Hotel Punta Islita
Opened in 1994, Hotel Islita (located in Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula in Guanacaste) is a luxury hotel amid the mountains, next door to some of the most endangered animals on the planet. They claim social responsibility sets them apart by saying the hotel's "sphere of influence is not only a globally recognized travel destination but a thriving region characterized by a healthy natural environment and a dynamic collective of travel professionals and community micro-entrepreneurs" (www.hotelpuntaislita.com). They have received a host of awards and memberships over the past couple of years, many relating to responsible tourism. They have four classes of rentals beginning with deluxe rooms and suites. Casitas (small cottages) and rental homes are also available. Amenities include all the standards of a five-star resort as well as laundry service, babysitting and a full-service spa on site. Corporate events and destination weddings can also be arranged. For more information, call (866) 4464-053 or visit their website at www.hotelpuntaislita.com.
Winner of the World Travel Awards 2008 "Central America's Leading Green Hotel" is the Gaia Hotel, located just outside of the capitol of San Jose. The hotel sits on a reserve to protect local flora and fauna. From the hotel you can arrange a variety of activities including (but not limited to) deep sea fishing, mountain bike tours, surfing lessons and tours, mangrove kayaking, river rafting and diving. Additional local outings, limousine and car rentals can be arranged. Rooms range from studios to villas (some with jungle views). Rates begin around $250/night for a studio in the summer to upwards of $760/night for a two-bedroom villa at the same time of year. Visit their website at www.gaiahr.com or call (800) 226-2515.
Lapa Rios Lodge
On the Osa Peninsula sits the Lapa Rios Ecolodge, in the middle of the rainforest, yet also right next to the beach. Their website (www.laparios.com) states, "Lapa Rios is an ideal vacation for people who enjoy adventure in nature and want to be a part of conservation and local culture." They offer a complimentary "Pigs, Twigs, and Garbage Tour" to learn about sustainability in Lapa Rios. They have a host of other tours available, most consisting of walks or trail hikes and even a "Jungle Overnight Tour." They have many awards for responsible tourism and were featured in "Travel+Leisure" in 2008 as "one of the country's and world's most earth-friendly addresses." Many packages are available including honeymoon and family options. Rooms are actually bungalows and regular rates include three gourmet meals, transfer to and front the airport, and two trails within the private reserve. Call 011 (+506) 2735 5130 or visit their website at www.laparios.com.
Hotel Fonda Vela
In the Monteverde area, well-known for its cloud forest, the older Hotel Fonda Vela sits in the forest among a collection of bird watching and nature trails and is run by two brothers. Activities include not only visiting the cloud forest on the ground but canopy tours to swing through the trees, suspension bridges that allow you to walk on the treetops, and aerial adventure tours that let you see from above from a small two-person electric car. Two types of rooms are available (standard rooms and junior suites) and both are affordable. Besides the two restaurants on site, there is a bar and lounge. For more information, call 011 (+506) 2645 5125 or visit their website at www.fondavela.com.