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“Spectacular wildlife”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Selva Verde Lodge

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Selva Verde Lodge
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Sarapiqui
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Level Contributor
16 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Spectacular wildlife”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 January 2014 via mobile

We thoroughly enjoyed the abundant wildlife at Selva Verde. The lodge itself was a mixed bag. The pros: the fabulous resident naturalist, Alexander; the lush, beautiful grounds; the commitment to conservation; the naturalist guided tours; and the friendly staff at the bar & downstairs restaurant. The cons: the buffet food which is mediocre and the rooms which really need updating. I don't mind a very basic room but the beds & bedding seemed worn and a bit grungy. Most nights there was a cool breeze blowing in through the screened windows making for comfortable sleeping. The one big negative that stuck with me: the lodge charged us $45 for transportation 10-15 minutes down the road to La Selva Biological Reserve. Other transportation arranged by the lodge was equally expensive. I've traveled around Costa Rica before without a car and have never had a lodge gouge me like that. It left me with a feeling of being ripped off. Despite that, I'm still giving a 4-star review because the wildlife, Alexander, and other kind staff made the experience worthwhile.

  • Stayed December 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Peteyblue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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609 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (153)
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amsterdam
Level Contributor
60 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 January 2014 via mobile

This was our first jungle lodge in CR. The birds and wildlife are great, the pool and river a big plus for swimming. Staff Jose Ivan and Alexander as guides are the best, so easy going, fun and knowledgeable! Restaurant food okay, upstairs lighting bit harsh, everything closes early! Rooms and walk way with feeding stations great, birds came to us! Room walls very thin, we woke up early because of kids and early guests. Bus stops in front so no worries if you have no car, lots to do in vicinity. You can hear the trucks on the road but not in your room. We loved it hear!

Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank 12345678910go
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle
Level Contributor
22 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 January 2014

We stayed in La Casona which is billed as self catering. its a nice sized cabin with a washing machine and lovely rooms and bathrooms. They have a lot of pots and pans and even 3 coffee machines but nothing to cook with - no oil, salt, pepper, coffee etc. Being Costa Rica the people are super nice and the lovely lady at reception arranged for me to get oil from the restaurant - that took my review from 3 to 4 - but a self catering place should have more supplies

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Sounder999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
244 reviews
172 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 258 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 January 2014

A 3 dot rating might seem harsh and I did hover between a 4 or 3 dot rating.

Firstly the good stuff:
I came for the birding and this I give a 5 star plus. I saw so much and more. Nothing better than to grab an early morning coffee looking out over the bird feeders where we saw toucans, manakins, honeycreepers, woodpeckers etc.
The guided night tour, although we did not see much, was great thanks to our guide Alexander.
We also did a half day private guided tour to OTS. That was a fantastic experience

BUT...the not so good
Check in staff: there was a young man at check in who was nice and a woman who was borderline rude. When we asked the details on our private OTS tour, she said: you just go there and meet the guide. We asked: how will they know who we are? How will we find the guide. She got stroppy, replying: you just go.
Later on when she was not at reception, we asked the young man who said: you need a voucher and gave us the voucher. Had we not asked him, we would have stood at OTS without a voucher and would likely have not been able to do the tour.

Rooms: we opted for the apparently more comfortable bungalows. Ours was B2. There was AC, heaven sent in the unbearable humid climate but apart from that, there is nothing pretty or cozy or comfortable about the rooms. They are just ok but I see the website bills it for honeymoons. Mmmh, I think not.
Also, there is a covered walkway all the way to the bungalows. That is ok but the covering runs past all the bungalows and greatly obstructs any birdwatching. The walkway is ugly and makes the surroundings dark and miserable.

Food: we opted for full board. I wish we hadn't. The buffet food is basic but tasty but the dining room is devoid of any atmosphere. Think scouts camp. It was fine for lunch but for dinner we liked the terazza restaurant better. This is not included in the full board so we had to pay for our meal there ( with a 20% discount)
Staff upstairs are grumpy, downstairs they are wonderful.

