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
From the moment we were met on the dock in Puerto Jimenez until we returned to it 4 days later everyone my sister and I met at Nicuesa Lodge was welcoming, friendly and helpful. Sven, the manager, is a very unique person who you can tell truly loves the rain forest, nature and the environment and enjoys sharing this with his guests. I cannot say enough about our guide Valeria! She was an enthusiastic, patient, lovely person who did everything possible to make our experience enjoyable.
The grounds of the lodge have a tropical beauty and very walkable. The shoreline is rocky but many of the rocks are laced with quartz and are beautiful. To swim you just walk to the end of the dock.
The main lodge was very comfortable with sitting areas on the lower level and the bar, dining area and observation platform upstairs. The food was delicious and wonderful fruit juices were available at the each meal.
The cabin was very private and you truly felt you were in the jungle. The shower/bathroom was partially open but there were screens between that area and the sleeping area. The porch was spacious and the roof overhang large enough to keep dry during the downpours. The outdoor bathroom was a little challenging at night since bugs and spiders can come in. You have to remember to take your shower before dark!
Overall I'd like to thank everyone at Nicuesa - we both had a wonderful experience!
I lived in this area from 1983 to 2004, so for me to return is always pleasant. We, my brother, and my granddaughter spent a few nights in June and although is rained a good bit we enjoyed the nature and quite. Although there are many animal noises, that is not what I consider noise. There was a small group there and so we were able to talk with the other guests and enjoy their company and the staff are always pleasant and helpful. It is one of the most beautiful places in Costa Rica and a wonderful and unique place to visit.
Our connections from landing in Golfito were right on time, with the short taxi ride to the awaiting boat launch over to the property. The welcoming party could not have been better scripted from a movie, with Sven, the General Manager himself awaiting our arrival accompanied with some staff members, one of which immediately handed us our welcoming tropical drinks - straight out of Fantasy Island. We were casually escorted up through the winding walk paths, past beautiful flowers, exotic plants, and tropical trees up to the main lodge. We were briefly shown the lounge bar and eating area, the latter on the second floor providing gorgeous overlooks of the area and out to the bay, then promptly brought to our Guest House. Each room was spectacular, all open air (screening in the main/sleeping area, including mosquito netting), amazing outdoor showers for that back-to-nature feel, large wrap-around porch with comfortable lounging chairs to watch the forest divulge some of its interesting creatures. Since its in a rainforest, they even had umbrellas at the ready, tucked neatly just outside the door, to grab before heading out to the restaurant or to explore. The whole enterprise is geared towards sustainability, so it felt great seeing all the recycling, minimal energy usage, and low carbon footprint they leave. They use local sources for everything from food to soaps and deet-free insect repellent. I liked their bin that contained between-meals snacks for those of us who need pick-me-ups throughout the day, and all healthy choices. Our son needed something a little more, so one of the cooks whipped up a nice cheese, bread, and cut-fruit plate in minutes for him. The food was excellent, the bar was always open as needed, and the staff of cooks, waiters, waitresses, and bar-tenders were super friendly. All speak english, but we would also dabble in our limited espanol to their delight. There were all sorts of activities available, including guided and self-guided tours around the property (day and night - highly recommend the latter!), yoga in a beautiful raised platform wooden structure overlooking the water, paddle-boarding, kayaking, as well as an extended hike outside the property that was explained to us as a more wild area of the jungle culminating in a beautiful waterfall. We did not have the time available to do this trip, but we already know this place deserves a return trip and will definitely do on the next visit. Saw lots of tree & poison-dart frogs, lizards, beautiful birds (toucans, paired macaws flying over head - always in pairs, they mate for life!), butterflies, howler monkeys, miniature tree possums, the hard-working leaf-cutter ants, and spiders - lots of them. Sven was super nice and friendly, spending time with all of us, answering all our questions, pointing out things we wouldn't notice, always helpful and concerned for our every need, personally showing us around when we asked about something, and ate many of his meals at the table with us. He exuded a pure love of his lodge, his staff, what they're doing for the area ecology, and personally saw us off on our last day, right to boarding the boat we left in - you could not ask for a better host. A truly enjoyable time in this little paradise of Costa Rica.