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