Lapa Rios Eco Lodge
What We Love
- Jetsetter 2015 Best of the Best Finalist: Best Eco-Lodge
- Three meals per day, non-alcoholic and non-mixed drinks and three on-site guided tours are included in the Jetsetter rate
- Lapa Rios’ commitment to the principles of eco-tourism and supporting the local community?
- Experiencing a living model of sustainability ?
- The sounds of howler monkeys, the sights of squirrel monkeys and macaws?
- Bungalows and walkways constructed of local materials and using endemic Suiita palms?
- Stunning sunsets?
- Your private, outdoor garden shower
- READ MORE: Find your perfect Costa Rica vacation
What To Know
- No Internet, phone access or cell phone coverage at the lodge
- Pack light – the internal flight to Puerto Jimenez allows only 25 pounds per person?
- Expect plenty of bugs
- No air conditioning but great natural breezes and ceiling fans?
- Specific dietary requirements must be provided prior to arrival?
- The sole self-guided trail is limiting?
- Guests should be physically fit enough to walk and hike around Lapa Rios?
- A $26 international departure tax must be paid at the airport when leaving Costa Rica
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
When you stay at Lapa Rios Eco Lodge in Puerto Jimenez, you’ll be on the waterfront and convenient to Pan Dulce Beach. This hotel is within the region of Corcovado National Park Office and Puerto Jimenez Pier.
Make yourself at home in one of the 16 guestrooms. Your room comes with a pillowtop bed. Rooms have private furnished balconies. Private bathrooms with showers feature rainfall showerheads and complimentary toiletries.
Pamper yourself with onsite massages or enjoy recreation amenities such as an outdoor pool. Additional amenities include gift shops/newsstands, wedding services, and tour/ticket assistance. Getting to the surf and sand is a breeze with the complimentary beach shuttle.
Enjoy a satisfying meal at a restaurant serving guests of Lapa Rios Eco Lodge. Quench your thirst with your favorite drink at a bar/lounge. A complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast is served daily.
Featured amenities include dry cleaning/laundry services, multilingual staff, and luggage storage. A roundtrip airport shuttle is complimentary (available 24 hours).
How to Get There
I chose to stay here in part to experience the sunrise and sounds of the rainforest in the morning, and it was perfect. There was coffee delivery to the room every day if you choose to sign up (also options of tea and hot chocolate), and the howler monkeys wake before sunrise to announce their territory. Getting up early rewarded me with monkeys, birds, and butterflies very active right outside my bungalow. I enjoyed sitting on the deck of the bungalow for a couple of hours taking it all in. The bungalows themselves appear simple, but everything is perfect and well thought out as part of the ecosystem. I found at night the screens and ceiling fans created a breeze that was cool enough. The outside shower was amazing! The hikes and activities led by enthusiastic and bright guides were great. They pointed out lots of birds and animals I would not have seen, and knew a great deal about them all. I highly recommend any of the on site activities and I did not book any outside ones due to the quality of the on site activities and also wanting time to relax on the trip. I thought the food was quite good, particularly all the fish dishes. They offer lots of fruit and vegetables. The banana cashew pancakes, spicy squash bowl, and the macadamia nut brownie were also particularly good! Walking up the stairs sometimes was tiring when it was hot, but after sitting down and feeling a breeze all was well. They offer many delicious and refreshing juices throughout the day. The staff was friendly and on top of most everything, and they kept the room clean, including a turn down service. There is a nice pool. I'm not a great swimmer so I did not get in the beach--generally, not a location if you want to focus on sitting on a beach or swimming in the ocean. But, many people were taking surfing lessons so there is plenty to do! Activities I participated in include a rainy night hike (I was the only one who showed up and the guide took me anyway), a ridge hike where I saw waterfalls, a walk to the beach, the early birds tour, and planting a tree. Wear the rubber boots provided--the rainforest gets rainy and the boots are comfortable. Use the walking sticks provided. As you will be in a rainforest, expect heat and high humidity (but also nice breezes at times). As I visited in the green season, I anticipated rain every day, but two of the days there was no rain; one day it rained all day and that was a good day for relaxing--the rain was beautiful in its own way. The lodge is doing an excellent job of helping preserve, grow, and protect the rainforest. Over the last 25 years they have planted more secondary rainforest. The lodge focuses on sustainability and this a place to go to learn more about how to help protect fragile environments. They offer tours of their sustainability practices. I highly recommend Lapa Rios if you want to immerse yourself in the rainforest in a respectful and sustainable way.
