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Imagine Paradise before it was Discovered!

June 20th, 2010 • by Sandy Zimmerman


“Imagine Paradise before it was Discovered!”

By Sandy Zimmerman

(Photos by the Savegre Resort and the

Costa Rica Tourist Board except where indicated.)

Imagine a wilderness yet to be discovered, a place of beauty for wild animals and birds to flourish.

Imagine walking through this wilderness for the first time, your excitement, your senses are heightened!

This is the tropical paradise Efrain Chacon and his brother Federico discovered and immediately loved.

In 1954, they had been tracking a tapir and veered off the trail as fate changed their lives.

So extraordinary was the setting, Efrain immediately decided to settle there.

Although the wilderness was untouched, it would not yield shelter easily.

They had to sleep in caves by the Savegre River and endure the hardships of life in the rain forest.

There were no people, no roads, and no trails, only wild animals and the beauty of nature.

The closest neighbor was many miles away.

Efrain claimed the land and began to raise cows but the jaguars kept eating them.

Industrious and always thinking, Efrain stocked the river with trout.

When people heard of the abundant number of exceptionally large trout, they hiked from San Jose through the jungle to the river.

Finally the Club Nacional de Pesca (fish) promoted his retreat.

The only place to stay and eat was with Efrain and his family in their home.

Because so many people were coming by the end of the 70’s, Efrain had to build three cabins and a road which would take four-wheel drive vehicles.

Later the beautiful natural untouched region drew visitors for its other attractions.

The Savegre Resort Today (Photo by Sandy Zimmerman)


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Imagine Paradise Before it was Discovered (Continued)

Efrain Chacon is the modern day Robinson Crusoe, a man whose vision brought a paradise for everyone to share.  I interviewed Efrain via an interpreter to hear his story first hand.

Now in his 80's, you can find Efrain and his sons supervising their beautiful 30 room Savegre Hotel, restaurant, bar, and 400 acre natural preserve.

Efrain would rather move a building than hurt nature.

He wants his guests to experience nature, be around nature, and truly believes in sustainability. Efrain has lived his life dedicated to preserving nature.

The Savegre Hotel still has the feeling of being in the wilderness surrounded by nature.  Efrain has been able to continue to please the public and still keep his precious natural setting for everyone to enjoy.

Upon your arrival, you might be greeted by the founders Caridad Zuniga, Efrain Chacon, or one of their 11 children as well as any of their 30 grandchildren.

The Savegre Hotel, Natural Reserve & Spa:

For information, call:  (866)-549-1178.


There are so many other stories of people who helped to preserve the beauty of Costa Rica, to make the small country the leader in sustainability for the world to see and hopefully to follow.  Tourists have a wide variety of reasons to visit Costa Rica, to me, the excitement of their untouched rain forests and nature are one of the most important reasons. The countries motto: Costa Rica, No Artificial Ingredients says it all!  I love the way we can travel almost anywhere within just a few hours across the country. 

The distance is only 200 miles from the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.  Distances are greater from San Jose, the capital, to the jungle in around six hours by car, than a short trip by boat with crocodiles and other wild animals all around you.

Costa Rica is located in Central America.  Ranked as one of the most visited international destinations, you will find almost everything in Costa Rica from rainforests, volcanoes, rivers, mountains, beaches, national parks and forest reserves.  It is a peaceful Democratic country with no need for an army since 1949.


The Costa Rica Tourist Board offers free advice and information about resorts, Meet the People rural tourism, restaurants, volcanoes, settings for weddings, honeymoon hideaways, white-water rafting, family getaways, eco-tours, as well as tailored vacations to suit your interests.


American Airlines:  (800)-433-7300.