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“Dream vacation” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Lapa Rios Ecolodge Osa Peninsula

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Lapa Rios Ecolodge Osa Peninsula
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Osa Peninsula, Cabo Matapalo, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #2 of 3 hotels in Cabo Matapalo
Ithaca, New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Dream vacation”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2013

Lapa Rios is truly an extraordinary locale. It is the perfect mix of wilderness, comfort and care. It's an ecolodge in the truest and broadest sense--they work hard to keep their carbon footprint to a minimum, blend in appropriately with their surroundings, hire local staff, and contribute to the local community in numerous ways.

The facilities are beautifully designed. Our bungalow (#5--and most of the others) had a great view of the Pacific and Golfo Dulce. It was well maintained, nicely decorated and secluded, yet everything was within fairly easy reach. We even had a sloth hanging in a tree outside our deck the whole time we were there! There are steps to climb on the way from the bungalows to the lodge. I have problems with my knees so this was a bit of a challenge for me but it was manageable.

The atmosphere at Lapa Rios is warm and relaxing, striking just the right balance--everyone on the staff is professional, friendly and outgoing without being overbearing or pushy.

The lodge has numerous tours that are included for guests. We went on several and enjoyed each one tremendously. All the guides are knowledgeable, engaging, and enthusiastic about their work and also very caring towards their guests and the environment. It was terrific to explore the rainforest with all its wonders and surprises with guides who really knew their stuff.

The restaurant fits the style and environment very well. The food was really good and of high quality. The breakfast and the lunch menus provide enough (US) American fare, yet offer a good variety of Costa Rican dishes. The combination of traditional dishes with a modern twist is nicely balanced. We were able to explore new dishes, such as the tico breakfast and yucca fries. Dinners were also nicely done, with lots of fresh fish and a variety of choices.

Lapa Rios was a splurge for us, but with all meals and many tours included in the price, and given the high quality of our entire experience, we felt it was worth every penny we paid.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (112)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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  • Italian first
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English first
Silver Spring, Maryland
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2013

I loved Lapa Rios! We had a beautiful casseeta and the view of the rainforest, birds, monkeys, and Pacific Ocean were exceptional. You could be as busy or relaxed as you want. There were always included activities of which to partake and the guides were excellent. I had come to see Scarlet Macaws in the wild and was not disappointed. I saw many and also toucans and many, many other beautiful birds as well, in addition to howler monkeys and other monkeys and other creatures too.. As soon as we came, the front desk staff told us the next day they would move our casseeta and that they would drive us for drop-off and pick-up until then. We were puzzled, until we found out what a steep walk it was to our caseeta, number 10. We really appreciated their courtesy and they also drove us to the beach when we wanted and picked us up.. We are both 66 and the walks would have been taxing if it weren't for their graciousness. Lapa Rios is really nature at its best combined with true luxury.

Room Tip: Room one was close and had a beautiful view. If you are young and physically fit, you might not min...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Key West, Florida, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2013

We visited Lapa Rios for 8 days in December 2012. We've stayed at many places around the world and while this was one of the most expensive it was worth every penny (and then some). We'll definitely return. Here's why:

Accommodations: perfect - comfortable, clean, private, quiet, in excellent condition. With a private garden shower and deck overlooking the Golfo Dulce where we could relax and watch dozens of monkeys and tropical birds eating fruit and nuts out of the trees all around our cabana, it just doesn't get any better than this.

Staff: awesome. At every level, the staff members were friendly and helpful and enhance the overall hospitality experience by sharing their knowledge, warmth and enthusiasm. We felt like we were among friends the entire time and found it difficult to say "goodbye."

Location: amazing - 1,000 acres of protected primary and secondary rainforest where the mountains meet the sea in a remote area with very little development. The variety of animal and plant life, diversity of natural wonders and the constantly changing sights, sounds and smells of the rainforest throughout the day is magical.

Activities: diverse. In fact, there's so much to do that it's just about impossible to do everything in a week - either guided or independently. From a variety of rainforest hikes and bird watching adventures to beach and tide-pool walks, trips to nearby areas and water excursions, spa treatments, interacting with local artisans and merchants, relaxing by the crystal clear (non-chlorinated) pool, learning about the community and sustainability efforts, or just enjoying "being" in the most beautiful place on earth - there's something for everyone.

Food: unbelievably good. The restaurant offers a wide variety of healthy, delicious, colorful local gourmet food options for all meals and snacks. Whatever your tastes - from carnivore to vegan - they have it covered. We had nearly everything on the menu (we didn't have time to try it all) and loved it. The only downside - everything since then seems dull by comparison. For drinks - a variety of natural fruit juices and other soft drinks is always available as well as delicious Costa Rican coffee, Imperial (and other) beer and a full bar service.

