Lapa Rios reserve

One of my greatest family travel memories is when the three of us stayed at Lapa Rios Ecolodge on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. Sure, the views were stunning and the food was good, but what made it special was the incredible array of wildlife we saw. For the story and photos, see this tour feature: A Wealth of Wildlife in Costa Rica.

It looks like generations to come will be able to have the same experience and the abundant animals will be able to keep moving freely in the area. The nature reserve the owners purchased many years ago now has a permanent conservation easement that will live on through any subsequent sales. Here are some details from the official announcement.

Osa Peninsula CorcovadoThe Lapa Rios Reserve, some 900 acres in size, provides an important buffer for neighboring Corcovado National Park and serves as a wildlife corridor for the incredible array of species endemic to the region. Because of its intense biodiversity, the Osa is one of the last strongholds of the jaguar in Central America, and is home to all four Costa Rican monkey species, including the squirrel monkey, white-faced capuchin, mantled howler and spider monkey. Other Reserve inhabitants include the three-toed sloth, tamandua anteater, Baird’s tapir, poison dart frogs, 350+ bird species, as well as the venomous fer de lance and bushmaster snakes.

The founding Lewises wanted to take something personal and make it permanent and everlasting, regardless of who holds title to the land or owns the ecolodge business. That’s where the conservation easement comes in. Undertaken in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the Costa Rican land conservation organization CEDARENA, the easement turns the Lewises personal commitment into rainforest conservation with a binding agreement that ensures the Lapa Rios Reserve is preserved in perpetuity.

The easement comes with strict guidelines around land use. It prohibits all extractive activities, such as mining, forestry and hunting, as well as further  building expansion, even putting a cap on trail construction to a maximum of 15,000 metres (there are currently 10 km of trail in the Reserve.) At the same time the easement encourages both scientific and educational activities on the reserve, which fits well within the Lewis’ goal of setting a conservation example and their guiding motto: “No matter how you cut it, a rainforest left standing is worth more.”

See our full review of Lapa Rios Ecolodge and at the end there’s a link to the resort’s website.