Our Philosophy of Sustainability & Adventure

Supporting Costa Rica’s Sustainable Tourism

We traveled all over Costa Rica and other parts of Central America to find and create a special place where one can intimately experience the natural world of both the tropical rainforest and the Pacific Ocean.

Our plan was to create a place that offers the comfort of a lodge and the activities and diversity of an adventure tour.

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is:

  • A place that is remote yet accessible;
  • A place that is sensitively designed in harmony with the environment;
  • A place that is a nature lover’s, adventure sports lover’s and environmentalist’s dream;
  • And, most importantly, a place that never lets you forget that you are nature’s guest.

We envisioned and created a lodge that is small enough to allow us to help you design a special experience that meets your individual interests and goals. This also allows you the flexibility to change your schedule to meet your pace and mood.

We hope that you will come and enjoy nature and adventure with us!

Playa Nicuesa has Been Honored by The Costa Rican Government with the 5-Leaf Rating Certification for Sustainable Tourism Certification Award

Certification for Sustainable Tourism - Nicuesa Lodge - 5 Leaves
Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is proud to announce that it has been awarded the highest rating for sustainability by the Costa Rica government’s Tourism Board.

This sustainable tourism program is designed to differentiate and recognize businesses of the tourism sector, based on the degree to which they comply with a sustainable model of natural, cultural and social resource management. Nicuesa Lodge was awarded 4 Leafs in 2009 and has proudly been awarded 5 Leafs in 2012. Learn more about the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) Program.

The recent rating recognizes Nicuesa for its utmost commitment to uphold and honor the strict parameters under which a truly sustainable tourism business should operate.

Environmental Initiatives

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is an environmentally sensitive lodge set on a 165-acre private preserve in the undeveloped Pacific Coast Osa Peninsula/Golfo Dulce region of Southern Costa Rica. The lodge embraces conservation and harmony with the natural environment and caters to travelers interested in ecotourism, nature, adventure and sports. Playa Nicuesa is located within the lush rainforest of the Piedras Blancas National Park, and fronts the pristine coastline of the Golfo Dulce.

Our goal is to provide guests with an experience that they will always remember fondly: Excellence, friendly service, hi-end accommodations, educational opportunities and unique, well run adventure activities, and to provide this experience while operating the lodge in the most environmentally friendly manner possible.

We have incorporated this goal into both the construction and operation of the lodge in the many ways listed below. And, connect with us on Facebook; we would be thrilled to hear your opinion on our continued efforts:



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Our Carbon Footprint Campaign

Learn how to contribute in reducing your travel’s impact.


  • Worked with Costa Rican architect to design all lodge structures
  • The entire construction was performed by local labor from the immediate coast as well as the towns of Puerto Jimenez and Golfito.
  • Lodge buildings are located on less than 2% of property – 98% is a Private Protected Area.
  • The use of recycled construction materials such as: roof tiles on the lodge and cabins are made of recycled plastics including banana bags.
  • Wood used throughout Playa Nicuesa is either naturally fallen and permitted by the government to be pulled out of the forest by oxen, or farmed.
  • Environmentally friendly design features: design of the cabins and lodge is unique and in context with the natural environment and, the orientation of the cabins and lodge maximizes natural ventilation of air from the mountains and the beach through the structures.
  • Separation of gray water and black water, and use of organic micro-organisms to clean septic system of toxins and diseases.
  • Little to no disturbance to the natural landscaping to protect the natural habitat.


