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In 1998, when the Ponçon family purchased the 2,500-acre Nicaraguan farm where Morgan's Rock now stands, the land was occupied by squatters who were cutting down old-growth trees, stealing eggs from nesting sea turtles, and generally living in a way that threatened the sustainability of the rainforest.

Now many of those individuals are on the lodge's payroll, working to protect...

Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

When Minnesota natives John and Karen Lewis sold everything they owned in 1990 to buy 930 acres of Costa Rican rainforest, they had a unique vision in mind: an ecotourism destination that would conserve the country's last lowland tropical rainforest, enhance nearby communities, and offer travelers a luxurious escape to nature.

By all accounts, they succeeded beyond even their own...

San Felipe, Belize

In southern Belize, close to the Guatemalan border, yet far from the development along the coast, there's an 11-cabana sustainable resort called the Cotton Tree Lodge. Smack-dab in the jungle and on the banks of the Moho River, the property caters to people who want to wake up to the cacophony of howler monkeys, look for exotic birdlife in the tropical forest, go river rafting, explore caves,...