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If Costa Rica is not on your travel bucket list get out your pen right now and add it! In fact, go ahead and mark it as priority!

Why is Costa Rica a destination must?

They rank very high in eco travel and eco tourism. Even if you don’t consider yourself an “eco-traveler”, this country is still highly worth visiting at least once in your lifetime. They pride themselves on being eco conscious and using renewable energy.

In fact, 90% of the entire country’s electricity is produced by renewable energy. How badass is that?

One particular region that I fell in love with was the Osa Peninsula.

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What’s So Great About It?

The Osa Peninsula is where you want to plan your first ever visit if you want to see a huge variety of wildlife and plant life.

You’re probably wondering why this region? Isn’t all of Costa Rica an exotic destination?

Yes and no.

The Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica is responsible for 2.5% of the planet’s biodiversity. Sure the percentage may seem small but consider this.

The peninsula is only 700 square miles and its holds 2.5% of the entire planet’s biodiversity! Half of the wildlife found in Costa Rica resides here.

According to osaconservation.org, the region has been dubbed the “most biologically intense place on earth.”

Are your bags packed yet?

Accommodations

So we picked an eco luxury resort near Drake Bay or better known as Bahia Drake. The resort is called Copa De Arbol.  (An eco resort is a place that strives on operating with minimal impact on the environment, think eco friendly products, buildings, everything)

Believe it or not I came across this hidden resort on Instagram! And after reading their 5 star reviews on TripAdvisor I was sold.

Besides with a tag line of “where the rainforest meets the sea”, why wouldn’t anyone want to stay here.

So that was it, after an Instagram and TripAdvisor review my husband and I booked a 5 day trip.

Getting There

Traveling to Copa de Arbol was a fun journey in itself, because it’s actually not as simple as arrive on a plane then taking an Uber.

Nope. How to get there is way more fun and adventurous. The only way you can get to the resort is by boat. Cool huh?!

Here is how we did it based on the guidance from Copa de Arbol. (Their guest service is beyond fantastic!)

We flew into San Jose on a commercial plane. We stayed the night since we could only find a late arrival flight.

Then, the next morning we went back to the airport and boarded a Cessna aka really tiny plane. (The airport in Drake Bay is only accessible by small plane)

Because you are flying in a Cessna you do have a luggage weight limit of 30 lbs total. So pack smart!

I packed and fit everything into a backpack. And then brought my day hiking bag as well. (I will include what I packed for 5 days at the end of the post!)

Small plane, small luggage!

Drake Bay

The airstrip in Drake Bay is surreal. It is literally a huge grass and gravel landing strip in the middle of the jungle! The “airport” there honestly looks like something out of the Flintstones.

Drake Bay Airport

We were then greeted by our driver in the coolest jungle adventure vehicle I’ve seen. (Ok it was just an old land cruiser, but I’m a Toyota fan so to me it was awesome!)

But wait! There’s more!

We drove through the jungle and across a river. At this point I’m thinking this is some Indiana Jones shit right here!

We pull up to a beach and th driver says, “ok, go get on that boat over there.” (Points to a small river boat)

We hop aboard the boat and travel through another jungle river (way better than Disney’s Jungle Cruise ride) and across a small bay.

And there! After about 15 minutes, we pull up to the beach and you see this beautiful resort of small cabanas.

I haven’t even checked in yet and I was already in love with this place.

Copa de Arbol

The resort is small and has 11 different cabanas ranging from 2 people to 4 people capacity. (And yes they have AC)

We stayed here in Cabana #8 Sable!

This is a great selling point because that means it is not going to be overcrowded and it will give you some peace and seclusion. Another perk? Their food!

They have dining included with your reservation and set meals time windows. It may seem time restricting but it worked out perfectly with the tours we took. All meals are healthy and fresh, they have vegan and special diet options as well.

The restaurant sits in the main building on the second floor and it’s an open air facility. Meaning no windows and great views of the ocean and the trees.

The bar and restaurant

It also means, be prepared for the occasional local visitor like the white face monkey or toucan. No worries they are pretty good about leaving your food alone.

And thanks to the jungle locals, you don’t need an alarm either. The howler monkeys will make sure you wake up in time to catch the sunrise.

Tours

So not only is Copa de Arbol a luxury eco-resort, they also offer tours to their guest (an additional cost, but worth it!)

We did the following tours

  • Nighttime Jungle hike
  • Snorkeling at Cano Island Biological Reserve
  • Canopy Zip Lining
  • Hiking at Corcovado National Park

They offer much more, but we chose what suited our interests. They also have paddle board and kayak rentals free of charge. As well as trails surrounding the resort.

So if your not into doing extra excursions, there is plenty to do at the resort itself.

Nighttime Jungle Hike

We opted to do the nighttime hike our first day there. I should note that if you are afraid of the dark and frogs, you may want to skip this.

But! If you are a wildlife nut like me, what better way to observe than at night? You get the chance to see a whole new variety of creatures that you otherwise would not see during daylight.

