Nature Observatorio is a lodge located within the jungle of the Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge. Located along the Caribbean coast of the country, this lodge is within a treehouse that is suspended 25 meters up in a large tree. This lodge is the largest suspended structure in a tree throughout the world.

The canopy of this rainforest is one of the last unexplored frontiers in Costa Rica. Finding yourself among the trees allows for some of the most undisturbed and peaceful views of the rainforest. Guests can climb trees themselves with assistance from ropes or utilize our elevation pulley system. The 360-degree views at the top of our canopy offer greenery, and views of the Caribbean Ocean along the eastern horizon.

Their story

Peter Garcar (pictured above), the architect and creator of Nature Observatorio got the inspiration for this treehouse-style lodge from the vision of proving that living trees are more valuable than dead ones. Too often in society, the value of living forests and trees is lost. When the land and value of returning to the land is lost, society has been transforming hectares of rainforest into cow fields or banana plantations. Once the transformation has occurred, there is very little that can be done to reverse the impact on surrounding ecosystems. Emergens, the oldest and tallest trees in the jungle, cannot be replaced once lost, and their role in Planet Earths’ ecosystem cannot be replaced once lost. 

The Nature Observatorio is truly a unique experience, one of the most sustainable eco-lodges in Costa Rica that one would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. The project works to raise money and acquire more rainforests to preserve its resources and keep them intact. Staying in the unspoiled canopy of the Jungle is sure to offer a life-changing perspective and experience. It won “The Best Innovation” prize at the Responsible Tourism Awards 2012. Read more about them here.

Sustainability actions

  • The Observatorio is truly remote. Guests must hike 45 minutes to reach its location.
  • Observatorio was created like a suspended Lego project, using nylon straps to suspend the structure from the tree. Not a single nail was placed into the tree. 
  • The entire structure weighs only 2.200kg to keep impacts at a minimum. Upstairs are two comfortable bedrooms, and downstairs is your 360 viewing platform. The first floor is about 25 mt. from the ground, and the living space is approximately 60 m².
  • It only has a short-term impact because the structure is not affixed to the tree. The plan is to allow it to be affixed to the current “Nispero” tree for five to seven years. At that time, it will be removed, refurbished, and relocated to another suitable tree, minimizing any long-term impact on the involved trees. 
  • Rainwater is collected and supplied into the Observatorio for all uses
  • Solar energy is used for all power needs, including an elevator to pull you up from the forest floor.
  • All waste is sorted and recycled or composted.
  • No plastics are utilized on the property. They encourage our guests not to bring any single-use plastics with them.
  • Everything supplied is biodegradable. They use biodegradable soap for the shower and kitchen.
  • The jungle garden is the source of fruits for the guests.
  • Nature Observatorio works alongside local Indian tribesmen to support, understand, and replicate the traditional ways of coexisting alongside nature.
  • This project is raising money to acquire more rainforest land to keep it intact and preserve its resources.
  • The Observatorio employs the Naso Teribe tribe and orders dinner for guests from local restaurants which support ecological local source cooking.

Most popular activities near Nature Observatorio

  • Jungle tour to explore nature
  • Tree climbing
  • Bird-watching walks to see many of the 20 Costa Rican birds.
  • Activities on the nearby beach, like kayaking or surfing.

READ ON36 Eco-friendly Things to Do in Costa Rica (From A to Z)

Best time to visit Nature Observatorio

  • To avoid the rainy season, plan your visit outside May-June and September-October. 
  • If you want to enjoy this place the sunniest it can be, visit in March or December.
  • The humidity in Costa Rica is high all year around. 
  • Smaller showers or thunderstorms can be expected all year around, so please be prepared.

READ ONBest Time To Visit Costa Rica (Factual Data, Pros & Cons, What to Expect)

Features

Location

The Nature Observatorio Tree House is 60km away from Limon and 220km away from San Jose. If you would like to visit this eco lodge, you need to arrange for transportation.

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