Our experience at Crocodile Bay was top notch. We travel quite a bit and this particular location and resort more than exceeded our expectations.
Here's a detailed review of our experiences at the resort and on the ecotours:
A. General Resort Facilities
The resort is very well maintained in terms of building structures and the grounds. I was actually surprised to hear that the resort was more than 5 years old as it was certainly in great shape! The main building houses reception, offices, three games rooms (one with slot machines, another with a pool table, and another with a TV and fooseball table), a bar, a very large gift shop, and dining room. At the reception area they provide a computer with free internet access. The bar is quite busy at night with most folks back from a long day of fishing and ecotours. The atmosphere is laid back and friendly - I even noticed a few solo travellers who had no trouble fitting in. The gift shop is full of a variety of clothing (a HUGE selection of men's shirts!) and local souvenirs from throughout Costa Rica. The prices actually didn't seem too bad when compared with San Jose.
The pool area is really relaxing and clean. I really enjoyed seeing the "Jesus Christ" lizards playing around - they are called this because they like to run across the pool water once in awhile. They also have a jacuzzi tub which is nice in the evening. Nearby the pool is a large patio with 6 large hammocks on it. It's a great place to relax.
They planted many almond trees at the resort and these have attracted several pairs of Macaws (the beautiful red birds). You see them flying around (or hear them!) all the time which is great!
Crocodile Bay is made up of a series of small 2 story buildings. Our unit was #27 within a building of 4 units, 2 units upstairs and 2 on the main floor. We loved our particular unit as it was at the end of the buildings and mid-way between the pier and the pool. It was also on the upper floor. The units are very large. Our had a large verandah with 2 rocking chairs, a small air conditioned entry room with a single bed, couch and desk, a large bedroom with 2 double beds and a desk, and a large bathroom with closet, double sinks, toilet and large shower. We certainly had more than enough space for 2 people. This style of room is great for families as the kids can have their own space separate from the parents. Some rooms have hardwood floors and others have tile. I loved the hardwood but did worry that our neighbours below us would find it very creaky when we walked across the floor! Note that there are also a few standalone "houses" for larger families. My husband visited one of them and said it was very spacious and nice.
The spa is just over one year old. They've designed a beautiful, comfortable building with ample room for growth. I estimate more than 6 treatment rooms! You will find your experience at this spa to be of the caliber and quality of what you'd find in a classy spa in North America. I went to the spa twice. First, I had a volcanic clay body wrap with mini facial. I liked the idea of being lightly scrubbed down in "mud" and then wrapped in huge banana leaves - it was really a true rainforest experience! On my second visit, I had an "after sun package" which included a gentle body scrub, an herbal massage and a hydrating facial. Both experiences were great and I would highly recommend them. The hours of the spa are also extensive which allows almost any traveller to be accomodated.
Although this is a small resort, the food and beverage selection and quality is excellent. Some meals are served buffet style and the selection is very diverse to meet a variety of dietary needs. For dinner, for example, on buffet offered BBQ chicken, fish, and beef, PLUS chicken lasagna and seafood paella. Most days at lunch, you can order what you want from a menu. Again, the selection and variety of options is excellent. There were 7 of us in our group (included a 12 year old boy) and no one ever had difficulty finding something they liked. The staff is also quite flexible in terms of any special wishes like "no cilantro on my salad", etc. The resort also serves snacks at 4pm in the bar. In terms of drinks, the variety, again, was very good. As I don't drink alcohol, I can't comment on the variety there - just on what I saw on the shelves behind the bar. For non-alcoholic beverages, they had a variety of options. I especially loved their banana milkshakes.
My husband went fishing 4 times (both in and offshore). I think it's great that each night they write up the fishing results on a whiteboard so folks can compare their successes with others. They also stock the boats - which are very modern - with ample food and beverages for the day. The pier is apparently one of the longest in the world. I don't think I heard a single complaint about the quality of their fishing program. My husband seemed very happy with it!
This is where I spent most of my time! Below is a quick summary of what I did and my rating. Details on what each tours include are posted on the Crocodile Bay website.
-Osa Wildlife Santuary by Boat: My favorite! You actually get to experience monkeys, sloths, etc. firsthand - like literally running around the area, climing on your head, etc. Worth every penny! Tip: Don't wear suntan lotion (wrap yourself in a towel on the boat for the 30 min ride over) so you can hold the baby animals. The area is well shaded.
-Finca Kobo Chocolate Farm: Very informative in terms of learning how chocolate is made. Nice and quick tour which allows you to get to the good part - the chocolate tasting! They give you a HUGE selection of fresh organic fruits, nuts, and homemade banana bread to dip into a large bowl of fresh melted chocolate. It's a dark, gritty chocolate - yum yum!
