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Leonidas Ramsey started the lodge in 2012 as a bare bones rustic hostel when he was 26 years old. There wasn't much on the property, so the first guests slept on mattresses on the floor and were served fish that Leo had speared that day, rice, and beans. People loved the raw experience and jungle adventures that Leo showed them, so word about "The Jaguar's Jungle" spread fast.


Leo's father, Lon Ramsey bought the land in the early 1970's back when owning an insanely remote property on the Osa was anything but luxurious. Leo and his sister grew up on the property with very little electricity and food. His dad passed away when he was 3, and his mother had struggled to maintain the property ever since. Once graduated from UC Santa Barbara, Leo moved back to Costa Rica and took on the heavy challenge of making the place hospitable.

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Leo, 1989

 Main Building Jan, 2014

 Main Building Jan, 2023

In the beginning there was no website, social media, or internet marketing. Even if there was, it would have been difficult to market such a rustic experience. There was no public boat system to the area, so all the first guests were people that Leo met in Drake Bay and drove them in on his little 4 seater boat with a 30hp motor. A motor that small made the ride to Drake Bay from the lodge take more than 45 minutes.


Since almost every building material must be brought in by boat, the building and renovation projects here are quite slow and expensive. Any time tiles or mirrors are brought, at least a few of them are broken during the boat journey. Sacks of cement have to be individually wrapped to keep them from getting wet, but during big wave days there are always a few that rip open. All furniture and structures are made by hand. The first project that had to be done was rebuilding the loft floor that had been eaten away by termites. Bunk beds were built, and mattresses were piled high onto the tiny 4 seater boat, then laid out to dry from the wet journey. Leo then installed a basic solar system and a water tank with filtration. Both of these necessities were the most difficult to develop. 

Leo spent a lot of time entertaining people with the things that he grew up doing by himself, like fishing, climbing trees, opening coconuts, calling everyone in for dinner with a conk shell horn, and many other unique and corky experiences that visitors found fascinating. This lead to a word of mouth chain of visitors before he even had employees, ample electricity, or reservation systems in place. 

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"When I came to the hostel in 2016 for work exchange, he was having us write down  reservations and food charges on little pieces of paper. We stored the money and handwritten bills in an old, lime green tool box. People didn't spend much money since we were offering shacks and basic meals. At the time there were 12 dorm beds and 3 private rooms. They all had shared bathrooms and contained nothing but a bed. 'Reservations' were made by sending emails at the last minute to see if there was space. As you can imagine, it was total chaos, but almost everyone loved it.

It felt like you had gone back in time, and yet, time didn't really exist there."

Organic growth is a slow process, especially in the most remote rainforest in Costa Rica. It requires a high level of endurance for situations that aren't ideal, and a problem solving mindset.

"The only thing that is guaranteed here, is that nothing is guaranteed."

- Trey, 2016 Work Exchange


Living in such a secluded location makes sustainable practices a must. We do not have a trash pick up service so we must compost and use that compost in our gardens to grow much of our own food since there are no grocery stores near by. We must also limit the garbage we create since all garbage must be boated out to be properly disposed of. In fact, most of our garbage comes from beach cleanups since the ocean currents bring us garbage from all over the world. Much of the protein meat that we feed our clients and staff are fish that we spearfish ourselves. This practice is the most sustainable way to provide meat as we can choose exactly what we shoot, and there are no nets or transport refrigeration involved. 

Our solar power system is a necessity to have electricity since we are completely off the grid. We have separate solar vacuum systems on every cabin to provide us with hot water.

With tourism, has come huge successes in conservation. When Leo was a child he never saw a tapir, peccaries, and other mammals. Now we see them on a weekly or daily basis and the conservation efforts made by the national park and surrounding areas has been completely funded by tourism.

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