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  • Writer's pictureJuliet Weller

Luxury in the Rain Forest?

Yes that's a thing. It sounds like an oxymoron, defined in the Cambridge Dictionary as "a phrase or statement that seems to say two opposite things" . However, I prefer to think of it as a juxtaposition, "placing two elements close together or side by side" especially for comparison or contrast. And that's the beauty of enhancing your rain forest vacation with accommodations in a luxury hotel.

If your idea of spending time in a rainforest conjures visions of neck-slapping the biting insects, muddy trails, muggy air and frizzy humidity-hair, then let me help you create a new vision: gentle rain showers tapping the broad shiny leaves, gleaming waterfalls to refresh you after your hike; your own private turquoise plunge pool outside your door; crisp white linens and dark rich woods to welcome you after a long day of adventuring; haute cuisine, renowned vintages, irresistible desserts; peace; quiet; bragging rights. Here are four of the best:

One&Only Mandarina. This one is in my backyard...well, maybe down the road apiece about 45 minutes Make the most of your escape in one of Mexico’s most awe-inspiring beachfront rainforests with extra time to explore and indulge. Stay in a spacious treehouse or villa on the emerald cliffside overlooking a swimmable shoreline. Woven seamlessly into the diverse, dramatic vistas of one of the last tropical beachfront rainforests in Mexico's Riviera Nayarit, One&Only Mandarina is an energized environment that calls you to adventure. There are unlimited ocean adventures, miles of nature trails and the Mandarina Polo & Equestrian Club – a world-class hive of activity for riders and spectators alike.

Sister properties Nayara Gardens and Nayara Springs offer luxurious accommodations in the heart of the 30,000-acre Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica. Each of the 50 rooms at Nayara Gardens is a single-bedroom villa with a private garden, outdoor shower, and a view of the active Arenal Volcano. At the adults-only Nayara Springs, each of the 35 villas features a hot spring plunge pool. The properties, connected by a footbridge, provide access to four unique restaurants and two open-air spas.

Nayara Gardens is a five-star luxury boutique hotel that is widely recognized for providing premium luxury amenities and ultra-personalized service at surprisingly affordable rates.

You'll find an oasis of tranquility, and experience a profound and organic immersion with nature, while living in luxury at the same time. Surrounded by lush tropical rainforest, each one of the 50 spacious casitas (bungalows) provides an exclusive, ultra-luxurious retreat with a secluded garden, an outdoor shower and a beautiful terrace overlooking the volcano with a private, intimate Jacuzzi for two.

Travel + Leisure named Nayara Gardens the #2 Hotel in Central America 2021. Nayara also consistently ranks as the #1 Luxury Hotel in the Arenal area on Trip Advisor and most other travel websites. Nayara has also been called the Most Romantic Hotel in South and Central America and one of the Top 5 Most Romantic Hotels in the World.

Travel + Leisure named Nayara Springs the #4 Hotel in Central America 2021. Nayara Springs' 35 villas, is an ultra-exclusive enclave connected by footbridge to Nayara Gardens. The lavish villas are hidden among the lush gardens with views of the Arenal Volcano. Each villa is equipped with its own exclusive pool fed by mineral hot springs, and also includes an expansive private garden with exterior shower, sleek, four-poster bed wrapped in soft cottons, and indoor and outdoor sitting areas.

Steps away are the spa, yoga pavilion, oversized adults-only pool, and sophisticated piano bar. Amor-Loco, a gastronomic gem, is a fine dining restaurant in the heart of the rainforest, complimented with stylish décor, plush velvet chairs, exotic lighting, and a polished onyx bar top. Mis Amores, is a Latin Bistro in a spectacular al-fresco setting overlooking the volcano and serving wood oven specialties, including pizza and delicious dishes with contemporary Mexican influences. Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Have I convinced you that luxury is possible in the deep jungle?

Okay, one more, then. Mashpi Lodge, northwest of Quito, Ecuador. Mashpi Lodge has all the comforts of a stylish modern hotel in one of the most fascinating places on Earth What makes it so special is not only its geographical location (Chocó Bioregion), but also its altitudinal one, where two principal ecosystems (cloud and rainforest) overlap to form one remarkable place. Built with the latest techniques in sustainable processes (no trees were filled in the construction!), the lodge’s 23 rooms and suites include a soaking tub and views of the forest canopy, floor-to-ceiling windows that keep you connected to the surrounding forest.

And then you go outside: within Mashpi Reserve, each activity is led by an expert naturalist guide. Excursion groups are small. Guests are provided with rubber boots, hiking poles, day packs, and their own refillable water bottle. Explorers can prepare snack packs for the trek, choosing from an assortment of dried fruits and nuts. Hike along numerous trails, streams, and waterfalls or visit the Hummingbird Garden, the Life Center and Butterfly Sanctuary; see the canopy up close on one of two Sky Bikes; climb the Observation Tower to observe birds early in the morning; glide along the forest canopy aboard the Dragonfly Gondola. Ferns, bromeliads, and orchids, many of these newly-discovered. Approximately 500 species of birds –around 36 of which are endemic– inhabit the Mashpi Reserve. It is also home to monkeys, peccaries, sloths, and even pumas juxtaposed against fine dining, three included meals daily, a luxurious spa, and signature cocktails.

If you're dreaming of an eco-sustainable educational adventure, sprinkled with innumerable photo-opportunities and smothered in luxurious creature comforts, then let's decide which country's forests you'll start with. Here's a Wanderlist you can add to or completely re-vamp if you wish. Think of it as a traveler's version of a dream catcher.

'til next week.


Did you miss any of my articles? They are all here.

Contact: GLOBAL EXOTIC ADVENTURES - Juliet Weller, Founder

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