So my advice: go for the birds, it is worth it. If you are not a birder, the place is just not good enough. My husband called it Colditz. Harsh but the sometimes stroppy staff, the basic rooms built on stilts together, the dark walkways and the miserable dining room do give the place an air of a camp of some sort. The Rough guide bills this is a luxury lodge. It is not.
It needs modernising big time. I don't see why bird watchers cannot do this in this wonderful spot but in nice surroundings.

We stayed in 7 different hotels on our 15 night self drive tour through CR. If you have any queations about our trip, just ask. We loved CR.

Room Tip: We did to see the basic rooms but they looked quite dark. I did like the location of the bungalows...
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Chocolate74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lecco, Italy
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 December 2013

Waiting the finish of the ARWC 2013, I stay 2 night in this wonderful place inside a rainforest, with each room was incredibile big and essential.
I was so tired after the race and recovered myself in Selva Verde Lodge with my friend Mr Iguana.
The staff was extremely helpful and friendly, breakfast ok.
Great experience!

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Mario R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
25 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 December 2013 via mobile

As as the third of four hotels we are staying in as a family of four (ages 40, 40, 9 and 6), we loved Salva Verde for everything we expected it to be...a lodge in the rainforest with animals and birds and flora and fauna and amphibians galore. While there , the first Tapir was recorded in the forest on the property and the excitement was catching ;) over the three days we enjoyed looking for frogs at night, visiting an animal rehabilitation center, horseback riding and the coup d'état was a loooooong walk in the forest finding out about the local insects and life in the forest.
The staff was insanely nice especially when an extraordinarily large grasshopper with wings the size of an adult hand did not want I leave our bathroom ;)
I can not say enough about this place... We can not wait to come back again!

Stayed December 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank SwissMagnolia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kennebunkport, Maine
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 December 2013

7 Years in a row. This is our first destination every summer and in 2012 we made 3stops. This has become our base or "home" stop if you prefer. What our family loves about this place: Home Sweet Home. Our first year I remember asking about air conditioning and thinking I would just die without it. I quickly realized the quality of life was really great and everyone seemed to be connecting with nature, so I CHOSE, "love it or leave it". OK, so I was outnumbered by party of 30 something. Thank goodness because this has become my favorite place. The natural wildlife and basic amenities is what makes it so special. You can go to any country, any resort in the world, and get your standard "luxury pampering" and no matter where you are, every place will feel and look the same. Why pay for an experience you can get at home or someplace where you don't need to travel too far when you will only get the same experience again and again? If you want to take in a little "Life" and truly live the "Nature" experience, this is the place. You can just lounge around (whine and complain about humidity) or take part in the life of a Tico/a.

I decided to take part in life. When we arrived in San Jose we did a little shopping at a local mall and did our homework so we kinda knew what to expect. We knew about the humidity and advised not to bring jeans except maybe one pair for horse back riding. We needed light clothing that could dry quickly, some ponchos in case of rain showers ("rain-forest" - "helloooo"), swim suits, rain boots (hotel also has loaners), extra shoes in case tennis get wet (rain or river), flashlight (pitch dark at night), back pack or cross body purse to carry important things or money or water/meds etc. We stopped several places before arriving at Selva Verde the first trip and usually have the evening to adjust to the lodge and the travel before starting our adventure. We usually make several short stops on the way. We stopped at La Paz waterfall several times until an earth quake destroyed the road and made it impossible to travel there. There are many beautiful places to see on route and also nice places to stop and eat. The property is very cozy and I can honestly say we have tried most of the rooms have never been affected by any noise from the road. I love being catered too and having breakfast, lunch, and dinner ready between, before and/or after an activity. At the end of the day I always finish with enrichment to by body and soul and although I may do so many activities I still long for more.

The food at the restaurant has always been delicious and the variety is excellent. I have always enjoyed the best typical Tico food here. The fresh fruit and salad bar is always of great quality. The buffet is full course meal every time. The dessert varies but always good. The authentic "Gallo Pinto" is one of my breakfast favorites. I look forward to it every year.

The rooms: Updating the bed covers would be good idea but they are not too thick. No matter how hot it gets in the day time, the nights are pretty cool so we usually need those covers. Depending on size of your party, some rooms can hold 4-5 people comfortably. I think every time our group has gone, Selva Verde has been booked solid and even with full capacity sometimes you never run into the other groups except maybe during breakfast.

