Whether you spent your youthful years in a tree house, or pining over one, hotels around the world are here to turn your nostalgic childhood reveries into adult realities. Make no mistake, though: These rustic retreats perched in the trees are not the wobbly contraptions cobbled together in your backyard. While they may let you live like a kid again, they come with mature amenities, like hot tubs, furnished terraces, and of course, gorgeous views. So, take your next vacation to new heights -- literally -- and spend the night among the birds (and monkeys and sloths) at one of these eight tree house hotels in Central America.
1. Aqua Wellness Resort, Nicaragua
For those who want to reconnect with nature without really roughing it, Aqua Wellness Resort, a rustic-luxe retreat set into a hillside on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast, is a solid pick. The eco-friendly design means that guests get to sleep in rooms immersed in the lush, natural surroundings -- not to mention spot wildlife like howler monkeys and iguanas. But this place is far from a no-frills forest habitat. Some of the stilted tree house bungalows include plunge pools and stunning ocean views. There’s also a secluded white-sand beach for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking, a restaurant serving simple but tasty local dishes, and an ocean-view yoga platform with free group classes. Note that there are no TVs in the rooms -- topping off the tranquil, unplugged vibe.
2. Tree House Lodge, Costa Rica
“Welcome to Our Paradise,” the Spanish sign on the gate reads -- and that’s exactly what you can expect at this intimate oasis in Costa Rica. Located inside the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, with direct access to a quiet beach, this eco property provides a true nature lover’s scene: Picture sloths, monkeys, exotic birds, lizards, and other creatures skittering through the jungle grounds, and five guest houses separated by tree-shaded pathways. The Tree House, specifically, is built around 100-year-old Sangrillo trees, and features an open-air living room, bathroom, and full kitchen, plus a wooden bridge that leads up to the bedrooms situated up in the trees. This unit, like all the others, also has a furnished terrace and hot tub. Just keep in mind that this away-from-it-all experience also comes with no air-conditioning.
3. The Lodge at Chaa Creek, Belize
Located among a lush jungle in the Cayo District of Belize, The Lodge at Chaa Creek is secluded, but still manages to avoid skimping on modern creature comforts. Formerly a working farm, this luxury retreat now presents thatched-roof cottages -- some, like the Treetop Suites are elevated -- wonderful service, and facilities like an infinity pool with jungle views and full-service spa. A bar on a wooden patio and an open-air restaurant can also be found here, as can a butterfly farm, organic farm, and the Natural History Centre. In other words, there’s plenty to keep folks occupied throughout their stay.
4. Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
This luxurious resort is positioned at the tip of the Peninsula Papagayo, and tucked between two beaches, so you can expect the views to be nothing short of phenomenal. In fact, most rooms have at least a partial view of the ocean or bay. Plus, sumptuous suites -- often likened to luxe tree houses -- are perched in the hills amid trees, and have large terraces (some with plunge pools). The concierge can arrange any number of outdoor excursions (horseback riding, zip-lining, among others), but some guests are content to stay on the property, enjoying the beach, 18-hole golf course, lovely pools, and first-rate spa.
5. Portofino Beach Resort, Belize
Six miles north of San Pedro, this romantic hideaway is only accessible by boat. To further that away-from-it-all ambience are the thatched-roof treetop suites, which boast breathtaking views and a private balcony. Because of the relatively remote address, most guests elect to stay on the property. Luckily, an ocean-view pool, white-sand beach, restaurant focusing on local ingredients, and free kayaks and snorkel gear provide plenty of fodder to keep visitors busy.
6. Lapa Rios Ecolodge Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
Situated amid 1,000 acres of rainforest, Lapa Rios looks like it was plucked from a scene in “Jurassic Park” -- sans dinosaurs, of course. From the spectacular surroundings and amazing wildlife to the lack of phones and TVs in rooms, guests come here to disconnect from their everyday world and reconnect with nature. But don’t be fooled: The accommodations and grounds are designed to pamper. The tree-house-like bungalows provide fabulous ocean views and private decks, as well as mosquito netting. Plus, you’ll find a pool overlooking the ocean and a restaurant serving tasty cuisine.
7. Tree Houses Hotel, Costa Rica
Whether your childhood fantasies revolved around Peter Pan or the Swiss Family Robinson, this eco-resort in Costa Rica will awaken the inner child in you. And you’ll be in good company, too -- the sky-high tree house bungalows at this property sit at eye level with sloths, howler monkeys, and other arboreal wildlife. Coffee is delivered to the tree houses every morning, plus there’s a common area for breakfast that’s reminiscent of summer camp. And when guests return to ground level, there are private trails leading to a waterfall and swimming hole.
8. Rancho Pacifico, Costa Rica
Situated in a tropical rainforest nearly 2,000 feet above sea level, Rancho Pacifico takes your childhood daydreams and gives it the grown-up treatment. The adults-only resort is home to tree house accommodations, which are elevated above the ground and can be accessed via a footbridge through the trees. Each one includes a deck with a hot tub, a separate living area, and Wi-Fi -- not to mention beautiful views. When you’re not on your perch, there are hiking trails that lead to a beautiful waterfall, divine spa treatments, and delicious dining options.
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