Why the Cayuga Collection is in good shape for post-lockdown travel

A few days ago, I was spending some time with my family chatting on our deck.  My twin sons, who are aviation enthusiasts, spotted a commercial plane flying by. A rare sight today. We all watched it intently as it crossed the sky, almost with a kind of nostalgic feeling for times gone by. We wondered where in the world it could be going and who on earth was on it.

By now, billions of people around the world are getting used to the idea of staying home for the foreseeable future. That means no travel beyond the local grocery store and definitely no planes or overseas adventures. But despite the disappointment and uncertainty of it all, there’s still plenty of positivity out there. We loved reading about the London family that recreated the Costa Rican rainforest in their basement when their long-awaited trip was canceled. The creative man who took to the skies during quarantine with the help of his washing machine gave us a good laugh too.

The Southern Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica.

In Costa Rica, we too are coming to terms with the fact that all those travel lovers getting imaginative at home won’t be coming to visit us any time soon. And even when the restrictions stopping them are eventually lifted, there’ll be some challenges to face. Will people have enough disposable income to get away once our attentions turn from the health crisis to the economic one? What if a vaccine doesn’t become available soon? Will people be prepared to risk airports and hours of close social contact in the name of a tropical escape? Will they feel safe to relax on the beach or will they have to sip their mojitos through surgical masks? Who knows… will it even be socially acceptable to travel, or will there be a kind of “corona shame” attached to being out in the world, potentially putting others at risk by not staying home?

We wish we had the answers. Sadly no one does at this stage. But in all of this, we are positive. We’ve caught our breath, adapted to our circumstances, and are looking forward to the better times that will come. Once this is over, we know our hotels and lodges will be in high demand – even in a new era of social distancing. Here’s why…

Espadilla Beach in Manuel Antonio.

Back to Nature

Our hotels and lodges are as close as you can comfortably get to nature. That means they offer the perfect antidote to months of being cooped up within the same four walls: complete and utter immersion in great outdoors. Just imagine waking up to birdsong and sunshine, opening your bungalow to let in the fresh mountain air at Senda, or sliding back the doors to hear Costa Rica’s famous waves break at Arenas Del Mar. In a world post-Corona, we’ll all appreciate nature and the freedom to roam like never before, and it doesn’t get much more spectacular than here. 

The Cloud Forest at Monteverde.

Isolation in Paradise

There’s no doubt that luxury travel was already moving in the direction of remote experiences, but if there was ever a time to actively avoid the beaten path, it’ll be post-lockdown. Private island resorts were popping up on just about every travel hotlist pre-crisis; now their natural geographic barriers might just become prerequisites for the many health-conscious travelers out there.

For those in need of a good mental refresh on the other side of this, Jicaro Island in Nicaragua is all about tranquillity and seclusion. As for those seeking a safe adventure, Isla Palenque in Panama offers all the isolation you’d expect from an island without any of the “cabin fever” associated with staying put. From hikes to fishing, paddle boarding, island hopping, and cooking classes, there’s enough to do to keep visitors entertained for days.

Beachfront Casita at Isla Palenque, Panama.

Small, Spacious and Safe

In all the uncertainty, if there’s one thing we’re confident about, it’s that people probably won’t be rushing to book a cruise once lockdowns are lifted. Regardless of the destination, they’ll be looking for space – space to roam, space between rooms, space between guests. That’s not to say they won’t be after some human connection too, but not if that involves crowds and cramped quarters.  

At the Cayuga Collection, small and spacious is what we do best. Take Kura, our smallest ultra-luxury hotel. At full capacity, there’ll only ever be 16 guests in-house and each couple will have their own separate villa-style room. Of the eight couples, two will have their own private pools and the remaining six will be able to relax without a worry on double loungers beside the hotel’s iconic infinity pool. Even our largest 37-room hotel, Arenas Del Mar, sits on such a sizeable beachfront property that it’s not unusual for a single pair of guests to enjoy the whole stretch of palm-fringed sand to themselves.

Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.

Our other properties are cabin or casita-style too, allowing for plenty of space between guests. That means everyone can safely experience Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast by checking into one of Aguas Claras’ breezy bungalows, or explore the cool heights of the Monteverde cloud forest from Senda’s mountain lodge cabins.

As for dining and getting out and about, our hotel restaurants are open-air and spacious, and we keep our tour groups intimate. We’re lucky enough to have resident naturalist guides at a number of our hotels, and even pre-Coronavirus, we’ve always focused on providing individual or very small group outdoor experiences.

DaLime, beachfront restaurant. Part of Hotel Aguas Claras, Puerto Viejo, Costa Ricca.

Tourism Finally Reimagined?

If the current health crisis is good for one thing, from our point of view as leaders in sustainable hospitality, it’s that maybe now we’ll all look inwards, industry and travelers alike, and rethink how tourism should look. If we needed another good reason to combat over-tourism, to reduce our negative impacts, and to find ways to support our local communities and surroundings, we’ve now got it.

While the best we can do now is engage in some armchair escapism and daydream about a more sustainable future, on the other side of this you can count on Cayuga to still be doing its part in support of responsible tourism in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. And we’ll be ready to welcome the world back as soon as we can.


I would love to hear your thoughts on this blog in the comment section below or write to me directly at Hans@cayugaonline.com.

Leave the Planning to Us

8 Responses

  1. While don’t know everyone in the Cayuga family, those we have met are truly exceptional people. We have been lucky enough to have stayed at many of the Cayuga lodges, seen so many birds and animals that we feel blessed. The people are fantastic, the food is superb abs the cabins that we have occupied are the best. Will we go back to our second Cayuga homes?? In a heartbeat!!!
    To all the guys and girls who may remember us, we send an enormous THANK YOU!!
    We truly hope that you all come through this difficult time safely, and we can all meet again.
    Thank you all for the truly beautiful times you have given us over the years.
    From the hearts of
    Jim and Gina Palmer xxxxx

    1. Dear Jim and Gina,
      thanks for this wonderful comment. We consider you our most loyal aficionados and fans and really hope to see you again really soon. Strong today. Extraordinary tomorrow. Big virtual hugs from all of us at Cayuga.

  2. Hans–very timely–we are putting together a portfolio of best destinations for 2021 that offer privacy, remote, bio-security and protocols. Would love to dig into the details of how you are preparing Cayuga protocols for COVID-era travel. Dominique

    1. Hi Dominique. We are working on those protocols. We want to make sure we find the right balance between 100% sanitation but also not creating a hospital feel in our hotels. Stay tuned. We will publish a blog about this soon.

  3. We look forward to rescheduling our canceled trip to Isla Palenque. I’ll be contacting them today and am hopeful for a late summer booking. Staying positive and still excited for our visit! Thank you for the post!
    Tamara Frank

    1. Thank you Tamara for your support and rescheduling. We really appreciate this and promise you that you will have an even better Isla Palenque Experience when this is all over. We are working hard to make the Island and Installations look like new. Talk to you soon.

  4. We had the most amazing honeymoon at Arenas Mel Mar and the thought of having our anniversary trip back to the jungle/beach paradise in early September is giving us some joy right now. We know that there is still uncertainty in travel, but we are hopeful that the trip will be possible by then. Seems as if Costa Rica has been a standout in the response to COVID-19. Do you have a sense of when bookings will resume? Can’t wait to spend some time with your wonderful staff and the sloths!

    1. Thanks for your nice comment. First of all, the sloths are doing great. Lots of them too. We are ready at ADM to reopen as soon as travel can happen again. September can still work. We will find out more in the next weeks. Our reservations team will be in touch. Thanks for coming back to Arenas del Mar for your anniversary. See you soon.

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Hans Pfister

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