Join me as we delve into Pacuare Lodge, located at the heart of the rainforest.

By Joseph Cordero, Head Concierge of Luxury Travel at Swiss Travel

Nestled amidst the mountains of Barbilla National Park and indigenous territories in the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, Pacuare Lodge offers a fusion of adventure, nature, and culture, surrounded by lush greenery and teeming wildlife.

The route towards Pacuare starts early. Departing from your selected hotel in San José through the scenic roads, taking you to Café Viñas. This is a family-owned restaurant where you will start your cultural immersion with a traditional Costa Rican breakfast.

From here, we set off to our launch point to Pacuare Lodge. To get ther you have three options: rafting, off-road truck or helicopter.

I opted for the favorite route among adventurers: a rafting expedition down the Pacuare River. This is a world’s top whitewater river destination.

After an exhilarating 2-hour rafting expedition through Class II-III rapids, I arrived at Pacuare Lodge. Here, I was greeted with a refreshing welcome cocktail.

The lodge’s restaurant and reception offer a picturesque panorama of the natural paradise of the area.

Pacuare River

Pacuare Lodge’s accommodations and common areas are thoughtfully integrated into the landscape. This ensures harmony with the environment while providing enhanced privacy and enjoyment.

This lodge offers five distinct categories of luxurious accommodations, designed to immerse guests in unparalleled comfort and natural beauty.

Garden Suites

As you step into the tranquil oasis of these rooms, you’re greeted by a sense of serenity and calm.

These cozy retreats feature a spacious King bed and a day bed, providing ample space for relaxation after a day of exploration.

Step onto your private terrace, where landscaped native bush gardens unfold before your eyes, offering a mesmerizing backdrop of thick rainforest.

River Suites

For those seeking a closer connection to the rhythmic flow of the Pacuare River, is another option with breathtaking views and elegance.

Equipped with a King bed, complemented by a full bathroom featuring indoor and outdoor solar-heated showers.

From your private terrace, immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of the river, surrounded by the untouched splendor of the rainforest.

Linda Vista Villas

Elevating the luxury experience, these rooms embody romance, privacy, and comfort in equal measure.

They have a private pool overlooking the river canyon, and amazing views of the surrounding jungle. Inside, a spacious living area and a luxurious bathtub offers the perfect sanctuary for relaxation.

Canopy Villa

For those seeking a truly unforgettable escape, the Canopy Villas await atop the highest reaches of the property.

Perched among the treetops, this exclusive retreat offers unparalleled seclusion and breathtaking views of the Pacuare River and its jungle. Enjoy the luxury of your own private pool and traverse the rainforest canopy via a suspended bridge.

Jaguar Villa

These accommodation stands as the pinnacle of luxury at Pacuare Lodge.

With its spacious master bedroom, complete with a King bed and a bathroom featuring dual showers and a scenic tub overlooking the river, every detail has been carefully crafted to ensure an unparalleled experience.

It is also equipped with a private pool, while a hanging bridge and platform offer panoramic views of the river below.

In each of these luxurious accommodations, can enjoy a blend of luxury, adventure, and natural beauty, while a tropical decoration throughout all room categories make you feel in a very special place all the time.

Getting to Pacuare Lodge

As I have said before, arriving and leaving Pacuare Lodge offers an adventure in itself, with three distinct options that cater to different preferences and comfort levels.

Option 1

For the adventurous souls who seek thrills right from the start, we recommend the exhilarating journey by rafting. The adventure commences in San Jose, where guests gather at selected hotels for departure.

The route meanders through the captivating landscapes of Cartago and Turrialba, offering glimpses of Costa Rica’s rich history and natural wonders.

As you approach the Linda Vista meeting point, anticipation builds for the upcoming rafting experience. Embark on a scenic ride down the Pacuare River, immersing yourself in the heart of the rainforest as you navigate its rushing waters.

The journey is short yet memorable, serving as the perfect introduction to the enchanting environment that awaits at the lodge.

Option 2

For those who prefer a more relaxed approach, reaching Pacuare Lodge by land offers a comfortable alternative in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

Traverse a six-kilometer gravel road, soaking in dramatic views of the jungle-clad mountains. The adventure continues as you cross the river on a hanging gondola, suspended above the rushing waters below.

Upon reaching the opposite shore, an electric car awaits to the hotel’s lobby, where a refreshing cocktail awaits your arrival.

