Our favourite Latin American ecolodges for 2018
From misty rainforests to the high Andes, Latin America is home to a wide array of incredible lodges and it’s extremely hard to pick our favourites. As we have travelled up and down the length of this beautiful continent, exploring each country for the best accommodation, we have amassed considerable knowledge over the years.
Here we have listed our experts’ favourite lodges based on their levels of sustainability, social responsibility, comfort, location and activities nearby. So you’ll find that the ecolodges listed below aren’t just a place to rest your head at night. They’re unique and will take your holiday experience to the next level.
From an exclusive lodge in remote southern Costa Rica to a remarkable community project in Ecuador, get ready to discover the best places to stay in Latin America for 2018, in Pura’s opinion, that is!
Playa Cativo, Costa Rica
If paradise exists, it probably looks like this. Located inside Piedras Blancas National Park, on the inner side of the Osa Peninsula, Playa Cativo might be one of the wildest places you could ever stay in Costa Rica. Only accessible by boat - a magnificent 30-minute boat ride across Golfo Dulce, the only tropical fjord in the Americas - this outstanding boutique hotel that aims to be 100% sustainable has just 18 rooms, all beautifully furnished in colonial plantation style. A five-minute walk up the beach will take you to the hotel's very own organic farm, where you’ll be able to handpick your own fresh vegetables for dinner. The chef creates a variety of local recipes, vegetarian options and international dishes. As for the activities, options include: kayaking in the mangroves, snorkelling in the sea, hiking in the jungle, night guided expeditions, paddle boarding or venturing off in search of dolphins and whales…
Mirador el Guadal, Chile
Set in an area of 10 hectares of native woods on the shore of Lake General Carrera, this eight-cabin lodge is located only 10 minutes away from one of the most impressive stretches of the Carretera Austral. The Marble Caves, the Exploradores Valley, the Baker River and the Patagonia National Park in the Chacabuco Valley are all about an hour’s drive away. Within the rooms, décor is cosy but uncluttered, allowing the scene beyond the picture windows to steal the glory, with views over the turquoise waters of the lake and the glaciers of the Northern Patagonian Ice Field. As for the food, the restaurant serves top-notch Patagonian cuisine such as seafood and roasted lamb, and features an extensive wine list.
Totoco Ecolodge, Nicaragua
Situated on the slopes of the Maderas Volcano, this fantastic lodge has taken accommodation on Ometepe Island to another level. Surrounded by a virgin cloud forest, this eight-individual-cabin lodge has spectacular views across Lake Nicaragua as well as a great number of activities such as: kayaking the Istian Wetlands, climbing a volcano, horse riding in a coffee plantation, or hiking up a beautiful tropical canyon. The lodge itself is the brainchild of three friends that focus very much on sustainability and work hard to involve the community as much as possible. This includes a dedicated development centre for local community projects, an organic farm, renewable energy supply and the smartest compost loos you will find anywhere!
El Monte, Ecuador
Hidden away on its own pristine 110-acre private reserve in the lush tropical cloud forest of Mindo - about 3 hours away from Quito - El Monte Lodge is a fantastic six-cabin eco-lodge dotted along the crystalline Rio Mindo. With the lodge's base covering just 2.5 acres of the entire reserve, the rest of the forest is home to numerous nature trails and is home to around 300 species of birds, including 30 species of hummingbirds - a bird watching paradise. Besides, white-water tubing, waterfalls, swimming, mountain biking, horse riding, and a butterfly farm are also available. Mealtimes are a key part of the experience at El Monte, as the restaurant offers both local and international cuisine featuring vegetarian and fish dishes - no red meat is served due to the lodge's sustainable ethos. The owner, Tom, is very committed to supporting the local community, he even has another community-based project down in the Amazon forest.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo, Peru
Set in the middle of a lush cloud forest where 372 native orchid species, 214 kinds of birds, and 111 species of butterfly live, this 100% carbon-neutral hotel is, in fact, an Andean-style mini village of luxurious whitewashed adobe casitas discreetly tucked among the trees. Dreamed up by an environmentalist, this hotel supports scientific research and conservation efforts to rehabilitate the rare and endangered Spectacled Bear, a native Andean species. The lodge is much more than a base for visiting Machu Picchu, it’s a destination in itself. Several miles of trails loop through the forest from your doorstep, and natural hot springs and ancient Incan petroglyphs are within a short walk. To top it all, a glass-walled restaurant serves delicious contemporary Andean cuisine with glorious views of the Urubamba River and the Andes Mountains.