Waterfall in Costa Rica

Should an Eco Lodge Experience be “Online”?

We have a dilemma and would love to get your input.  Should our guests at Lapa Rios Eco Lodge on the Osa Peninsula be able to connect to the Internet during their stay?   Technically, we have the option of installing wireless internet now.  But we are not sure if it is the right thing to do from an “experience” point of view.  For many years, we have kept Lapa Rios “offline” and many of our guests thanked us for the unplugged experience that they had.

Lapa Rios Family Vacation
A family playing cards on the restaurant deck at Lapa Rios Eco Lodge. Would this happen if there would be Wifi available at the Lodge?

In the past months, more and more guests have come with “roaming” smartphones and have been able to get connection to the internet through the local phone and data networks.  Especially millennials seem not to be able to travel without access to internet.  It is impossible for them to imagine a world before total connectivity.

The main focus of the Lapa Rios Experience is to live the incredible nature and wildlife.  But it is also about “connection” with the people you travel with and with yourself.  Sometimes it is just necessary to disconnect to connect.

Whale Watching at Lapa Rios
Its about Wildlife Experiences!  Whale watching in the Golfo Dulce is a popular excursion for Lapa Rios Guests during the months of September, October and November.

So here are some pros and cons that we have identified, but would love to hear from you before we make a final decision.

The arguments for having Internet at Lapa Rios Ecolodge:

  • People would be able to do share their experiences with friends and family in “real time”. They would become our best sales agents and market Lapa Rios on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • The “stress” that we feel today about not connected is reduced and communication with family members left behind is easier.
  • For many guests, they could combine work and play. Work during several hours of the day and enjoy other time periods on vacation.  Especially guests in important corporate positions or the ones owning a business would be more at ease knowing that there will be a connection.

The arguments against having Internet at Lapa Rios Ecolodge:

  • Guests will not experience the digital detox experience and the getting away from it all.
  • The internet connection, while possible, is going to be instable and negatively influenced by weather, fallen trees, etc. It will be hard to ‘guarantee’ internet access.
  • Guests might choose to spend more time with their electronic devices and less time with their fellow travelers.
Dinner for honeymooners
Dinner is ready. How about a romantic honeymoon dinner in a rain forest setting under the stars. Will you be tempted to check your phone if there is Wifi available?

In the case that we would decide to provide wireless internet service at Lapa Rios, then we would have to decide where.  Everywhere?  Public areas only?  Select public areas?  Only in the rooms?  We certainly don’t want our restaurant to be dominated by smartphones and tablets, guests making VOIP phone calls or watching movies.  Do you have any thoughts on this?

We look forward to hearing from you.  Comment on this blog or send us a note to hans@cayugaonline.com.


4 responses to “Should an Eco Lodge Experience be “Online”?”

  1. No internet in jungle lodges period!! Unplug and enjoy the sounds and sights…learn to trust your instincts again a sense that has been lost in the digital age.

    And maybe its not for everyone so be it, go to new york…..

  2. I say an emphatic NO to introducing WiFi to Lapo Rios…the very beauty of the environment is the escape from everyday back home on the job “stuff”
    Keep it simple and undisturbed by ringing phones and messaging…texting….
    Sounds that we want to hear are the Howlers…the Toucans…the seed pods dropping on the rooftop from the Lapo Rios feeding….

  3. I want Internet. With elderly parents it gives me peace of mind to call or email. Also, if I travel with a friend, I like to be in touch with my husband and family. It certainly is not some thing I do instead of enjoying nature–otherwise I would not select Costa Rica as a place to vacation.

    • Dear Ann, thanks for your comment. We have implemented internet at Lapa Rios Ecolodge on the Osa Peninsula in March of 2016 with very positive results. It is only available in a designated area and so it does not take away from the nature experience, but it allows everybody to stay connected. A real win-win. Saludos.

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