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“Wonderful Rainforest Getaway” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge

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Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge
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Cabo Matapalo | Peninsula de Osa, Cabo Matapalo 60702, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Cabo Matapalo
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“Wonderful Rainforest Getaway”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2012

This was our second stay (the other was 4 years prior) and it was just as fantastic as the first time. Great staff, great food, great accommodations. We normally don't repeat vacation, but we did for BDC. If you like being out in nature and having wonderful wildlife sightings, you can't beat BDC.

Take advantage of the resident Biologist, Phillip, and go on all of his activities, especially the nighttime walk.

Room Tip: I don't think you can go wrong.
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  • 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
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  • 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
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5 hotel reviews
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17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2012

This is my third visit to Bosque, and nothing has changed (except for wi-fi!) - it is still an amazing place.

I booked from the UK and my only criticism is the payment procedure. Bosque need you to send a deposit by cheque, in dollars, to a US bank - which is not possible from the UK. An alternative is to send a wire transfer which costs about £35 and the form is a nightmare to complete. But I have a friend in the US and I sent him the funds via PayPal - (which cost me £4.50 to transfer the funds from my bank into my PayPal account) - and he then sent the cheque.

I have mobility problems (cannot do steep slopes, or a lot of steps, and cannot walk for more than about 10 mins without needing a rest) but I love Costa Rica so much (this was my 5th trip) and I choose my accommodation carefully. The cabins are spread out over the large gardens - some of them have a slope to negotiate to reach the dining area, others the walk is fairly flat. There are a few steps up to the dining area, so you also need to be able to manage those.

Although I can no longer do the trails I was very happy pottering about the grounds and seeing the variety of wildlife which visited. It did rain some of the time, but it was very nice just chilling out on the verandah with a book and no guilty conscience! From listening to the reports from other guests, I think I saw as much in the grounds surrounding the lodge as they did on their hikes! But they did all rave about the different guided trips they did, and the variety of wildlife that was pointed out to them which they would have missed (birds, snakes, frogs, spiders, etc).

I must complain, though, about the amount of food that is served - I had to miss dinner one evening because I was so full, and ended up asking for half portions at breakfast and lunch!

So, if you are not that energetic, this is a wonderful place in which to just chill out and relax but still get the experience of a rain forest.

Room Tip: If you have problems walking up slopes, ask for a cabin that is more on a level with the dining room...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 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
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4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2012 via mobile

Bosque is like nowhere else on Earth! The wildlife, food, staff and scenery are all amazing! I have been there numerous times during various times of the year and every trip is truly unique. There are tons of things to do or you can just relax. What's best is that wildlife is everywhere and so easy to spot! Do yourself a favor and visit!!

  • Stayed July 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1,204 helpful votes 1,204 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2012

My wife and I stayed at Bosque del Cabo from November 9-13. This was our second visit and we enjoyed both stays immensely. We agree with all of the glowing comments posted by other reviewers.

Although we there during the end of the rainy season, the weather was very good. It only rained at night and one afternoon for a few hours.

Our first visit to Bosque was during the Christmas holdiays in 2006. The most significant change since then was the availability of Wi-Fi in the check-in and dining areas. Another difference between our two visits is that the place was sold out in 2006. This time it the number of guests ranged from 6-12, all of whom were very friendly.

We've been to several different areas in Costa Rica, and this remains our favorite. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
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Somerset, New Jersey
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6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2012

