Selva Bananito Lodge and Preserve nestled in a private reserve in the Talamanca Mountains of Costa Rica isn’t easy to get to, but once you arrive, you’ll never want to leave.
I must confess, I was worried before I traveled to Selva Bananito. Legitimately worried. I heard I would be out in the middle of the jungle in a lodge with open grates to let the air circulate. It’s the bugs. Those giant insects I was convinced would be everywhere. You see I have a deep fear of all manner of insects. Not your run-of-the-mill “oh, a spider!” but a deep-seated, sweat-inducing phobia.
Days before arrival, I confessed my fears to the amiable Jürgen Stein, owner of Selva Bananito, and naturally, he tells me not to worry. “The cabin is high on stilts, there are rarely any complaints, and besides Janelle, there are beautiful mosquito nets over each bed, nothing will get you.” I’m not convinced…
Located in the upper Bananito River watershed in Limon, Costa Rica, it’s an adventure just to get to Selva Bananito Ecolodge. You need a heavy-duty rugged terrain, all-wheel vehicle to make your way across miles of unpaved, uneven roads, and drive through (yes through, not over) a small river. Cell signals are difficult to get so you’ve got to pay very close attention to the road signs that direct you to the lodge. For those not adventurous enough to try it on your own, there is a pickup point at Salon Delia in town.
As arduous as it may be to get there, upon arrival you’ll find yourself in an unparalleled oasis of pristine land surrounded by a plethora of jungle sounds, the smell of fresh earth, tropical fruit, fragrant flowers and just the essence of life—Pura Vida—as the locals say, in all its glory.
I gingerly approach my room before dusk, looking this way and that, inspecting every corner for signs of life (ready to run for mine) and I am pleasantly relieved that it all checks out. All the windows were open, as were the large folding doors to the balcony, but there is not a creature in-sight. Sweet relief.
My nerves calmed, I’m finally able to really take stock of where I am. My private lodge is simple, but cozy, with the most vibrant fuchsia fresh-cut flowers I’ve ever seen, adorning a side table surrounded by a handful of tea lights. I venture through the balcony doors and am struck by the breathtaking view of the mist covered mountains at dusk. The sky is lit with beautifully striking pink tones, rivaling that of the flowers. The air is fresh and heavy with the sounds of animals getting ready to settle in for the night.
There are a number of things to do while at Selva Bananito—early morning bird-watching, horseback rides through the jungle, nature and adventure tours—or, you can do nothing at all. Just lay back, read a book or rest on a hammock as you listen to and observe the nature that surrounds you.
A certified ecolodge, Jürgen is dedicated to the sustainability of his property and the conservation of the land. “This is no walled-off-all-inclusive resort. I use tourism as a mechanism to conserve the rainforest.” Truly, I’ve not met many other people who are as genuinely passionate as this man is.
Expect romantic candle-lit evenings. There are no generator powered lights at night throughout the property, so it’s best to walk with a flashlight (one is provided in each room). Your showers can be hot though, as the lodge is outfitted with solar-heated water.
Selva Bananito Ecolodge is a place to unplug, unwind and enjoy the simple things in life, if only for a little while. The memory though, lasts forever.
Looking to do your part? Selva Bananito offers several volunteering opportunities for guests, with discounted prices for lodging.