I knew as soon as my girlfriend and I were told a boat would collect us to from the town of Rio Dulce to take us to our accommodation, that we were going somewhere that would be disconnected from day to day civilisation. It was a beautiful 45 minute trip through beautiful valleys of green trees, blue sky and wildlife. we quickly realised we had arrived in someone else's back yard - and they were not human. Our hosts for our stay ranged from pelicans to vultures, toads to spiders, and crabs to geckos.
As the boat slowed down and motioned to lock up, we gazed at our surroundings both in awe and with a slight dose of hesitation. We were in the jungle, far from our creature comforts.
Off the Grid
For only £14p/n for a double room we had booked 2 nights at Finca Tatin, an accommodation and activity centre which sold itself as an Eco Lodge. With its main source of energy coming from solar power, and there being no internet connection anywhere on site, we soon had to become accustomed to being off the grid.
Being situated somewhere that the internet is non existent can take a few moments to adjust to. Those in the developed world are so accustomed to being connected that we start to take it for granted. That said, it is somewhat liberating to be away from the cyber world and fully integrated in the real world. Having no connection pushes you to read, have a conversation with someone new or just sit and work through your own thoughts.
Finca Tatin itself has plenty to do. You can relax and read a book on one of the many hammocks. You can play table tennis and pool. If you are feeling energetic you can use their gym whilst it is basic, you can certainly get in a good work out. For a more leisurely stay, they also provide a sauna and hot shower (all other showers on site only offer cold water), however there is a small fee for such a luxury.
Around the site there is plenty for you to do, with the lodge offering boat rides to different locations. You can take a kayak to the hot springs and lose yourself in the nature made jacuzzi. If hiking is more your style you can have guided tours through the Tiger Caves or take yourself for a wonder throughout the jungle. If you opt for the former, you will have to ensure your Spanish is up to scratch as all the our guides only spoke the local dialect.
We decided to take a splendid boat trip through the Rio Dulce to Livingston, a coastal side town with a Caribbean influence. It is a lovely little location, with a laid back atmosphere. You can meander around the local shops where you can buy anything from handcrafted jewellery to fried chicken and chips!
One of the main highlights of Finca Tatin is cena - dinner served every night at 7pm. With a different menu every evening, you are provided with freshly cooked local ingredients. However, you will not know what you are having until it is served as the menu only describes the meal as “local cuisine”. What makes cena so special is that it is only served communally, making sure you interact and have conversation with the other guests who have come from all around the world to stay at this glorious hot spot.
On our first meal we were served some nutritious steamed vegetables with what is most easily described as corned beef cottage pie. On the second night the chef spoilt us with roasted potatoes and some mouthwatering chicken in cheese sauce. We were all certainly satisfied.
After spending an eye-opening 48 hours at Finca Tatin it was time for us to leave. We said goodbye to our friends, including the spiders, crabs and geckos. Upon getting on the boat back to Rio Dulce, we quickly checked in with ourselves - both in the agreement that being off the grid had left us feeling rested, refocused and re energised.
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