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“Lapa Rios an amazing place”

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Lapa Rios Ecolodge Osa Peninsula
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Cabo Matapalo
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Lapa Rios an amazing place”
Reviewed 18 July 2006

My family and I, five of us total, stayed at Lapa Rios July 7 thru July 13, 2006. We had two bungalows, one for our children, 15, 17 & 19, and one for us. Words cannot adequately express the wonderful time we had at Lapa Rios. The Lapa Rios staff is amazing! They treated us as if we were royalty always making sure we had what we needed; enough towels, food, etc. The food is excellent! Fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, you name it. However, the best part of Lapa Rios is the scenery. Whether you are in to birds, plants, the jungle or the ocean, Lapa Rios has it all as you can see from our photos. As for what to bring for clothing, we found the best thing to bring is athletic wear. Things that dry fast and are mildew resistant. You may have to pack damp clothes in your suitcase on the trip home and we had mildew on our cotton items when we arrived home. You are going to sweat at Lapa Rios, unless you just sit around, remember you're in the Rain Forest and there's no AC. Nights are very comfortable for sleeping and we never had any problems with bugs. One word of caution, if you are in poor heath, 30 lbs over weight, have bad knees or are just lazy, the walk to and from your bungalows may be difficult. There are many steps to climb. I am not trying to scare anyone away, but again remember this is an Ecolodge in the Rain Forest and not the Spa at some Club Med Resort. Not that you can't just lounge around the pool, do yoga and get massages if you like. We just found the hiking, jungle tours and walks to the beach to go surfing much more enjoyable. I hope I provided enough information to encourage anyone who reads this to visit Lapa Rios. Please read all the reviews you can about Lapa Rios as we did before we went. This will help you to decide what to bring, what you will want to do while at Lapa Rios and how long to stay. Lapa Rios is mentioned in the book “1000 things you must do before you die” and I (we) highly recommend you do. They are doing wonderful work protecting the Costa Rica Rain Forest so please help them do so by visiting Lapa Rios.

  • Stayed July 2006
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank 1Florida_Gator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 25 June 2006

It's difficult to find anything to say that hasn't been said already by other reviewers about this wondeful place so I will just say that it's all true and it is as good as everyone says.

The setting is great, overlooking the ocean amidst the rainforest. The individual bungalows are well appointed with fantastic views from the deck. One tip however, if possible try to avoid bungalows 10 to 16 unless you're an olympic athlete. The trek to and from the room to the reception area and pool is hard in the heat and humidity (we were in no.12). The trek is worth it though, the food was wonderful.

The guided tours were excellent and done at a thankfully gentle pace so that no wildlife viewing is missed. We saw all four types of monkeys, sloth, coati, agouti and so many different types of birds. The macaws and toucans are the local stars. Also frogs, cane toads (on your doorstep), cockroaches, lizards and snakes.

A great experience with the unusual alarm clock facility provided by the howler monkeys!

  • Stayed April 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perryville, Maryland
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 June 2006

Wow. There are no great words to describe what an amazing time we had at Lapa Rios. It had gotten a lot of great press and a wonderful review from a friend, but it exceeded our expectations. However, a caveat: if you can't deal with shaking your shoes and clothes out in the morning, or checking the shower floor for visitors, or coming in from dinner to be greeted by a medley of critters on the outer wall, or being hot - just don't go - no point in complaining about something you can't control - and it is part of the experience, and part of what makes Lapa Rios unique - the staff are lovely, and they are respectful of pretty much everything that lives there and will offer to tell you about if they can.

We went for 6 days, Rainforest Package, did quite a bit of hiking. I can recommend all we did, which is irrelevant really, because each person will get out of a hike what they want. We did the OSA, Waterfalls, Night Hike, Evening Birds, and went fishing with Ronnie, who tends bar and makes a mean margarita. He is also a masterful fisherman - we watched him lure an 7-9 inch black snapper to shore literally unhooked, until at the last minute, he gave the sardine bait (that he had caught earlier in a net), to the fish, and pulled him UP, not IN, because the fish was literally at his feet. It was the most unique fishing experience I've had. And, just go to the beach and hang out and explore; it's beautiful and different for those people from the east coast of the states or somewhere like that in the world.

I also strongly advise getting out of Lapa Rios for a day or more, and going into Port Jimenez or to Corcovado- we went snorkeling in the Golfo Dulce, which was beautiful, but not a Carribean type of experience (i.e. perfectly clear blue water with loads of reefs), and then went to visit Santuario Silvestre de Osa on the other side of the the Gulf. This is a wildlife rehabilitation centre and refuge for injured or abandoned animals and birds. The jungle is literally their backyard, so when, if they want to and are able to return, they are free to do so. Part of the wonder of the experience was the affection and mischievousness of the young monkeys that climbed up on us, sat on our shoulders, plucked at our glasses and just cuddled. Sweetie, Regala, Sabo all made us feel most awed and welcome. We were also able to hold a 3 toed sloth, and a baby anteater who started looking for ants in my friend's ear! Our guides, whose names I forget were both american transplants, and extremely low key and accomodating. On the way home we went to Parrott Bay to see the crocodiles....

