Thirdeyemom

A Slice of Heaven at the Cascada Naguala Ecolodge

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love”.-  Marcus Aurelius

After my peaceful canoe ride down the Laguna Chocuaco, it was time to leave Rancho Quemado and head to our next adventure in the community of Los Planes. We loaded up our rented SUV and headed northwest towards Drake Bay, the main tourist town in the Osa Peninsula.

The drive was rough and lovely, affording sweeping views of the stunning Drake Bay and the verdant tropical jungle. I was quite thankful we had our heavy duty SUV as there were several river crossings along the way and I cannot imagine how we ever would have made it in a car. Eytan told me that there had been times when he got stuck for hours waiting for the swollen waters to subside enough for him to safely pass and he had even once seen a small bus floating down the river. I definitely didn’t want that to be me!

As we entered the river I held my breath wondering how I’d break the news to my husband that we may have to do this ourselves during our upcoming family trip to Costa Rica in April. Hopefully the roads in northern Costa Rica are a bit better than in the Osa Peninsula.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This afternoon we were headed to a remote, sustainable family-owned ecolodge called Cascada Naguala that is in the middle of the jungle and only accessible via foot across acres of beautiful private land. It had opened up to tourists only a few months ago after a series of tragic losses in the family. The first owner died eight years ago by a fallen tree and his brother took it over only to die in an ATV accident six months ago. Despite the tragedy, his son Eric and lovely wife Francesca reopened the lodge and went into business. We would be their first customers.

We drove about 30 minutes past Drake Bay into the remote region of Los Planes where hardly any tourists ever go. It was isolated, hard to reach yet astonishingly gorgeous. I had found my paradise for the next twenty-four hours and it would be very hard to leave.

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

The turn off to the Cascada Naguala

After a few harrowing turns, climbing up to the top of the jungle we saw the sign for Cascada Naguala and entered the private drive that would lead us to paradise. We drove down the narrow gravel road until it was too muddy and hilly for us to continue. Alongside the edge of the road, we parked our car, grabbed our backpacks for the night, and set off on foot.

As we walked through the thick jungle, I wondered if we would see any wildlife but all we heard were birds. It was hot, humid and muddy given the recent rains that had poured down on the jungle. Eytan told me how the last time he had been to this lodge, it was pouring rain and thick with mud. I was thankful for the brilliant blue sky and sunshine.

We arrived at Cascada Naguala as promised, roughly thirty minutes later, and I could not believe my eyes. There in the clearing perched high above a roaring waterfall was the lodge and the setting was stunning.

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

First sight of the property

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

A closer look at the main lodge

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa RicaCascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

We were greeted with a smile by Eric, dressed in flip-flops and a t-shirt, and his business partner Brian, a Canadian. We were shown around the property and Eric pointed out the new cabins that they were building to host future guests. We also got to check out the brand new yoga platform they constructed directly above one of the property’s waterfalls. The goal is to offer yoga retreats at the lodge and I could hardly think of a more beautiful place to do yoga than here at the Cascada Naguala with the rainforest and waterfalls surrounding you.

 Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

View of the brand new yoga platform

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

The waterfall is literally dropping behind you on the yoga platform

We were shown to our cabins that were right in the thick of the jungle reminding me of my earlier stay in the jungle at the Amazonita Lodge. It was so lush and filled with gorgeous tropical flowers and birds.

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

The short walk to our cabins

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

There were flowers everywhere!

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

And of course lots of bugs

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

And there it was…my cabin for the night

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

A closer look

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

Inside the cabin

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

View from the balcony looking out

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

Some of the other cabins. (You can tell where Brian was staying).

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

Brian met Eric and Francesca through word of mouth when he was traveling to the Osa with his cousin and her Costa Rican husband. A fitness guru, Brian was looking for a place to invest in and start a yoga retreat business. Despite speaking very little Spanish, he and Eric sealed a deal and have been working together ever since. The yoga platform will fit 15 delightful yogis and once the new cabins are complete, they will eventually be able to sleep 21. With such a spectacular setting, I can’t imagine a more perfect place to come, meditate and unwind for a week.

After enjoying a fresh cold drink of mango juice, it was time to experience the waterfall. Directly behind the yoga platform lies the Cascada Naguala and you can hear its roar all the way up above in the open-air lodge.

We followed the short, steep path leading down to the falls in anticipation. I could hardly wait to plunge in and take a refreshing waterfall bath.

 Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

Cascada Naguala Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

It was absolute bliss. Here is a short video of what I saw when I reached the end of the stairs (it looks best if you click on the YouTube icon and watch it in a full screen).

While we bathed in the water, a group of about a dozen monkeys appeared high above us in the canopy of trees and put on a show. They were swinging from tree to tree going wild. I marveled at them in awe thinking what a delightful surprise it was to see them. Meanwhile a pair of scarlet macaws flew overhead and I had to pinch myself. Just another day in paradise!

I pondered on the Costa Rican phrase “pura vida” which roughly translates into pure life. I couldn’t think of a more fitting feeling while I sat here enjoying this wondrous moment in time. (To view full screen, click on YouTube icon. Believe me, it is worth it!).

Little did I know, the real surprise was coming tomorrow.

38 comments

  1. Di

    Hello Nicole! Another amazing insight into jungle life. It really seems that they are hoping to create a viable tourism culture there now. And yes, a yoga retreat would be ideal. Great post and you’ve got me with ‘tomorrow’….! 🙂🙂

    • I loved this place Marilyn and yes the bugs were quite colorful. I saw lots of colorful bugs and lizards in Costa Rica. Such amazing diversity!

  2. Looks like a heavenly retreat. Those bugs! Do they follow the rule of nature; that is, do those bright colors indicate any kind of poisonous-ness?

    • Thanks Lexi and honestly I don’t remember what the bugs do! I tried to take careful notes and they did point them out to me. I did see some brilliant blue lizards too that were pretty cool and a blue shrimp in the night (did a night hike in the river….terrifying once they told me to look out for enormous snakes which we didn’t see thank goodness). Hope all is well!

      • You must have missed a post or two! (You are forgiven – haha; I know we all have more important things to do! 🙂 ) We are moving to Houston! My husband is already living in the house we bought there and has started work. I have been in charge of both moves (DC-Houston and Chicago-Houston), and it’s been all-consuming (and quite sad). I look forward to returning to normal life sometime soon!

      • What?!?! I read every post of yours and I heard you talking about a move but had no idea it was Houston!!! I thought it was just into a house. Wow that is quick! Felt like you just moved to D.C.! Are you excited? I’ve never been there but have been to Texas many times. Wow!!!

  3. Oh what a beautiful heavenly place. So peaceful. I can understand why you call it a slice of heaven – especially with the monkeys and macaws putting on a show. And the cabins look so cosy. I could really feel your joy in being there.
    Alison

    • It was so spectacular Alison! I just loved this place. The flowers, the jungle, the air and the waterfalls and animals. I would love to bring my family here some day. It was so inexpensive too. Ahhhh….serenity!

  4. Yoga above the waterfalls!!! Nice!! I particularly appreciated the close up photos of the flowers. Beautiful. Looks like a slice of paradise indeed.. worth the trek to get there for sure.
    Peta

    • “Fascinating pictures of a completely unknown landscape. Thank you for showing it” – Thanks Ernst. I’m glad there is google translate! = Danke Ernst. Ich bin froh, da ist Google Übersetzer!

  5. And I thought I had a fantastic time in CR. Before our next visit I may be contacting you for some advice. This looks like the perfect vacation.

  6. Pingback: Cascada Naguala’s Hidden Treasure | Thirdeyemom

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: