What We Love
- Therapeutic thermal river and three toasty resort pools with swim-up bars
- Sustainable modern architecture blends local hardwood, caña brava and steel
- Thoughtful staff members drop off homemade cookies at turn-down time
- READ MORE: Find your perfect Costa Rica vacation
What To Know
- Bungalows are small and somewhat close together, in keeping with nature reserve regulations
- The spa and restaurant complex opened in August 2012, the cabins in December 2013
- In rainy season the property is lush. Come January, trees go bare and the canyon appears
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
To arrive at Rio Perdido is to confront prickly cacti, curious volcanic rock formations and vibrant native trees with delicate red flowers. These natural elements are embraced by the towering, open-air welcome rotunda, which doubles as the spa and restaurant complex and frames the landscape in glistening steel and teak. Cowhide stools, colorful statuettes and avant-garde booths resembling pipe organs lend some flair to an otherwise understated scene.
Bed and Bath
A short walk from the main building, 20 posh little bungalows are huddled together, each propped on stilts to preserve the foliage. Each one features a large balcony with a hammock, a bright accent wall (to match the splash of color on the exterior walls) and colorful throw pillows. The plush white beds are divine, and trundle beds can accommodate a third person. On the walls, framed photographs of trees hang alongside 42-inch TVs and powerful air-conditioning units. The bathrooms are small but adequate, though the hot water is sometimes delayed.
The new chef at Rio Perdido is young and likes to experiment, but you’d never guess it from sampling his mouthwatering pineapple surf-and-turf dish. The ever-expanding menu also includes free breakfast, a wide selection of cocktails (try the mojito with fresh mint) and lots of protein-heavy dishes to satiate après-adventure appetites. The mountain-biking trails are a rush as long as you aren’t a beginner (in which case don’t even think about it). The less extreme canopy tour involves ziplining, canyoning and a Tarzan swing finale, and there are lovely hiking trails, a hanging bridge and a lookout platform. Days conclude with a soak in the toasty, secluded river and a treatment at the spa, which offers five well-practiced massages.
In the Area
Rio Perdido is tucked into a region that is as undiscovered as it gets in Costa Rica. Despite the lack of infrastructure, guests who wander are rewarded. Nearby Las Hornillas offers mud baths and tours of volcanic craters and fumarole sites. About an hour north, the provincial capital of Liberia features colonial architecture and some excellent new restaurants, including the Liberia Café. And between Rio Perdido and Liberia, intrepid travelers may stumble on the dirt road leading to the Llanos de Cortez waterfall, a dramatic cascade and an ideal spot for picnicking and swimming. For those looking for something totally off the wall, there’s Africa Mia, a unique safari experience just south of the capital.
How to Get There
We spent 3 nights at Rio Perdido and had an unique experience. We are from Los Angeles and my husband described it a “glamping”.
The hotel offers complementary breakfast if you make it to the restaurant by 9:30 am. I most enjoyed the local/traditional food menu offers in between lunch and dinner. Nina was exceptional and made quite an impression on my 3 year old son. Ronald at the wet bar made us the most amazing mango, pineapple, passion fruit smoothie.
The hotel has complementary outdoor yoga. We enjoyed the complementary guided morning hike with Marvin. He gave us tips on the best time to zip line morning (Avoid 1:30 pm as you will have to hike to get from cable to cable and it can get pretty hot)
We did the canopy/zip line and again the team there didn’t disappoint: Juan Diego, Alfonso, Jorge & Paparazzi- who took pictures of was throughout. Tip: make sure to stop by the lobby to checkout pictures the guys are there between adventures and leave by 4:00 pm.
People at the reception we very welcoming and informative specially the gentleman who finished our check out and took us to the room. He took the time to explain features of the room and how explained how their hope is to bring the outdoor into your space. I forgot his name but he provided outstanding customer service. Edwin had a warming smile and help me out when I encountered him by the river. Mario and the general manager were also very helpful.
The thermal river offers a unique experience. After the mud bath you will need a generous shower to remover the odor. To get to the river you will have to walk down a rock path and have a nice hike on the way back up. Overall I have a great experience. Be prepared to walk/hike, experience the outdoor and enjoy nature.
Where to start, really. Our 4 day/ 5 night stay at Rio Perdido was exceptional, and that's not a word I use frequently.
I'll start with the staff because they deserve special mention. Absolutely every staff member we encountered was unfailingly pleasant, genuinely happy and truly interested in how our stay was going. They all tried to help in whatever they they could, whether that was teaching us a bit of Spanish, or giving us some delicious edible berries from a nearby tree, they were all wonderful. I feel bad simply mentioning a few names because everyone was amazing, but Stephanie, Luis, Martinez, Maykel, Diego, Mauricio... THANK YOU.
