- The Best of Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Top Spots for WIldlife
- Costa Rica’s Most Beautiful Beaches
- Costa Rica’s Best Beaches for Wildlife
- Best Surfing Beaches in Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Unique Retreats & Resorts
- Surf’s Up in Costa Rica
- Off-The-Beaten-Path Eco-Adventures
- Costa Rica Family-Friendly Adventures
- Adrenaline Rush
Cóbano, a crossroads village 25 kilometers southwest of Paquera, is the main service center for the region and the gateway to Malpaís and to Montezuma (5 km) and Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve. Buses for Malpaís and the Paquera ferry arrive and depart from here.
Dutch investors have created a 1,114-hectare refuge, Hacienda La Esperanza (www.hacienda-la-esperanza.com), in a mountain region in the Valle de Río Ario about 15 kilometers north of Cóbano (the turn off from the highway is about five kilometers east of town). This ecolodge and conservation project is also a working farm and will eventually include a butterfly garden, frog garden, and arboretum.
You can swim in waterfalls, hike, ride horses, go bird-watching or mountain biking, or work on the farm. The owners also run Fundación la Esperanza to support local community development and protect the natural forests.
Cóbano hosts a National Bull Riding Championship during two weeks each February.
The Casa los Cedros (www.hacienda-la-esperanza.com, $115 s, $190 d), at Hacienda la Esperanza, is a gorgeous conversion of an old hacienda made of cedros (cedar). It has four bedrooms and meals are served in an open-air restaurant.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition