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“Not quite what we had expected”
Review of Aguila de Osa Inn

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Aguila de Osa Inn
Ranked #4 of 8 Hotels in Drake Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Hampshire, UK
Level 6 Contributor
168 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 250 helpful votes
“Not quite what we had expected”
Reviewed 31 January 2009

Hmmm – this was a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the situation, right in the rain forest, was pretty spectacular. We were greeted with welcome drinks and a delightful lunch made from fresh local ingredients. As with other reviews, we had bought the 'all-inclusive' deal and found it no longer applied. After discussing this with the owner, Brad (note - it's NOT under new management, as Brad has been running it for 15 years) he relented a bit and gave us wine with our meals.

The rooms, while fairly spacious, were pretty basic and not particularly well-maintained or cleaned. The furnishings of a standard room comprise two double beds with a small table and lamp in between, a refrigerator (empty) with some coffee cups and whitener (but no coffee-making facilities), some open shelves, a hanging rail and a table doubling as a case-stand. There is a ceiling fan but no air conditioning, and all rooms have mesh (not glass) windows with slatted blinds. The rooms are in blocks – typically 3 or sometimes 2 to a block, and the end rooms have mesh windows down the sides as well as at the front, aiding ventilation. (We were in 3, which was OK. Our friends were in 4, which got a bit steamy as the ventilation is limited).

Hot water was unreliable – I never managed to have enough to complete a 5-minute shower - and the bathrooms seem rather shabby and poorly maintained. The plug assembly in our wash basin had clearly been broken for some time, the ‘Italian’ tiles (as advertised in the brochure) were nondescript and had seen better days – probably 15 years ago – as had the shower curtain (yes, curtain). However, our verandah was pleasant, with rocking chairs and small tables, and a flask of coffee left for us at 5 every morning.

We also felt the service and meals were variable, and seemed to depend very much on who was on duty. On the first 2 days the lunches and evening meals were good, sometimes excellent. (as described in other reviews). However, the meat on offer (pork and mahi-mahi) never changed, and the meals were at best lukewarm and frequently cold. (As was the coffee at breakfast). We did sometimes get the impression that we were being served re-processed leftovers from the previous meal. However, the appetisers offered before dinner and fresh juices with the meals were a nice touch and usually very tasty.

The wildlife excursions were very good – especially the all-day trip into the Corcovado National Park, where we saw around a dozen species of land animals and a similar number of birds – but all the tours were between 30-50% more expensive than equivalent tours elsewhere in Costa Rica. The evening bird walk, for example, was $35 – it had been $26 in Villa Blanca, where the clientele were equally ‘captive’. A 2-tank scuba trip was $125, whereas it was $85 in Manuel Antonio.

The service was again quite variable. One of the two girls working the bar, restaurant and cleaning the reception area was pleasant and provided good, friendly service. The other seemed surly, and rarely smiled or responded to our friendly ‘gracias’; we’d become accustomed to most ‘Ticos’ (Costa Ricans) smiling and saying ‘con mucho gusto’ (‘with pleasure’).

Our overall impression was of a hotel marketing itself as ‘up-scale’ and catering to small select groups, charging accordingly, but not then delivering the levels of service or comfort that might reasonably be expected. Some of this is down to the cost of operating in this environment; for example, without mains electricity, it costs a fortune to generate power. (This is why Brad withdrew the all-inclusive deal, and he and his staff claim they've repeatedly told the tour operators. Clearly the message has not got through to the end clients, regardless of which company you book with). Some basic maintenance and staff training, which would cost little, would improve the customer experience significantly, but I'd suggest anyone going to Osa should check all of the options first.

  • Liked — Location, wildlife
  • Disliked — Prices, shabbiness of accommodation
  • Stayed January 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
8 Thank happy_hobbit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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  • Service
  • Value
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English first
Montreal
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 December 2008

