This beautifully crafted lodge rests on a peak with commanding 360-degree views of lush hills and valleys. Lodge rooms are simple but comfortable with shared bathrooms, composting toilets and solar-powered electricity. Comparatively luxurious cabañas with impressive views over the cloud forest sleep two to three people and have private bathrooms. Excellent meals include salad, potato pancakes and hearty soups.
A foray into Bosque Nublado Santa Lucía is a trip for the adventurous. The reserve is owned and run by a cooperative of 12 families who, looking for a more sustainable future, stopped farming naranjilla (tart tropical fruit) with pesticides to work with tourism and preservation. Considered one of the country’s best examples of community tourism, Santa Lucía has won numerous awards for sustainability and reducing poverty. Volunteers are welcome.
A minimum stay of three days is recommended, with entry into the reserve and guide service for the first and last day included in the price. Certified guides from the local families speak basic English and know the scientific names for plants and birds. The parking area for the start of the steep one- to two-hour hike up to the lodge is around 1km past Maquipucuna (mules carry the luggage). It's an additional $20 if you'd rather ride the mule up instead.