Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge
What We Love
- The rate includes a boat transfer from Puerto Jimenez Airport (PJM) or Golfito Airport (GLF) to Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, three meals, snacks, unlimited self-guided hikes on the preserve, use of kayaks, snorkeling and fishing equipment
- Yoga bliss at sunrise and sunset on the seaside platform
- Great for a group of friends or families
- READ MORE: Find your perfect Costa Rica vacation
What To Know
- All additional person fees are to be paid upon arrival to the property
- This is an early-to-bed/early-to-rise-with-the-howler-monkeys kind of place
- The lodge is cooled by ceiling fans, not air conditioning
- Getting off the grid is all part of the appeal: no air con, guest phone or Internet
With a front-yard beach bordering Golfo Dulce, where dolphins play and occasionally a humpback whale swims in from the Pacific Ocean, and a back yard of pristine rain forest laced with trails and waterfalls, Playa Nicuesa is the ultimate back-to-nature escape. The main lodge is an open-air two-story affair, fitted out with a library, lounge and terrace bar, hammocks and game tables. On the second floor — open all around to the forest canopy — guests dine family-style (by candlelight at day’s end) at a long, handcrafted wood table, often joined by several staff members.
Bed and Bath
Surrounded by a jungly garden area and framed by mango trees, the four cozy guestrooms in the two-story Mango Guest House offer private terraces, handsome hardwood floors underfoot and ceiling fans overhead. Louver doors and windows wrap around the rooms for panoramic rain forest viewing, and there are queensize canopy beds (or twins on request), and private baths with open-air garden showers. Fresh flowers decorate the rooms each day, and towels are hung on pieces of driftwood.
Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge caters to guests with delicious meals and exotic drinks, three resident naturalist guides, a yoga and aromatherapy massage specialist, a full roster of touring and sporting activities, and always attentive service. The meals are healthy, somewhat exotic and creatively presented, and they focus on national and regional cuisine. Request a garden tour with Memmo, Playa Nicuesa’s cheery groundskeeper, and you’ll hear all about sweet apples and the sour guava (harvested for juices and jams). Occasionally you may want to dine privately at a small table; just ask.
In the Area
Take the Edible Landscape Tour, and go foraging for exotic edibles in garden and rain forest, then play assistant to the chef, who works the findings into a savory meal. Or hit the Nocturnal Hike Trail toward the lagoon with Tomas, the lodge’s charismatic animal tracker; night scopes and flashlights help in the search of crocodiles, marine toads, bats and night mammals such as kinkajous and mapaches. Experience the Esquinas River by kayak, exploring the mangroves teeming with wildlife — crocodiles, caimans and myriad birds — or kayak easily from the lodge across Golfe Dulce to take a guided tour of the botanical gardens (and 100 orchid species) of Casa de Orquideas. Surfing aficionados can catch a wave off Playa Matapalo, at the southeastern tip of the Osa Peninsula, while novices can sign up for an all-day lesson.
How to Get There
Rounding up from 4.5 stars. This place is reachable via a short-hop flight and then a boat, which makes it nice and remote. The staff were friendly and helpful, the food (veggie-friendly) was simple but delicious, and the room was comfortable. But the highlight was being in the middle of the jungle. Five bats hung out outside my room, sometimes there were spiders inside (definitely check bed, baggage, etc.), and one night we were all woken up by furious rummaging outside (turned out to be an armadillo). The lodge offers interesting hiking, water, and other activities. I particularly enjoyed the waterfall hike and the night hike. Fellow travelers from around the world were fun to chat with. I stayed for 3 nights which was just right for me. Definitely recommend if you are looking for a nature-filled time away from hectic tourism (and it's not too remote or scary if you are a seasoned hiker/camper).
We ended our Costa Rica trip with two nights at Playa Nicuesa. We were greeted at the dock in Golfito by the manager, Sven, and after a 15-20 minute water taxi ride, arrived at our lodging. You are very isolated at Playa Nicuesa, but you are well taken care of - after getting lunch in the dining area of the Lodge, we made chocolate from scratch since there was once a cacao plantation on the grounds. After dinner, we went for a night hike with Valeria as our guide. we saw lots of tree frogs, lizards, and big spiders on the hike, Valeria was a very knowledgeable guide. The accommodations are fairly minimal compared to a hotel, but the lack of windows (rooms are screened in) allow you to listen to the sounds of the jungle as you go to sleep. We were awakened in the morning to the sound of howler monkeys in the distance. We got up early for birdwatching, and were rewarded with great views of parrots, toucans, and numerous tropical birds. It would be almost impossible to not see scarlet macaws, who make frequent, loud visits to the almond tree down by the beach. Next we headed out on Golfo Dulce in search of spotted dolphins, and we ended up amongst a school of them, jumping around our boat. Our guide for birdwatching and dolphin boat trip was Josue, who is both knowledgeable and also entertaining. If you are looking for a trip into the biodiverse region of southern Costa Rica, and are willing to leave hotel comforts behind, you'll have a great time at Playa Nicuesa.
Don't underestimate the fact that you are traveling to the rainforest and will be part of nature on this vacation.There will be wildlife all around you - in the trees, on the ground, sometimes in your cabin. We are city dwellers and were prepared to be visitors to the rainforest world and loved it. We saw three kinds of monkeys and enjoyed the incredible wake up call of the Howlers.We went on the Golfo Dulce tour and saw spotted dolphins. We did the River Tour to see the Mangroves (and a baby croc and bottle nosed dolphins). We enjoyed the Night Tour, Early Morning Birding, Bat Conservation Talk, Chocolate Making and Waterfall Hike. We also used the trails for self guided walks. We had time to sit on the beach, read and watch the scarlet macaws, toucans, flycatchers and lizards galore. We swam in the very warm waters right off the dock and used the paddleboards. Staying 5 nights allowed us to settle in and enjoy many aspects of this unique place. The food is absolutely amazing! I loved the way they organized the daily meals - at breakfast you order lunch and and lunch you order dinner. The fruit smoothies and fresh juices are fantastic! Packing: We followed their packing list and were glad to have had a lot of tshirts. We each had 3 - 4 pair of shoes (closed toed, water sandals and flip flops)...we advise keep a pair of shoes dry/clean even just for the trip home. They do have rubber boots to borrow if you find you'd rather wear those for a walk or hike. We highly recommended this place as a very unique experience - the accommodations, service and food are First Class. This is not an air-conditioned beach resort- think "Glamping" in the jungle with all the amenities. An open-air shower in the jungle is true luxury.
We loved it here. The staff is very attentive and wonderful. The location had everything we wanted. We hiked in the jungle behind us. We swam, snorkeled and kayaked in the ocean in front of us. We enjoyed yoga each morning. The meals were very tasty. Our room was in the back close to the jungle and upstairs. We loved it! We could see fire flies at night and listen everything coming to life in the morning. We highly recommend this wonderful place.
Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is just that a lodge in the rainforest. The staff is amazing and always helpful, the food is excellent with many choices each day. the guides are very knowledgeable of the area and always willing to lend information.