A word on wildlife - this is not a park or a zoo, it's the real world, and try not be disappointed if you don't see everything you thought you would or should - appreciate what you do see, and mystery of the unseen - they are probably watching you - and oh yes, enjoy being awakened by the howler monkeys; that in itself, is an experience!

Now to the food and accomodation - the food is quite simply, marvelous. Its ingredients are always fresh, you always have some choice between a vegetarian, fish or meat entree for dinner, a wide selection at lunch, and a delightful breakfast. It is prepared with care as though the chefs knew you personally. In fact, it was so good, we bought the cookbook! The fresh juices are to die for and the coffee for caffeine addicts, was strong and flavorful. And, oh yes, the desserts were divine as well. When we returned to the states, we realized that all the food we were seeing looked completely disgusting and unhealthy. We have had a Lapa Rios culinary hangover, for sure.

Accomodation - please remember: you are in the jungle, ok? With that in mind, a beautiful bungalow with a deck, 2 ceiling fans, 2 sinks, hot water, a hot/cold shower, separate indoor cold & outdoor cold, really, what more could you ask for? There are 2 queen beds with mosquito nets, that we found we needed, but not because of mosquitoes - mostly moths, crickets etc. Plan on either packing a lot of clothes, or using their laundry service, or just offending everyone around you. You will sweat, constantly. There is a nice pool available for refreshing dips with clean towels provided. I do wish I had done the Sustainability Tour since Lapa Rios is reputed for the low impact way it runs.

To-Watch-Fors: Misunderstandings due to language barriers - good to remember that this is not your country (if it isn't) and in our case, way less than fluent in Spanish. For example, we were to go for Rainforest overnight, and told it had been suspended due to the rainy season, but then later heard a guide telling a group he was leading an overnight trip. We substitued another activity thinking we wouldn't be charged, but we were charged $10 each - it worked itself out. Soo....money: no money ever changes hands at Lapa Rios, but try to recall that you are building a tab - for non-included drinks, laundry, yoga class, postcards, stamps, whatever, and tips are encouraged at a rate of $10/person per day for all the staff to split unless you specify an individual. Guides have to be tipped separately. In other words, be aware of what you don't see yourself spending. Lapa Rios is already expensive, and worth it, just keep tabs on yourself.

The staff is friendly, but not overly so, i.e. they give you space - this is not a club med situation - everyone, almost, is with a friend, spouse, partner, so don't go looking for a singles scene. Or even a make new friends scene. Most of our stay, most couples kept to themselves and seemed to value their privacy - which was great with me because I valued mine! It was, for us, a place to rest, and re-charge. I realized half way through the trip, that my mind had somehow become almost completely empty of thoughts, worries and cares, except of course, to shake out my shoes!

A pleasure and a privilege. Gracias.

  • Stayed May 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank halabell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
120 reviews
99 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 237 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 June 2006

Lapa Rios has won many travel awards in the 15 years since it opened. You learn why as soon as you arrive-- every aspect of the lodge is first class. Lapa Rios has comfortable cabins, friendly staff, great food and amazing wildlife. We enjoyed every minute of our 4 days at Lapa Rios and can't wait to go back.

In addition to enjoying our stay, we felt that we were doing something useful with our travel dollars. Lapa Rios takes excellent care of rainforest around the lodge and is a model of sustainable development. It also takes care of the local community and has built an elementary school for the children in the local village.

Lapa Rios was everything we hoped it would be and more. It gets my highest possible recommendation.

  • Stayed May 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank MB747
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary
Level Contributor
12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 May 2006

We stayed at Lapa Rios at the beginning of the rainy season. It followed the typical pattern where rain began about 3PM, let up in early evening and then rained during the night. Glad it didn't rain all day because it is heavy.
Lapa Rios does have an airport stop with washroom that was very appreciated as the ride to the resort is about 45 min when roads are dry. Everyone is very welcoming and as in other Costa Rica locations staff was very welcoming and helpful.
Rooms are thatched roof huts with balconies overlooking the valley and the ocean. Great location to watch the scarlet macaws fly up and down the valley. There are insects everywhere but cockroaches weren't as bad as in the mountains. We had one tiny scorpion in the room. Now I know why you have to check your shoes as these small creatures are less than an inch long and wouldn't be easily noticed. Very unaggressive.
It was by far the best location for wildlife that we saw in Costa Rica, all 4 monkey species appeared on site many times(only once for capachins). Toucans, aracaris, scarlet macaws, violacious trogan,frogs, coatis(group with a dozen young also appeared) as well as many smaller creatures. We made a point of getting up early and going up top the restaurant to watch the birds eating in the canopy. Self-guiding hike yielded new birds or animals each time. We did hike some of the trails on our own. It is relatively safe from snakes if you stay on trail as they are cleared weekly of debris and watch where you go.
One difference with Bosque de Cabos, Lapa Rios is in virgin rainforest and Bosque is in the second growth. Some animals prefer the second growth such as the capachin monkeys. Some prefer the higher canopy. Take your choice.
My husband loved it and examined everything that came his way, hence the discovery of the tiny scorpion. I am not extremely fond of the 6 and 8 legged creatures but was sorry to leave. Four days wasn't enough.
Only complaint: the surprise of a request for cruise ship like tips at the end of the stay. Why not just add $10 more to the bill and forget the surprise request for tipping. At the price they are charging another $10 wouldn't be noticed and we would be spared the aggravation on how much to tip.

