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“A uniquely serene jewel in the rainforest”

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Esquinas Rainforest Lodge
Ranked #2 of 11 Hotels in Golfito
Certificate of Excellence
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“A uniquely serene jewel in the rainforest”
Reviewed 26 May 2014

Esquinas is quite unlike anywhere we've stayed before - a unique combination of Costa Rican laid back and Austrian efficiency. The whole ethos of the place is perhaps best illustrated by the bar. Firstly, it works on an honesty basis - just help yourself and write down what you took in the book. Secondly, there is a colony of lined bats roosting above the beer fridge - they come and go as they please through the open sides of the spectacular thatched main lodge, providing excellent pre-dinner entertainment for keen nature photographers. Originally set up by Rainforest of the Austrians - a charity that has saved a significant chunk of pacific rainforest in Costa Rica - Esquinas manages to be right on without shoving its credentials in your face, and it seems to care as much about its guests and the local villagers as it does about the lovely environment that it's set in.

Nestled in a tiny clearing surrounded by pristine rainforest, Esquinas is about as close to nature as it gets whilst maintaining easy access to a warm shower and a functioning loo. Turtles and caiman have moved into the lodge's two ponds of their own accord; frogs and basilisks abound and we saw agouti right outside our lodgings. There's a pool for the human occupants too - fed by Esquinas's own stream. The tap water comes from the same source and we can vouch for its potability.

Esquinas has a mere 15 rooms and ours was immaculately turned out with lace-edged sheets, bed covers woven from forest fibres by the local indigenous people, and colourful appliqué curtains made by the ladies in Gamba, the nearby village. Its green credentials are impeccable and the food was lovingly prepared from mostly home-grown ingredients. You can wander round the garden and see where your grub is coming from. There were few other guests there during our stay but conversation flowed freely between tables and with the super-informative and helpful staff at mealtimes. Our visit wasn't remotely marred by the vast amounts of rain that fell in the afternoons - we hunkered down in the main lodge with coffee and wifi on tap and ploughed through the vast number of photos that we'd taken during the mornings, trying to identify every creature we'd seen using our own books and those in the lodge's quite well-supplied library.

Esquinas offers quite a wide array of activities for such a small place, although trips may have to be reorganised at short notice if the weather's inclement. We spent a good half day on a boat trip in the mangrove swamps of the Golfo Dulce, and did a couple of guided hikes. The lodge has several trails; it was very wet and muddy when we were here so some were closed and we were advised not to walk in the afternoons because of the higher chance of rain. We were glad of the wells provided when we did attempt the bird trail - after a couple of afternoons' downpours some of the paths had turned to streams. You can borrow bicycles or go go on horseback to explore the longer trails although we ran out of time to do this - all the more reason to go back! The guides are from the local village and know their wildlife well; communication was occasionally a bit tricky (we have about two words of Spanish between us) but this didn't cause any problems. The information provided on the lodge, its environment, and how best to enjoy your stay is well written and diplomatically backed up by the helpful staff. Three nights here wasn't enough for me and I can't wait to return. It's a hard place to reach (single-prop 12-seater plane from San Jose followed by some very skilled driving down a long unmade road) but worth every bit of the effort.

Room Tip: We were given a twin room but I noticed that they do have proper doubles - it's worth asking whe...
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank TimperleyEarly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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230 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (32)
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English first
Tewksbury, Massachusetts
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 16 May 2014

This was an interesting place to stay, it reminded my of the summer camp I went to as a boy, only nicer. You should know that the cabins are screened in but they do not have windows or air conditioning. It was cool enough in the rainforest to sleep comfortably with the ceiling fan going. It was rustic but not without charm. I enjoyed hiking in the rainforest but this is not a place I would want to stay at for a long stay. It is in a somewhat remote location and you will not be able to go out on the town at night from here, but if you want to experience the rainforest it is worth the trip. The dining area is open air and yes, those are bats in the bar area.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled solo
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1 Thank Carl G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Spijkenisse, The Netherlands
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed 9 May 2014

