Our experience of Pacuare Lodge in Costa Rica
I’ve never been anywhere quite like it. And I say been rather than stayed, as a visit to Pacuare is an experience from start to finish. My adventure began by the river's edge, where we boarded our rafts set to navigate the rapids of Pacuare River. Ninety minutes of fun and sometimes complete failure, we came to a gentle slow as we arrived at the lodge’s reception. I was met by founder and owner, Roberto, who escorted me to my cabin. As I walked the pebble paths and skirted the jungle alongside me, the soothing noises synonymous with rainforest life take over, and I found myself instantly relaxed.
Roberto guided me down the weaving path, before arriving at some very uninspiring, brown wooden doors. Once pressed open, they revealed, like a Russian doll, a second set of turquoise doors. Shoes were kicked off and once again he lifted the handle and pushed the doors open. What was laid out before me was the most beautiful suite, which spilled out onto a private balcony with a plunge pool and swing seat. I had one of those smug moments where I thought – “this will do”.
Once I’d come back down to earth, it was time to get up high again. The list of activities on offer is extensive. From canyoning to visiting local villages, waterfall hikes to wildlife spotting, your days can be filled jumping from one to the other. After the rafting, I felt quite invincible and thought I’d take my new-found Action Man skills to the canopy. Sporting a new harness, we set off into the treetops. As I walked up, I was grabbing onto the rope to heave myself along, when our guide stopped us and told us to drop it. This wasn’t a warning, it was a demand. Running along it were bullet ants and one pinch from them would not be welcome. So naturally, we never touched the rope again.
Once we reached the top, we were rewarded with stunning views. Sprawled out in front of us was endless, dense, emerald rainforest and it was magical to see. Gentle mist hovered over it like a cloth over a table. After some instructions and a quick demonstration, it was time to step onto the podium and let gravity take its course. There were 11 platforms in total as we whizzed through the canopy. I had moved on from being Action Man to Jane of the Jungle.
The final feather in Pacuare’s cap was the food. Before we got onto our rafts at the start of the day, we had to select lunch. I went for the tuna, not thinking too much of it. Frankly, the rafting was so exciting, I had forgotten all about our next meal. I don’t want to brag about a salad, but this plate of seared tuna deliciousness was unbelievable. What was served was a complete representation of what Pacuare is as a destination: beautiful, slick, incredibly well thought out and mind-blowing. It’s probably the best review I’ve ever given a salad, but then again, this was a Pacuare salad.
Dinner did not disappoint either. When the sun goes down here, the candles are lit. To remain eco-friendly, bar the kitchen and reception, there is no electricity. Candles guide you from your room to the dining area. There is no better location by the river on a warm, humid evening, surrounded by flickering flames. It was picture-perfect.
Pacuare was and will always be a special place to me. That little pinprick on a map is where I wish to live permanently, but I fear my London commute might be a bit of a struggle...
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