Booked our stay almost a year in advance since we were getting married in Manuel Antonio, and wanted a special place for our honeymoon. We booked through latindestinations.com, and when we booked it was an all inclusive with wine included with supper.
We chose Aguila De Osa due to the good reviews from the past, and the fact that all was included; we did not want to count each drink and worry about cost.
Unfortunately, because of rain our flight on Sansa was canceled and we missed one day of only three at the hotel. The second day the flight managed to get us there, but upon arrival no one came to us to discuss what to do about the missed day, and the missed tour that was included in the price we'd paid. I finally had to seek out the manager and ask her what could be done, but the only thing she offered was an extra day which was impossible since we were on a set schedule and couldn't cancel. We also lost one tour that we'd paid for, and they refused to refund the price of the tour. Finally, after much complaining she finally agreed to give us the night tour in place of the one we'd lost, but the difference in price between the tour prices of $50.00 per person was not refunded.
It was also mentioned on our arrival (by an employee) that there was new management since one month, and they had decided that the alcohol would no longer be included with the supper; Not only that, but they were also charging for water, soft drinks, and any other drink you consumed from the bar. I expected them to honor the package that I'd bought as it was no fault of mine that management had changed hands, but no, they would not honor what I had bought, and would not even give me the few soft drinks we'd drank for free!! I was pregnant and would not have drank anyways, but it was the principle that I had chosen that hotel due to the amenities included, and if I'd known of the change I would have canceled and changed hotels.
We were in the master suite, and although it was quite a climb up a lot of stairs (and I'm in good shape), it was a stunning room with a fantastic view of the ocean, a huge wrap-around deck, and two hammocks for relaxing. The shower, although huge and with a window with a view of the ocean, had trouble keeping the water hot and it became frustrating to keep trying to adjust the nozzles to keep warm.
The food in the evenings was fabulous and very well cooked. They took into account everyone's food preferences and tried to make everyone happy. There was plenty of fresh fish, as well as chicken and meat dishes. Unfortunately the new staff did not speak much english. This was ok for me since I speak spanish, but not good for others. Also, the young staff wore mini jean skirts and tank tops while serving,and no one wore name tags so sometimes was difficult to tell who was staff and who was a guest. I almost mistook a young Costa Rican couple on their honeymoon for staff & was mortified!!
Altogether, it was a beautiful hotel in a gorgeous setting; te tours are out of this world, and you will not regret coming. Unfortunatly, the new management seems very cheap, and for the price we paid I expected more in respects to the service provided by the staff. I found it dishonest that they did not refund our lost day as since we couldn't arrive, the people there couldn't leave, and so they were still (probably) paid for the room. At the very least I expected to be refunded for the lost tour, but not even that was offered. The worst is not honoring the package I bought & not offering to at least waive the soft drinks!! Buyers beware.

  • Liked — Room was fantastic, great evening meal.
  • Disliked — Dishonest, cheap management
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank carli1771
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
vancouver
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 December 2008

We are planning a trip to Aguila de Osa in January, and I am hoping their service in country is far better than making a reservation. I sent email after email, all unanswered. Finally a phone call got some results, but flight details and confirmation numbers were very slow to come and only after phone calls after unanswered emails.

Trying to get any information is like pulling teeth, and definately has not left a very secure feeling that things will turn out OK. Requests went unanswered, we have been booked a flight into Palmar Sur, which is quite some distance away from the Peninsula itself. It's been over a month, and we are still trying to get information about our stay. (Nothing too complicated, like will someone pick us up at the airport, how long will the transfer take to the hotel.... fairly basic things like that!)

I'm hoping that the service will improve rapidly soon!

Stayed December 2008, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
6 Thank boathunter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Herradura, Costa Rica
Level 6 Contributor
122 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 September 2008

I wrote an entire review of my trip on my blog at http://haskellfamily.blogspot.com/2008/09/labor-day-trip.html.

This resort was amazing. From being greeted at the dock until being sent out at the end of our trip, everything was incredible. Carlos, one of the managers, made everything happen that we wanted in regard to tours and all else. Vincent was very helpful and nice as well. Our room was nice, but the hike to the room was brutal, LOL. Worth the view though. Loved the rocking chairs outside the rooms. Showers hot water was touch and go, but most of the time, we wanted cold showers because it was sooo hot out and we did a lot of hiking. The hike to the beach is very nice, and I loved the beach across the river. We took several tours with the resort, including both corcovado tours, the mangrove tour, and the night tour. On one of the tours, the guide was horrible (not from the resort) and the resort ended up giving us a huge discount on the tour, which was very nice. Food was awesome. Served family style and there was always seafood for us (we don't eat meat). Loved everything about this place. Would go there again in a heartbeat and highly recommend it for its service, location and style. Ohhh, and Coco, the resort dog is the kewlest dog ever.

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — walk to room
  • Stayed August 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Lori H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Malden, MA
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 July 2008

