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“Great for Wildlife Lovers”
Review of Selva Verde Lodge

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Selva Verde Lodge
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Sarapiqui
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Texas
Level 6 Contributor
189 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 210 helpful votes
“Great for Wildlife Lovers”
Reviewed 25 September 2012

We really enjoyed our time at Selva Verde Lodge. We came with the hope of seeing a lot of wildlife, and we weren't disappointed. We did several of the hikes offered here including the early morning birding, the primary forest, and a cool night hike. We saw toucans, aracaris, lots of poison dart frogs, howler monkeys, a coral snake, and even a kinkajou which was a first for us. Our guide was excellent and spotted a lot of wildlife we would have missed on our own.

The lodge is located off a busy road, but if you request a room by the river like we did you will really feel like you're in the jungle. The system of covered walkways is great for keeping you dry in the case of rain.

There are two options for dining here - the buffet plan and the a la carte restaurant. The buffet food was fine, filling, but nothing amazing, but we were really impressed with the La Terrazza restaurant where you could order off the menu for dinner. They have their own wood-fired pizza oven, and the bacon pizza was delicious, especially paired with a bottle of Imperial. Great drinks here as well. I had a mango, lime, and rum concoction that was fantastic. Dining by candlelight next to the river was so enjoyable and relaxing. All of the staff were very friendly. Our waiter even called us over one night to show us the red-eyed tree frogs by the little pond. The owner came over to speak to us one night and to thank us for supporting the property. It's clear that they care very much about their clients, their property, and protecting the rain forest. The rooms are basic, but comfortable. There are some bungalows with air conditioning, but those are across the road and fairly far from things, so we were happy with our little river room. It cooled off enough at night to be comfortable.

If you're a wildlife lover, you would enjoy staying here. Do not miss a day trip to La Selva which is also in the area and offers even more chances to see wildlife in its natural habitat. Two or three nights in this area is perfect.

Room Tip: Choose a room numbered in the 40s to be close to the river and away from road noise. The setting tow...
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank volcanogirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Jacksonville, Florida
Level 5 Contributor
70 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 September 2012

Except for being somewhat picky as to when you could be seated and where in the restaurant at some seatings, this place was wonderful. Paid hiking tour was well worth it. We went out by ourselves every night for wildlife viewing - amazing. Lots of wildlife during the day too. Front desk couldn't do enough for us - even if it had nothing to do with our stay at the hotel. They were exceptionally friendly and helpful. Food was excellent - ambiance exceptional. The biggest problem was whether we should leave the windows open for the sound of the river or to turn on the air conditioning. I would come here again without any question.

Room Tip: Get a place by the river.
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Chelonian1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 September 2012

Stayed in six lodges/hotels in Costa Rica and this one really give the ambience of the rain forest. Frogs were abundant and made more noise than the howler monkeys. Bar man was very friendly and who came blame him serving in such idealic surroundings. Even when in the swimming pool you feel your in the rain forest. Only spent one night here but would love to return. Would recommend the nearby chocolate tour where we did encounter the noisy howler monkeys - fantastic! Kids loved the hands on grinding mushing and eating/drinking the freshly made chocolate!

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Lisa C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Michigan
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 August 2012

I was here on a Study Abroad trip during May 2012. The Selva Verde Lodge was my favorite place we stayed on our 12 day tour of the country. The food was wonderful, the staff was super helpful, and the laundry service was better than I ever expected. I did not hear the howler monkey alarm clock people told me to be aware of, maybe it was because our itinerary was exhausting. Our room was in the very back but, the beautiful scenery and many types of plants and animals made the walk enjoyable. Do the early morning bird walks they are a great way to start the day and you may even see a sloth. I definitely plan on making a return trip to Selva Verde Lodge sometime in the future.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled on business
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Helpful?
1 Thank stacieelizabeth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manhattan Beach, California
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 July 2012

Highlights: Casone suite was a two-bedroom apartment for 2 adults and 2 kids. Laundry room in-suite. Two great places to eat on site, order-off-the-menu restaurant or buffet-style restaurant. Pool area has a lot of birds visit every day. Grounds are connected with covered, paved walkways. Pond area outside gift shop is great place to see several varieties of frogs and toads at night. Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Cente (SCLC) on site provided cooking lessons and jewelry making class by local women. Will always stay here on future visits. Visit was August 2011.