-Miramar Canopy Zip Line: Our first time and it certainly won't be our last! In fact, we loved the tour so much that we went back the next day to do it again in the NIGHT. Both the day and night experiences were fantastic. You get to go on 8 zip lines which is just the right amount. During the day tour, a travel agent from the UK was in the group and she said the safety measures at this particular place were significantly better than other places she's visted in the world. I'm not really an adventurous athletic person and I loved it!
-Mangrove Kayak: Although you don't see very much in terms of wildlife, it's a nice and peaceful way to pass a morning. I've never kayaked before and didn't have too many issues. You do need strong arms though for a few spots where the current is a tad stronger.
-Jungle Night Walk: This one was a disappointed. The guide was very knowledgeable and nice. But, the area didn't really have much wildlife. We only saw a few frogs, a couple poisonous spiders, and one snake (sleeping in a tree). If they changed the area this was located in, it would likely be a better tour.
-Butterfly Farm and Crocodile Lagoon: This is right on the resort and free. The butterflies are really a site to see and worth the 2 minute walk over. Lots of crocodiles to see as well!
-Playa Preciosa: Great private beach area with a long extensive beachline that you can walk along. Safe swimming with nice sand. There's also a lodge there where you can buy drinks - although Crocodile Bay gives you a cooler of drinks to take with you. They have several palapas (covered areas) where you can sit in the shade on the beach. The lodge there has a really funny Golden Retriever dog who will quickly become your buddy and even lie in the sand right in the water with you!
*Although I didn't have time to go on the RainForest Tour, I talked to many people who said it was the best tour out of all the ones they went on. I strongly recommend investigating this tour before selecting your ecotours.
**For each tour, they provide you with a cooler of drinks (which stay in the truck/boat while you are enjoying the tour). A guide - all speak excellent English - accompanies you on each tour. I really liked the fact that you can usually book the tour the night before - they are very flexible about this.
G. Location in Costa Rica
I really liked the fact that we were visiting a more remote area of Costa Rica, as opposed to the NorthWestern parts. Puerto Jimenez is a quaint area where you could easily feel safe walking around. Crocodile Bay is only a 5 minute ride from the air strip. I liked the fact that we were on a gulf. This meant we could enjoy almost "lake like" conditions, as well as true beach conditions (Playa Preciosa), and a rainforest environment - all in one place!
H. Process to Get There/Home
Crocodile Bay has really perfected this process. When you arrive in San Jose, they have someone waiting right outside of customs with your name clearly displayed on a sign. They then take you to your overnight hotel in San Jose (if required). The hotel we stayed in was the Melia and, except for a few slowness issues at reception and in the restaurant, everything was enjoyable. The next day, the Crocodile Bay staff pick you up and take you to the other airport for your Nature Air flight to Puerto Jimenez. Wow - what a beautiful experience - these planes have large windows in them so you can truly see the beauty of Costa Rica. It is breathtaking and changes quite a bit every 5-10 minutes. When you arrive in Puerto Jimenez, the staff is right there to pick you up. They take your luggage to your hotel room separately and there are no issues of trust. In fact, my husband's passport accidentally fell out of his pocket on the drive over. The driver promptly returned it to him the next day when he discovered it while sweeping the truck. Phew! When you arrive, it only takes about 5 minutes to check in and they already have a welcome drink waiting for you - even at a 7am arrival! I was VERY impressed at how smooth the process is. You literally don't have to think when you arrive in San Jose. The return process is just as smooth and easy.
I. The Staff
All staff speaks English. Of course, some are a bit better than others but generally we didn't have any issues communicating. In fact, when you arrive, they tell you that the key to a great vacation is communicating your needs. If something isn't working for you or you want something else, just speak up - they will do whatever they can to meet your needs. We found all staff to be very receptive to our needs. They all seem to really enjoy working there.
Phew! Lots to say about our fabulous experience. Feel free to email me if you have questions!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- All-inclusive packages for World-class Billfishing offshore or Roosterfish, Snapper, & Dorado inshore. Kids love our 24 exclusive Ecotours - Corcovado Rainforest, Zipline, Mangrove Kayaking, & Moms love our luxurious state-of-the-art Spa with a full complement of 30+ Spa massages, facials and full body treatments. Set on 44 lush tropical acres in the bio-diverse Osa Peninsula. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Crocodile Bay Hotel Puerto Jimenez
- Crocodile Bay Resort Costa Rica/Puerto Jimenez