I've read every review of Bosque on this website and they are all accurate- this is the most amazing place on earth. Never have I felt such a part of my environment. Bosque allows the traveler to become part of the ecosystem. At any point in the day or night, you can find yourself sharing the space with monkeys, frogs, birds, etc. It really brought my trip to a whole other level to see species I would otherwise never get to. This resort has done an amazing job of keeping the rainforest preserved, while allowing guests to interact with it. We had the opportunity to take part in many activites- tree climbing, Esquinas river mangrove tour, ziplining, and trail blazing. Every day brought a whole new adventure. I never thought I was capable of doing half the things I did, but I am so grateful to Bosque for allowing me the chance to experience them. Carlos accompanied us to many of our outings and besides being incredibly friendly, is so knowledgeable of his surroundings. He provided us with so much information about everything around us. The entire staff here is nothing short of accommodating. No matter what you need, any staff member here goes above and beyond to assist you- and always with a smile on their face. We really felt at home here with the staff and they made us feel so welcome. They really want to ensure that each guest leaves completely satisfied.
Waking up each morning to the sights and sounds of the grounds at Bosque is something I will carry with me for life. We stayed at Casa Miramar which is a garden oasis onto itself. I am so blessed that i was able to call this place home for a week. The staff comes daily to clean the house and restock the fresh water and bring fresh towels. Some of the greatest memories of my life were made just hanging out on the deck and in the private pool with my friends. All 6 of us were able to comfortably share this house. In fact, we were saying how easily 4-6 more people could have stayed with us. There is so much space here! All of the bedrooms had their own separate space with built in closets, ceiling fans, and a view. With two showers and two bathrooms, we never felt crowded at all. At night, we were able to cook in our well-appointed kitchen and all sit down to a family dinner. The living space is comprised of lots of comfortable seating, artfully arranged for conversation. I wish I could have stayed forever- it really felt like home.
I know there are reviews about numerous resorts on the Osa, but I implore you to trust your instinct at stay at Bosque del Cabo. The owners and staff realy have done an outstanding job making this a home away from home. If you want to be a part of a rare ecosystem with the amenities you need, this is the place for you. I am positive there is not a more beautiful place on earth, and even if there was, it doesn't have Bosque del Cabo. This is the resort for you and for everybody else.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
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New York
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Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2012

Given all the glowing Bosque del Cabo reviews already posted to TripAdvisor, I didn't feel much need to add my own following my stay there this past May. But then I came across reviewer Biomase's "different perspective" on BDC and it really got me thinking more about just what makes BDC stand out among its nearby competitors, chiefly Lapa Rios.

Like Biomase, I also found it difficult to tell from web searches which "high end" Osa property might best suit my needs, and most importantly, fulfill my expectations. One thing was clear, however -- there seemed to be two camps of people out there: those loyal to BDC, and those to Lapa Rios. And to add to the confusion, I soon discovered there were also El Remanso people out there, too?!

Since BDC and Lapa Rios were the only two offering a free night's stay at the time, I let that be one determining factor right off the bat. After all, none of these places are exactly ideal for budget travelers so every incentive is a plus. With El Remanso out of the picture, it came down to only two properties in which to consider. Would I be a BDC person? Or a Lapa Rios person? It proved almost impossible to decide. Then it dawned on me -- why not be both?

So that's exactly who my girlfriend and I decided to be. We would spend our first adventure-packed leg at BDC exploring their exhaustive trail system, then move onto Lapa Rios for what would no doubt be a welcome luxurious finale to our Osa adventure. This way we would experience the best of both worlds. Conquer two lands. And along the way we encountered guests at each lodge that were curious to know just how far apart these two worlds really were.

Here's what we discovered:

Reservations Experience: From the moment I first emailed BDC until the moment I arrived on the property, I dealt only with Jose and Leonardo, and everything came together flawlessly. Reservations. Pre-payment. Arranging for our airport pickup and requesting the drop off at Lapa Rios. The same could also be said of the check in and check out process once we became official guests of the property. Dealing with the friendly BDC staff was as easy as it gets.

This was not the case at Lapa Rios, and if I had to guess why, I think there just may have been too many cooks in the kitchen. Every time I corresponded via email with Lapa Rios I received a reply from someone new and it wasn't long until I found myself having to reconfirm details that I had already confirmed with someone else. And this ended up leading to a lot of unnecessary confusion. One representative told me the Nature Air flights I wanted were not available, but after a simple web search revealed that they were, I ended up just booking them myself. Then, months after my reservation had been confirmed and payment info verified (but just weeks prior to the trip), another representative sent word that my reservation would be cancelled unless payment was submitted in the next 24 hours. In a panic to keep my reservation intact (which was booked at a special promo rate which had since expired), I finally ended piecing everything back into place with a phonecall, but not without having to start their frustrating reservation process all over again, and only after having learned this: my financial information had been confused with that of another guest with the same first name and subsequently tossed out after his stay. Wow. Never in my life have I tried so hard to hand over lots of money before. In the end I succeeded, but it proved far more difficult than it ever should've been.