Option 3

For a truly unforgettable arrival, guests have the option to arrange a helicopter ride to Pacuare Lodge. Take to the skies and marvel at the diverse Costa Rican landscape unfolding beneath you, from rushing rivers to craggy volcanoes and vibrant forests.

Touch down on a sandy beach adjacent to the lodge, where the natural beauty of the surroundings immediately captivates your senses.

Regardless of the option, the journey to Pacuare Lodge is an unforgettable adventure.

During your stay, immerse yourself in eight unique experiences, including canopy tours, birdwatching, indigenous hikes, and more.

I recommend a minimum two-night stay to fully embrace the rainforest’s allure, with an optional third night for an extended escape.

Do’s and Don’ts

Rafting in and out, great experience and doable for almost all people, guides are greatDo not walk at night alone and without a flashlight
Taking the indigenous experience is a must, learning about this culture is definitely a giftDo not use sandals to walk on the trails, wear closed shoes
My favorite experiences: short experience of indigenous culture, canopy, night hikeDo not touch any animal, the tropical forest has many interesting species.
Disconnect from the world and enjoy and explore nature.It is not allowed to swim in the river in front the hotel
A massage at the spa, it’s amazing.Canyoning is fun but can be complicated for people with reduced mobility, there is a risk of slipping.
Be prepared with easy-drying clothes and waterproof or quick-drying shoes.Don’t touch the ants, it could be the bullet ant and you don’t want to be stung.
Take with you a Go Pro camera or a waterproof case for your cell phone, because during the rafting it is the only way to record the experience.Do not plan important meetings or tasks during your stay in Pacuare, although there is internet, the connection may not be very good due to location.
Enjoy some time in the pool, it is a very relaxing environment.The deck with the private pool can be a little slippery depending on the sandal, be careful.
If you are a light sleeper, I recommend wearing earplugs, so that the noise of the river and the nocturnal fauna will not keep you awake during your sleep. 

At Pacuare Lodge, sustainability lies at the core of its ethos. From eco-friendly construction to renewable energy sources, the lodge exemplifies responsible tourism, with initiatives benefiting indigenous communities and environmental education programs.

Pacuare Lodge General Information:

  • Frontdesk open from 07:00 to 21:00
  • Breakfast from 07:00 to 09:00
  • Lunch from 12:00 to 14:00
  • Dinner from 18:30 to 20:00
  • Coffee Station from 15:00 to 17:30
  • Bar Snacks: 17:30 to 19:00
  • Spa open from 14:00 to 19:00
  • Pool Schedule from 08:00 to 17:00

Nairi Awari Restaurant at Pacuare Lodge

For any traveler, food it’s an integral part of the journey, and Pacuare Lodge left me astounded by its gastronomy.

Variety and Quality

One of the most striking features of dining at Nairi Awari is its commitment to diversity and quality. With three distinct menus rotating daily, the restaurant ensures that every meal is a unique culinary adventure.

Despite being in the heart of nature, the Pacuare Lodge elevates its dining experience to unparalleled standards.

Local Talent and Innovation:

What truly sets Nairi Awari apart is its kitchen staff, composed of talented young individuals hailing from nearby communities. These local artisans are masters in the art of cooking, crafting exceptional dishes.

A Symphony of Flavors:

The culinary offerings at Pacuare Lodge are a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of its kitchen staff. Each dish is a harmonious blend of local ingredients, innovative recipes, and meticulous presentations.

From the first bite to the last, every meal is a symphony of flavors that leaves a lasting impression.

Simple Yet Sublime:

While the dining experience at Nairi Awari may not be opulent, its simplicity is what makes it truly sublime.

There’s a charm of enjoying meals amidst nature, which is a reminder that sometimes, the most extraordinary experiences stem from the simplest moments.

The Perfect Pairing:

No culinary journey is complete without the perfect pairing, and at Pacuare Lodge, a well-stocked cellar awaits.

Whether it’s a crisp white to complement a seafood delight, or a robust red to accentuate the flavors of a hearty dish, the lodge offers an exquisite selection of wines to elevate your dining experience.

My take

In essence, Pacuare Lodge transcends expectations, offering a harmonious blend of adventure, culture, and nature.

Every moment spent here is an invitation to reconnect with the earth and savor the essence of Costa Rica. As the night falls, Pacuare Lodge invites you to embark on a journey of discovery and serenity.