I have had the good fortune to stay at Lapa Rios in late 2008. I saw four different kinds of monkey just from the balcony at breakfast. — ITKT Editor —

Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica, April 13, 2010 – Experience a Costa Rican eco-vacation unlike any other at Lapa Rios Rainforest Ecolodge where guests can play a hands-on role in the conservation of wildcats. The Wildcat Research and Conversation Experience 2010 allows guests a once-in-a-lifetime experience to work directly with local wildcat researchers in their efforts to conserve jaguars, pumas and other wildcats.

During a four night stay at Lapa Rios private nature reserve spread over 1,000 acres of Central America’s last remaining lowland tropical rainforest, guests will be able to enjoy all of the regular tours and activities at the lodge, and will also be involved in a variety of special activities revolving around wildcat conservation. Activities include setting up and checking heat sensor triggered cameras to monitor the movements of jaguars, pumas and other wildlife, tracking and collecting footprints, learning how to conduct an analysis of the wildcats’ diets in the rainforest and presenting research findings to local schools and community groups.

Rates for the Wildcat Research and Conservation Experience 2010 package are $499 US per person per night (single occupancy) and $355 per person per night (double occupancy) and include three extraordinary meals a day. Guests will be rewarded with a free night of accommodation and meals for one day at Lapa Rios, with a minimum four night stay throughout May 2010.

Lapa Rios has won worldwide awards for social and environmental excellence, and is a featured sustainable tourism pioneer in many international publications and research projects. By staying at Lapa Rios, guests support the conservation of the rainforest and provide direct employment and income to more than 60 families in the area.

To get to Lapa Rios, most of the international carriers fly into San José Int’l Airport from all major cities of US, Canada, Europe and Latin America where guests will make connections to the Puerto Jimenez airstrip in the Osa Peninsula (less than a one hour flight). Upon arrival, guests will be met by the welcome team for Lapa Rios and taken on a 45 minute scenic trip to the ecolodge. More information may be found at www.laparios.com including a full list of what to bring and what activities should be reserved ahead of time.

Accolades for Lapa Rios include:

Ø Named top hotel in Central America by readers of Conde Nast Traveler Magazine, 2009 and listed on the magazines “Gold List” for 2008, 2009 & 2010.

Ø Recognized as one of the top 50 eco-lodges in the world by National Geographic, 2009.

Ø Named one of the world’s most responsible hotels in 2008 by Forbes Traveler

Ø 2008 “ One of the country’s and the world’s most earth friendly addresses” – Travel & Leisure Magazine.

Ø 2008 Trip Advisor Top 10 environmentally friendly accommodations

Ø Honoured as a 2007 Corporate Sustainable Standard-Setter by the highly respected Rainforest Alliance