Bungalow Experience: At Bosque del Cabo, not all rooms are created equal. Here, you are offered your choice of accommodations -- bungalows, deluxe bungalows, even houses -- each one with its own unique identity. We reserved the Congo, a deluxe bungalow that is coveted for its impressive view of the Pacific, and that is exactly what we got. Not only is the view nothing short of breathtaking, it's completely unobstructed -- there is no railing separating you from a hundred foot plus drop down a jungle cliff. That makes this bungalow an especially dangerous option for those traveling with kids (or anyone prone to sleepwalking) but for the rest of us it affords an unadulterated view of the sea, sky and land and is a perfect example of BDC being mindful to eliminate any barriers between you and the surrounding environment.

At Lapa Rios, we (twice) requested a “couples friendly” cabina, which have one king sized bed and are farther away from the restaurant/bar/pool. Instead we were assigned Cabina #5, with two beds and in close proximity to the fanfare we were hoping to avoid. Now Lapa Rios is very upfront about not being able to guarantee a certain cabina, and they did end up re-assigning us to Cabina #10 without any fuss. But if a cabina that matched our request had been available in the first place, why wasn't it the obvious choice?

My first guess would be that they just didn't have all our reservation requests in order -- still. But another reason might've been because there was a couple staying in #9 and another couple in #11, the idea being perhaps management was just keen on spacing out their occupancies. Having guests stay in the cabina next to you (or not) would make a huge difference in your experience for one very important reason -- Lapa’s cabinas are virtually right on top of each other. Arranged in pairs, each cabina essentially shares the same wooden platform, guarded by a pretty tall concrete wall to one side and a not-so-tall suita palm divider on the other side.

Why is this a big deal? The truth is the most disappointing feature of Lapa Rios’ otherwise heavenly (and very spacious) cabinas is that because they are spaced so closely together, you can hear everything, and I mean absolutely everything your fellow neighbor is doing. You will hear your neighbors' showers running, their toilets flushing. And they will hear yours. For this reason alone, I would be very disappointed if I were to have chosen Lapa Rios for my honeymoon, and we met one such couple that believed everything about Lapa Rios was divine except for this one key aspect. Here, you can expect any conversation but the quietest whisper to be overheard, even “inside” voices. And should you want to take those inside voices of yours behind closed walls, you can't, because there aren't any. Only wall-to-wall screens. There are bamboo shades that if drawn down all around you might eliminate some incoming or outgoing noise, but that’s not something you would likely set out to do as you would also be closing yourself off from the mesmerizing sights and sounds of the jungle. Simply put, we found our room situated too closely to the neighboring cabinas to enjoy any privacy whatsoever. And from the moment we first realized this, we felt trapped, like we couldn’t make a sound without being overheard.

Conversely at BDC, each bungalow occupies enough real estate to allow one to feel genuinely secluded from other guests. We never once heard our neighbors, and only saw them when coming or going to our room. And this made a huge difference to us. Unlike Cabina #10, the Congo never felt like just "a room" we were staying in, but instead felt like our very own home.

Trail Experience: For those of you wondering which property afforded the most abundant wildlife, there isn’t one that had the advantage over the other. Osa wildlife is everywhere all the time. There’s barely a moment when you won’t be watching some forest creature or when one is not watching you. And because the Osa is an intensely wild environment, there are venomous creatures all around the jungle -- both day and night -- as well at each respective property. We quickly came to realize that due to safety concerns, some visitors felt much more comfortable taking Lapa Rios’ guided tours or exploring BDC’s trails with one of their trusty guides rather than set out on their own (though once you take a night hike at either you will quickly realize how deceptively close you are to venomous snakes just walking each lodge's pathways). If you do decide to stay at BDC and plan to explore their trails on your own, then just let a BDC staff member or another guest know which trail or trails you’re planning on taking that day (as it is, BDC does ask folks to let them know their whereabouts, but it's not very stringent). And I will admit that it wasn’t until I had a particularly close encounter with a Fer-de-Lance one afternoon on the Titi Trail, that I myself started heeding these instructions.

