Rick Lane: Co-owner of the Pirate Cove Hotel and PADI Resort
How did you happen to come to Costa Rica and become a eco-hotel owner?
“Well, twenty years ago, I visited Drake Bay and enjoyed some great scuba diving at Isla del Cano. It was love at first sight. This isolated and beautiful home to deserted beaches and pristine rain forests is a natural paradise! It was hard to reach and far from normal tourist routes, but that just increased its allure. I vowed to return.”
There was nothing here at the time, so how did you come to build a hotel?
“On a return visit, I became friends with a Swiss couple living in the area and we decided to build a small beach hotel for scuba divers and those who wanted to experience the awesome beauty of Corcovado National Park but who didn’t necessarily want to travel rough and sleep in the mud, like I had to on my first trip! We decided to call our hotel ‘Pirate Cove’, as a sort of back-handed compliment to Sir Francis Drake, who discovered Drake Bay.”
At that time, things were really primitive, with unpaved roads and no electricity?
“Absolutely! But now, the road from Manuel Antonio to Dominical makes the trek much easier, and we have electricity, phone lines, GSM and 3G service now. Pirate Cove is an intimate place in the rain forest right at the edge of a very long deserted beach.
The bungalows are the most popular with our guests, and all have private bathrooms with hot water showers and private terraces overlooking the beach. We also now have three rooms on the second floor of the main building, which have air conditioning.”
Are you an all inclusive hotel, as aren’t there few restaurants?
“There are no restaurants close to the hotels down here, so prices include all meals. ‘All inclusive’ generally means alcoholic beverages are included, which we don’t, but we do have an honor bar. Our guests rate our food as excellent, we use local produce, much of it organic, fresh caught fish and often homemade bread.”
Since you are in a more remote, but pristine area, what type of guests do you attract?
“SCUBA divers and true nature lovers! Most guests stay between 3 and 7 days to experience and relax. The beach is safe with no dangerous tides and we provide kayaks at no extra charge. The two most popular tours are Corcovado National Park and Isla del Cano, and during the 45 minute boat rides, whales and dolphin are often seen. Isla del Cano is the home to world class scuba diving and snorkeling. Large pelagic and colorful reef creatures abound below the surface. For horseback riders, Susanne keeps the most beautiful and well trained horses and you can ride along the beach and into the rain forests.”
“ This is the true, old Costa Rican, Pura Vida! If you’re looking for discos, night life and casinos, city views from behind glass windows, don’t come here. But if you’re looking for SCUBA diving and nature, then you’ll be in paradise – guaranteed!”
Pirate Cove in Drake Bay is working towards “Bandera Azul”, the Blue Flag Award for beaches in Costa Rica, and in the final stage of becoming verified as an ecological hotel by The Rain Forest Alliance. For more information, visit their websites:Pirate Cove Hotel and Cano Divers PADI Resort.
Related: New eco-resort near Manuel Antonio empahsizing sustainable tourism.
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