The basics: Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is an eco-resort owned by a couple from New York and built mostly from naturally fallen wood. Meals are made primarily from locally grown food. Electricity and hot water are solar-powered, and laundry is dried on large racks under solar panels. Fodor's, Frommer's, Lonely Planet and other prominent travel guides give it their top thumbs-up for the Golfo Dulce region. For more information, go to

Getting there: From San Jose, Nature Air and Sansa, both Costa Rican domestic airlines, fly to Puerto Jimenez or Golfito, the two towns from which Playa Nicuesa staff will pick up guests and transport them by boat to the resort. Sansa is more convenient with a terminal next to Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose. Nature Air is at the smaller Tobias Bolanos International Airport, about a 20-minute shuttle or taxi ride away. Nature Air has twin engine planes; Sansa, single-engine. Nicuesa will book your flight on these airlines.

What to bring: The resort sends a detailed sheet of recommendations, but here are the most important to follow: As much quick-dry fabric as possible, including underwear and hat, and a compact but high-powered flashlight. Also insect repellent and sunblock, which are much more expensive to purchase in Costa Rica. Note: Both domestic airlines have luggage weight limits.

Recommended activities: I liked the waterfall hike, river-estuary kayaking, wildlife refuge visit, solo hikes and the eco-tour of the resort. In-shore fishing and a dolphin- watching /snorkeling tour are also recommended, but both are pricey and come with no guarantees of catches or sightings.