The Rio Perdido Story
We are adventurers. We explore our Costa Rica because of this passion. When we first came to the San Bernardo Lowlands – to this rare and quintessential dwarf forest – we were marveled. There we stood, atop a raised peninsula, formed by two converging canyons, where the cool Rio Blanco meets the hot waters of Rio Perdido and a third affluent, adding a final touch of perfection, pours its waters over 100 feet into the tepid convergence point. In so many years of traversing the land…of making it into every little nook…how had we missed this?
We soon found that even the vast majority of residents of Bagaces County had never seen this amazing place. A few old-timers shared their opinions; they explained why these canyons had managed to remain out of the light. A simple bridge that connected this unique area to the nearby populated zones and the country’s federal roadway system had fallen decades back and, because there were already modern, alternate routes to the more important rural spots, the bridge was never replaced…and this particular route was basically lost.
As we continued to explore the immediate area, we started to find small pieces of shattered ceramic on or just below the surface land. With help from curators from the National Museum, we were able to categorize these pieces as authentic Chorotega artifacts. And so, it became apparent that we were rediscovering an ancient destination that was appreciated and enjoyed by civilizations dating back hundreds of years. This amazing canyon where hot water emanates from under boulders or simply gushes from the rocky walls was an important gathering place, no doubt.
As a final note, the trees growing within these canyons are huge. They have a yearlong source of nutritional, mineralized water, and grow up to 10 times taller than the dwarf trees on the parched soil above. These canopies can be just about as tall as the canyon itself. So, 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. It is, indeed, a lost river…Rio Perdido.
We were inspired and thus, set out on a new project, devoting years of work to making this treasure accessible to visitors in a sustainable way that would never compromise its beauty. 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 project was farmed under license and quite a bit has come from amazing fallen sources. We currently have 350 acres under contract with the national forestry protection agency and we aim to increase that number as we go forth with our operative phase.
For us, sustainable practices are not bred from image campaigns or from a marketing strategy. It is an innate duty…a way of life. As we continuously learn from our environment, from our neighbors, and from our guests, we passionately reciprocate with what we hope are valuable contributions. In this website, we have set aside some important space to convey to you a general look at said practices. Feel free to read from them
At Rio Perdido, we have created an experience for our visitors; simply by allowing people to get the most out of a beautiful and historic place that was naturally created over time.