I was thinking to put a section about Mirador Prendas in the article of Sarapiqui, but then I realized this nature lodge needs a story of its own.
Let’s begin with the only con (the rest is pure positive!) of this adventure in the jungle: the road. The trip towards the place is quite a drive. Though it might only be 4 km in total as the crows fly, conquering this piece of land took us at least 40 minutes from Horquetas – a small community nearby Sarapiqui. Make sure you’re driving a 4WD. A big one preferably, since the rocks do know how to hit that bottom – ploink ploink.
At the end of your slowww trip – that leads you via rickety bridges, large fields, typical Tico casas and along the edge of the enormous National Park Braulio Carillo – you’ll find an enormous rustic Tico building: Mirador Prendas. It’s not only quite impressive on the outside, the inside is filled with art and sculptures too, mostly wooden carvings. If you have a close look, you can find attention to detail on every level and in every room.
The owners claim it’s the biggest building in Costa Rica made entirely out of wood. Whether this is true or not doesn’t even matter; the views on the surroundings areas from the mirador are absolutely gorgeous. The accommodation ($50,- a night per room if booked directly and paid in cash) is nestled harmoniously in the surrounding jungle with sounds of nature all around. At the fourth and highest level of the lodge you have a marvellous view on both the dormant volcanoes of Braulio Carillo and the endless fields of the Caribbean.
At sunrise and sunset the many toucans and aracari’s are starting to gather and monkeys are howling and swinging around the building. Be sure you’re in time to see this spectacle, whether it’s at the beginning or end of the day. If you’re lucky you’re staying in one of the rooms higher up in the building. Like that you only have to open up your windows to see what’s going on in the canopy.
Since you’re quite far from the outside world, you’re basically expected to stay for dinner and breakfast (and perhaps lunch in case you’re planning a longer trip). There’s no menu in here and the food you can choose from is told you by head and typical Costa Rican: casados (rice, beans, yucca, salad and small potatoes) with fish, meat or chicken. Dinner’s $8,- and breakfast goes away for $6,-. The meals are all plain good and perfect if you’re eager to try out the local kitchen. A big plus was the home made wine the owner shared afterwards with his guests – the first time Costa Rican made wine I’ve seen and tasted in two years in here, and therefore a very welcoming night cap.
Next day we went along a very early bird tour (rise and shine for breakfast at 05:30 AM) and a hike to the waterfall with another couple (in case you’re reading this, I hope the rest of your days in Costa Rica were great!). Though we didn’t spot that many birds, the guides where very knowledgable and full of entertaining stories. Also, we were able to bring our dog along and that’s surely was great fun too!
Other activities you’re able to book at the lodge are a night walk, ziplining, horseback riding and rafting (at very tranquil level – more like river floating, therefore good for families). Apart from the variety, the best thing about the tours are perhaps the prices. For most hikes you pay around $30,- per guide (so it doesn’t matter with how many people you’ll go on a tour). Ziplining and rafting were also some $30,-. All of these activities will cost double the price in the rest of the country. And though perhaps the vibe is more pura vida during the tours, that’s exactly what you’re looking for during a far away jungle stay.
Don’t expect luxury, but really do go to Mirador Prendas if you’re a true lover of nature, not afraid of a bit of an outdoor cabin and consider yourself an adventurous person!