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“No Frills - Nice Birdwatching!”
Review of Hotel Cerro Lodge

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Hotel Cerro Lodge
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Tarcoles
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 16 August 2013

The biggest appeal of the Cerro Lodge and the reason we chose to stay there was for the close proximity to Carara and the Scarlet Macaws. Within 20 mins of being there, I think we had counted nearly 30 macaws flying overhead! It was awesome! The room was spacious and easily could have slept 5 (we were only 4) and had a functional A/c unit which we used only a tiny bit but it worked fine. We loved the outdoor bathroom / shower area which gave it a very rough and tumble feel. My biggest knock on the room itself is that the lighting was abysmal. We tried to read at night before bed, as we often do, and there was just not enough light from the small CFL to achieve this. There was 1 side lamp which again was not adequate. We did visit the pool which looked like it could have used a little TLC but it cooled us off, which was our ultimate goal. I think the food was pretty average and the oddity of the dining area is that the tables are seriously made for someone who is 6' or taller. My family, all of 5'7 or smaller, struggled to sit in a normal position at the table and bench and reach our food comfortably. My 8 year old daughter couldn't really do it at all. I would describe the staff as positive but not welcoming or inviting. The 'office' for check in is located next to the kitchen and folks are doing double duty. They appeared to have no interest in having a conversation or providing any information. You asked a question - they answered. Nothing more, nothing less. This is not a bad thing, its just slightly awkward and unexpected. We did have a very enjoyable experience when a huge flock of parakeets visited the mango tree next to our room and had their breakfast for awhile. It was impressive to see the staff clean up dropped mango's from the path extremely fast to keep the resort looking nice and clean.

Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
5  Thank HokieInGermantown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 12 August 2013

We just returned from 3 nights at Cerro Lodge which we thoroughly enjoyed. Our overall impression of the facilities was very good, and we enjoyed our stay. The birding on the property was good and the location is very accessible to wonderful birding areas in the Tarcoles River and Carara National Park both of which we visited. The walk down the road to the right from the lodge entrance is very nice with excellent views to the Tarcoles River.

The rooms are basic but we were comfortable there even in August. It was a little musty from being closed up and we had to air it out by keeping the door open during the day when we were there. If you have any valuables there are no safes in the room. We didn't have a problem. The air conditioner worked fine to cool the room quickly and then the fan was great for comfortable sleeping overnight. The outdoor bathroom with little garden is really neat and we showered with a little frog and a large toad present. Iguanas like to sun on the roofs and can startle you with the noise of them running around. They sleep at night.

There is a small pool that is refreshing from the heat. It has chairs but no recliners. The free wifi worked fine in the restaurant lounge area. There is no access in the rooms. There is a small balcony outside the cabins with a wooden bench to sit on.

The food was very good throughout our stay and the staff were very helpful and ensured there were gluten free options for Anne. Breakfast is a buffet and included in the room price. It included fresh fruit, juice, coffee, hot options. Lunch and dinner cost $15 per person and came with a soup to start and a choice of fish, chicken, pork or beef. Veggies were on the side. The staff (Yonory, Gabriel) spoke limited English but we had great fun practicing our Spanish and had no problems at all. There is always cold water, juices and soft drinks available in the fridge located in the restaurant area. You have a receipt book for your cabin number and you write in your purchase and pay at check out. You can pay with credit cards but neither of ours worked and the owner, Federico was kind enough to let us transfer funds to his account through Banco Nacionale when we went to the town of Atenas.

There were scarlet macaws flying over every morning and late afternoon and this is a highlight for anyone. The ever-present flocks of parakeets were always fun to listen to and watch as well. Caracas, hawks, falcons and vultures were plentiful in the area at all times of day.

Overall we would recommend the lodge for anyone who wants a quiet stay in a peaceful setting and good access to the great birding in this area. We had a rental vehicle so were able to visit the surrounding areas at our convenience.

Room Tip: We were in cabin number 4, which had air conditioning and two double beds, is farthest away from the...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Tim and Anne H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2013

Yes, the rooms can get hot, but it's the tropics, folks. And the fans do cool off the rooms nicely in the evenings. The furnishings are clean and simple, with comfortable beds and the cabinas have those excellent semi-outdoor bathrooms! Federico and his entire staff were wonderful, They were able to arrange drivers and reservations at practically a moment's notice. Everyone on staff was cordial and helpful. They did a great deal to make our stay fun and memorable. The food was more than simply good. It was delicious! and there was a lot of it, from salad to dessert. Where in the US do you get soup, salad, entree and dessert for $15.00?
The birding right from our front porch was awesome; raptors and macaws and parrots all day long with the occasional magpie jay, tanager flock or woodpecker for variety. If you stay more than one night, you MUST bird the road outside the lodge. We had 68 species of birds in three hours. We never even made it to the bottom of the hill! Small list of the birds seen on the road: laughing falcon, grey hawk, king vulture, violaceous and black-headed trogon, euphonias, tanagers, seedeaters, sparrows, a really nice introduction to CR's bird life. Aaand black and white owl on two consecutive nights.
It's close to Carara and to the Tarcoles river tours so you can round out your birding without long drives. If you're a birder, this is the place to stay.

Room Tip: The cabins look out over the distant Pacific, nice sunset views. At least one cabin has AC as of our...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Andy E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 June 2013

My wife and I stayed here for one night so that we would be close to the ferry port in Puntarenas. Had been visiting some of the other beautiful locations in Costa Rica. I was focussing on birds, but my wife on photography.