Receptions: This is the only place we could get "Wi-Fi" and it is too far from the rooms. The reception area is near the road and has a little steep climb. Now this is one of the things I love the most about SV. Who needs a phone or Wi-Fi out here in the middle of the rainforest. You could miss life if you're too busy with the social media or trying to stay abreast of the very life you're taking a break from. Everyone is friendly here. The staff will go the extra mile to help you but if you are the quiet type and wish to be left alone, they will also respect that. If you are lucky enough to go back a second or third time, you will be treated as family.

Pool & Bar: Very nice clean pool. Can't believe I was missing out on the river thou. This summer we skipped the pool and took a few steps to the Sarapiqui River, Loved it! We raft it every year but had been missing out on a little afternoon swim. The bar is a little pricey for those wanting "several" drinks more than once a day but perfect for the occasional drinker or the light weight like myself. Great bar tenders, friendly and eager to please.

Activities: Brace yourself! The best! Hiking trips are amazing. Bird watching is a big bonus. Walking through the premises you will enjoy plenty of wildlife, flowers, and fauna. I'm not talking about our group either. We have seen the monkeys at arms distance here at SV. You can sometimes find them right next to the restaurant or at the reception (not the staff). Food is set up and placed throughout the premises for the wildlife to feed. The staff will stop to offer information regarding any species or also to involve the guest with feeding the turtles or watching the animals claim the food.

Rafting: White water rafting is excellent. Service is provided by "Aventuras De Sarapiqui" and they offer well trained personnel to assist with the very best river experience wether it's your first time or you are an advanced adrenaline junkie. The cost is very reasonable and the experience is priceless. Halfway down the river the raft guides stop to rest and provide fresh watermelon and pineapple for the rafters. Most times you can jump off a cliff and dive into the river if the water level is high enough and the currents are not carrying debris. Bu far my favorite of all activities. Some of Costa Rica's Olympic competitors offer their services through this employer as your skilled guides.

Zip-Line: You can also take a zip-line or canopy tour nearby. This tour is also offered by the "Aventuras De Sarapiqui" guides. You can book both and save money. This tour is by far the safest and I would recommend it to any first time brave, adventuresome, thrill seeking, individual. To put it nicely, my friend's 80 year old mother did it in 2011. There are 14 cables and a little short hike but well worth it. We have done the canopy tour (zip-lined) and repelled at other locations where some even included rock climbing or swinging like Tarzan from a rope and I must say this is a great tour for first timers and for thrill seekers alike.

Horse-Back Riding: Epic! Offered by "Caballos De Sarapiqui" is the best. Great family business and the boys have grown literally in front of our eyes very quickly. We were so surprised to have these young boys take us on a tour with the highest professionalism and special attention to safety by such young guides. Now that these boys are grown we find them guiding the tours through different trails and each trip is even more exciting than the last.

Other Activities: The Reception Desk can assist you with arranging activities to suit your life style or preference. We have taken many tours while staying at SV such as; Coffee Tour, visit plantation. Pineapple Tour, see how and where pineapples come from start to ship. Enjoy a pineapple daiquiri and piña colada cake. Banana Tour, visit a banana plantation. Chocolate Tour, visit cacao plantation and learn how chocolate is made and how it was used for trade & bargaining. River Tour, take a boat ride down the river and experience all the wildlife along its banks. This is very pleasant tranquil experience and perfect time to bring that camera, camcorder, and binoculars. City Tour, visit Puerto Viejo and enjoy a true small town experience. Pick up a few stamps at the local post office and mail those post cards while you are there. Even "Instagram" can't replace that special feeling when you get a post card. Enjoy an ice cream or stop by a local bar for some ceviche and cold beer. You can do a little shopping for souvenirs or just enjoy the mingling with the locals.

In SUMMATION: Everywhere in Costa Rica is beautiful and a place is only as pleasant as you wish to make it; however, if you want a special down to earth natural experience where you can feel like you truly experienced the country, the culture, and the people, this is the place.

PURA VIDA!

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Raquel G
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 5 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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