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Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge
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Reviewed 26 April 2014

Like other reviewers, our group of 7 people had a fantastic experience at Bosque del Cabo. Everything about the hotel was exceptional. The accommodations were wonderful - we stayed in a casita with views of the Pacific. Each meal was delicious, with great variety. We had a very active vacation, taking advantage of many of the activities offered and organized by the hotel staff. But guests could also enjoy a more relaxed vacation, taking advantage of the beautiful grounds of the resort and the abundant wildlife. The hotel staff are very helpful and accommodating.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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Thank luvtravel123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 April 2014

I’ve been to Costa Rica three times now, and we stayed at the Bosque Del Cabo the last two - which says something in itself about what a great experience it was for us. In fact, we were so enchanted by the Bosque the first time we stayed there, that when my then-girlfriend and I wanted to get married we decided to return to the lodge for our “big day”. The place is not only stunningly beautiful, but has this magical, spiritual feeling, that makes it very special. This is a long review, so I’ve broken-up my review into a couple sections. The first section discusses “Getting Married at Bosque Del Cabo” and intended to help anyone considering having their wedding at the lodge. After that, I’ve include a few sections for your usual vacation-type stuff: “Accommodations”, “Staff/Services”, “Experiences”, and “Food”

Getting Married at the Bosque Del Cabo
When we had the idea of getting married in another country, I was more than a little afraid of having to make the arrangements, and having everything come together. But we love the place so much that I promised my wife (fiancé then) that I would take care of everything to make it happen. We wanted to celebrate our marriage without taking away from the experience the other guests would have. I should point out that our wedding was a small, simple event, and not a large extravagant affair with lots of people to worry about. In the end, my very small, private wedding was the most perfect, magical day of my life. Here are just a few of the ways that the Bosque, the owners, and the staff blew me away –

How do you plan a wedding in a remote location from 1000s of miles away? The answer is – easily. I can’t say enough about how this daunting task was made easy (for me) by all the effort and help of the expert staff at the Bosque. Leonardo (who works at the main office) set out the decisions that needed to be made and explained the options – then took care of everything – even acting as the go-between for our legal paperwork with the lawyer who they arranged to fly down to perform the ceremony. I’ll add that he did all this at no extra cost to us! But, keep in mind that if you required more of Leonardo’s time for a more elaborate event I would think that it would be appropriate to expect some planning fees. My wife still brags about what a great job “I” did making the arrangements – sorry Leonardo!

Once arriving at the lodge, in addition to everything they normally do, the staff blew me away with the effort they put into preparing for our small wedding while we were there. They started by carting us around to show us the potential sites for the ceremony, including locations in the garden, by the Creek trail, and the patios of two rental-houses. Their patience was much appreciated as we waffled back and forth. Finally, we decided on a spot in the Gardens. There is a circle of huge palms with a stone sphere in the center situated at the end of a very large, long lawn that we thought was perfect for us. While out hiking, we found that Phil Spier, the lodge’s owner, had the staff preparing for our day by mowing, trimming and raking the entire garden area! No small task – we’re talking about multiple acres of property.

Other than a small bouquet we hadn’t ordered any special flowers. Imagine my surprise when we saw that the staff had constructed and decorated a sort of trellis for us for the ceremony – complete with a path of petals leading up to it, and beautiful local flowers. I really get a little emotional thinking about what a kind and generous gesture this was and the care with which it was prepared.

We also had elected not to have a professional photographer to try to save some money. When he heard this, Phillip Davidson, naturalist and friend, offered to take pictures of the ceremony for us and created a CD on his own time for us to take with us. It was a very generous thing for him to have done, and as I look back, I wish that I had done more to express our gratitude to him.

We were honored that Phil Spier made sure to spend some time with us personally. He generously shared some champagne with us on our wedding day, shared the story of how the lodge evolved, and took the time to attend our small ceremony. Each of the few souls there played a special part in coloring that moment, and we are grateful that Phil and Phillip were a part of it.

We decided to have dinner with the other guests at the lodge after the ceremony (the lodge offers to serve wedding parties privately if you would prefer that). Dinner was fantastic as usual and to top it off, the Bosque also made a “simple” wedding cake for us that was absolutely the most delicious cake I can remember having. Really, really good.

We were fortunate to have a local musician (and Professor of Music) Mauricio play his guitar and sing for us and the other guests of the lodge for our wedding reception after dinner. We invited the other guests of the lodge for an open-bar and dancing, and were very happy that in addition to our party many other guests attended. One of the benefits of the dining arrangements at the lodge is that you quickly find that you have more friends than you came with.