Hospitality: the best ever. Everything at Lapa Rios is designed to help guests experience and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. The integration of the different operational units is seamless and everyone who works there seems to truly love being there and hosting their visitors. Even when we had a minor but urgent medical issue, the staff took care of everything so that we could get the help we needed - even accompanying us for the day to act as a guide and interpreter when necessary. The trip became a fun sight-seeing adventure which even included a boat ride across the Gulf that turned into an impromptu dolphin watching trip!

Eco-friendliness and sustainability: unsurpassed. There is a clear commitment to the ideals of "reduce, reuse, refuse, rethink and recycle." Nothing is wasted and everything is kept as "natural" as possible in the balance of sustainability and affordability. Energy is used sparling, natural product use is encouraged, interaction with the community is facilitated and an appreciation and respect for the planet is fostered. They incorporate conservation and education into everything they do. One reason the cost of staying at Lapa Rios is higher than at other resorts it that they invest heavily in the local community by hiring locally, supporting the local schools, protecting the environment and supporting local merchants and artisans rather than relying on cheaper ways to do business. This place is a model of community-business integration.

The wildlife: simply incredible. We checked off everything on our list that we wanted to see - and much, much more. Monkeys, sloths, coati, dolphins and other mammals, macaws, toucans, curassows, raptors and many dozens of other birds, amphibians, reptiles, amazingly diverse insects (butterflies, ants, leaf bugs, etc.) and other arthropods (terrestrial and aquatic), echinoderms, mollusks - we could produce a small field guide with our photos. Much of the wildlife was seen up-close and personal right from our cabana deck!

The little things: make all the difference. They provide everything you need for your stay. Guests are greeted when arriving and after each excursion with a refreshing fruit beverage. All travel and transfers (arriving and leaving) were effortless - we always had a shady place to wait and never carried a bag. The miles of trails are well-maintained with a "natural" look and feel in harmony with the environment. Even the night security personnel (there for guest comfort - not out of necessity) share in hospitality - one pointed out a kinkajou eating in a tree while we were out walking at night. Everyone seemed genuinely glad we were there and sad to see us leave - that makes for a very memorable vacation!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cayuga S, Manager at Lapa Rios Ecolodge Osa Peninsula, responded to this review, February 13, 2013
Dear Bill and Lisa,
Greetings from the sunny Osa Peninsula and Lapa Rios Eco Lodge. Wow. We wanted to thank you for your most incredible review. You said it all. You left us speechless. I am tempted to take our website offline and just leave your review. It is a perfect interpretation of the Lapa Rios experience. Thanks again. We hope your review inspires many others to visit us this year and we certainly hope to have you back at Lapa Rios or another property of the Cayuga Collection of Sustainable Luxury Hotels and Lodges.
Saludos,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston
Top Contributor
75 reviews 75 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

I'd have rated this as excellent but for a few items - our queen bed could have been more comfortable as both my spouse and I woke up with back aches (we shared the bungalow with our two adult children who found their single beds comfortable); the hike options were pretty similar and geared for medium ability hikers (it was a slow pace with plenty of stops but one should consider the temperatures and humidity before attempting much faster pacing); access to the stony beach involves a long walk (there may be better sand beaches further afield but don't expect easy access to beaches similar to the Manuel Antonio area of Costa Rica). Food was generally good and the staff were generally attentive and willing to please us as guests. The price is all inclusive though there is a request with tip envelopes for personnel not involved with food or bar service. This seemed more like a cruise line request than an eco-lodge philosophy. The "twigs and pigs" tour provided background on how Lapa Rios attempts to adhere to ecologically sound management of the facility. We spent four nights here but three would be satisfactory unless you intend to use the lodge for other activities within short drives to access the Osa peninsula. This was a memorable place but having been there once there is not enough to bring me back until I visit other areas of Costa Rica. (This trip included stays outside of San Jose and in the Manuel Antonio area prior to our arrival at Lapa Rios.). The air flight on from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez was fabulous on Sansa, great vistas including seeing lots of frolicking Dolphins in the Dolce Gulf!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quebec City, Canada
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013

