Very few forests with trees like this remain in Costa Rica. This strangler fig has a circumference of 14.7 metres (48 feet) and diameter of 4.7 metres (15 feet) at breast height.
Highland Heritage is not a resort, hotel or commercial entity, but a private estate that is, nonetheless, happy to host projects for those interested in using our facilities, infrastructure, and one of a kind location.
It's an enjoyable journey of about 125-miles (200km) from San Jose to Buenos Aires via the Pan American highway (towards Panama), which climbs to almost 11,000 feet (3,300m) above sea level at Cerro de la Muerte (Death Mountain), and then descends steeply to San Isidro de El General before the final 80-km to Buenos Aires through sugar cane and pineapple plantations.
From Buenos Aires, Highland Heritage is 24-km (15-miles) on a rough road/track that first climbs to over 7,000-feet before descending into the Cabagra watershed. The forested mountains here form a backdrop to over 10,000-feet with numerous cascading rivers and waterfalls. The cloudforest here is often cloaked in heavy mist.
The 15-mile trip will test any 4X4 and can take two hours or more depending on the weather and conditions. On occasion vehicular access is not possible due to adverse weather conditions. Due to the nature of the road, access is only available to small pickup-size vehicles - in one place it is only a little over 2-metres wide between a sheer cliff and a sheer drop (this has more than doubled the cost of bringing in most building materials and supplies).
Here, at The Place that Time Forgot, you are an individual and not part of the 'herd' – crammed-in like many places in Costa Rica surely know how to do. You'll not get that 'wilderness' experience, or any real enjoyment, on a trail with a hundred other people. Here, the trails are yours, and exclusively yours, and you are king of all you survey.
Here, you'll be in the true wilds, not an acre of forest spared by another of the Western hotels jumping on the eco-bandwagon when they are as far from environmentally conscious as it is possible to be. But, there you can play eco-golf followed by an eco-sandwich – one of the many reasons Costa Rica is often dubbed Eco-Disney.
Here, we have real adventures for real people who want to live and experience a bit of that natural frontier life and frontier spirit. There are winding trails that follow river valleys just for hiking and others for horse that can take you right up into the savannah and cordillera.
At The Place that Time Forgot hikers can revel in the thrill of a real trek to secret, secluded places that only a few other humans have seen – the joy of mountains to be climbed, the rivers to be forded, the wilderness to be traversed. For others, the adventure is living off the land in a truly wild place, existing as part of nature and enjoying the wildlife. The Place that Time Forgot is unsullied, much not really explored – one of the most beautiful and extraordinary areas of nature. Few such places remain.
In the photo you can see Bad, Thriller and Dangerous – three of our horses – settled in for the night. Our stable of selected, well-cared for and placid horses can take you to places that others only dream about.
The Jackson Mountain trail, Earth River Falls trail, and others present you with unending adventures into the far reaches of Neverland and the Back of Beyond and literally to the Lost World, some with nights around the campfire in places that the average tourist would never get to. From your quarters you are surrounded by an expanse of forested mountains without another building in sight or anything to spoil the natural landscape – a rare feat these days.
What better enjoyment can there be in this, the 21st century, than to return to those enjoyable and carefree days, where food cooked out in the open tastes like real food, and where you don't just glimpse wildlife – you're surrounded by it? Here you can see waterfalls higher than Niagara and whitewater canyons that tourists cannot get near, and enjoy the company of others in a setting unsullied by modern-day pressures and 'contemporary' living.
“The smell of bacon and eggs together with the crackling of the campfire sent cheer through the camp. Feasting on this with bowls of hot porridge and coffee at first light was as welcome as watching the sunshine creep down the opposite hill until gradually it reached us and flooded the valley with warmth.”
Our backcountry guides are proper guides – frontier mountain men born and raised in the mountains who know the country and the ways of frontier life, not like the 'city bred guides' you come across who, after a few hours of schoolroom piffle, come out as licensed guides and, basically, unable to do anything except talk the talk! At the time of writing this one of our guides is taking a team of four scientists up to Cerro Utyem (3070-metres), clearly visible on the mountainscape from here.
Here you'll have real adventures, and many of the experiences you can enjoy here you will only find here. Visit Victory Falls, Jackson Mountain, Land of the Giants, Witch's Cauldron, Devil's chute, and places of true magic.
We must emphasize, though, that a visit is for the adventurous only.
One thing we never apologize for is nature. We do everything we can to preserve the natural environment and bring it and its inhabitants as close to our guests as we can while respecting the need for safety. At our rainforest sites the whole cast of jungle characters is present - the ones everyone wants to see. You don't just view wildlife, you're surrounded by it - living amongst it.
Thus, our places are not for everyone - nor can they be made that way. But you will be able to bathe in pure mountain water and drink refreshingly from our huge springs, as opposed to recycled sewage.
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