So many moments from that day and night in the rainforest will stick with me. Especially the vision of my new wife, in her white dress, dancing by candle light while Mauricio played “El Jaguar” in that perfect place.

So, I guess this has been a bit of a personal glimpse into our wedding experience, and the very important part that the people of Bosque Del Cabo played in making it so special. 5 stars are not enough. One million stars! 

For those not planning to get married, I hope the info below is helpful in deciding if the lodge is right for your vacation.

Accommodations
We have stayed at 3 of the cabinas: Gecko, Manglijo, and Congo. You can’t go wrong with any of those. All were wonderful, private cabinas perched on the edge of a 500 foot drop overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Congo is my personal favorite. Visitors from the states might be surprised to find that the deck, which is right on the edge, has no railing. If that bothers you – please stay home. This is a beautiful place that offers the chance to immerse yourself in the spirit of the place. It isn’t roped-off. It isn’t behind glass. It is for people who like that. You can literally sit on your 500 foot high deck peeking out of the rainforest at the spectacular blue ocean below and see scarlet macaws flying by and troops of monkey swing through the trees. It is a unique experience. If you want to put a railing between it and you, then there are probably other places that might suit you better.

The cabinas we’ve stayed in were private, clean, and very romantic. Hardwood floors with wood-shuttered walls and thatched roofs enclose 4-post beds veiled in mosquito netting. Because the walls are made of folding shutters, you can open them to let the outdoors in as much as you like.

A word of warning here – not to state the obvious, but the outdoors do get in. Hopefully, you will see this as part of the experience. If you are going to stay in an open air cabin in the rain-forest, this really should not be a huge surprise. We’ve had several up-close experiences with nature in our cabina, including some regular visitors who were part of the charm. There was a grapefruit-sized smoky-jungle toad who, for some reason, loved to come up on our deck each night and sit there like a lawn ornament. Geckos come in and peek down at you from above. The most startling encounter was when I found out the hard way that there were bats roosting in the bathroom. On three separate mornings they flew out past my head while I was in there. Personally, I thought this was pretty cool, and was a little sad when they stopped coming around.

Staff/Service
In case you skipped the section about getting married at the lodge, I’ll mention again that the staff is great. Everybody is super friendly and welcoming, and seemed like friends to us in no time at all. The most accommodating, helpful friends….

The Experiences
Self-guided hiking: The place itself is an experience. There is a pretty extensive trail system, and we spent most of our time quietly and slowly hiking the trails. Actually – it would be more accurately called “sneaking” than hiking. We’ve found that you get to see the most wildlife if you go slow – stand still and just soak in the rainforest. We’ve seen a spectacular number of creatures out hiking by ourselves including (but not limited to!) howler monkeys, spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys, capuchin monkeys, sloths, a tyra, two types of peccaries, agouti, coatimundi, and many poison dart frogs including the elusive Golfo Dulce poison dart frog – which only exists on the Osa peninsula. You can also hike down to the pacific, and explore tide pools, natural “hot tubs”, and a cool waterfall. Mind the tide – it comes up fast – so plan your time there carefully.

Guided Tours: There are guided tours for hikes, zip-line, waterfall rappelling, bird-watching and learning about the flora and fauna from the expert guides including the on-site naturalist, Phillip. We met Phillip on our first trip to the Bosque and really consider him to be a friend. The most knowledgeable friend ever. We highly recommend going on tours with Phillip. Even the “sunset” tour which is basically a walk around the “lawn” before dinner is full of surprises that Phillip points out that we would never have known were around us. We’ve seen red-eyed tree frogs, night-hawks, and countless other creatures including the deadly fer-de-lance on that pre-dinner stroll! Yes, a knowledgeable guide is highly recommended for walking around after dark! My advice is to let Phillip talk and resist the temptation to interrupt – he will answer your questions by the time he is done, and will appreciate having that chance.

Fishing: The lodge arranged an offshore fishing trip for us with local guide Oscar Villalobos Gardela. We weren’t there during the peak of the fishing season, but even so, we had a fishing experience unlike any other. I never knew fishing could be such a physically exhausting exercise. Oscar’s local knowledge helped my friend and I to catch the two species that we wanted to target – roosterfish and Tuna. We got the roosterfish right away then trolled around for Marlin while trying to find the tuna. It took a while to find them, but when we did it was really, really an unbelievable experience and unlike any other fishing I’ve done. The ocean erupts with giant pods of spinner dolphins and tuna leaping into the air. We caught tuna until I was physically unable to fight anymore. Captain Oscar, “Maestro”, made a gift of most of the catch to the local people after allowing us to select as much of the catch as we cared to take back to share with the other guests at the lodge. The Bosque was very appreciative and prepared sashimi and other treats for us and the other guests for several days.

