My husband and I and our 2 daughters, aged 6 and 8, enjoyed an unforgettable stay at Lapa Rios from April 5 to 9, 2013. Although we had researched Lapa Rios quite extensively, and thought we had a good idea of what to expect, in this case, our expectations were far exceeded.
The bungalows were clean and well appointed, with gleaming hardwood floors and spectacular views – even from the toilet – of the Golfo Dulce and rainforest. We were in #8, which was just far enough from the lodge to afford privacy, yet close enough to the lodge and pool that we were able to run back for a forgotten camera before starting out on a hike. The sounds from the forest at night and in the early morning, which are easily heard through the screened walls, were extraordinary – from howler monkeys to cicadas, toucans and masked tree frogs.
The staff are extremely friendly, knowledgeable, and accommodating. They took the time to get to know us (and we them), and they were willing to share their own experiences about the forest, the Osa Peninsula, and Costa Rica in general. All of our questions were answered with enthusiasm and any request was met with a smile and a positive outcome.
We had a fantastic time getting to know the other guests, perhaps because we all started with a common interest - experiencing the rainforest. Every time we went into the main lodge, we enthusiastically shared the days’ experiences and adventures.
The on-site tours were informative, and, in my opinion, met the descriptions provided in Lapa Rios’ information quite closely. Our whole family did the night walk (unforgettable with loads of frogs, snakes, spiders, bull frogs, and crabs), and the fascinating Twigs, Pigs and Garbage tour, which provided information about Lapa Rios efforts to maintain a sustainable operation in the rainforest. I also did the Wild Waterfall Hike (which takes you to the primary forest and allows you to swim under a waterfall) and the Matapolo Tour (excellent wildlife viewing from the forest and the beach), both of which were excellent. All the guides we met were extremely knowledgeable and excited to talk about the environment, but I spent most of my time with Valerie, a Tropical Biologist, who was outstanding and happy to answer all my questions.
We thoroughly enjoyed the two external tours that Lapa Rios arranged for us – zip lining and the Dolphin Tour/ Cana Blanca Wildlife Sanctuary. We were a bit nervous about taking our children zip lining for their first time, but the two zip line operators from Bosque Mar were professional and kind, had a good sense of humour, and provided excellent instruction. We had a fabulous time, and even saw three-toed sloths from one of the platforms! Our guide on the dolphin tour (Diego) found us lots and lots of dolphins to watch on our way to Cana Blanca across the Golfo Dulce, and his enthusiasm was delightful.
Perhaps the most unique and meaningful experience for our kids was our time with Carol and the gorgeous creatures at Cana Blanca Animal Sanctuary. It is not often that children are afforded the opportunity to interact with wild animals to this extent, in a safe and respectful environment, and they learned so much about the creatures, the illegal pet trade and the conflict between man and wildlife. Carol is passionate about the animals, the health of the forest ecosystem, and we were honoured to have had a chance to spend time with her.
The pool area was crucial to our kids’ enjoyment. On a couple of occasions, my husband stayed with the kids at the pool while I went hiking. The pool was clean, spacious, and was a great meeting point for all the children visiting at the same time as we were.
We would happily return to Lapa Rios again and can, without hesitation, recommend it to anyone, whether travelling with children, with friends, or with a partner, who wants to learn more about the rainforest while being immersed in one of the most beautiful places we have ever experienced.
- 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