My husband and I had the most wonderful time celebrating our second anniversary at Aguila de Osa. From the second we got off of the tiny plane at Drake airport we were in their hands and every detail was so well planned. From the plane we were taken to a 4 wheel drive vehicle, crossed 2 rivers in it, were let off as the dirt road ended, and got into a boat which took us to the resort. The most memorable parts are the friendly and warm staff and the incredible food. For each meal there were so many choices and it was by far the best food we had during our trip to Costa Rica. They will accomodate to any dietary restrictions you have. When you arrive at the resort by boat, you arre greeted and taken to the open air dining room where you receive a welcome cocktail and juicy fresh fruit. Then you learn all about the resort and what it has to offer and you are taken to your room. The room we stayed it was #3 and there were 3 rooms in our buiding. There are rocking chairs outside the rooms where you can sit and drink the coffee they leave outside your room early morning. Each room has only screens in place of the windows which is wonderful to wake up in the midst of nature. Be prepared to wake up around 5am at the sound of the birds! If you notice, most of the negative reviews (which there are very few of) were complaints of the loud birds or having dinner at communal tables, etc. If you want A/C, private dining, and complete privacy, then this is not the place for you, but I think that is pretty obvious....but if you want to be immersed in nature but still feel somewhat pampered, come to Aguila de Osa. Jose, one of the staff members is someone we will always remember. He was so friendly and loved having conversations with us. Breakfast was cooked to order each day and there was always a plethora of fresh fruit and juice. For lunch there were platefuls of fresh fish, beef, chicken, vegetables, and salad at each table. At 6pm appetizers were served, followed by dinner at 7 in the open air dining room. After dinner we would socialize with the guests and staff and typically our bedtime was about 8:30 or 9pm. IT was great to go to sleep early and wake up with the sounds of the birds. There is a nature trail behind the grounds of the hotel which identifies many trees and plants. You can take a 15-20 minute walk over a hanging bridge through the wilderness to a beatiful beach. Coco, the resort's sheep herding dog usually followed us there and it was nice to have some company. The included excursions were wonderful, especially the Corcovado Park Tour. Carlos, the guide was very knowledgable and we saw a three toed sloth and many monkeys and a crocodile. The snorkeling around Cano Island was nice and we saw a white tipped reek shark and a turtle and lots of colorful fish. When we wanted down time we sat in the rocking chairs outside our room, layed in the hammocks, or played a game of chess. There is also internet access if you want to feel connected at the lobby area and the resort charges a nominal fee of $10 per stay. Another thing that I loved is that there are recycling bins in the room and they leave envelopes that you can give money to support the school in town. When we left we flew out of Palmar Sur, which meant we took a boat ride up the Sierpe River to Aguitas and took a taxi to the Palmar Sur airport. This was a great opportunity to see the mangroves and also monkeys and caimans. Overall, what a memorable trip. I would highly recommend Aguila de Osa and I have told so many friends that they need to go. We traveled around other parts of Costa Rica and questioned why - we wished we would've planned all of our time at Aguila de Osa!

  • Liked — Great food!
  • Disliked — Didn't get to stay long enough
  • Stayed May 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank mfagundo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gainesville, FL
Level 6 Contributor
129 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 June 2008

When you arrive at Aguila de Osa it feels like Fantasy Island. You are met with a welcome cocktail and a most beautiful scene. The landscaping is perfect and provides for excellent birding. My husband and I were looking for a place to relax and get pampered as we had just spend a rigorous week doing turtle research at Tortuguero. Aguila de Osa was just the ticket. Our (standard) room was delightful, even had a mini fridge (very handy for keeping a stock of cold water), although the bathroom light was quite dim. The food was terrific and the ticas at the bar made any drink you could think of. We scheduled a full day of fishing with Christian and Willy and caught several species, even ate our big-eye tuna sushimi style at dinner that night. Olman, the manager, made sure our every wish was fulfilled. A wonderful (yet too brief) experience!

  • Liked — Nature and outdoor opportunities
  • Disliked — Low lighting in bathroom
  • Stayed May 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank Lucyspin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
196 reviews
80 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 198 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 May 2008

We ended up staying at Aguila de Osa because another place we had tried to book was full. We were so lucky. I felt like we had arrived in Peter Pan's Neverland when we arrived on our boat. The journey there had been exciting, especially when we slowly floated our way through the mangrove swamps - It was all very Tarzan like.
The rooms were rustic and clean but perfect for where we were. The views were amazing and food perfect - they had no problems dealing with our special diet - no meat and no seafood and the communal dining meant that we got to know everyone staying there and enjoyed swapping stories and holiday experiences.
I have added it as one of my top ten destinations, and I have travelled quite a lot, so that is really saying something as I am quite hard to please.
The only thing I would point out is that this place would not be suitable for someone who does not walk well as our room was a fair climb up some rather steep steps.

  • Liked — the location!!
  • Disliked — The shower
  • Stayed December 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank ilana613
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Aguila de Osa Inn

Property: Aguila de Osa Inn
Address: Drake Bay, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Osa Peninsula > Drake Bay
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Drake Bay
#3 Romantic Hotel in Drake Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Aguila de Osa Inn 3.5*
Number of rooms: 13
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Aguila De Osa Hotel Drake Bay
Hotel Aguila De Osa
Aguila De Osa Inn Costa Rica/Drake Bay

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