The final frontier: the rainforest

The last great pristine environment on Earth, for the adventurous traveller the rainforest is a never-to-be-forgotten experience

Travel 26 Mar 2019

From Borneo and Bali, to Cameroon and Central America, the rainforest is a final frontier of exploration, science and adventure. Located around the equator, between the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer, the world’s oldest ecosystem is home to millions of plants and insects, with many of them as yet undiscovered. It is a secret biome protected from the beating sun by a dense leafy canopy that prevents the network of vines and shrubs from becoming a choking jungle. The rainforest soaks up vast quantities of carbon dioxide and helps in the battle against global warming. Human encroachment in the form of illegal logging could have far-reaching effects on the health of the planet.

Small wonder then that scientists flock to record, monitor and analyse every aspect of the rainforest while they still can. But the global green belt isn’t just a laboratory. Today, adventurous travellers can go and see for themselves just what it is that makes this unique biodiversity so special. A new form of ecotourism is emerging, opening up opportunities to live for a short while in harmony with nature. Sustainable and non-disruptive lodges are the order of the day, where the modern world is seamlessly integrated into the primal forests.

In Costa Rica you can stay in any number of ‘cloud forest’ hotels – cool retreats high in the mountains where hanging bridges and waterfall gardens lend a stunning aspect to your tropical tourism. Planet-friendly features of these lodges, such as the decidedly upscale Senda Monteverde Cloud Forest Hotel, include farm-to-table dining, and suites that are sympathetically constructed using local materials.

India’s Rainforest Boutique Resort offers some of the best views of Kerala, with its waterfalls and pools a special highlight and where malabar giant squirrels, macaques and elephants are all part of the experience. The Borneo Rainforest Lodge is nestled among more than 40,000 hectares of pristine conservation area, boasting over 200 different types of plant per hectare, as well as 340 bird species, 124 different mammals, 72 species of reptile and 56 species of amphibians. Eco-architecture minimises the lodge’s footprint, making your stay as guilt-free as it is luxurious.

With new rainforest lodges and tree houses emerging on a daily basis, there has never been a better time to unleash the inner jungle explorer in you. And you can be sure that, by choosing a place to stay with responsible travel credentials, you’ll be doing your bit to help save the planet.