This family-owned former farm is the perfect model for rewilding and sustainable tourism in Costa Rica. By expanding their existing patchwork of old growth rainforest with an extensive programme of tree planting, the family have created a wildlife-filled haven and important wildlife corridor which is now home to some of Costa Rica’s rarest mammals and birds.
Situated close to the Nicaraguan border in Costa Rica’s far north, Maquenque has a critical position linking Costa Rica’s Tortuguero National Park and La Selva Biological Station with the vast (3,180 km²) Indio-Maíz Biological Reserve across the border in Nicaragua. These connected reserves create a huge expanse of forest and form an important part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, which strives to create a safe corridor for wildlife stretching all the way from southern Mexico to Panama.
This large area of Caribbean lowland rainforest is home to many species not found elsewhere in Costa Rica and is one of the last refuges of the great green macaw for which the lodge runs a conservation and nest building programme. Scarlet macaws are also found here as well as two species of toucan (keel-billed and yellow throated) and over 400 species of other birds. Amphibians include two species of poison dart frog (green and black & strawberry) plus a breeding programme for the enchanting red-eyed leaf frog. Primates include howler monkeys and white faced capuchins and the reserve forms part of the territory of larger mammals like tapirs and jaguars although sightings of these are very rare.
Accommodation is in 15 comfortable detached cabanas, each built of local materials with private bathroom, ceiling fan and balcony ideal for watching scarlet macaws and parrots flying overhead. The cabanas overlook a private lagoon bisected by a causeway containing scores of caiman as well as northern jacana, whistling duck and purple gallinule. Montezuma’s oropendola build their hanging nests near to the cabanas and often their odd call is the first sound you wake to in the morning. There is a swimming pool with sun loungers and buffet restaurant serving delicious typical Tico dishes using ingredients sourced from the local area. There is also a bar and lounge on site, perfect for discussing a day in the forest with fellow guests.
Two new treehouse bedrooms bring a higher level of accommodation (literally) being raised 12 metres in the forest canopy. A fantastic way to experience the forest but not for the faint hearted.
Activities include guided wildlife walks along two kilometres of forest trails, canoeing on the lagoon, guided birdwatching, boat trips on the San Carlos River and night walks to find smaller wildlife like red-eyed leaf frogs, eyelash vipers and nightjars.
You can also take part in some of the lodge’s rewilding and conservation efforts including tree planting and educational visits to nearby schools.
Private bathrooms, buffet restaurant, complimentary breakfast, bar, lounge, swimming pool, sun deck, hammock, laundry service, ceiling fan, free parking and a safety deposit box at reception.
Mantled howler and central American spider monkey, white nosed coati and agouti are commonly seen. The lodge is a great location for seeing a range of interesting reptiles and amphibians including the iconic red-eyed tree frog, several species of poison dart frog, basilisk lizard, green iguana, American crocodile, spectacled caiman and the beautiful eyelash pit viper. Birdlife includes the rare great green macaw, scarlet macaw, agami heron, sunbittern, roseate spoonbill, jabiru stork, scaly throated leaf tosser, mangrove swallow, black-and-yellow tanager and feeders attract toucans, tanagers, woodpeckers and Montezuma’s oropendola.
Guided wildlife and nature walks, river boat trips, canoeing, visits to local schools and tree planting.
Red eyed leaf frogs are very common here – hunt around the banana trees in the lodge grounds or around the swimming pool at night to capture an iconic Costa Rica wildlife star.
If you have any questions regarding our Costa Rica tours, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965
The setting, grounds and individual bungalows are all superb. Where else can you share breakfast with every bird you've dreamed of seeing, watch a passing coati, narrowly avoid a camen and see a set of coatis overpower a boa constrictor! Excellent!