Costa Rica is one of the most popular eco-tourism destinations in the world, with travelers drawn to its volcanic landscapes, verdant rainforest canopies and heavenly beaches. Being at the forefront of green tourism for many years now, it comes as no surprise that Costa Rica also plays host to some of the most spectacular eco-lodges in the world. Speaking to Daniel Gehring, the Manager of El Remanso Lodge in the Osa Peninsula on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, we explored this off the beaten path destination which is recognized as being one of the most impressive untouched corners of the world.
♦ Please include a brief introduction about yourself, your position and El Remanso Lodge.
My name is Daniel Gehring and I am the owner of El Remanso Lodge located in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula. I am a German citizen but I was born and I grew up in Spain. I moved to Costa Rica with my Spanish wife Adriana, 10 years ago to take over the El Remanso Lodge that was founded by my parents in law in 1999.
♦ What is unique about El Remanso Lodge’s location & what makes El Remanso Lodge different from other accommodations in the Osa Peninsula?
We are located on the South-Western side of the Osa Peninsula, close to the Matapalo point on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. El Remanso Lodge sits on top of a ridge, 460 feet (140 m) above the ocean and features 5 miles (8 km) of forest trails that lead you to a deserted beach, forest canyons, high ridges with ocean views and a total of 8 waterfalls all within the property’s grounds. We have purposely kept the lodge as small-scale as possible, with a maximum capacity of 30 guests to enable us to provide a highly personalized experience. All of our staff address guests by name and we like to create tailor made experiences, for instance, on guided hikes we do not allow more than 5 guests at a time.
♦ What is El Remanso Lodge’s philosophy?
To create memorable experiences for our guests in the middle of the Osa Peninsula rainforest, enabling them to view the amazing wildlife and flora surrounding the lodge while maintaining a very small ecological footprint.
♦ Why do you think the Osa Peninsula is the perfect destination in Costa Rica? When is the best time to go?
This is one of the top destinations for observing wildlife in Central America and is one of the most untouched destinations in Costa Rica. The fact that for a long time the road leading down to Puerto Jimenez and Corcovado were in very bad shape, has led to a lower impact and development of the region than in other areas of Costa Rica. Wildlife can be seen all year around with all 4 of Costa Rica’s species of monkeys, the iconic scarlet macaw, black-mandibled toucans, 2 species of peccaries, coatis and 5 species of wildcats among just some of the species that live in the Osa Peninsula.
♦ When is the best time to see wildlife in the Osa Peninsula? What wildlife can travelers expect to see near El Remanso Lodge?
All year round. Wildlife does not leave the Osa Peninsula and both seasons (dry and wet season) offer their advantages. For instance, you are more likely to see several migratory bird species in the dry season whereas you will have greater a chance of seeing more amphibians and frogs in the green (wet) season. If you wish to see humpback whales along the Pacific coastline of Costa Rica, the best time is from August to the end of October.
♦ El Remanso Lodge takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously. How do you make your lodge sustainable?
- We run the lodge exclusively with renewable energy. All the electricity is generated by 2 micro-hydro turbines and we do not even have a back-up fossil fuel generator as the back-up system is a solar PV system.
- We monitor our water consumption and have implemented measures to decrease our water consumption to a minimum using efficient sink and shower heads, pedals in the kitchen sinks and watering the grounds only at night in the dry season.
- We re-use, re-cycle and compost. 85% of our waste throughout the year is organic waste and we either compost it in our own composting station while our food leftovers are sent to a local pig farm.
- We only employ local staff, from the Osa Peninsula.
- We support community and educational organizations.
♦ What is the top experience that you recommend to travelers at El Remanso Lodge?
One of the best activities is waterfall rappelling on 4 of the waterfalls that we have at the El Remanso Lodge. It is a 3 hour excursion where you start by going down into one of our forest canyons and rappel 4 waterfalls to arrive at a stunning and pristine Pacific Ocean beach.
♦ What’s your favorite aspect of the Osa Peninsula?
The people of the Osa Peninsula and Costa Ricans in general are some of the friendliest people I have met. It’s amazing that most of our guests come to Costa Rica to experience its nature and see a large variety of wildlife. When they leave with these amazing memories one of their favorite Costa Rica memories are the people of the Osa Peninsula. The people living in the Osa Peninsula are genuinely welcoming and help to make the great experiences in this region. This is what makes many of our guests come back, because they not only have the experience of exploring Costa Rica but they feel as though they are treated like friends and family.
♦ What do you see for the future of El Remanso Lodge and for tourism in the Osa Peninsula and Costa Rica in general?
Since we arrived in the Osa Peninsula we had a clear vision that we wanted El Remanso Lodge to remain a very small scale lodge and we have been successful with this idea. Just before the 2015 high season started we completed the construction of a suspension bridge across the forest canopy for our new canopy tour. We will continue working on upgrades in the coming years to provide even more unforgettable experiences for our guests. It is hard (if not impossible) to stop development but I hope that the Osa Peninsula stays a wildlife destination with small scale operations that emphasize the protection of the Corcovado National Park and its buffer zones. For tourism in Costa Rica, I hope that they stay focused on the idea that has made Costa Rica famous and successful which is centered on protecting the rainforest and the environment while creating jobs and a flourishing tourism industry.
♦ Finally, what advice would you give to travelers coming to the Osa Peninsula?
If you are looking for a remote, off-the-beaten path destination in the middle of the rainforest with amazing opportunities for wildlife observation and active adventures; the Osa Peninsula is an unbelievable destination with great people that will make this destination stay in your memories forever.
El Remanso Lodge:
We would like to say thank you to Daniel and the El Remanso Lodge team for taking time to speak with us. Don’t forget to ask your Encounter Latin America specialist to add the El Remanso Lodge & the Osa Peninsula to your Costa Rica or Latin America travel itinerary!