Of course at the time I had no idea what type of snake it was I came across. But just hours later someone correctly identified it for me, and that someone was a fellow BDC guest. The fact is we met many more hardcore naturalists at BDC than at Lapa Rios, and because of BDC's communal style dining, we were able to tap into that knowledge nightly. Even though at first we were a little wary of BDC's dining arrangement, we found it really enriched our overall lodge experience and in a certain respect instilled each passing day with heightened purpose since much of our nightly conversation with others was spent comparing our day’s jungle experience with their own. Here, at the dinner table, you and your fellow guests get to share who saw what on a certain trail or who fled what in a certain bungalow. And by learning about other people's interactions with the property, you may learn something new about the property you didn't already know, or was more often the case some new fact about an animal you've never heard of or an animal that you have heard of and have been just dying to see. This is not to say your trail guides at Lapa Rios can’t also provide you with a wealth of information about the jungles of the Osa. But we felt what lacked in that scenario was sharing in that moment of surprise and self-discovery when your fellow guests “bump into” nature, because their experience today could very well be yours tomorrow.

And BDC's vast network of self-guided trails is all about you, and only you. There is just a greater amount of ground to cover, and because you can make use of these trails without a guide, you can dedicate as much time as you want to viewing the Osa’s animal kingdom. In fact, one guest we met at BDC was a video documentarian who was going on his third week capturing the property’s wildlife, and who would often set up his camera and tripod at a certain spot then wait hours for the right moment to occur. Another animal-crazed couple we met were enjoying not their second stay, or even third, but fourth stay at BDC. The truth is that no matter which property you decide to stay, some of your most awe-inspiring wildlife sightings will occur just outside your respective cabina/bungalow. But we did find BDC’s trail system to be much more extensive and overall much more scenic than those trails on the Lapa Rios property. They are, after all, the feature that brings so many to BDC in the first place. And it was here that we encountered a greater variety of wildlife, enjoyed better overlooks, and could easily set our own pace, between the easy stroll to the rigorous uphill climb. But of course, what makes all of the different hikes at BDC completely unique is that you aren’t required to have a guide lead the way (though they do offer several highly regarded guided tours as well).

On the flip side, one could argue that there is a certain advantage to being led around by one of Lapa Rios’ expert guides -- the knowledge they impart can really help you better understand your surroundings, and you can apply this knowledge to each trail you take thereafter (though you if you take enough tours with the Lapa Rios staff, you can expect to hear a lot of information repeated). From the moment we first arrived at Lapa Rios, we were eager to learn what the difference would be between a guided hike and non-guided hike, so we signed up for Lapa Rios’ Matapalo Tour, which covers the same beaches we had already explored "offsite" while at BDC. Thanks to Edwin’s trained eye, we spotted a few critters we would’ve never spotted on our own. But after several more guided tours with Lapa Rios, we quickly realized that exploring the wilds of the jungle on your own is an experience into and of itself, and one that has many advantages over being part of a guided “tour.”

First and foremost, there’s no substitute in being one on one with nature. It was on one of our Lapa Rios guided tours that a guide said this: “Isolation is the engine of evolution.” What he was referring to was the fact that Costa Rica was an island 5 million years ago, and the extensive biological diversity it offers today can be attributed to its unique geographical history. But this little anecdote could also be applied to the trail experience as well. When you’re on your own, you can hike as quietly as you’d like, taking in the full spectrum of sounds of the jungle and its inhabitants. Or take as much time as you want framing that photo. Or breeze quickly through a trail pass in anticipation of reaching the shores of the Pacific. Essentially, at BDC, you’re free to create your own experience exactly how’d you like for it to be.

