Costa Rica is a place very close to our hearts and one of our favourite regions is Guanacaste located on the Northern Pacific Coast. This part of Costa Rica is famous for its diverse landscapes and a variety of activities, making it a popular destination relaxation and adventure lovers alike.
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While Guanacaste is popular with tourists there are still spots that provide that off-the-beaten-track feel and Playa Avellanas is one of them. Located just 30 minutes south of the tourist hot spot town of Tamarindo, Playa Avellanas is the hidden tropical paradise. It boasts stretches of pristine secluded beaches, incredible waves, and a small friendly laid back community of locals and expats.
Over the last few years, we have spent many months in this part of Costa Rica. In 2015, we choose to get married here and since then we’ve been back numerous times, enjoying the beautiful beaches and a simple laid back Pura Vida lifestyle.
It was for this reason that when an opportunity presented itself and an old hotel came on the market, we didn’t think twice and we put down an offer!
The hidden tropical paradise of Playa Avellanas was definitely a destination we wanted to show off to others! It was the perfect place for our new hotel.
We purchased the hotel property in December 2017 and shared our vision for the hotel with friends and followers shortly after. It was an old run down hotel that needed some serious work, so we spent 8 months in 2018 doing renovations to bring our vision for this property to life.
We documented our progress in a series of videos, which to this day serves as a great reminder of how far the hotel has come.
- Episode 1: Our New Project
- Episode 2: Where it all Began
- Episode 3: Go Big or Go Home
- Episode 4: One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure
- Episode 5: Buying and Building Local
The renovation took a lot longer than we anticipated, but we finally opened our doors in October 2018 and welcomed our first guests at the hotel shortly after.
Behind the Scenes at the NEW Drift Away Eco Lodge
The Neighbourhood: Playa Avellanas, Guanacaste
Drift Away Eco Lodge is tucked away between two of Costa Rica’s best surfing beaches: Playa Avellanas and Playa Negra.
There is also a secluded quiet beach 200m away from the lodge, called Playa Lagartillo. It’s perfect for swimming, great for hanging out and it is so quiet that it often feels like a private beach.
Thanks to the fact that there aren’t many tourists on this beach, it’s still used as a nesting ground for turtles. We’ve been lucky enough to see turtles hatching right on the beach!
There is no real town centre in the area, but for us, that’s exactly the appeal. It’s a quiet neighbourhood, it’s not touristy, it’s not a party area, it’s an escape from the hustle and bustle of Tamarindo.
Activities in Playa Avellanas
There is a number of great restaurants within 2-3km (1.5-1.85 miles) radius from the lodge, serving some fantastic seafood, local dishes, and fusion Costa Rican fare. There are also 2 yoga studios, offering daily yoga lessons and a number of longer retreats that you can join.
There are also lots of other activities in the area:
- Surfing – suitable for both beginners and experienced surfers
- SUP or Kayaking – in an estuary nearby, or right on the ocean
- Horseback Riding – choose from a sunset ride along the beach or an adventure on horseback through the lush vegetation.
- Zip-lining – choose from a number of canopy tours within 1-2 hours away from the lodge
- Hiking – Rincon de la Vieja National Park, Diria National Park, and a number of other parks offer excellent day trip hiking opportunities.and so much more!
Read More: Things to do in Playa Avellanas, Costa Rica
The Grounds at the Drift Away Eco Lodge
While there is lots to do outside of the Drift Away Eco Lodge, many of our guests absolutely love spending time at the lodge itself.
The most impressive feature at the hotel is definitely the pool. We invested a lot into making sure it was a place where our guests would love spending their days and it looks like our efforts have paid off.
Aside from the pool, there are a number of other common areas to enjoy at the Drift Away Eco Lodge.
Guests can enjoy a selection of breakfast options at the beautiful open-air Breakfast Bar every morning between 7am-9am. After breakfast, guests use the space to catch up on some work, or just hang out. This space is available to use throughout the day and into the evening.
The games lounge is attached to the breakfast bar and is equipped with a pool table and a ping pong table available to use throughout the day. It’s a popular hangout spot in the evenings.
The pavilion is the only screened in the common area on the property and it’s a great spot to practice yoga or gather with friends at the end of the day for a board game night.
You can even make use of our small library at the back of the pavilion to pick up a book to read during your stay.
If you are looking for a great place to relax and read a book, the hammock hangout area located at the back of the property is it. It’s a quiet little spot with 3 hammocks where you can relax with a book in hand.
The garden is a shaded area with a couple of picnic tables where you can hang out, read a book or catch up on some work.