As we drove along the road approaching Cerro Lodge, it was very clear that this would be a great birding location. The Scarlet Macaws from Carrara NP were returning to the mangroves near the coast for the night. Many of them. Saw lots of other parrots along the way as well.

We had reserved one of the cabins and because I am handicapped and need a cane to walk, had to park in the lot away from the restaurant/reception area. Took a while to get someone to unlock the gate, but this spot was very close to our room.

Upon entering the room, we discovered that it was stiflingly hot. This was the hottest room where we stayed anywhere in Costa Rica. There were two ceiling fans that looked to be large and powerful, but we never got a sense of any air circulation. Because the windows were at the level where people could see into the room as they walked by, we did not feel comfortable leaving the curtains open with the screens exposed. Perhaps this would have helped a bit with the heat, but we would have had no privacy.

My wife was ill so the heat was particularly hard on her. She was somewhat horrified when she first saw the outdoor bathroom, but grew to like it. I thought it was neat, and liked it because it was cooler than the room, and I took a few showers during the night, hearing the amazing night sounds of the area while cooling off. A suggestion that I would make to management is to put a screen door outside the door to the bathroom. That would allow guests to leave the main door open while getting some circulation of outside air without giving up privacy.

The sunset was amazing and we could see the Pacific as well as the Nicoya Peninsula as the sun went down. Glorious.

I was disappointed to have missed the black and white owl. Heard it calling over and over for a long period of time. Tried to imitate the call, and it seemed to change position in response, but I never saw it. I'd read that the best place to see it was when walking along the lighted pathways near the rooms and pool. Oh well, at least I got to hear it.

Spend quite a bit of time in the pool by myself after dark. It was cooling, and there were always the night sounds around which I enjoyed hearing.

For the price, I would have appreciated air conditioning or at least an effective was to circulate air. We stayed in several other locations in Costa Rica at low elevations in hot, humid areas, and the found the temperature in the rooms much more comfortable. It made it very difficult to sleep well.

I thought that the dinner food was good, though my wife could not eat much because of her illness. And breakfast was adequate, about what I expected.

The birding is so good that it is probably worth some of the heat discomfort, but if management could deal with this issue, this lodge could be almost perfect.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank David S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 June 2013

We enjoyed our time at Cerro Lodge although it was fairly basic. The cabin was sparten and very hot. The food was average. The grounds, although small, were great for scarlet macaws, motmots, aracaris and a black and white owl. There is a very scenic walk down the quiet road beyond the lodge and through the farm gate on the left at the bottom of the hill to the Tarcoles river and crocodile bridge. Although the farm gate says private, lodge guests have permission to use it. The lodge is also convenient for Carara National Park a few miles away - only a short distance past the bridge. Carara is a fabulous place for birds- we saw lots without needing a guide. Although strictly speaking it is not supposed to open until 7am you can enter the riverside trail at dawn and pay the park fee later. We spent 5 hours there and wished we had more time before our pickup. In conclusion would recommend Cerro Lodge for birdwatchers and as good value for money. .

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Des Langford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 June 2013

Family of 4 traveling with 2 young kids (almost 3yo and 1yo). Stayed 2 nights. Beautiful bungalows and property. Neat outdoor bathroom with shower, except for mosquitoes saying ‘hi’ from time to time. Very good breakfast with continental extras as buffet style, so plentiful breakfast for the whole family. Hotel made dinner (only 4 standard choices: fish dish, pork dish, chicken dish or ‘can’t remember’). Dinner included soup, salad, main dish, and dessert for flat fee of $15. Little pool to get refreshed was nice. Macaws flew over the property a few times. Room was nice, spacious and clean, beds were comfortable and sheets were soft.
Negative points:
- No real reception corner: arrived on Sunday afternoon and only guard (appeared to be) to give us room keys. No words were spoken as he didn’t seem to know much English at all. Corresponded with Federico by email for reservation (who’s English seemed pretty good) but we haven’t met him, at least we were not introduced to him.
- No one (gardener, kitchen ladies, guard or manager/owner) were interested in talking. It was very strange, but maybe there was a language barrier.
- Room rate was quite expensive for minimally-furnished room without air conditioning (only two ceiling fans)
- No real farm (only one cow, one goat, one pig, each in a tiny cage, and chickens).
Would recommend it for 1-2 nights.

Room Tip: Bungalow #3 was nice.
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  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Florence B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 May 2013

Our stay at Cerro Lodge was enjoyable. The rooms are large and feature lovely wood furniture. The bathrooms have 3 conventional walls and one wall of greenery and shade cloth. We were awakened in the morning by a group of Scarlet Macaws in the trees just outside our casita. Two of the large birds stayed in the area for a couple of hours and allowed us to watch them while we had breakfast. There were lots of other birds around to see, and lovely territorial views. The food was very good and the staff were uniformly helpful and pleasant. This lodge is close to the Carrara Park where the birding is very good, and local guides will pick you up at your doorstep. There are also river cruises available on the Tarcoles River where you can see lots of birds and crocodiles.

Room Tip: The casitas are cooler than the smaller rooms.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Pat M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Cerro Lodge

Address: Intermedios Tarcoles, Tarcoles 4023, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Tarcoles
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Tarcoles
Price Range: £53 - £104 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Cerro Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Strongly recommended for Birdwatchers and Photographers. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cerro Hotel Tarcoles
Hotel Cerro Lodge Costa Rica/Tarcoles

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