The hike is led by a guide and you are given mud boots and flashlights. But you are responsible for your own bug spray! Trust me do not forget to pack that!

Smoky Jungle Frog

Aside from hearing all the frogs and watching the kinkajous in the trees, the darkness was the coolest part.

After hiking into the jungle for about half a mile, our guide told us to turn off our flashlights and just listen to nature.

It was so dark, I could not see my hand in front of my face or the night sky because of the tree canopy cover.

One last note on the frogs, there is a frog called the Glass frog or as our guide liked to call them “dink” frogs. Their croaks sound exactly…I mean EXACTLY like two glasses “clinking” or “dinking” together. (Is dink even a word? Haha)

Snorkeling at Cano Island

Day 2 was snorkeling at Cano Island. Now since this is a biological reserve, access is limited so if this is something you are interested, it is advised you book this tour the same time you reserve your resort accommodation.

Copa De Arbol remains in email communication with you after booking to ensure you get everything you want.

This tour leaves right after breakfast since it is a 5 hour tour. The island is only 10 miles away, but the guide takes you to several snorkel drop places.

By doing so, you are guaranteed to see various corals, reef fish, reef sharks (I promise it’s safe!), and if your lucky sea turtles.

We lucked out on our trip and were treated with a school of Barracuda swimming right below us!

On our way back to the resort, our boat captain took a small detour because he spotted whales!

Sure enough, there were two humpback whales, a mom and her baby. So while the resort offers whale tours, we got one free. (sort of speak)

Tree Canopy Zip Lines

If you want to see the jungle through the eyes of a monkey, then you want to go zip lining!

The zip line tours are offered back in town at Drake Bay, but the resort offers transport (by boat haha).

The zipline place has 9 different platforms at various heights and 6 cables with the longest one being over 600 feet!

The guides that work here are extremely friendly and ensure you have a great time.

This tour is slated to last around 4 hours which leaves plenty of time in the afternoon to relax at the resort beach or infinity pool.

Corcovado National Park

Now this was quite possibly the best tour we took. It does last for the majority of the day and lunch is provided at the park. Because it is a national park, the park fees are included with the tour price.

This tour is again led by a local expert on the area and wildlife. Which is what you want, they know where to go so you can spot and take pictures of the different animals.

Coati

Here is a list of the wildlife we got an up close view of

  • Coati
  • Spider monkey
  • Howler monkey
  • Toucan
  • Macaws
  • Peccary (wild pig)
  • White face monkey
  • Sloth
  • And so many other birds I don’t even know the names of.

Hike Tips:

Take water! Which is why I brought my day hike bag with hydration pack. Also bug spray! It is a real jungle which means mosquitoes that could have started in Jurassic Park. So take a good bug spray!

What Did I Pack?

As mentioned earlier I said I would list what I packed since you are limited to 30 lbs.  Which honestly I don’t think my bag got anywhere close. Because my thought was I’m in a tropical place by the beach. So no heavy layers needed.

In one backpack (a school backpack mind you) I brought the following:

  • 5 tank tops
  • 3 pairs of hiking shorts
  • 3 pairs of spandex shorts
  • 2 swimsuits
  • 6 pairs of socks and underwear
  • 2 sports bras (for hiking) rest of time I just wore swim tops under shirts
  • 1 pair of sandals
  • 1 pair of minimalist trail shoes (I wore on plane)
  • 1 rain jacket
  • 1 thin pullover for evenings
  • 1 light sundress for our 1 private fancy dinner (separate reservation needed)
  • My GoPro (for all water activities)
  • Hair ties

I did not have to pack any toiletries expect sunscreen and deodorant. The hotel provides the rest and it’s the good stuff, not the cheap standard hotel shampoo.

Our room’s balcony and front view

Overall Opinion

So there you have it y’all, eco travel to Costa Rica in a nutshell.

I really could go on forever about this trip

I 10/10 would go back to Copa De Arbol resort and encourage anyone to visit! Between the comfortable rooms, great food, awesome service, and fantastic views, what’s not to love?

This turned out to be one of the best trips by mistake. Remember I found out about Copa de Arbol while cruising Instagram.

Have you been somewhere different in Costa Rica that you would highly recommend?

Leave me a comment below with your trip highlights or advice! I’m always looking for new things to explore on future return trips!

Want to check out the resort yourself? Click there website to get more details!

https://www.copadearbol.com

Thanks for hanging around!

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Categories: Travel

Justine Hiett

I am a wife and mom who loves to get outside and explore. My goal is to spread my passion through my trips as well as tips on just plain ol' everyday living.

5 Comments

Jennifer Loftin · at

Thanks for sharing! I’m adding this to my bucket list. We went to Quespos/Manuel Antonio and I fell in love with the people and the area, I can’t wait to go back!

    Justine Hiett · at

    I agree, the people of Costa Rica were extremely nice! I’m glad you enjoyed my article. I hope you find it helpful in terms of exploring new areas of Costa Rica!

Chelsea Lynn · at

I love your pictures and graphics! I’m not much of a traveler, but this post makes me want to go there.

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