Conservation Fee

Sister properties, the Pacuare Lodge in the verdant Talamanca mountains, and Lapa Rios on the southernmost coast of the Osa Peninsula.

Conservation Fee

Pacuare Lodge & Lapa Rios

• Pacuare Lodge and Lapa Rios are lodges that were conceptualized as vehicles for greater goals: conservation of unique, valuable natural areas that are the most emblematic natural corridors in Central America. These areas are facing the pressure of population growth, poverty in surrounding communities and lack of environmental education in order to peacefully co-exist with the Wildlife.

• The biodiversity protected by these areas is crucial, since it is currently a natural bridge for species to move from Atlantic coast to Pacific coast ecosystems. Between the 2 Lodges the company is directly protecting 750 hectars (1,875 acres) of pristine rainforest.

• The case of Pacuare Lodge shows this reality in a very clear way. The company started over 24 years ago on a piece of land of 15 hectars (aprox. 40 acres). At that moment it was evident that the local communities were hunting for wild species at much faster rates tan their natural regeneration. There was a clear need for:

Acquiring more land to be put in absolute conservation. At this time the company owns 340 hectares (850 acres) of land in absolute conservation.

Increasing environmental education. A program has been financed for more than 10 years, consisting on lectures and workshops with hundreds of children in schools located near to the Pacure River basin. Approximately 20,000 children have been reached by our programs over the past ten years.

Monitoring the health of wildlife species, especially one that is considered a flagship for this habitat: the Jaguar (largest cat in the Americas). After two phases over 10 years, the Lodge has financed the installation and monitoring of more tan 100 trap cameras, located strategically in order to cover pads of 15 square kilometers each. Initially covering a total of 51 square km, currently the scientists are able to monitor 600 square km.

Providing many more job opportunities for the local communities nearby the reserve, who were basically subsisting on invasive agricultural products (such as “coyote cilantro”) and hunting the Wildlife. The Lodge has grown to 20 rooms, targeting high-end educated clientele who value service and detail, allowing it to grow the number of direct hired staff. Currently the Lodge directly employs 65 community members, and indirectly an estimated of 200 hundred people.

• As a result, very specific yelds are observed in the general area protected by Pacuare Lodge:

• Scientists have identified a total of 14 Jaguars roaming in the 600 sq km directly influenced by the Lodge. Of the conservation areas of Costa rica, this is the most numerous population of Jaguars.

• Other species have been clearly identified in the area, including the other 5 species of wild cats present in Costa Rica (Jaguarundi, Ocelot, Margay, Puma, Oncilla).

• Environmental awareness in communities has increased dramatically.

• Indigenous Cabecar community members working at the Lodge are able to understand and communicate better to their fellow community members about how to co-exist with the Nature.

• A piece of land was acquired 45 min. away from the Lodge, in which an organic farm was developed. This was worked as both a source of organic food for the Lodge as well as a vehicle to teach organic farming practices to local community members.


• Despite the achievements, the threats faced by natural areas remain:

• Sometimes a member of the indigenous communities would hunt species for commercial reasons and not subsistence.

• In other ocassions, a neighbor living on agriculture and free range domestic animals would kill a large cat that might be threatening their livestock.

• More cameras are needed in order to monitor much larger natural areas. The more understanding of wildlife behaviour and movement, the less conflicts there will be between human beings and wildlife species.

• Human population growth also poses a pressure for increasing land devoted to agriculture as opposed to conservation of natural habitats.

• More children need constant environmental education in order to be aware and become creative at new forms of conservation in the future.

• Starting a Conservation Fee is something new for the Costa Rica ecotourism industry. We believe it is important for our guests to understand how they are helping Nature with their stay. The fee was conceived as an amount representing less than 1% of the typical total amount invested by guests in their vacation. The Conservation Fee is an amount of $25 per person, per stay (not per night). For instance: a couple would pay $50 as a Conservation Fee during their stay. A family of 2 adults, 2 children would pay $100 as a Conservation Fee during their stay. By providing transparent periodical reports about the projects being supported, we believe many guests will be willing to provide even greater contributions to the Fund. 



Specific projects to be supported by Pacuare Lodge

• Jaguar Conservation Effort (parterned by Universidad Nacional scientists): new cameras; increased monitored area; economic support to local neighbors in order to install fences for domestic animals, protecting them from attacks from Wildlife.

• Youth sports programs in areas at social risk in nearby community (la Herediana in Siquirres and Turrialba).

• Constant environmental education lectures and workshops in Elementary Schools.

• Rescue of the indigenous Cabecar Culture: specific inititiatives for the Cabecar community including Cabecar language conservation amongst generations; practical art factories, training in quality and Good practices, support in commercialization of their products.

• Future Lab Station: we intend to develop a research station within the property in the near future. This would include hosting interns from universities for research purposes; keeping collections of species samples from the forest; documentation of wildlife behaviour, etc.