In a Nutshell: Finca Luna Nueva ecolodge in Costa Rica offers credit card rewards travelers a luxurious indoor-outdoor experience in an environment that emphasizes sustainability. The property started as an organic farm in the 1990s and evolved into a lodge while remaining committed to practices that nurture the area’s biodiversity. Finca Luna Nueva is a desired destination for many travelers who seek renewal in nature.
The Finca Luna Nueva ecolodge, perched on the Caribbean slope of the Continental Divide in northern Costa Rica, is not the sort of destination that credit card rewards travelers stumble upon.
Instead, visitors who view travel as a process of self-discovery often seek out the resort to enlighten their minds and relax their bodies. The ecolodge combines fine accommodations, farm-to-table dining, wellness services, and recreational attractions with the function of a working rainforest farm.
Finca Luna Nueva remains as committed to regenerative agricultural practices and environmental activism today as it was when Stephen Farrell started it in 1994 as an organic ginger farm.
The idea for the farm came from Steven Farrell, who was looking for more land to grow organic ginger for a U.S. herbal supplements company. Newmark, who became CEO of that company, visited the farm in 1999 and he was transformed.
“I fell in love with the farm and with the area,” Newmark said. “And so my wife and I decided to become partners with Stephen.”
For a while after, Finca Luna Nueva existed as a farm, a retreat, and a teaching and research center for Newmark’s business.
Then, about a decade ago, Newmark decided to open up the property to travelers from around the world. It has become a popular destination for card rewards travelers looking to reconnect with themselves and nature.
“It was too beautiful to keep secret,” Newmark said. “So we said, ‘Why don’t we open up to the public?’ And we did.”
Luxurious Accommodations for Couples or Families
Newmark became an accidental innkeeper, in a way, but you’d never know it given how luxurious Finca Luna Nueva is today.
Accommodations include six individual bungalows with outdoor balconies overlooking the rainforest — perfect for romantic couples getaways.
Family-oriented bungalows, each with two private bedrooms, are situated near the swimming pool and the solar-heated hot tub. Casa Luna offers spacious rooms, which feature a second-floor wraparound porch, hammocks, and mountain views. The ecolodge also offers spa and yoga services.
After the travel restrictions of 2020, Finca Luna Nueva is once again open to card rewards travelers, and it is particularly well-suited for safety because of its indoor-outdoor design.
“Every room has an outside entrance and its own air conditioning unit and fan system,” Newmark said. “It’s the perfect destination for people who have concerns because everything is outdoors, and there are no public areas that are enclosed,” Newmark said.
The beautiful restaurant and bar complex is no different. It’s an entirely open structure with no walls. It’s also a premier example of bamboo architecture and design, an organic, flowing space built with local black and Guadua bamboo.
The restaurant is also where Finca Luna Nueva’s farm-to-table philosophy manifests itself at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Depending on the weekly farm harvest, guests always enjoy an outstanding and varied menu, including vegetarian and vegan options.
“Where we don’t grow it, we attempt to source it from our immediate area,” Newmark said. “We even have our own dairy, and that means our own milk, yogurt, and cheeses, are made fresh daily at the farm.”
Connect with the Environment in a Living Classroom
In keeping with Finca Luna Nueva’s origins as an herbal supplier, its farm-to-table focus extends to drinks as well. Card rewards travelers can enjoy local spirits prepared with bitters grown on the property.
Finca Luna Nueva is built on a foundation of sustainability. It is a regenerative farm, meaning that it designs organic agricultural practices to return resources to the earth rather than extract them.
That makes the farm a popular destination for travelers who prize sustainability, and the ecolodge hosts many popular on-site tours that explore its processes.
“The farm tour is the number one tour that everyone takes — it’s an eye-opener,” Newmark said. “People are dazzled by the diversity, the flavors, aromas, and the beauty of our working farm.”
Early risers have the opportunity to assist the Finca Luna Nueva team in milking cows. Experts are also available to demonstrate chocolate production using the farm’s own cacao pods and guide guests through its collection of medicinal seeds and plants. They also point out toucans, hummingbirds, tanagers, and more than 250 other bird species sighted on the property.
Birds are visible from Casa Luna’s balconies and also from the farm’s observation tower, another impressive bamboo structure.
Other buildings on the property demonstrate the effectiveness of sustainable construction. The recently completed Dome Suite, for example, is made of strong yet ultralight AirCrete. The substance adds air and a soap-based foam to cement, which drastically reduces the greenhouse impact of using concrete.
“We’re proud of the creativity that has gone into our rooms and structures,” Newmark said.
Finca Luna Nueva: A World Destination for Nature-Lovers
Finca Luna Nueva is a destination that card rewards travelers seek out for natural, eco-friendly excursions. And the ecolodge is situated amid some of the most pristine and extensive jungle canopies anywhere in the world.
“We are in biodiversity central in lush rainforest, bordering 250,000 acres of protected habitat,” Newmark said. “Not only are we a world destination for birders, with about 450 species in our immediate area, but we’re also in what’s called the adventure capital of Costa Rica.”
Card travelers have easy access to other off-site adventures from their home base at Finca Luna Nueva. Nearby activities include mountaineering and rafting for the most active guests to boat tours and hikes for the most contemplative.
Finca Luna Nueva also takes an active role in preserving its neighboring environment. It works with partners to purchase and establish a corridor to protected habitat and Costa Rica’s famous Children’s Eternal Rainforest, a cloud forest with its own distinctive ecosystem.
“We have helped to protect and reforest one of the largest fragments of vigorous rainforest north of the Amazon,” Newmark said.
Newmark himself came to Finca Luna Nueva with a life’s worth of environmental activism under his belt, having served as chairperson of the Greenpeace Fund in the U.S. for more than 10 years.
Finca Luna Nueva guests enjoy resort-style luxury and pampering that comes with an everyday commitment to sustainability. And that’s something Newmark hopes guests will take home with them.
“Our farm is not cosmetically an ecolodge — it is our foundational energy, our DNA, and the reason we exist,” he said. “Our entire purpose is to demonstrate that people can produce food in a way that regenerates and revives and reenergizes the vitality of an ecosystem.”