Now onto the stay. We stayed in the East Bungalows, #8 to be precise, which was perfect because we could hear the river. The bungalow was lovely, but maybe the bathroom needed a teeny bit of TLC. Understandable given the humidity. All in all the place was very clean, nicely decorated and well designed. The bed was very comfortable. My only feedback would be to install a retractable clothesline somewhere to give somewhere to hang wet suits that won't blow away.
We took full advantage of everything that was offered. The thermal river is otherworldly. Go early in the morning for the best experience, and hike out to where the hot spring source is. Use bug spray because the mosquitoes don't play games. Float in the natural pools and look up through the trees at the sky while you feel any stress you ever had leave your body. The whitewater tubing was fun and exhilarating, and the ziplining was... scary (in a good way). It was comforting that the staff knew what they were doing and it wasn't some shoddily rigged course. I had zero reservations about completing the course with my family, even high above the river gorge, scared out of my wits. My husband loved the mountain biking, and the night hike was a huge hit too.
The food is delicious. Breakfast is every tropical fruit you ever dreamed of, plus a wide selection of hot items, yogurt, toast, etc. The fresh juice every morning was a real treat. Lunch and dinner menus vary from continental to local fare. Ask for the local menu! The ceviche was a real stand out, and the nachos on the snack menu made my daughter's jaw drop.
All in all this place is exceptionally conceived and run. You don't feel crowded or like you're a number (I will say that some of the day pass holders didn't seem to follow the same etiquette, and there were times I felt bad for staff when the pass holders were oddly rude or demanding...but I only saw that a couple times in 4 days). You'll see howler monkeys, parrots, agudi, coati, butterflies, hummingbirds and maybe a tree snake or two.
Rio perdido is truly a place where you can go and feel rested, rejuvenated and thankful to be where you are. Unplug, be in the moment and soak it all in. It's an amazing adventure.
We spent 3 nights at this beautiful property in a center bungalow. Enjoyed the nature walk, zip lining, tubing and spa. Our favorite might have been our daily family walks to the thermal river where we were able to spot the monkeys in the trees overlooking the river. The staff was incredibly friendly and helpful. Ronald, Maykel, Christian, Martinez, Emanuel and Juan de Dios were especially accommodating and made our stay extra special. We look forward to returning.
The staff here is the best! Mario, Juan Diego, Marvin, Alonso, "Juanito" and the entire staff was very welcoming. Ziplining and tubing are five stars. We wish we had time to do the evening hike. Yoga was in a beautiful setting on platforms in the jungle. Howler and White faced Monkeys in abundance- even while I was enjoying yoga. The scenery is lovely. I would recommend going during the rainy season for the green foliage, cooler weather and the river would be full (it was quite low in April) . While we enjoyed the rainstorm (one of the best times to video the monkeys) it would have been nice to have a space w/ more activities- possible a space to play games when the weather is inclement- ping-pong, pool, etc.. Rooms are gorgeous w/ floor to ceiling windows although they are quite dark. Staff was attentive to our needs as our kids' bed squeaked the first night & the staff fixed it the next day. Overall, we enjoyed our three nights @ The Rio Perdido.
Rio Perdido is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind hotel experience. The concept immerses you in the beautiful dry rain forest of Costa Rica, it's laid-back yet adventurous, and the service is impeccable (real conversations with staff that actually want to listen to you or help in any way they can).
My husband and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary here for four nights and we took advantage of most of the activities - the canon tour was not your basic zip line, but rather a series of fun and exhilarating obstacles with a full team of guides to always keep you safe. The thermal rivers and hikes were a surreal experience, and the three pools (with frozen drinks in hand) were an excellent way to unwind after a day of activities. The food was pretty good, with me being a vegetarian and my husband having the palate of a toddler, we can be a difficult duo to please, but we were always content and loved that they offered a traditional costa rican menu too. I preferred their snacks menu as I thought it offered more variety for vegetarians (dinner seemed to be a lot of pasta choices for vegetarians).The wine they offered was excellent, and the alcoholic concoctions were equally good. Our one and only small gripe was that there wasn't a cold/cool water pool of the three. Because it was April and 100F+ every day of our stay, it was hard for us to cool down without going back to our room for some A/C. We really wanted to be able to stay out on the beautiful pool deck area with drinks longer, rather than our room. All in all, we had an excellent stay and we hope to visit again in the future.