Destination: Up in the trees

  @FortuneMagazine February 28, 2013: 9:22 AM ET
PUR18 tree houses

Tree houses are among the most viewed type of property on Airbnb.com; the author secured this one, the Rainforest Tree House in Costa Rica, for $85 per night.

(Fortune)

When I was 9 years old, my uncle hammered two slabs of plywood into a trio of apple tree branches in his backyard. I spent my tween years shepherding siblings and cousins on and off the shaky platform in an elaborate game in which I was always the captain -- no surprise to friends -- protecting them from harm. The tree house offered escape from the danger of marauders real and imagined, and it fueled our imaginations. What if we could eat, play, and even sleep in the tree?

Nearly three decades later equatorial Costa Rican sunlight seeps into my sleeping loft, nestled amid chilamate leaves 20 feet above the ground. A toucan has just passed by the deck of our stilted retreat, which abuts natural hot springs close to the Arenal Volcano some 60 miles north of San José. I descend to the main cabin, where Frances, my partner, heats water for coffee in a tiny, well-appointed kitchen. My childhood fantasies were never this good.

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