Conversely, when on a guided hike, you’re at the mercy of those in your company. While we never felt rushed by our Lapa Rios guides, each hike did end up concluding before it was scheduled to, and we did wish at times we could’ve either hung back when spying something of interest, or moved on when spying something we’d seen before. And then of course there are the other guests "assigned" to your tour. After hiking BDC's trails on our own, we found that we preferred to share our trail experience through story and pictures each night at BDC after the fact, rather than "in the moment." And you might too if you if you happen to have those at your side who feel the need to carry on a one-way conversation throughout the entire hike, like we did on one of Lapa Rios' more lengthy treks. On virtually all of BDC's trails, we were the only hikers from start to finish, and again the jungle felt like it was ours and ours alone to explore.

Another factor to consider with a guided tour is that you obviously have to adhere to a set schedule. So let’s say it’s been raining all morning, but that glorious equatorial sun finally makes an unexpected appearance. You can't just set out at a moment’s notice on a hike, unless you take Lapa Rios’ one and only self-guided trail, which is little more than a trail running parallel to the property's main walkway and one that most hikers could complete in 15 minutes. Or let's say the weather takes a turn for the worse, and it often does without much warning, your tour might be cancelled altogether. Also, scheduled tours are not only bound by a certain time of day, but also the day of the week. When we arrived at Lapa Rios, we were most eager to see their sustainability efforts "in action," but the one tour they offered on the subject – Pigs and Twigs -- only came up in rotation every other 4th day rather than every other day like all the other tours. For a destination that prides itself on its eco-efforts, we were a little bit surprised it would be the one tour that was offered the least, and a lot disappointed we missed it altogether.

The Same, But Different: Even though my girlfriend and I enjoyed our stay at BDC over Lapa Rios, I do want to take a moment to recognize the fact that both properties work really hard to create an experience, and if you choose to stay at just one, I honestly believe that chances are good you will not be disappointed with your choice. To reinforce Biomase's point, although they are competing properties, they by and large share a similar mission, and a similar swath of real estate -- even staff members belonging to the same families! But each lodge also approaches the Osa experience a little differently, Lapa Rios being the property that promotes more of a luxury experience, and BDC allowing guests a little more freedom to explore the nature around them. It really just all depends on the preference of the individual traveler.

And our individual experience was shaped by a few key variables that not every traveler will need to concern themselves with. For starters, we chose to stay at both of these competing lodges back to back, which meant one of them had to be first, and for us it was love at first sight. Perhaps had we stayed at Lapa Rios prior to BDC, who’s to say we wouldn’t have had a more enjoyable experience there by comparison? But because we had already fallen in love with so many things at BDC, our time spent there cast a shadow over our stay at Lapa Rios that otherwise probably wouldn't have been there. We also visited in mid May at the beginning of the wet season, and each lodge was well below capacity. If BDC had had sixty guests like they're capable of accommodating during high season, we might've had a whole different experience than we did in the company of only 13 other guests. The same goes for Lapa Rios. They maybe had 30 guests total during our stay but did not seem overly crowded, though again if any guests are staying in the cabina next door it might feel like it at times. And last but not least, there are the stairs. Lapa Rios has many, many stairs. BDC has no stairs, and unless you’re staying in one of their garden bungalows, most “residencies” are fairly close to their main dining area. If you’re making multiple trips to your room and back, this can make a big difference in respect to your daily stamina, especially with heat and humidity playing such major factors in overexertion. Those folks who can't or just don't want to climb a lot of stairs should definitely keep this in mind when requesting their Lapa cabina assignment. We were aware of this fact going into our request, and were happy to make the trek up and down them -- all 187 of them -- until we had to climb them to request bath towels when housekeeping left us without any. Or when we needed to retrieve our flight reservations when management indicated they could not verify our outbound flight. As soon as something like this happens it becomes immediately apparent just how frustrating it can be without any way to contact the front desk except by foot.

But overall, after having stayed at both properties back to back, it is of our opinion that you can enjoy an experience that it is both relatively the same and also quite different. We view Lapa Rios as a destination that might be more suitable for those who wish to spend their afternoons poolside or on the sands of one of three accessible beaches. Those seeking to fill their days with nonstop adventure might do better at BDC as their extensive self-guided trail network offers an unbeatable hiking experience.

