people, and life.
The entirety of Costa Rica is less than 20,000 square miles. But in a space that only accounts for 0.25% of the world’s landmass – small enough to rank among the 100 smallest countries in the world – Costa Rica houses 6% of the world’s biodiversity.
Home to 200 species of mammals, over 400 species of reptile and amphibian, 850 species of birds, 300,000 types of insects, and 1000’s of plant species, this is one of the most biologically diverse places on earth… and a nature lover’s dream destination.
Over the last 40 years, the Costa Rican government has endeavored to impress the principles and practices of conservation on Costa Rican society. Those efforts have transformed the country into a model for sustainable practices across many industries.
With nearly 30% of its landmass protected and countless government programs dedicated to supporting an ethos of conservation, development, and sustainability, Costa Rica has become a go-to destination for sustainable or 'green' travel.
From coast to coast, mountain top to river valley, cityscape to rural village, Costa Rica is brimming with spectacular sights and sounds. About the same size as West Virginia, visitors will have no trouble fitting in more than one of these popular destinations in one unforgettable trip.
The South Pacific Coast is where you’ll find the Osa Peninsula rainforest. With 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity and the last virgin rainforest on Central America’s Pacific Coast, it’s one of the most impressive parts of Costa Rica, but it’s also one of the less-visited. Here, you have ample opportunities to connect with rural communities, check out unforgettable local wildlife like monkeys and sloths, or trek to Sirena Biological Station in Corcovado National Park.
The Pacific coast boasts stunning sunsets, but there’s not much that compares to the warm, turquoise waters of the Caribbean Coast. If easy-going is the pace you’re looking for, soak up some sun from the comfort of a hammock on the beach, or spend your day catching waves at surf spots offering the perfect breaks in the small towns surrounding Puerto Viejo. From this bustling hotspot, head inland to see what traditional life looks like in the indigenous community of Yorkin.
Costa Rica is home to over 60 volcanoes and, over the last 50 years, Arenal has earned a reputation as the most impressive. With activities that include daily yoga sessions, adventurous excursions inside the Arenal Volcano National Park, and a chance to relax in the natural thermal hot springs, visit Rancho Margot and get more than just a peak at what was formerly the most active volcano in the country.
Costa Rica is full of unique treasures and Monteverde is one you can’t miss. At 5,200 meters above sea level, the Monteverde Cloud Forest still has high levels of humidity. That unique climate creates a cloud-like mist that shrouds the flora and fauna in one of the rarest habitats on earth. For fewer crowds, head to Los Santos Forest Reserve near Los Quetzales National Park, a cloud forest where you can explore over 100 acres of reserve teeming with wildlife, bird life, and a chance to spot the elusive quetzal.
Lokal connects travelers who crave awe-inspiring experiences with local tour operators who have a lifetime of knowledge about Costa Rica and embody the spirit of conservation.
In partnership with local individuals, groups, and communities, we are committed to providing an amazing culturally immersive and sustainable trip. We choose partners that:
Whether you’re choosing from our reputable network of a la carte experiences or designing a more personalized travel experience with our custom trip planner, you can do it all with Lokal. But Lokal takes cultural connection one step further with our immersive community experiences.
In stark contrast to mass tourism, the emphasis of community tourism is social, economic, and environmental sustainability. This is a type of local-led tourism wherein individual entrepreneurs and small communities facilitate experiences that are part of their livelihoods, ultimately helping them develop alternative sources of income and a more sustainable future for themselves.
Take, for example, a community that has produced coffee as their primary source of income for generations. With coffee production stagnant in recent years, the community might facilitate coffee tours and set up a separate community lodge and restaurant, giving travelers the chance to actively participate in their daily lives. Engaging with these tourism projects provides the community an opportunity to continue to sustain themselves and even develop.
Community tourism is transforming an industry in which primarily big business and large development projects previously benefited, wherein environmental stewardship is more highly valued, and where travelers can have a positive impact.
On Lokal’s unique day and overnight trips, you’ll gain an understanding of rural and indigenous Costa Rica in a way that few travelers do – and you’ll do it all while empowering local entrepreneurs and communities to maintain control over their land, livelihoods, and traditions.
With options that range from kicking back at an eco-lodge to adventuring through the rainforest, our goal is to make amazing sustainable adventures more accessible to travelers.
Looking to get off the beaten path for a two-week immersive experience? Need just a few days to connect with the peace and tranquility of the natural world? Discover more highlights with Lokal’s top 3 excursions in Costa Rica.
#1 Rainforest Ecolodge and Rafting Adventure
This 3-day, 2-night adventure takes you into the heart of the Costa Rican rainforest and out of service for a chance to connect, unwind, and discover. After an adrenaline-filled ride along the spectacular Pacuare River, you’ll arrive at the remote Rios Tropicales Eco-lodge, where you’ll have a chance to discover an array of birds, wildlife, rainforest hikes, and waterfalls.
Your host, Rios Tropicales, is locally-owned, employs a staff that’s 95% local, and are committed to conserving the natural areas they share with their guests.
#2 Tami Lodge and Bio Coffee Adventure
If peace, tranquility, and comfort are your idea of a perfect holiday, a 3-night stay at Tami Lodge gets you off the beaten path with all the amenities you need to unwind and relax. You’ll stay in a spacious, glamping-style bungalow tucked into a quiet corner of the Santos Forest Reserve and surrounded by the natural wonders of Costa Rica.
Your host, Santos Tours, is locally owned, employs a staff that’s 100% local, and provides inspiration, education, and environmental consciousness to more than 70 local families in the LosSantos region.
#3 Natural and Cultural Wonders
Departing from San Jose with flexible departure dates year-round, this 14-day immersive experience gives you a whole two weeks to connect with nature as well as the rural and indigenous communities working to conserve it. From hiking Costa Rica’s mountainous highlands to learning the ancient art of mask carving, you’ll leave with a fuller understanding of Costa Rica’s diverse people and their traditions and natural heritage.
Your host, MARO Experiences, is locally owned, employs a staff that’s 100% local, and supports local and rural communities to grow in a sustainable way.
The Costa Rica dry season runs between mid-December and April. In the North Pacific, temperatures are often well into the 90s, but without the humidity of the Caribbean coast. There, and in the Northern Plains, temperatures consistently hover around the 70s or 80s, with humidity levels making the temps feel even more extreme.
But while you’ll have a chance to soak up days full of heat and sunshine, the dry season coincides with some of the coldest months in North America – making them the peak travel months for Costa Rica.
For fewer tourists and more flexibility in accommodations, the months between May and November are considered the rainy season. In drier areas of the country, afternoon and evening showers last for no longer than a few hours. But along the Caribbean coast, rain is almost constant between September and October.
A country with universal health care, high literacy rates, and a reputation as one of the most forward-thinking countries when it comes to environmental stewardship, Costa Rica has the highest standard of living and lowest crime rates in Latin America.
Traveling anywhere requires a certain degree of precaution, though. Start with these general safety tips regardless of where in the world you’re travelling next:
We are committed to a unique travel concept that provides unforgettable experiences and also helps preserve cultural tradtions and conserve nature. We look forward to being a part of your next Costa Rica trip!
Explore natural wonders that few travelers get to visit.
Meet locals who are excited to share their way of life.
Put more money directly in the hands of local communities.