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
- Eco friendly
- Free WiFi
- 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
First, Rio Perdido has a lot of things going for it. The location is stellar and the views are the best in the area. The staff is very attentive and helpful. The outdoor pools (one heated, one not) and swim up bars are clean and well designed. The walking trails are well marked and be sure to ask about the hiking app they recommend. The food was quite good, if somewhat expensive. (Note: ordering from the snack menu vs the main menu is less expensive and the portions are still generous.)
We were the 1st guests to stay in the new, larger bungalows. From the outside the black cabins have a retro-modern feel. Inside they are spacious, yet the design leaves A LOT to be desired. The designer went with form over function, so while it looks slick, it’s completely non guest friendly.
The interior has black walls and black floor to ceiling curtains. There are only 4 long, slender light fixtures in the main room. During the day, the floor to ceiling windows provide ample light and a gorgeous view. However at night the room is impossibly dark. When you have to use a flashlight to see into your luggage, that’s too ridiculous.
The bathroom has a modern copper Free standing sink. Again, beautiful to look at, but with no counter space there’s no place to store toothbrushes, etc. There is only 1 small metal side table for storage. And again the lighting is nonexistent.
The shower is an outdoor shower, which means at night when you turn on the light, every available bug comes to visit.
The bungalow is advertised with 2 beds, but the 2nd bed is just a futon mattress laid out on the floor. The only seating other than the beds consists of a wooden bench at the foot of the main bed. And this may be because it was so new, but the mattress was HARD. You could bounce a quarter off of it. You know a mattress is firm when your partner gets up and you don’t even feel the bed move!
Also the upper row of bungalows faces the main pathway and the windows are not privacy tinted so definitely no running to the bathroom in your skivvies.
As for the activities - the river tubing is a lot of fun, if somewhat short. You are actually only in the river for about 30 min. At $60 a person, I wanted to go further down the river.
The zipline has heart pounding views, but note that again it is a quick excursion. Also you should know that the lines require hiking uphill and rock climbing up metal rungs.
The natural springs are peaceful and relaxing. During the rainy season the walk down is moss covered and slippery so be prepared. Seeing as they are in a canyon it gets dark earlier down by the springs. Best time to visit is midday when the sun is up above you.
Overall, for the investment, if I returned it would just be for the day pass.
When you arrive at Rio Perdido, over a difficult, bumpy road, you feel like you’ve found a beautiful, zen-inspired oasis. The entry walk leading up to the main building is stunning. The check-in process is a little non-traditional, done in comfy chairs with a view of the river rather than at a reception desk. Sophia was extremely helpful in getting us checked in and answering all of our questions.
After checking in, our family of 5 was shown our two cabins – one for the adults and another for the teens. They shared a common walkway making it easy for us to keep an eye on them. I’m not sure the term “glamping” is exactly correct, but I think Rio Perdido did a nice job of keeping you connected with the beauty of the Costa Rica countryside while still giving you very nice, comfortable accommodations. We spent a lot of time simply sitting in the hammock chairs on our front porch listening to the howler monkeys in the trees overhead.
The pools outside the main building are fed with the local hot springs. The pools are all different temperatures and they seem to rotate which pool is fed with the hottest water, so you may want to dip your toe in all three before settling on the right pool/temperature. It was great getting to know Diego at the pool bar; he went out of his way to make drinks for my wife that aren’t normally on their menu. The only thing we found slightly awkward was that the pools are positioned directly outside/below the spa with signs politely asking people using the pool to be quiet/considerate of those getting a spa treatment. Our kids are all respectful teenagers, but they also like to laugh and joke around. We didn’t want to constantly nag them – but we didn’t want to keep them from enjoying themselves either. The juxtaposition of the spa and pools was probably (the only) poor element in the design of the main building.
We did both the Canyon Adventure and the White Water Tubing trip. Both are excellent for two reasons: 1) The quality of the activities and 2) The attentiveness of the staff during the events. The Canyon Adventure has you zip-lining and Tarzan-swinging across a canyon with a beautiful river below you. We’ve done several zip-lining tours in the past, but none as beautiful and well planned as the one at Rio Perdido. Our guides were Martinez and Alfonso – both were excellent. My youngest was a little nervous starting out, but Martinez’s sense of humor put everyone at ease. The White Water Tubing trip was equally excellent – with beautiful surroundings. I think there were as many staff members as customers on our tubing trip as guides were stationed at every rapid to make sure everyone got down safely and had a great time. The only thing that could have made it better would have been a slightly longer tube; apparently a big storm caused some damage downstream that has forced them to shorten the trip for safety reasons. But it didn’t detract from the experience and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I strongly recommend both activities.
One last note – I can’t say enough about the quality and friendliness of the staff. Everyone we met in our time in Costa Rica was very friendly, but the staff at Rio Perdido stood out. Stephanie, at the front desk, greeted us every day with a warm smile. On our first day, we had mentioned to her that our kids were taking Spanish in school – and so every day after that she made a point to try to engage them in a casual conversation. If we ever had a question or need some advice on how best to use our time at Rio Perdido, Stephanie was a trusted advisor to us.
