We are at heart, adventurers – and when we discovered the San Bernardo Lowlands in our native country of Costa Rica, we were absolutely captivated. As we stood atop a raised peninsula, formed by two converging canyons, where the cool Rio Blanco meets the hot waters of Rio Perdido, we wondered how on earth we could have missed this gem of a destination.
As it turns out, even the majority of Bagaces County residents had never seen this amazing place. The bridge that had previously connected it to populated areas and the federal roadway system had fallen years prior, and had never been replaced - leaving the canyons basically lost.
Additional exploration uncovered small pieces of shattered ceramic on or just below the surface land. With help from curators from the National Museum of Costa Rica, we were able to categorize these pieces as authentic Chorotega artifacts. So we came to realize that this amazing canyon was an important gathering place, enjoyed by civilizations dating back hundreds of years.
The trees growing within these canyons are huge. They have a yearlong source of mineralized water, and grow to be just about as tall as the canyon itself. In the wet season, when all of the foliage is dense and green, the serpentine canyon practically disappears from view. Even a bird flying above the very canyon could miss the camouflaged river - hence its name, Rio Perdido (“lost river”).
Inspired by what we had seen, we devoted ourselves to making this treasure accessible to visitors in a sustainable way. For us, green practices are not the product of trendy ad campaigns or marketing strategies. Environmental responsibility is an innate duty… a way of life.
We were able to fit all of the key service elements into one main building, in three areas that comprise less than 1% of the total land. Our team used almost all of the existing circulation paths, preventing the clearing of forest. We removed domesticated and farm animals from the land, and we have stopped the logging that occurred with previous owners, allowing for an accelerated rebalancing of the local ecosystem. Most of the wood used in the construction of the hotel was farmed under license, and quite a bit has come from fallen sources. We currently have 600 acres under contract with the national forestry protection agency, and we aim to increase that number moving forward.
We can proudly say that 90% of the team at our hot springs resort is from Bagaces; we participate in local festivals and sporting events (from rodeos to soccer), as well as efforts to improve education, economical growth and the environment.