So for those who prefer guided/scheduled hikes, locks, keys for those locks, stairs, more sophisticated dining, turndown service, and a cabina that is more bug proof, featuring him & hers (or his & his, etc.) sinks, ceiling fans, and an indoor (hot at all times) shower -- then Lapa Rios might be for you. On the other hand, if your chief objective is to discover the rainforest largely on your own terms, then BDC is hard to beat. And while both properties showcase the area's wildlife, this is the property that seems more committed to nature immersion. Even your room will have wildlife! And you can pick that room. Remember at BDC you can request a certain bungalow or home, so you know where you’ll be staying on the property, unlike at Lapa Rios.

No matter which property you decide to visit, you will most likely have not encountered anything like it. I think a fellow guest at BDC put it best: “the fact that there's some place this nice in the middle of nowhere is astonishing.” Another guest who has stayed all around the Osa many times over, was quick to add that what is even more astonishing is how the lodges in the region are able to disguise how much work goes into making such an experience available to their guests. Just knowing that the eggs in your morning omelet may have cost many times what they should have given the fact so many break on the bumpy drive from Puerto Jimenez, only amplifies the fact that what both BDC, Lapa Rios, and no doubt other area lodges are doing for their guests is even more special than what one may truly realize. After taking this into consideration, it’s hard to pass judgment on any of the Osa properties. Yes, costs are at a premium for guests who travel here, but they are also at a premium for each individual lodge. Given what they have to work with, they are truly dealing out miracles.

But the miracles we will remember most were those that we discovered on our own, and for this reason we felt that BDC was a better fit for us. There's been no doubt thousands of memories built at Lapa Rios, and we also made a few of our own there we will never forget. It’s just that a few more worth sharing came out of our time at BDC. That being said, we met a newlywed couple at Lapa Rios that was having the time of their lives. There would be no way of convincing them there was any other alternative, and really no reason to, unless you happen to have already experienced a property that was rewarding as our stay was at BDC. But our single experience was not only dictated by the quality of our stay but also by what we prefer in an address. Our charming bungalow, BDC’s attentive but more laid back staff, right down to the cuisine prepared with so much love and care, all went a long way in making our time at BDC feel less like a hotel and more like a home away from home. On the other hand, if you are looking to be more pampered, then you will probably find that Lapa Rios has a few more amenities worth enjoying, though you do pay more for the extra perks and if you end up encountering even a fraction of the same managerial hiccups we did, you may begin to question the unrivaled level of service that Lapa Rios is so often celebrated for.

P.S. -- A Quick Shout-Out To El Remanso: Even though we chose not to stay at El Remanso, we did have the pleasure of visiting their property on what turned out to be the best excursion of our trip, their Waterfall Rappelling tour, one of the first of its kind in all of Costa Rica. Many thanks to Rinaldo, who by far had the most winning personality of any guide we encountered during our stay. Do not miss this adventure!

  • Stayed May 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2012

Since most of these reviews already talk about the stellar service, great food and amazing experiences in and around the cabina's - which I wholeheartedly agree with - I will take a different tact and go through why A) I chose Bosque over Lapa Rios or El Remanso and B) Benefits of staying at Bosque. I'm a strong proponent of Bosque and would go back in a heartbeat, but I'm trying to stay objective in this review as prior to this trip, I found it difficult to conduct comparative web research.

Background - this was a honeymoon and we are a couple in their late twenties and early thirties

A) Why I chose Bosque over Lapa Rios or El Remanso
We chose Bosque mainly because of the drastic pricing difference, similar location and similar tours. Although their website looks quite dated compared with Lapa Rios and El Remanso, its not a reflection on their services and venue.

Lapa Rios is the best known of the lodges and El Remanso is the smallest and Bosque is right in the middle. Although they try and "distinguish" themselves by marketing themselves at difference angles, for a layperson looking for a "rainforest" experience, you could go to any of them and basically get the same experience. All the properties are all located next door to each other so you are in the same area anyways.