We enjoyed our stay in the logde, nice staff and people. We felt realy welcome. The forrest is overwhelming and nice trails for hiking around the lodge. A good place for bird watchers esspecially in the morning and late afternoon. The food was great and if you had special wishes you were asked upfront. Great tours availeble we liked the mangrove tour very much.
Great place to forget the hectics of normal life at home.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank WouterVerbaan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Candler, North Carolina
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 May 2014

I absolutely loved this peaceful place. Everyone was super accommodating and the sleeping cabins and lounge/restaurant area was very clean. The food was local and excellent with fresh fruit juice served at every meal.

The only reason I didn't give this a five start is because there are no prices for solo travelers who want to take the individual tours and they are so worth it. Just wish there were prices for singles, or at a discounted fee.

All in all, the employees and tour guides made this stay unforgettably enjoyable and exciting. They were THE best in explaining and exemplifying what this ecolodge is all about. This was the best part of my stay in Costa Rica.

Room Tip: You are truly one with nature here. There is an internet connection in the lodge but not in the room...
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank MichCo2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
robinwood2, Inhaber at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, responded to this review, 8 May 2014
Thank you for your tip. We are hesitant to offer guided tours for single guests because they would be unproportionately expensive. A boat tour, for instance, costs us the same whether for one guest or 6 guests because we must pay the taxi, the guide, the boatman and the gasoline in any case. That is why the boat tours are for a minimum of 2 guests. We do offer guided hikes for one person, even though they cost the same as for 2 or 3 persons. We will, however, reconsider our policy and try to offer all tours for individualk guests, even if they might cost more.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Berlin, Germany
1 review
Reviewed 4 May 2014

Very good tour-program with well-informed friendly guides who try to realize all individual wishes and regards special interests .
The Lodge is situated in a nice naturtal garden that hosts a lot of animals .
We enjoyed the good cooking with a good mix of local and international food .

Room Tip: For longer stays the villa is recommended because of more space
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank Cornelia W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fife
Level 6 Contributor
183 reviews
140 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 April 2014

Great little place with the best food I had in my whole 2 week trip. Staff very friendly & attentive. Great honesty bar in evening - a unique experience.
Lodges are roomy, simple but comfortable. Didn't sleep great but that was due to all the wildlife noise (so I can't complain as that is what i came her for). I had some cute bats roosting outside the door of my room :-)
Refreshing stream fed pool - great for a dip after a sweaty jungle trek.
Tip : keep your suitcase firmly closed whilst staying here & only remove essential items - it is so humid that everything will get damp otherwise.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Doofer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leicestershire
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 26 April 2014

Stayed for just 2 nights as part of an Exodus tour. What a place, never been anywhere quite like it. Comfortable rooms, good food, friendly staff, brilliant wildlife. No good if you're not comfortable with all sorts of bugs being around - also you get an early alarm call from all the wildlife whether you like it or not!

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank Congystag
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Esquinas Rainforest Lodge

Property: Esquinas Rainforest Lodge
Address: Piedras Blancas National Park | La Gamba, Golfito 60701, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Osa Peninsula > Golfito
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 11 Hotels in Golfito
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:3 star — Esquinas Rainforest Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Esquinas Lodge in southern Costa Rica, only 3 miles off the Interamerican Highway and 30 minutes from Golfito airport, is part of a model project combining conservation, ecotourism, research, reforestation and community aid. The lodge is 100% carbon-neutral and has 16 rooms, a restaurant, a bar and a pool. The 35-acre private reserve, surrounded by 2500 acres of untouched rainforest, attracts many mammals and over 200 species of birds. Activities include hiking, horseback riding, birdwatching, and boat and kayak tours in nearby Golfo Dulce. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Esquinas Rainforest Hotel Golfito
Esquinas Rainforest Lodge Costa Rica/Golfito

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