Horseback riding: My wife went on the horseback riding excursion, and raved about it. I was fishing at the time, so my information is second hand, but she was very happy to have done it, and has some great pictures galloping down the deserted beach, and very much liked the guide.
The Food: Fabulous. Breakfast is made to order, as is lunch. If you’re planning an excursion for the day, you can let the staff know and they will have your lunch packed in a cooler to take with you. Dinner is the real star. It is served buffet style, but don’t let that turn you off! I am not usually a fan of buffets. This is more like a “family style” service of really high quality, delicious food. Really, really, delicious.

Other stuff: There is small pool by the bar. It is a nice place to cool off, but is small. Personally that matters not at all to me - there is an ocean after all! I enjoyed the casual, cozy feeling of the bar, and was always sure to be there to sample the excellent appetizers which are put out every afternoon.
I should also mention the massage. Although I personally don’t usually get massages often, my wife gets lots of them, and enjoyed one from Jutta at the lodge. In her expert opinion, Jutta is a magician.

So, to sum up. If you’re looking for a unique nature-experience vacation, in my opinion, you can’t do any better than the Bosque Del Cabo. I liked it so much the first time I decided to spend the most important day of my life there. I would make that same choice again and again.

Room Tip: We've always stayed in the "deluxe" private cabinas. You can't go wrong with those.
  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Travis L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 April 2014

Just returned from Bosque del Cabo and had the most amazing experience! This was my first eco-friendly vacation and didn't know what to expect. The staff is friendly and top notch, the wildlife is abundant and the food is excellent (courtesy of Maureen). The owners Phil and Kim keep this place in great condition and make you feel welcome in their home. Definitely stay at the Casa Blanca home and make sure you experience trails with Philip (walking encyclopedia) on his night tour and Carlos (Costa Rica's very own Dr. Doolittle) on his morning tour. This is an active vacation to get the true experience of walking through the trails in the rain forest.

Room Tip: Casa Blanca is worth the extra money!
  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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1  Thank smsp309
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2014

We loved our stay at Bosque del Cabo. Great location, trails, guide, facilities, staff, ocean view, wildilife viewing... We would certainly recommend the place to whoever may be going to Osa peninsular. Just two drawbacks: we were given the choice between a luxury cabin and the Aracari cabin with the best view, for the same price. We chose the latter and it was all fine except that it is on top of another accommodation and with holes in the wooden floor that gave straight to the neighbours downstairs, there was little privacy, particularly when these neighbours got into an argument ... Always go for a private cabin! The second minor issue was that we got a bit bored with the food after some days. We're not so keen on buffets and that's what we got at night for dinner. Nice idea though to share the table with other people and exchange experiences.

Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
5  Thank queijinho
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2014

My family visited Bosque del Cabo and absolutely loved it. It was really just amazing beyond words - To be honest, I had been somewhat wary about being out of my comfort zone, with two teens and an 11-year old, but this ended up being one of the best and most memorable vacations we have ever taken. We loved everything about this place and did not want to leave! Our cabina/house at Casa Miramar overlooked the ocean and we had spider monkeys, toucans and scarlet macaws, peccaries and coatis come to visit us. We had amazing adventures every day - from touring the primary forest, canopy tour (we saw monkeys below us!) and the sunset hike with Phillip, and learning fascinating things about the animals and plants around us from an expert, to going waterfall rappelling and tree climbing with Carlos, going to a wildlife preserve off the property (where we saw monkeys and sloths), and learning to surf! The whole family loved it and enjoyed the adventures and hikes together. Every meal was delicious; fresh and flavorful and beautifully presented. It was fun to meet other guests and talk about the day's adventures every evening. Phil and the staff were so helpful and we were able to plan our adventures and know that everything would be taken care of.
Do invest in a good headlamp (we got ours at REI) and Keen or similar shoes, they were great for hiking and could get wet. And bring a book for the hammocks!

Room Tip: Casa Miramar was stunningly beautiful and enormous, with room for 9 to sleep. There is your own private pool and deck that overlooks the ocean. The sunsets are incredible and the deck just calls out for you to do yoga in the mornings - we don't even do it at home but we did there! You need to know it is very open, with doors on the bedrooms but none on the kitchen/living area or bathhouse. So we didn't want to walk around in the dark without a headlamp (it does have solar-provided lights), as the wildlife could come in. That said, they do a great job with gardening to keep the rainforest at bay, and walking to the lodge is along the unpaved road so it feels safe even at night with your headlamp. I am really paranoid about this stuff, and while I was cautious, I loved the place.
Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
Thank Virginia2468
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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