Experience luxury and conservation at the Selva Bananito eco-lodge in Costa Rica. Neighboring La Amistad Biosphere Reserve, this eco-lodge is committed to conserving all the beauty that Costa Rica’s rainforests offer.
Selva Bananito sits within a vibrant rainforest ecosystem, with one of the highest densities of felines in Costa Rica. Walk in the footprints of jaguars, ocelots, and pumas, viewing the colorful flora and fauna along the way. Selva Bananito preserves the beauty and health of the forest, including the most vital water source for almost 100,000 human inhabitants.
Situated 17 kilometers south and 15 kilometers west of Port Limon, Selva Bananito protects almost 1200 hectares of primary forest, 200 hectares of secondary forest and uses about 300 hectares with regenerative agricultural management practices.
The Selva Bananito Lodge offers 11 guest cabins, with breakfast included. Tour the surrounding preserve with one of their all-inclusive adventure packages.
*(The pictures displayed on this page are the exclusive property of Selva Bananito to promote the experience in “La Amistad Biosphere Reserve”, Limon, Costa Rica, and are photographed by Tanja Micolcic.)
For over 25 years, the Selva Bananito has been setting the standard for ecotourism in Costa Rica. What was once a family banana farm has turned into one of the most sustainable eco-lodges in Costa Rica. With the income generated from the lodge, thousands of hectares of rainforest have been preserved and restored.
In 1985, Rudi Stein’s family protected 850 hectares from logging and set it aside for conservation. While logging may have generated more income, the Stein family knew the importance of conservation over profits. This shared value has fostered the health and regeneration of the surrounding rainforest, including the incredible feline populations the area is known for.
Compassion for both nature and humans drives the Selva Bananito conservation efforts. In protecting the beautiful landscapes of southern Costa Rica, Selva Bananito is able to protect the water supply of the over 100,000 inhabitants of Port Limon. The reserve is part of the National Network of Natural Reserves (Red Costarricense de Reservas Naturales) and acts as a buffer for the International Park la Amistad.
Their conservation efforts have been internationally recognized, having been featured in numerous articles and gaining several eco-tourism certifications. With efficient material use and low-impact architecture, guests can enjoy the peace and tranquility of nature every day of their stay. Read more about them here.
Lowest impact construction and operation
- Construction used only discarded wood from logging activity within Costa Rica. Lumber that was not commercially viable was reused at Selva Bananito to reduce overall waste. The rest of the wood came from reforestation efforts.
- Over 10% to 15% of the wood from logging activity is left to rot in the forest. Selva Bananito used water buffalos to haul the wood out, instead of impacting the forest with heavy machinery.
- The buildings were placed on previously settled plots, so as not to disturb natural habitats. 85% of the rooms and the dining area follow Caribbean architecture on stilts, improving ventilation and moisture levels.
- Guest cabins use synthetic roofing material instead of natural suita palm, a critically over-harvested species.
Highest level of energy efficiency
- Solar-heated water and solar and micro-hydroelectric electricity have been used since the beginning. Electric air conditioning is unnecessary because of the spectacular microclimate and coolness.
- This energy supply, completely off the grid, has reduced supply runs by about half the frequency. It also allows energy for plenty of refrigeration.
- Selva Bananito only uses low-wattage LED bulbs in the rooms. Guests enjoy candle-lit dinners.
Pioneer in waste management
- Selva Bananito uses solar-heated water and water flow-restricting nozzles.
- They recover and reuse wastewater for irrigation of plants in long periods of drought. For over 25 years, they have used a system that treats wastewater with special bacteria and enzymes. Water Lilies are used to purify water, a technique once used by the ancient Mayan culture.
- Selva Bananito works to maintain the health of its watershed, as the inhabitants of Port Limon depend on this water.
- Selva Bananito is certified with the Costa Rican C.S.T. Certificate for Sustainable Tourism. They produce only 675 grams of trash per person per day, of which 600 grams are composted, 50 grams are recycled, and 25 grams go into a landfill.
- There is a strict no-plastic policy, favoring reusable and compostable products as needed. Biodegradable toiletries in guest cabins are in refillable containers, cocktails are served with bamboo straws, and no single-use plastic bottle can be seen.
Fully organic and chemical-free operation
- Only biodegradable soaps are used in the operation of Selva Bananito.
- Weeding efforts are made by hand to avoid chemical pesticides.
- Most of the fruits and some vegetables are locally produced. Since Selva Bananito is in the tropics and not in the highlands, the more delicate vegetables come from areas where there are better conditions for organic production.
Actively protects nature and community
- Selva Bananito plants as many trees as possible with volunteers, guests, and students from neighboring towns, despite protecting about 5.5 square miles (14 square kilometers) of primary forest.
- Selva Bananito promotes a Responsible Traveler Code to educate guests on how to be conscious ecotourists.
- Their operation will be carbon negative for the next 200 years thanks to the carbon offsetting of reforestation. The reforestation also acts as a corridor to connect the lodge with the primary forest area.
- It only employs local employees, providing them with social health care. Local merchants are supported whenever possible.
- Selva Bananito Lodge supports the nearby San Cecilio School. Selva Bananito also offers environmental workshops to students and their parents.
- Its most valued collaborator has worked there for 20 years. He started as a gardener, and today he has learned management skills and guides all the adventure activities they offer.
Most popular activities near Selva Bananito Lodge
- Scenic flights
- Nature hike
- Horseback riding
- White water hiking and rappelling in Costa Rican waterfalls nearby.
- Bird-watching walks to see many of the 20 Costa Rican birds.
- Jungle overnights like “Following the Footprints of Wildcats.”
READ ON – 36 Eco-friendly Things to Do in Costa Rica (From A to Z)
Best time to visit Selva Bananito Lodge
- 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 ON – Best Time To Visit Costa Rica (Factual Data, Pros & Cons, What to Expect)