We booked Lapa Rios for 2 nights, 2 adults and 3 children. We left after the first night, negotiating to refund us at a half of the cost of the second night, thanks to the management. The cabins are all same size, so we didn't have an other option but to try to fit in all 5 of us because it was too hard to split on 2 groups. It is not a big cabin at all, the double sink is in the room behind the half wall, small bathroom includes the toilet and the shower. No AC obviously, screened windows to get as closer to nature as possible. Even we got 2 fans it was quite hot during night, more like a sauna, when your skin seem to stick to the bed (it was 93 during day and maybe around 80 at night, plus humidity). So, kids were barely able to sleep, it seems like whole night they were drinking and peeing, waking up each other and trying to close the mosquito nets which were smaller than beds. Our cabin view was not anything like what you see on the photos, half of the picture was a fence of the neighboring cabin, other half was a jungle, with a tiny peak on the ocean in between. The lodge is located in the real jungle, rare to find primary forest, never farmed. With toucans, scarlet macaw, snakes, frogs (including dart frogs), invisible sloth in the tree and etc. Million of birds start to sing (or screech) about 4:30-5AM, with the bright light shining right in your screened windows, great for the bird watchers eager to get up at 4 AM, bad for tired kids. The list of available activities includes 1) hiking 2) hiking 3) hiking 4) cooking class for something like tortillas 5) visit local school (but hard to schedule). Our goal was to see Corcovado; what we missed is to get to Corcovado we needed to wake up at 4AM to get a good massage on Costa Rician dirt road for 2 hours to get to Drake Bay to spend 1 more hour on the boat jumping on the waves, and repeat it in reverse. If we would understand it, we would stay in the Drake Bay to begin with. Even Corcovado is in the middle between the Drake Bay and the lodge, there is no way to get there directly because of the "no-road-big-waves" situation. So, now to the beaches. It is 4 of them, all pretty as can be, but first, they are not really suitable for swimming because some of them rocky and others have tides or deep (you can try to surf); second, you can't really get there without the car (which the lodge is happy to schedule for you in advance), unless you want to walk about half mile (+-) down a quite steep slippery hill, and next up (and don't forget a repellent with real chemicals, the organic one doesn't work there). The kitchen service and food are in the category "trying", as much as you can do it on "local and organic". We had a tough time with the concierge in attempt to schedule anything outside of the hike-hike program, but after 2rd attempt to follow up when we were told she was gone for the day so we lost interest. Our morning coffee delivery didn't happen too and we decided we should not use radious as it didn't look as an emergency for us (even after kids woke up at 5AM...). After all came to believe it is not a family-friendly resort, and definitely not a "luxury resort". Unless you really into bird watching or jungle hiking there are way better places to experience both "eco" and "luxury" in one package. It is a cool place to see a lot of wild life but it appears the website doesn't provide honest clear information about some aspects of staying there, and the local stuff is trying hard, but still in the process.
Lapa Rios was our last stop on our Costa Rican trip. It is a good 40mins drive via quite a bumpy road from Porto Jimenez, which is where we arrived from our previous Lodge within The Osa Penninsula.
Our driver who's English was pretty good was also an avid bird enthusiast, he very kindly stopped a couple of times to show us a variety of birds, we had a fabulous sighting of a family of Screech Owls roosting in a tree close to the roadside.
Once we arrived at the lodge we were greeted with a cool refreshing drink, shown to our room had a brief tour of the main lodge area and informed about the variety of ''things to do''
The main lodge acts as reception/dinning/ bar area also has a stunning viewing deck overlooking the valley and down to the coast. There is always plenty of bird / animals to watch - Toucans, Parrots, Macaws, Monkeys, Iguana's, to name but a few. There is also a lovely pool and deck area with plenty of shade and again some stunning views across the ocean.
The food was always served with a smile from the waiting staff who were incredibly friendly and seemed to enjoy what they did. All of the meals we had were extremely tasty, with healthy options and well presented. Plenty of choice on offer too, including some delicious fruit juices and fresh fruit platters at breakfast. The meal portions are pretty generous - so beware!!
We were aware of the layout of the resort from reading & researching - built on a steep hillside with the accommodation's scattered from one end to the other, and plenty of steep steps to encounter from the furthest point (rooms 12- 17)
We had asked our agent if we could be accommodated closer to the main lodge area, we found ourselves in room 1. ( I believe the layout of all the room interiors are pretty much the same, it's just the location and the amount of step climbing seems to be the stumbling block!)
Our first impression of our room was that it had a the most stunning view with quite a good sized deck which had a small but very pretty garden area where there was a lovely outside shower, a couple of loungers, table & chairs and of course a hammock.
Inside in contrast seemed quite dark and cramped with 2 queen beds instead of a king, a small sitting area, bathroom facilities behind the beds. There was the smallest of hanging space for clothes, and about 4 hangers for 2 people!!! After asking we were given several more but the actual space for hanging clothes was insane.
However, the main downside for us was the road noise as we were directly on the lodge road entrance (on a steep hill) with the main road below. We did think about asking if we could move but it became apparent that the lodge was fully occupied. I slept really badly that first night, so used earplugs after that.
Despite the room location we were incredibly lucky with the amount of wildlife that came by and past our room/deck area, we had some amazing sightings. This is probably also true of most of the rooms though.
If we were to ever return we would definitely request a room halfway within the complex. ( eg rooms 3-7 )
We did enjoy the activities on offer, the weather continued to be pretty wet off & on, which had become a common theme for our trip!!
The Bird Watching & the Night Time Tours were fabulous with very good guides, friendly & extremly knowledgeable. The self walking trails were quite arduous particularly in the heat, and muddy conditions, even despite poor weather the humidity level is high and the temperature's were still in the 30'+
Wellies & walking poles are provided and indeed are needed for some of the trails. (TOP TIP - We took insoles for the wellies which makes them more comfortable and a better fit)
We also did the Beach Trail, which firstly goes along the main road, then heads off down a track towards the coast, the amount of vehicles using this track staggered us. We didn't expect it to be so busy and we had to keep stopping to move out of the way. The coastline is very pretty and we were pleased that we went, although we didn't actually see that much wildlife.
All in all though we enjoyed our time at Lapa Rios. Many thanks to all of the staff for helping to make our stay special. We now have to sort through the many photographs we took and remember our Costa Rican adventure