After chatting with some of the local tour guides, all the tours are conducted through the same companies depending on what activity you choose to partake in. For example, the waterfall rappelling tours only occurs on the El Remanso property because that is where the waterfalls are located. Whether you choose Bosque or Lapa, it all happens via El Ramanso. Moreover, all of the local staff and tour guides know or are related to each other at the respective lodges, and its pretty consistently understood that Lapa is able to charge so much more primarily due to its reputation amongst mainstream media and travel companies like National Geographic, Fodors etc. Although one can comment that the food or services could be better than some, I thought the quality of the staff and food at Bosque was amazing so its extremely subjective and to me, the differences would be so subtle that its irrelevant when making your decision as to where to get the most relaxing rain forest experience.

B) Benefits of Staying at Bosque

1) Hiking - Bosque boasted the most extensive hiking trail system, this is huge as we are a couple that enjoys venturing out on our own. You can hike down to the beach on the Pacific or Golfe Dulce side for a swim, you can wander through primary forest or secondary forest, you can go hike to the gardens and find lychee and mango trees all by yourself. The property itself is huge and even after spending 3 nights there, we found we didn't have enough time to make it to all the trails. For the most part, you are the only ones wandering through the rainforest, its both a eerie and humbling experience at the same time, great for those loving the thrill of adventure in a true living rain forest.

2) Communal Feel - while here, you have the choice to remain completely secluded to your cabina if you want, but for the most part, all the travelers loved meeting each other and chatting. Especially at dinner when its served buffet family style. Its great getting to meet other people from other walks of life and share all the little "secrets" - like waterfall entrances off a gorgeous beach or hidden swimming holes under a series of waterfalls - that you discover while exploring the huge Bosque property itself.

3) Resident Biologist - Phil, not to be confused with Phil the owner, is a 12+ year resident biologist living on the Bosque property. His night walk was simply amazing and we learned so much by just chatting with him. For those looking to learn more about the rainforest and its respective species, Phil is your resident professor that will greatly enlighten your knowledge and enhance your experience.

4) Family Owned and Operated - The owners of the property actually have a house at Bosque as well, and I think this truly speaks to the dedication which they have to ensuring their guests needs are well attended too. The owners are the primary face for customer service so if you have any qualms or problems, they are accountable - not a call center. Lapa Rios is run by a 3rd party managed company, which I don't object to, but I am a strong proponent of family and small business so I am somewhat bias towards this.

5) Dedication of Environmental Endeavours - I found that Bosque is truly trying to accomplish a zero foot print luxury feel resort. They harness the use of both the sun and hydro power, they have a recycling and compost programs and their internship program for university students to learn more about sustainable living is commendable. I hope this program is able to be expanded in the future as I think they are doing the world a great service.

Room Tip: All the Cabina's, with the exception of the Garden Rooms have ocean views, so it doesn't mat...
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  • Stayed September 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge

Address: Cabo Matapalo | Peninsula de Osa, Cabo Matapalo 60702, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Osa Peninsula > Cabo Matapalo
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Cabo Matapalo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 17
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bosque del Cabo is a romantic getaway and a naturalist’s dream, come true. Crowning a point 500 feet above where the Golfo Dulce meets the Pacific Ocean, nestled in the unspoiled jungles of Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula is a paradise found. Located in a unique and fortunate position at the very tip of the Osa Peninsula in the southern Pacific region of Costa Rica, this 750+ acre forest reserve features private, spacious bungalows and gorgeous houses perched atop the cliffs of Cabo Matapalo, each with beautiful ocean views, tropical breezes and the rainforest at your doorstep; or choose beautiful and rustic garden view accommodations surrounded by thriving rainforests. Hiking trails lead you through the forest to deserted beaches on both the Golfo Dulce and Pacific Ocean. Bosque del Cabo, which opened its doors as a hotel in 1990, is owner operated and dedicated to forest preservation. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Bosque Del Cabo Rainforest Hotel Puerto Jimenez

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