The Location: Situated on Costa Rica's southwest coast, Lapa Rios brings together the pristine wilderness with understated luxe. The stunning, thatch-roofed main building has an observation deck with panoramic views of the forest and the calm waters of the Golfo Dulce.
A Look Inside: Individual bungalows are surrounded by the rain forest, with views of the ocean. Although there are no phones, TVs, or air-conditioning, each bungalow has hardwood floors, two queen beds with mosquito netting, a ceiling fan, walls that "open" to the outside, a private deck and patio garden, and indoor/outdoor showers.
The Restaurants: Brisa Azul serves fresh, seasonal meals and a strong Chilean wine list.
Diversions: The resort's name hints at the brilliantly colored macaws (lapas) native to this region of Costa Rica, in addition to monkeys, lizards, sloths; and by the shore, dolphins and migrating whales.
Nice to Know: Since opening in 1992, Lapa Rios resort has been a part of a private nature reserve that shelters 1,000 acres of lowland tropical rain forest from development. While building the property, American owners John and Karen Lewis ensured that not a single living tree would be cut down and used only natural materials for construction. Solar-heated water, volunteer reforestation programs, and the abstinence of insecticides or herbicides are just some of the ways that Lapa Rios stays eco-friendly. Just south of the Lapa Rios nature reserve is Corcovado National Park, a 100,000-acre rain forest where nearly 400 varieties of birds, 125 types of mammals, and 131 kinds of reptiles and amphibians live -- one of the richest ecological spots in Costa Rica.