Authentic Jungle Tipis in Costa Rica

Standing on the roadside, we see a wooden sign.
It reads: Tipi Jungla.
A painted arrow directs us up a rubble track.

Charlie on Travel at Tipi Jungla

As we followed the track deeper into the jungle, a woman appeared on the hill with a baby on her hip. Tipi Jungla eco-lodge is run by Manon, a Dutch woman, and her husband, Mario, who is a local. There are no staff in this jungle wilderness, just the two of them and their baby son. We followed them up the path to the foot of the mountain where Tipi Jungla sits.

Tipi Jungla

The little eco-lodge tucked away between two small villages, Matapalo and Hatillo, to the south of Quepos. Tipi Jungla is the perfect place to escape the Costa Rican tourist towns. There’s no electricity and no wifi, so for us this was a great opportunity to disconnect and unplug. We were left to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.

Charlie looks into the jungle from the tipi

With each tipi being set in its own secluded area, we were never disturbed at all. At Tipi Jungla, there is a very real and very warm respect for the forest and its inhabitants, right down to the bio-degradable soap in the environmentally friendly shower.

The Three Tipis

Tipi Jungla has three tipis, which are inspired by the native tribes of Central America. The first was brought in from Holland and the second and third were built by Mario himself.

The red tipi where we stayed
The red tipi where we stayed
The tipi for families
Tipi Jungla’s family tipi

The cone shape of the tipi is constructed using a frame of wooden beams, which meet at the top. Air passes through two large windows that act as doorways between the tipi and the jungle.

Inside the tipi

Inside the wooden floored tipis, are double beds with eco-matresses and rustic wooden furniture. The interior is simple but comfortable and even romantic. The walls of each tipi are uniquely decorated – one is painted with leaves and flowers, and another adorned with woven wall hangings.

Painted leaf design inside the tipi
Painted leaf design inside the tipi

The Jungle’s Wildlife

Tipi Jungla is set on 37 acres of what is mostly primary rainforest, which is filled with an incredible variety of wildlife. On the first morning, when we woke up and ducked out through the triangular door, a monkey was hanging in the tree above. The tipis are built on a wooden decking so that it’s impossible for snakes to enter the tipi, but the occasional harmless poison dart frog can be found hopping atop the platform.

Baby sloth being saved at Tipi Jungla

During our stay, Manon and Mario rescued a baby sloth who had lost his mother. The sloth was only 4 or so months old and they’d found him scrambling near the forest floor. A local woman, who cares for baby animals in her own home, came to collect him whilst we were there.

Manon and Mario explained that the sloth would stay with her for 6 months until he was ready to be released back into the wild at Tipi Jungla. This devotion exemplifies perfectly the compassion and appreciation that Mario and Manon show to the local wildlife.

Baby and baby sloth at Tipi Jungla

Midway through dinner, Mario once stopped speaking completely, a smile on his face. We asked him why he was smiling, and he replied, “We are very lucky, you can hear coyote pups only one or two kilometres away.” Sure enough, in the silence that followed, we could just about make out a yapping, though if Mario hadn’t mentioned it, there’s no way we would have heard it for ourselves.

The Jungle Views

At the end of the path, which winds through the jungle and past each of the three tipis, is a palenque overlooking the jungle. In the far distance, you can see the blue of the ocean.

View from Tipi Jungla

‘Palenque’ means a place to come together, and was traditionally an Indian hut used by the Southern Boruca Indians of Costa Rica for social activities.
Charlie tipi jungla the view

Tipi Jungla’s palenque is a serene and peaceful hut where you can lay back in a hammock, read a book in a bamboo chair, and watch the day go by.

Before coming to Tipi Jungla, I’d never stayed in a proper tipi before, and I have to say, the experience was incredible. The construction of the tipis is beautiful and the surrounding jungle environment made for a truly natural and restful stay. We have a real admiration for Manon and Mario, their love of the local wildlife and their respect for the natural world.

Disclaimer: Thank you to Manon and Mario from Tipi Jungla for hosting us for an amazing weekend escape in the jungle.

Charlie Marchant

Charlie is a long-term traveller from the UK who writes about simple ways to travel sustainably, including how to become a house sitter and slow traveller, eating local and vegetarian, and making responsible travel choices.

17 thoughts to “Authentic Jungle Tipis in Costa Rica”

  1. Wow, Tipi Jungla sounds pretty cool. It reminds me of a finca I stayed at in Guatemala many years ago. The jungle panorama is amazing and I can only imagine you were sad to leave. What a great place to end up as a break from traveling; a place to recharge.
    Tim recently posted…I’m NOT Buying ItMy Profile

  2. Oh man, that looks amazing. I don’t mind not having WIFI, for a bit anyway! It’s the weirdest thing when you really disconnect from the internet these days. I feel like i’m disconnecting from the world. But, at the same time.. Depending on the place, it can give you such a great feeling of “living”. Great post Charlie.
    Ken Kai recently posted…What To Do In Port Douglas For An Amazing TimeMy Profile

    1. I also don’t mind, for a bit. It’s actually kind of liberating not staring at a laptop screen all day, and in a way, it’s good to be forced not to. I think everyone needs to take the time to disconnect at some point, for a short time.

  3. Well, this is a wonderful little piece and definitely sounds like another world. One a million miles away from the hum drum of every day life, but doable for those of us that want a real escape and to feel at one with nature.

  4. Tipi Jungla looks and sounds amazing! I love its ethos and what they’re trying to promote. Did I mention that sloths are also my favourite animals in the whole word? I’d love to see one in a natural environment like this as opposed to a zoo. Looks like you’re having the time of your life in Costa Rica, posts like these are making it look awfully inviting….
    Shing recently posted…Finnish Food Porn (Don’t Read on an Empty Stomach)My Profile

    1. There’s a lot of places in Costa Rica with that kind of eco-ethos – eco travel is really big here, because they have a lot of wildlife and rainforest to protect.

      No way! I also love sloths. I love how easy they take it, or appear to take it at least. Really am having an amazing time; never thought I’d see a sloth that close up!

    1. Oh, for sure! There are a lot of amazing places looking after the wildlife and jungle here. Would really recommend Costa Rica if you ever get the opportunity. Where are you travelling at the moment, Mike?

  5. Oh wow, this looks amazing Charlie! Sounds like a remarkable experience indeed and a lovely way to explore wildlife. It may also change your perspective and be a good reminder of massive and powerful nature actually is…
    Thanks for sharing some impressions from you stay over there! Keep having fun and take care, Oliver
    Oliver recently posted…Come Alive ~ Howard ThurmanMy Profile

    1. Yes, it was really quite enchanting there actually. Costa Rica has given us so many incredible opportunities to get close to wildlife that we’ve just never had in other countries.

      It’s nice to hear from you again :) Take care!

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