  • Stayed May 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank buisonkoss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
California
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 April 2006

When I got off the plane, I could tell that the service at Lapa Rios was out of this world, as SEVEN, yes SEVEN staff members were waiting for me. I am not sure if this happens all the time but it was really nice to have that many people waiting for you.
They let you go to their little office just a stroll away from the air strip, there you can use the bathroom and enjoy a glass of water or have a soft drink.
They then take you in a van and drive you up to Lapa Rios.
Our bungalow was luckily pretty close to the lodge. The rest were all a long walk up. Hard work.

The beach was nice! There were jellyfish there and unfortunately I got stung by one. It wasn't too bad, though.

There were lots of insects in the room at night even though we kept the lights off. The rooms have screens and use no glass. There was a poisonous toad outside of our door and numerous insects that entered our room. I got bitten by a spider one night.
The food was good, breakfast was good, lunch was nice. They had a certain kind of chip, dip, and juice every day at lunch. Dinner was a lovely three course meal, and I got sick of the food after 4 days but I have to give them props for having great food in the jungle.

Within 15 minutes of going to the observation tower I saw:
a flock of about 6 Scarlet Macaws
a toucan
monkeys!
Howler monkeys make noise often during the night and the first time I heard them it scared me really really bad.
The Ridge Hike was really nice. Ulices is a really great guide!

The service was so great. Best service I've ever had anywhere. They pay attention to your every need.

I would recommend Lapa Rios to anyone looking for a relaxing getaway from civilization.

It is a memory to remember.
Thank you Lapa Rios.

  • Stayed April 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank kd2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Central Virginia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 April 2006

We stayed at Lapa Rios 2 years ago and absolutely loved our experience there, hoping to visit again next year. Nature is the focus at this wonderful place, every one was very friendly and knowledgable about the area and the food is excellent gourmet. We would describe Lapa Rios as Jungle Luxury.
Nature is up close and personal everywhere you turn, Macaws, Parrots, Toucans, Hummingbirds, many kinds of birds, Monkeys (Howler monkeys sound like gorillas), Agouti, giant Iguanas, butterflies, I could go on and on... One morning they had to use the net to clean the pool with to get a beautiful 3 ft emerald green Iguana out of the deep end of the pool, he got in then the cool water must have put him into hyperthermia but they saved it with no harm done.
LR has about a dozen thatched roof bungalows built on the mountainside with special screened walls on two sides with a view of the Golfo Dulce where it meets the Pacific. Views are to die for...
Each bungalow is arranged for privacy with a large deck, an indoor bathroom with shower, you feel like you are outside but have a thatched roof overhead and a screen between you and the jungle and a garden shower just off the deck. They even offer early morning coffee delivered to your bungalow for those not ready to hurry off to breakfast.
The wildlife is VERY abundant as they have not disturbed the wilderness except where absolutely necessary, a true Eco-Lodge and absolutely a nature lovers paradise. There was some kind of fruit bearing tree just outside of our bungalow (tree top was at eye level) that attracted monkeys and toucans so we could watch them undisturbed having a snack only a few feet away.
The large open dining area has a good size deck with viewing telescope and a spiral staircase up to a rooftop lookout that is at the highest point in the area, incredible!
They offer guided hikes with friendly knowledgable guides from easy hikes to vigorous for the enthusiastic.
The downhill walk to the beach is an adventure and fun, we had the beach to ourselves during our visits and they even offer to pick you up so you do not have to hike back up the mountain if you are feeling lazy.
We rate Lapa Rios as a Five Star Jungle Luxury Lodge and a memory to cherish.

  • Stayed May 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank Sandar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Lapa Rios Ecolodge Osa Peninsula

Property: Lapa Rios Ecolodge Osa Peninsula
Address: Osa Peninsula, Cabo Matapalo, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Osa Peninsula > Cabo Matapalo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Cabo Matapalo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:3 star — Lapa Rios Ecolodge Osa Peninsula 3*
Number of rooms: 17
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in a 1000-acre private nature reserve in Central America's last remaining lowland tropical rainforest in Costa Rica, Lapa Rios Ecolodge overlooks the pristine point where the Golfo Dulce meets the wild Pacific Ocean, a destination matching everyone's idea of paradise. Much more than a luxurious eco lodge, Lapa Rios is a model ecotourism project and a sustainable tourism pioneer. Over the years, we have received many awards for social and environmental excellence. Home to a plethora of incredible wildlife, including monkeys, scarlet macaws, pumas, toucans, tree frogs and thousands of other creatures, a trip to Lapa Rios Eco lodges Ecolodges will be the experience of a lifetime. Lapa Rios is one of only 24 National Geographic Unique Eco Lodges of the World ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lapa Rios Ecolodge Hotel Playa Matapalo

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