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Costa Rica is an incredible destination for a nature-filled adventure vacation. It’s also a destination that’s on a mission to protect the environment. The country runs almost entirely on renewable energy, and the goal is to achieve zero net emissions by 2050. And the new Nayara Tented Camp is assisting in those efforts with a reforestation project. The best part? It creates a safe haven for endangered sloths.
The year-round camp, which opened in December, is the brainchild of owner Leo Ghitis. A few years ago, he and his landscape architecture firm began planting over 300 Cecropia trees—the sloth’s primary food source—all around the property to offer a safe home for these creatures. To the property’s delight, more than 15 sloths moved right in and made Nayara their home.
Then, when his team set out to build Nayara Tented Camp in the heart of Arenal Volcano National Park, they were tasked with reforesting an entire hillside that was wiped out and turned into a cattle pasture over 50 years ago. They used this as an opportunity to increase their number of Cecropia trees to over 1,000—expanding the sanctuary to welcome even more sloths to Nayara (currently at 18). Now, they’re working on adding 40,000 indigenous trees.
The resident naturalists closely monitor the families living in the trees, and if a baby falls from a tree, the team will help them back up to mom. Particularly fun for kids, a Sloth Concierge will help spot the slowest mammals on earth and teach fun facts like how they sleep 15-20 hours a day. Aside from this, they do not intervene as they are living and thriving in their free and natural habitat.
“As sloths have been losing their habitat from human encroachment, the sanctuary at Nayara has provided a haven from both humans and predators,” Ghitis told Departures. “We want the children visiting Nayara Tented Camp to understand the concept of sustainability and see firsthand what we are doing to preserve our environment of Costa Rica. We want kids to see and learn why we can’t pet the sloths in our trees, but offer them a haven to live and thrive freely on their own. We want children to be completely immersed in nature when they are here with us.”
Inspired by the luxury canvas lodges of Africa and Asia, the footbridge will connect the Camp to sister properties: the 50-bungalow property, Nayara Gardens, and the adults-only option, Nayara Springs. Rates start at $1,200 per night, and groups can opt for a set of two identical tents that connect with a covered passageway while couples and privacy-seeking guests can book standalone units.