Our Juice Bar is definitely the featured space on the property. Located at the front of the Lodge, the juice bar, opened from 10 am until 7 pm, is serving up fresh juices, smoothies, fruit bowls, as well as local Kombucha and a selection of craft beers.
Everything served at the juice bar is locally sourced and some fruits, like oranges, limes, grapefruits, and coconuts come directly from our on-site trees!
Rooms at the Drift Away Eco Lodge
We put a lot of work into making the rooms at the Drift Away Eco Lodge incredibly comfortable and modern, but they all feature a little touch of nature!
There are 12 rooms at the lodge:
- 4 x Deluxe King Rooms
- 2 x Deluxe Queen Rooms
- 2 x Standard Twin Rooms
- 4 x Two-Bedroom Villas
As frequent travelers, we know what sets apart a great room from an average room, so we didn’t skimp out on the details.
The beds in all the rooms feature memory foam mattresses, hypoallergenic pillows, and 100% organic cotton sheets to ensure you have the most comfortable sleep during your stay at the Lodge.
Locally made natural biodegradable toiletries (shampoo, body wash, cream and hand wash) are provided inside the bathrooms and are available for our guests to use throughout their stay.
There is a coffee and tea station in the Deluxe Rooms and Villas equipped with a kettle, a French Press and stocked with organic artisan coffee and locally made amazing loose leaf tea. (Like you would expect anything else from us!)
The minibars inside the Deluxe Rooms and Villas are stocked with locally brewed Kombucha, Iced Tea and craft beers. We also provide filtered drinking water inside the rooms and offer our guests a reusable vacuum insulated water bottle to use throughout their stay.
It’s just another way we discourage the use of plastic bottles at the Lodge.
All rooms are equipped with energy-efficient ACs and the showers have on-demand hot water, so you can expect all the comforts of home when you stay at the Drift Away Eco Lodge.
Want to get a better feel for the Drift Away Eco Lodge? Check out our video below!
Sustainability at the Drift Away Eco Lodge
Sustainability wasn’t an afterthought at the Drift Away Eco Lodge, it was an intentional mission and a guiding principle that helped us make decisions about the lodge throughout the renovation process.
We did our best to use eco-friendly materials and practices when it came to the renovation phase at the Drift Away Eco Lodge. We considered the environmental impact of the lodge in big decisions, like when we decided to invest in energy-efficient ACs, and small ones – when we used LED light bulbs for all of our lighting needs across the entire property.
Here are a few other examples:
- When we repainted the rooms, the used low VOC paint that emits less harmful chemicals into the environment around us.
- When we refurbished the rooms, we chose to use a local carpenter to build all of our furniture from sustainable locally sourced laurel wood.
- When we renovated the pool, we used broken pieces of natural Coraline rock (the ones that are usually thrown in the construction process), to tile our pool deck.
- When it came time to find a solution to filter our pool, we opted for a more expensive ozone and UV filtering system that practically eliminated the need to use chlorine and other harmful chemicals.
Today, the Drift Away Eco Lodge continues to live out our mantra of eco-friendly principles in the day-to-day operations, from the biodegradable and natural cleaning products to recycling and composting practices.
The lodge is free from single-use plastic and our staff work hard to minimize any negative impact on the natural surroundings.
Visitors to the Lodge are encouraged and enabled to do the same. Each room is provided with a range of biodegradable natural toiletries, and you can reduce your carbon footprint by using the free bikes to get around the area.
Our commitment to sustainability doesn’t end with eco-friendly practices, because to us, sustainability is also making sure that the lodge can make a positive impact on the local community of Playa Avellanas and beyond.
Not only did we make a strong commitment to hire from the local neighbourhood (ALL of our local staff live within 5-10kms from the Lodge), but we wanted to make sure that our operations relied on local suppliers and producers as much as possible.
We partnered with local activities providers, local Kombucha and craft beer brewers, local produce suppliers and more.
The idea behind the local partnerships is simple: if the Lodge is successful, we can guarantee additional business to our suppliers which consequently will allow them to grow their own business and pass on their success to their suppliers and partners.
It’s a simple ripple effect that starts at the Drift Away Eco Lodge and reverberates throughout the whole community.
We are incredibly proud of what the Drift Away Eco Lodge has become and if the last few months of happy guests and wonderful reviews are of any indication, the Lodge is off to a fantastic start!
We have found an amazing team of managers who are committed to carrying out our visions and to be honest, have way more experience running a hotel than we do. So we feel confident that they will take what we have built and take it to a whole other level.
You won’t find us on the ground at the Drift Away Eco Lodge, but we are always there in spirit!
Experience the Drift Away Eco Lodge for Yourself
We can go on talking about the Lodge forever, but as you can imagine, nothing beats experiencing the property for yourself!