Location and area:
We chose to stay here 10 years ago due to it's proximity to La Selva Biological Research Station which we planned to visit. This time, with kids 5 & 7, we definitely wanted to come back and stay longer. We went to La Selva again, which is only 10 minutes away. Hotel arranged transportation. Grocery store is close driving distance. Hotel is right next to Sarapiqui River. There is a long, tall bridge that takes you to the other side, with a guide only. Hotel grounds are very large. It was a bit of a drive from the airport, but worth it. We got a driver to bring us from the airport that we coordinated through the lodge. We got some pretty hard rain coming rhrough the mountains to get there. The driver had a mini-van type car and drove very safely. The lobby is by the highway, but the rooms are not.
There is a small botanic garden on the other side of the property across the highway. Definitely go there and do the small manageable loop trail there.

Room:
We stayed here 4 nights and so we opted on the Casona suite. It was mid-way through the trip with 2 kids and so we used the washer and dryer in our suite while we stayed here. There was a large living room and a long kitchen that we didn't cook in. The 2 bedrooms are opposite each other with the living room in between, and there are two bathrooms. No A/C, but they did have ceiling fans over the bed and after 5 minutes of lying on the bed with the fan, you were cooled down. There is a large wrap-around porch with rocking chairs. We didn't encounter any bugs in our room at all. You have to walk down covered paths to the rest of the grounds, they actually drove our luggage down another driveway when we arrived.
10 years ago we stayed in the bungalows, which are across the highway about a 1/2 mile walk from the main lodge grounds They are off by themselves, very rustic and by that I mean, there was a trail of ants coming in one part of our bungalow and out the other side, but great for birdwatching since there aren't people walking around. Bring a flashlight if you stay at the bungalows.
Maid service daily was great. Everything was very clean.
The lodge is not really near another lodge and the small trail on the main grounds make you really feel like you are in the middle of the rainforest...except for the buildings.
There is no room service, as it should be.

Wildlife:
There was a pack of howlers on the property one day right behind the lobby, they were eating and didn't seem to mind us being very close to them, about 20 feet away. We also saw howlers near the pool on another day and on the side of the road, howling at another group on the other side of the road.
We saw a lot of chestnut mandible toucans here in the tall trees near the pool, more than once.
I am not a birder, but we saw sooo many birds everywhere here, especially near the pool area. Just wait and they will come.
There is a pond outside the gift shop/restaurant area with a lot of frogs and toads at night.
On the trail across the bridge on the other side of the river we saw a fer de lance. The gate on the other side of the bridge is locked so you have to go with a paid guide, but it's worth it. Make sure you are in a small group though, too noisy and it scares everything away. We also went on a night hike here, which was a little creepy for the kids, but fun.
They had rubber boots to borrow if you need them.
There are a lot of the same spider a golden orb I think, making webs on the sides of the paths. We saw a few iguanas on the property basking in the sun. One of them was about 4 feet long with the tale. Lots of poison arrow frogs, mostly the green on black or black on green, some strawberry.

Food:
Due to us being there in the off season, sometimes we were told to eat at the made to order restaurant due to not enough people for the buffet. The buffet has typical Costa Rican food like rice and beans, chicken, fish, green salad with hearts of palm, tomato and cucumber. They had made spaghetti for the kids one night, which was nice. We saw three vegans there and apparently the lodge was accomodating them specially. There is potable water throughout the lodge and we didn'[t get sick at all. The order restaurant has an Italian slant including a wood-fire pizza oven and delicious fish dishes and was reasonably priced.