Christopher, Hector, Emanuel, Johnathan, MARTINEZ (nut), Sofie, Marcela; Mykal...in no particular order and forgetting a ton of staff (My husband would put his BFF Manuel first). These people are incredible. They make you feel like they really care about you as a person. I don't know how they do it day after day but they do. I hope the owner reads this and truly understands how special these people are and compensates them accordingly. The general manager was beyond professional when we had a hiccup during our stay and managed to make me so very happy. Everywhere you walk on the property is cultivated for YOU to explore, relax, enjoy and experience Pura Vida the genuine way. Astounding. We want to bring everyone here to show them this very special place. I recognize that the location is perfect but to access a 600-acre property you need infrastructure (pathways, trails, cables, more pathways, and trails). It is here, you need to come see it. The massage I received today was one of the more beautiful experiences I have ever had. it was not just massage and a facial, it was perfection.
I’ve been excited to review this hotel... was quite nervous due to the amount of travel involved both air and land especially with a toddler- comfort and ease of travel was definitely a priority and met in luxury standards. Their contracted drivers will put any of your safety fears to rest and attend to any stops needed on the way
San Jose airport is about 3.5 hours from the airport. Liberia airport is closer but not all airlines fly there. Also quite importantly, there are no local airlines between airports as we discovered they were shut down a few yrs ago due to accidents. These are now replaced by local charters which are quite efficient, but hefty financially anywhere from 5-7,000$ for a half hour return flight. We later discovered that alot of resorts have helipad coordinates which is quite cool, so if you do decide to travel by xharter make sure you ask for thfor coordinates! We decided to upgrade our vehicle to a luxury 4x4 and I strongly recommend you do so - theyre comfortable, equipped with wifi and both our drivers were amazing. The company calls in regularly to ensure the passengers arrival and safety. Roads are in good condition but 1 laners both ways, its a hectic drive I wouldnt recommend anyone bothers with it.
Check in was efficient and quick, we were greeted by Sofia who was pleasant, our son had a little run around with her. Rooms remind me of bunkers; well sized beautiful glass glazed jungle views and private, sufficient for a couple and a child. Not much extra leg room remaining. We discovered that their upgraded suites were being launched the following day which is a shame as we would've loved to be able to take a look and review it in comparison with their standard room. Beds are quite comfortable, toiletteries are 100% natural and are of high quality. Tooghbrushes and toothpaste are not provided - make sure you bring your own.
Food- kudos to the chef who solehandedly manages 3 menus a day - a fabulous full breakfast buffet everything fresh and handmade down to the cinamon rolls and donuts, pancakes sweetened with dark chcolate, generous vegearion/ meat and child friendly options. All the deserts on the menu are made healthily. One thing is room service seems to reach in about 50-60 minutes on average. Which seems a bit excessive and probably delivery service needs to be optimised.
The resort itself spans across many acres, the owners and the staff are equally conscience of the environment. The grounds are beautiful, and its very probably that you will never encounter anyone on a trek or a hike. It is quite private, that being said I strongly recommend that no one hikes or treks at night some treks require technical equipment, id say all treks require professional shoes. The steps are steep, mossy, some trails entail river/ water crossing amongst rocks, and other contain snakes. It is easy to slip, or be accident prone- and in the case that does happen the resort runs on wifi and no cellular signal you are on your own. Emergency exists are not in abundance, and hence for security - those who are trekking alone, I strongly suggest that the resort: 1. Provides more accurate maps ( even with a scale, length and complexity) ive had to come back from certain trails due to its complexity and snakes
2. Provides a radio/ walkie talkie system that can be leased out to those who trek alone for safety measures. Some bridges are work in progress yet not marked as work in progress with a 30 m drop, loose boards on look out areas need to be tightened and secured.
Last but not least the staff is exemplry and goes above and beyond their duties, child friendly and very accomodating. Ive see them customise drinks and dishes for children and pack drinks to go in takeaway cups. It has a very family like ambiance.
Natural hot water springs fill the 3 pools which is quite smartly designed to have running water in and out of the pools to keep the water fresh, minimize dirt and bacteria. No chlorine added. Perfect for adults and children. Pool bar seems to be always missing a drinks menu - I am not sure it exists but would be great to have one added.
In a nuthsell, i highly recommend this resort for a jungle experience theres plenty of activities zip line, excursions, volacanoes etc to do with older children and is luxury enough to just relax with smaller children. Theres plenty enough to do without leaving the resort and is perfect for a 3-6 day trip. Its good to break yr trips to other plces within costa rica, or on its own to relax. Its isolated abd peaceful there is no town or shopping or hussle and bustle just simply nature at its utmost beauty.
This hotel was a nice surprise, there is not much advertising on it, and you will find it's the perfect choice for a "forest experience" in Guanacaste province.
hotel ambiance is perfect, you would find yourself surrounded by the forest at all times, all the common areas and rooms are located AT the forest. The rooms are small but got precisely the amount of room, light and amenities you need, not less not more. There are 3 pools with different water temperatures and several hiking trails suitable to every "fitness level", all of them very pleasant for a walk. I strongly recommend taking at least one of the "tours" so you can get a taste of the canyon where the river flows... absolutely stunning !! (tours: canopy, tubing, etc), also you can pick the trail that goes along the river and get some more views and even a bath on the naturally hot river :)
Food is delicious and menu has a decent variety. Expect both international and local cuisine here. Staff is friendly and courteous.
Rooms are cleaned in the morning and at dinner time, so it was a nice surprise to get back from dinner and find everything neat again :)
this is me trying to find something, as everything was absolutely perfect. But... IF I am to modify something would be the room's WC: it is too close to the bed... not so private LOL; sometimes I just used the ones next to the pool because I felt more privacy there :)