Let me start by saying this was our most expensive stay ever...and by far!...but it is a 3-day stay we will talk about for a very long time! We ended up there almost by accident. We were driving around, looking for a place to stay. We immediately felt welcomed by Eli and Marieke at the front desk and amazed by the setting so we have decided to forget about our budget for once! The view from the restaurant, the pool and our room was just amazing. The room was incredibly nice with a large deck. The beds could have been more comfortable for the price though. The units are very close to one another but you can't be seen from anywhere in your room or your outside deck. You're right into the jungle so we have seen plenty of monkeys, macaws, toucans, a sloth, etc...even while enjoying the pool! Every meal was a very pleasant experience. To access most of the rooms, there are probably a hundred steps to walk, this became part of our daily workout but could be difficult for older people. Many tours are included as part of your stay, you only have to register for them. I would say there are oriented towards older people, don't think of adventure hikes in the jungle. There is a self-guided trail...took us 25 only minutes walking slowly trying to see some wildlife... On top of every nice things I've already mentioned, the service and contact with the staff come first. They do whatever they can to make your stay perfect. As an example, my wife only asked about how to prepare the gallo pinto and we ended up having a bran new bottle of the special sauce they put in in our room the next day! You feel the staff enjoy being there. We felt a 3-day stay was perfect. It allows us to do the tours we had interest in and to get through most of the menu...sharing between the 3 of us...! I would recommend this place to anyone, from my friends with young children to my 72 y.o. mother!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cayuga S, Manager at Lapa Rios Ecolodge Osa Peninsula, responded to this review, January 28, 2013
Dear Robert,
Thank you for taking the time to write this great review about your stay at our eco lodge on the Osa Peninsula and recommending our lodge to anyone. We are happy that we were able to provide an experience that made you feel that forgetting about your budget was the right thing to do. Many of our guests see the rate per person and think it is a bit pricey at first, but once they realize that besides lodging and all meals and non-alcoholic beverages, the tours, the transfers from Puerto Jimenez and other extras such as AM coffee delivery and binocular rentals are included in the rate, they realize that a stay at Lapa Rios is a great value. You won’t be nickeled and dimed at Lapa Rios. And as you pointed out, it all comes down to the authentic staff and the great service they provide, the incredible wildlife you are able to observe everywhere and the great rooms and culinary experiences. Thanks again for staying with us. We hope you come back soon
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New York City, New York
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2013

My husband and I had the pleasure of taking our daughter, son -in-law and two granddaughters, ages 5 and 8 to Lapa Rios Ecolodge for five days. As you know, it's not easy to find a vacation that fills the bill for such a wide variety of ages. Lapa Rios did that and more. Our two families were housed in charming side by side cottages, each with a memorable view of the forest and the water. Sunsets and sunrises were worth the price all by themselves. Every day was filled with new adventure. Led by extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic naturalists, we went bird watching, hiked to a beach flooded with fishing pelicans, hiked along a wooded path to a gushing waterfall where we swam, and ventured out at night with flashlights to see the creatures that are active when the sun goes down. We even had a ascinating behind the scene tour of the many ways the resort has devised to be green and self sustaining. One morning, my granddaughters. and I spent a morning at the local one room school. The teacher, who is running a summer program for the area children, conducted the best art class I think I've ever attended - in Spanish and English. My grandchildren were charmed and delighted. The varied and delicious food served on the open porched dining room offered a good introduction to Costa Rican cuisine. The lovely pool was a welcome diversion after a morning's excursion. At the yoga/massage hut, elegantly situated at water's edge, my daughter found relief for tired muscles. The Spanish lesson I took with our granddaughters was fun, and everyone enjoyed trying what we learned. The staff was routinely polite, helpful and knowledgeable. This vacation gets an A PLUS.

Room Tip: The "fitness center" was the great outdoors. We didn't try room service, but I'd i...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

You'll have to brave the road there, but Lapa Rios is wonderful. We'd spent a week in other parts of the country and were thrilled to see the sun and the seas. It's in a beautiful setting, in a reserve atop a hill overlooking the Dulce Gulf on 3 sides. The rooms are large, but if you're not in great shape and don't like a good walk, be sure to request one nearer the main area. It was a hike up a hill from our room to the dining room, meeting places, etc. It was quiet, with the exception of the monkeys, but you definitely got the sense of being a visitor in nature. The staff was amazing and were wonderful guides on the hikes we went on. We didn't leave the property -- there are acres and acres of it --and enjoyed the adventures provided by Lapa Rios rather than go off-property. Be sure to do the night hike to get a sense of what's out in the jungle while we sleep. We hiked along the beach, waterfalls, etc. Saw all 4 kinds of monkeys, macaws, python, tarantula, etc. We needed a little time to relax and the pool was a beautiful setting where we could do that -- even got great photos of a huge iguana climbing out of the pool. Food was best we had all trip. Plenty of variety and excellent tasting/presentation. Would love to go back.

Room Tip: Lower down the trail it's quieter, but it's definitely a hike up -- be prepared. Definitely...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Lapa Rios Ecolodge Osa Peninsula

Address: Osa Peninsula, Cabo Matapalo, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Osa Peninsula > Cabo Matapalo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 hotels in Cabo Matapalo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Lapa Rios Ecolodge Osa Peninsula 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in a private nature reserve spread over 1,000 acres of Central America's last remaining lowland tropical rainforest in Costa Rica, Lapa Rios Ecolodge overlooks the pristine point where the Golfo Dulce meets the wild Pacific Ocean, a destination matching everyone's idea of paradise. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lapa Rios Ecolodge Hotel Playa Matapalo

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