SCLC:
SCLC provides activities on-site. You must coordinate the two activities we did in advance as it requires them bringing a local community member in to do the class. So call ahead if you aren't staying long. They coordinated a cooking lesson with a local woman for my daughter and I at the outdoor kitchen. They come on site and we made potato-filled empandas. We also made patacones, a fried, mashed plantain. Both were so good. Bring your appetite, this can be lunch. We also took a jewelry making class from two local women. We made earrings and a bracelet. The kids loved this. They also bring their jewelry to purchase which is beautiful and unique and make great gifts and souvenirs. The jewelry was so inexpensive and since these ladies brought food for us for after the workshop which was included in the price.
If you can, go to the Pack for a Purpose website, look up the SCLC and see what they do and what they need for local kids and community. Since we packed light, we were able to bring very inexpensive school supplies from the US to the center.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
7 Thank Cynthia M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ottawa, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
166 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 July 2012

In March 2012 we spent a week with 6 other friends at Selva Verde. It was a a real rainforest expeience. There were Howler Monkeys waking us each morning, great Toucans nesting near our rooms, tiny poison dart frogs, caiman & iguanas to be seen as we walked about the grounds & trails! Crossing the river on the suspension bridge was all you had to do, with a guide, to be in the rainforest! The staff were friendly, very professional & competent. The River Lodge rooms were large, clean, comfortable & airy with lots of windows & ceiling fans. Being set in elevated pods of four rooms, the pods allow for privacy & a great rainforest experience. The elevated, covered walkways allow you to enjoy the forest whether hot & sunny or a rainy day. The rooms & walkways were beautiful with the natural wood. The two restaurants had great food..buffet for breakfast had delicious fresh fruits & juices. We enjoyed the Italian Terraza restaurant each evening with its wood-fired pizza oven.. The outings available are numerous, interesting, & very good value. My husband & I chose to have private guiding on two of the days, a full day by boat on the Rio Sarapiqui & another full day Special Birding in Braullio Carrillo National Park. We had two different guides for those days and both were excellent. These guides were among the very best we have had anywhere on our world travels. The owners are committed to working with the local community. They do so in a quiet and caring manner, reflected in the thoughtful attitude of their staff. We couldn't have enjoyed ourselves more. We can't wait to return!

Room Tip: We loved being in a room right by the river!
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Chanterelley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Keller, Texas, United States
Level 5 Contributor
69 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 July 2012

Our tour group of teachers spent three fabulous days and nights here. Be aware of the Howler Monkey alarm clock that goes off just before sunrise and sets off the rooster--but if that bothers you, use ear plugs. It was just part of the experience! The birding was spectacular and the beautiful surroundings was even moreso! Morning and night hikes are a must in order to see life in the selva. Take a river tour and go zip-lining!! We spent some time learning to make patacones and empanadas with the local women and bought their jewelry. We will all take back a new appreciation of the tropical rainforest to our students. I would suggest that you pack your own pillow and camping mattress if you are sensitive to sleeping arrangments. An ice machine and water cooler are centrally located to keep you hydrated and more comfortable, but enjoying the jungle makes you overlook any inconveniences you left behind. KEEP A JOURNAL!

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank KaylaP385
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Selva Verde Lodge

Property: Selva Verde Lodge
Address: | 9 Kms from Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, 553069, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Heredia > Sarapiqui
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Ski-In / Ski-Out Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Sarapiqui
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Selva Verde Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 58
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Selva Verde is more than a lodge and more than a rainforest reserve. It is your gateway into a magical world of towering Almendro trees, Mantled Howler Monkeys, and Keel Billed Toucans. Immerse yourself in tropical nature as you hike through deep green forest or reflect quietly in a comfortable hammock. Discover something new as you encounter Selva Verde's amazing wildlife and vibrant people. Rekindle your sense of wonder and experience the out-of-the-ordinary. Experience Selva Verde! Located just 2 hours from San Jose, Selva Verde provides easy access to the wonders of the rainforest. For over 30 years, we have been a haven for nature enthusiasts from around the world. Our abundant biodiversity, comfortable rainforest lodge, and exciting activities are ideal for adventure seekers, bird and wildlife watchers, students, and families. Come explore Selva Verde's 500 acres of vibrant tropical nature in the heart of Costa Rica's Sarapiqui Canton. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Selva Verde Hotel Sarapiqui
Selva Verde Lodge Costa Rica/Sarapiqui

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