A Short History of Pacuare Lodge

By Roberto Fernandez , founder


The Pacuare Lodge's story is closely linked to that of a child who grew up in rural Costa Rica, and who from the age of seven had an interest in business. Roberto Fernandez , the youngest son of a family of limited resource , attended public school in the town of Turrialba, and grew up in a region of rainforests, rivers and mountains that inspired his love of nature and adventure.

“Along with several friends from my neighborhood, I made my first trips down the Reventazon River in a raft designed for swimming pools, with life vests from Eastern Airlines and wooden paddles. The sight of us kids must have surprised the American tourists who saw us on some of the first commercial rafting trips down that river, in 1983. A few years later, I began working as a guide with one of the first rafting companies to be established in Costa Rica. It took about a year to learn the details of guiding, but the whole time I was dreaming of starting my own business. In 1987, I founded Aventuras Naturales, the company that built the Pacuare Lodge in 1995.

I was excited by the challenge of running a business and wanted do something new. At the age of 24, already running my own company, I purchased 14 acres along the Pacuare River as the first step toward my second dream – to build a lodge where tourists could enjoy the beauty of the Pacuare River and the nature that surrounds it.

Today, 22 years later, I can assure you that I have put my heart into this adventure. With plenty of effort, dedication, persistence and passion, I have achieved my dream. Along the way, I’ve been accompanied by many people who have also fallen in love with the project, and some of them have made it their home and their future.

In addition to caring about our people, we have made a major effort to conserve the wilderness around the lodge. We began with 14 hectares, but today we have 340 hectares of protected forest. Our forest reserve forms part of the Barbilla Biological Corredor, and it borders the land of the Nairi Awairi indigenous community, which is the home of some of our staff, who hike to work every day. With help from our guests, we support scientific research under a national jaguar-monitoring program, which has helped us to identify 10 jaguars and many other animals that live in our reserve. We are very happy to know that they too have their paradise.”