Maquenque Eco-Lodge

Top choice in Arenal & Northern Lowlands

Set on 80 glorious bird-filled hectares, 20 unique bungalows (including five gobsmacking tree houses) overlook a lagoon and tropical garden; additional tree houses are perched in nearby rainforest. To get here, you'll have to cross the San Carlos River in one of the lodge's boats; arrange your boat crossing ahead of time.

Prices include a guided rainforest hike, a student-led tour of a local school and use of canoes on the lagoon, as well as the opportunity to support sustainable tourism by planting a tree in the rainforest (by request). There's also a tour of the finca where many of the vegetables you'll eat for supper are grown. A new pergola and changing rooms for the pool are other improvements.

The place is a birders’ (and photographers') paradise, with countless species flocking to feeders and fruit trees in the grounds. In addition to birds, encountering a roving band of coatis might make your day, too.

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