Why Rios Lodge Eco Lodge Is In A League Of Its Own


Pacuare, Costa Rica Aug 10, 2023 – Rios Lodge, a remote eco lodge in Costa Rica’s rainforest in the Limón Province is widely considered a leader in sustainable tourism. Since it was first established in 1989, the eco lodge and its former parent company Rios Tropicales, have received numerous ecotourism awards for their commitment to adventure and conservation.

The business, co-founded by ecotourism pioneer Rafa Gallo, has long been a trusted voice in the global adventure travel industry. Previously known as the Rios Tropicales Lodge, the company now operates under the Rios Lodge brand and remains a model for other eco lodges in Costa Rica and beyond. The lodge is a purpose-driven operation committed to conserving and protecting the rainforest and the Pacuare River, one of the most important rivers in Costa Rica and a “mecca” for rafting enthusiasts worldwide.

Sustainability and conservation are more than a buzzword at Rios Lodge, it’s been the cornerstone for over three decades of their operation. The remote, off-the-grid lodge is accessible exclusively via white water rafting or kayaking on the Pacuare River or by hiking trails. The lodge’s exclusive location – at the entrance to the Pacuare gorge and in the middle of a tropical rainforest, is a dream for intrepid adventurers, bird watchers, and nature lovers. National Geographic rated the Pacuare River as one of the top 10 scenic rivers in the world. Many travelers have not yet experienced a true eco lodge such as Rios Lodge, compared to other Costa Rica resorts that may define themselves as “eco-resorts”.

In partnership with the Gallo-Jimenez Family, Rios Lodge contributes to the protection of 1000 hectares of privately owned primary and secondary rainforest while supporting the local economy through jobs and tourism. Rios Lodge’s ultimate commitment is to permanently protect the Pacuare River headwaters from being dammed and to reforest the secondary rainforest through a certified carbon credit project involving other lodges and organizations in the region.

Rios Lodge firmly believes that education and recreation are the vehicles to help conservation efforts. “Recreation breeds conservation”, said Justin Rae, Partner Steward. “ We only protect what we love, and only love what we know”, added Sam Drevo, Partner Steward.

Rios Lodge was constructed by indigenous Cabecar and local Costa Rican staff, using reclaimed building materials and primarily locally sourced supplies, all transported into the lodge via white water rafts. There is no vehicle access to the lodge. The eco lodge invests in biodiversity stewardship and rainforest reforestation for carbon-neutral operations. It has recently upgraded and expanded its micro hydropower plant that generates electricity using a nearby creek on the property.

Given the current state of our climate and wilderness, visiting an eco-lodge must include education and immersive experiences that highlight environmental conservation and preservation. Leading hospitality providers embrace guidelines toward more sustainable operations.

Rios Lodge shares 5 guiding principles an authentic ecolodge should practice and embody:

  1. Work in collaboration with local communities, tourism boards, operators, and other groups invested in environmental or cultural protection and conservation initiatives of similar nature.
  2. Protect, preserve, and support the local environment, economy, and culture, including hiring a majority of local staff.
  3. Operate with the smallest possible impact on the environment by minimizing your carbon footprint and using renewable energy power sources.
  4. Build with and use sustainably sourced native materials and products for infrastructure and operations.
  5. Create, educate, and share immersive experiences based in nature and local culture that help make the Pacuare River region more accessible for active travelers.

What’s next for Rios Lodge? The launch of additional conservation initiatives, including a new certified carbon credit and carbon offset programs in partnership with a multinational organization. The program will help fund new reforestation programs through local partners. Stay tuned!

For further information on Rios Lodge
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Rios Lodge welcomes intrepid adventurers of all ages, interests, and budgets from around the world, including groups and independent travelers. Rios Lodge works with travel agencies, trade partners, and media.

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More about Rios LodgeRios Lodge is a remote private ecolodge located on the riverbank of the Pacuare River in Limon Province, Costa Rica. It was founded in 1989 as Rios Tropicales Lodge, as part of Rios Tropicales, an award-winning adventure company co-founded by Rafael (Rafa) Gallo, who was a pioneer in conservation and adventure tourism in Costa Rica and abroad. Rios Tropicales Lodge was sold to new eco-stewards after the founder’s passing in 2021 and operates as Rios Lodge.

Rios Lodge is located a 3-4 hour drive from San Jose, on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica in Limon Province. The remote lodge is accessible only by rafting on the Pacuare River or by hiking trails. It is fully off-the-grid, powered by hydropower, and with satellite WIFI services. The lodge offers 17 deluxe, classic, and suite rooms in addition to a new ecohostel lodging and dining center that can host groups of up to 64. Guests enjoy a diverse adventure activities program led by local guides that is founded on principles of sustainability and conservation.

Almost two decades ago, Rios Tropicales won the Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth award by National Geographic Adventures (2006), and Rios Tropicales Lodge won the first ever National Geographic Geotourism Challenge: Celebrating People and Place, in 2008. The Lodge with its extensive private, protected Rainforest Reserve has received the Blue Ecological Flag for Protected Natural Spaces since 2007. Rios Lodge, formerly Rios Tropicales Lodge, has been a leader in sustainability and conservation since its inception in 1989.

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Ecolodge History