  • Electricity is provided by solar energy. Panels are located on main lodge structure. Back-up generator runs of recycled vegetable oil.
  • Passive solar drying room used to dry all of the wash.
  • Hot water is provided by on-demand propane which means that the propane is used only when the hot water faucet is turned on.
  • Fuel efficient four stroke engines are used on all of our boats.
  • Trash separation for the purpose of recycling glass, plastics, paper, aluminum and tetrapaks.
  • Composting organics to be used later as fertilizers in gardens.
  • Rainwater management: use of trenches to channel heavy amounts of rainfall thereby reducing soil erosion.
  • Gardens and landscaping maintained without use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.
  • Use of homemade natural solution to combat certain insects (garlic, onion, chili pepper).
  • Use of organic-biodegradable cleaning products as well as organic-biodegradable shampoos and soaps in guest rooms and for employees.
  • Energy efficient light bulbs, refrigerators and freezers.
  • Use of solar lanterns for pathway lighting.
  • Tours and activities are conducted in the most environmentally friendly manner possible in order to preserve the natural habitat and the wildlife that thrive here, while always educating guests about the importance of environmental conservation.
  • Offer daily Sustainability Tour of lodge environmental operations (recycling area, composting area, Reforestation Center, passive solar drying room, solar system, construction efforts, etc.).
  • Lodge meals focused on national and regional cuisine, utilizing food from the property or grown as locally as possible.

Community Efforts

  • Employ local/Costa Rican staff (98% of employees); primarily from the immediate coastline and two area villages.
  • Sponsor a local Costa Rican student annually to attend a local bilingual school – Nueva Hoja.
  • Assist in creation of a local recycling collection center in Puerto Jimenez in collaboration with Women of the Osa.
  • Support local campaign to clean up and beautify Golfito by creating welcoming public spaces & improving infrastructure.
  • Employ reformed hunters as guides.
  • Plan environmental education events in collaboration with the Environmental Coalition of Puerto Jimenez.
  • Sponsored building of local library in Puerto Jimenez.
  • Provide opportunity to employees to learn English. (e.g. offer free English classes at Lodge & fully sponsored one employee to live in San Jose and attend a one month intensive English language program).
  • Sponsor Troop 150 Guias y Scouts of Puerto Jimenez.
  • Display decorations and sell to guests locally produced artwork and handicrafts.
  • Support local economy by purchasing food, hardware, and other supplies from nearby towns.
  • Support local tour operations by regularly promoting to guests.
  • Provide opportunity for career advancement for employees via training course sponsorship.
  • Provide educational materials and presentations to Las Animas, the only local school in the Golfo Dulce.
  • Sponsor folkloric dance group composed of adolescents from Puerto Jimenez.


  • Reforestation of Nicuesa Property with hardwood tree species.
  • Active supporters of ACOSA (Osa Conservation Area) & MINAE (Min. of the Environment).
  • Donate to and collaborate with MarViva, a marine conservation organization.
  • Donate to PRETOMA, an NGO fighting harmful marine practices in Golfo Dulce.
  • Sponsor Yaguará, a feline conservation organization, to place cameras on Nicuesa property.
  • Donate to Osa Campaign through TNC.
  • Involved with ANAGA (Association no to tuna farms) to prevent tuna farms in Golfo Dulce.
  • Coordinate beach clean ups in the Golfito area.
  • Inscribed in the Ecological Blue Flag Program, which recognizes efforts to maintain a clean beach.


  • Member of the International Ecotourism Society (TIES).
  • Active member of Women of the Osa (WOO) which is a local effort as part of an international campaign supported by The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International and Costa Rica-USA (CRUSA) to protect and preserve the OSA Peninsula/Golfo Dulce Region.
  • Active member of the Environmental Coalition of Puerto Jimenez.
  • Member of the International Ecotourism Society (TIES).
  • Member of the Organization of Tropical Studies (OTS).
  • Member of EcoClub International.
  • Certified by the Costa Rican Institute for Tourism with the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST).
  • Member of Centro de Derecha de los Recursos Naturales (CEDARENA).
  • Member of Responsibletravel.com
  • Member of Sustainable Travel International.
  • Member of the Costa Rican National Chambers of EcoTourism (CANAECO).
  • Member of the Golfito Chambers of Tourism.
  • Member of Amigos de los Parques Nacionales (Friends of the National Parks).