As CEO and founder of Luxury Frontiers, Luca Franco spends some 20 days on the road each month. And while he’s traveled to such far-flung places as the Arctic Circle, Sri Lanka, and beyond, he describes a recent trip to Costa Rica as a “once-in-a-lifetime adventure.” We caught up with Luca to learn more about his three-day getaway—and get the scoop on an upcoming Luxury Frontiers project that epitomizes pura vida.
Welcome back, Luca! Tell us about your trip to Costa Rica.
I was there for three days, scouting new sites for future hospitality builds with a team of local experts.
Why Costa Rica?
Costa Rica’s natural landscapes are spectacular, and there are so many things to see and do, from trekking through rainforests and visiting natural hot springs to helping with animal rehabilitation and touring coffee plantations. These are the types of activities that travelers will be able to take advantage of at Nayara Tented Camp, an edge-of-the-wilderness Luxury Frontiers lodging concept that is slated to open next year.
What else can you tell us about Nayara Tented Camp?
The camp is affiliated with the award-winning Nayara Springs and Nayara Resort, Spa & Gardens. It’s an all-seasons experience that will completely immerse guests in the unspoiled beauty of the Costa Rican rainforest.
What other kinds of projects are you working on in Costa Rica?
I can’t talk specifics, but I’m interested in high-end, bespoke projects that are high yield and have low impact on the environment. I want to give a select number of travelers access to some of the country’s more off-the-beaten-path experiences inclusive of equally exclusive lodging concepts.
Sounds amazing. So what did you do on the trip?
We climbed waterfalls, hiked volcanoes, toured a permaculture garden, and explored the rugged landscapes on horseback. I’d been to Costa Rica before, but this trip gave me a completely different perspective— and it largely has to do with the team of local adventure experts that I traveled with. That’s the beauty about immersive, experiential travel— it unlocks even familiar destinations in new and exciting ways.
What was the highlight?
It’s impossible to say. We were on the move every day, traveling from Rincón de la Vieja National Park in the north to the Osa Peninsula in the south. The landscapes are so spectacular and the wildlife encounters are next-level, especially in the Osa Peninsula, which sustains a staggering 2.5 percent of the world’s total biodiversity.
What was it like being in such a remote place?
It’s humbling. While we were there, the region was struck by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake. We were only 8 miles away from the epicenter, so we felt a strong tremor and aftershake. It’s moments like that that make you feel small and impress on you the majesty of nature.
Any other memorable experiences?
This one day in the Osa Peninsula, we had to cross this massive river to reach a series of waterfalls. I only had my trekking boots, and my feet are too sensitive to go barefoot, so I had to fashion water shoes out of big palm leaves and other raw materials. I’m proud to say that I wore them for 30 minutes and they held up surprisingly well.
That must have been quite the look.
No kidding. And to think there was a time when I only wore suits and ties to work.