Chachagua Rainforest Hotel and Hacienda
Chachagua Rainforest Hotel and Hacienda combines eco-tourism and community outreach providing unique experiences for visitors while improving the lives of locals.read more close
The hotel borders the Chachagua rainforest, 11 miles from La Fortuna, down a dirt road and past the small town of San Rafael. With more than 200 acres, the hotel's reserve spans virgin forest, ponds, streams and waterfalls. The hotel has three different hiking trails where guests can spot the some 350 bird species, countless animals and walk among more than 500 species of plants. An in-house naturalist guide takes visitors on jungle night walks, rainforest tours and early morning bird watching tours.
Converted from a cattle ranch, the grounds are in part dedicated to re-growing the rainforest using native trees to reinforce the forest's fragile ecosystem. The goal is to bridge the gap between two of the area's forests: The Chachagua and the Children's Eternal Rainforest.
The hotel's been around for twenty years, but was recently renovated updating the rooms and overhauling the hotel's facilities including a swimming pool filled with spring water, a duck pond and a ranch with horses, sheep, pigs and ducks.
Of the 28 rooms, 17 are contemporary bungalows with large windows and glass-pane double doors that swing out open to the deck. Built off the ground and overlooking the surrounding rainforest, the stained-wood decks are furnished with couches and a small bar with stools for taking in the views. Inside there are two-queen size beds, dressers, coffee tables, and desks. The bathrooms are spacious and the showers are large with French-style shower heads that pour water like rain.
Restaurant, Farm & Community
The hotel grows all its own fruit; papaya, watermelon, plantain and pineapple to name a few, and most of its vegetables including pumpkin and bell peppers on just five acres. A local farmer is employed full-time to take care for the crops; all organic and regularly rotated.
At the restaurant, waiters and chefs prepare and serve the fruit and vegetables as part of the local and international dishes available on Chachagua's menu. Items include Costa Rican favorites like Arroz con pollo, chicken and rice served with crispy French fries and salad; and international favorites like spaghetti Bolognese.
Fulfilling another goal of the hotel, students and local farmers are brought to the farm to learn about growing fruit and vegetables without the need for pesticides and harmful chemicals. The kids are also led on educational walks through the forest and given a chance to swim in the pool. Chachagua supports the community in other endeavors as well hiring the majority of their staff from the nearby town of San Rafael.
While most people come to La Fortuna looking for views of the Arenal, Chachagua Rainforest Hotel and Hacienda offers something different: a community-based approach engaging visitors to explore the rainforest and nearby rural communities with local guides.