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“Magical <3” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Princesa de la Luna Eco Lodge

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Princesa de la Luna Eco Lodge
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La Fortuna, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 506, Costa Rica   |  
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fort lauderdale
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Magical <3”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2012

Princesa De La Luna, What can I say...One of the best experiences of my life. I have been to Costa Rica 7 times before and its the one country that keeps calling me back. I decided to show my love for this country by bringing some of the be
st people in the world, my friends! So there are 11 of us driving up this bumpy dirt road, just outside one of my favorite cities, La Fortuna. We arrive to a sign that points to Princesa De La Luna and we take that path. The path is a small road covered in beautiful plants and flowers...it looks amazing! We arrive to a driveway and to the left is the main part of the lodge, in front is one of the cabins attached to the main lodge and to the right are 2 other separate cabins. There are 2 levels to the main lodge. The bottom level is a huge lounge area with a stereo, comfy seats, great for hanging out...you step down a couple steps from the main lounging area and thats where you will find a beautiful old school, all natural HUGE kitchen area with a wood burning fire pit, stove, sink, over and refrigerator, along with every other kitchen item you may need. Just past that is this amazing dining room area with an adoreable bar area. All of this is surrounded by rainforest. All out in the open, at one with nature. Just past the dining area is a natural jacuzzi surrounded by the rainforest. AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL. On the second level there are 2 huge bedrooms, not attached both leading out onto a deck overlooking the rainforest and the famous Arenal Volcano. There are swings, lounge chairs, leather couches.. beautiful area to hang out in. There are a total of 5 bedrooms. 2 which are attached to the main lodge and 3 which are separate from the house. Each room has a couple of beds and each has its own bathroom and shower. The second level has an outside shower, facing the rainforest... that was the shower we used the most, it was awesome! The first level has an additional bathroom and shower. And this is just the lodge. On the property you have acres of rainforest. We hiked to a waterfall which was so beautiful. It was about a 10-15 minute hike and there was also a pool as well which is a natural spring fed pool. The property is stunning and just walking around during the day you will find all kinds of treasure, flora, fauna and all kinda of wildlife. Not to mention Paco, the dog, who lives at the property and will be your best little snuggle partner. With all this being said, my favorite part of Princesa De La Luna is the owner and the neighbors there. We met Johnathan the first night and were amazing at what a very sweet down to earth person he is. The next morning, the neighbors (staff) came in to cook us all breakfast. The food was delicious and they were so kind and so sweet. It felt like home instantly. We were there a total of 5 days, over Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving we asked all the neighbors, friends I have in town and Johnathan to please come and join us. It was absolutely on of the most heart felt moments of my life. We were all cooking, cleaning, enjoying each others company...Even with the slight language barrier for some of us, it felt like we were family. We all ate together and it was beautiful. The next night, they all came and made us an amazing dinner which we all sat and had together. Johnathan, the owner of the lodge, was so helpful and kind. It is amazing to see him help the local community-so much humanity. Its not something you see in the US all that often. By the time we had to leave, we were all teary eyed. It was so hard to leave what had become our home in just 5 short days. We fell in love with the people..the kids.. the neighbors, the house.. the rainforest. Ive been back for a few days now and I am missing it so much! Princesa De La Luna is magical to us. Our friendships have grown stronger, it changed us. The place is perfect for those who want a REAL Costa Rican experience. Perfect for groups of people who want a few different common areas to hang out it and also have privacy in their personal rooms. A Huge Thank YOU to everyone at Princesa De La Luna for changing our lives! We love you :)

  • Stayed November 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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148 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (28)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2012

Great way to immerse yourself in the Costa Rican jungle and disconnect for as long as you need to. Great people run the place and they go out of their way to make things as pleasant and comfortable for you as possible. Only drawback is the road to get there, but if you can handle off road bumpy conditions, then the end result is well worth it!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Miami, Florida
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2012

If you're looking for a quiet place to relax and get lost in nature, this is the place to go. If you're looking for service, cleanliness, or entertainment this is not for you.

The Pro's:
1. Great breakfast although they did not change the menu the four days we ate there and we were getting tired of the same food every morning.
2. Beautiful scenery.
3. Nice spring pool.
4. Great nature trains and waterfall.
5. Great view of the stars and moon on a clear night.
6. Great for taking pictures.

The Cons:
1. VERY DIRTY and I'm not talking about dirt from the location being in the rainforest. I'm talking about lack of cleanliness. When we first got there, I was totally grossed out to see that we had to use the soap nuggets that were used by previous guests. The soap was cracked and dry and had hair from previous guests. Totally GROSS!
- The toilets and sinks were dirty. You would think the maid would get some cleaner and wipe down the area after each guests departure. It wouldn't surprise me if this place doesn't even have a maid. We never saw one the four days we were there. I was grossed out to touch anything there.
- The floors were gross and all of our rooms could have used a good sweep and moping. The rooms had not been swept in months. There were dried out bugs, dirt and spider webs in corners that lead to this conclusion.
- There were termites in our bedding; had to get the bedding stripped the moment we got there. But the beds were comfortable and the fans were nice.
2. Jacuzzi was out of order. It looks worn and didn't look like it was under any repair. It was advertised that it had a Jacuzzi and we were very much looking forward to it, over wine and looking out at the volcano and rainforest. It was a huge disappointment to find out the night we got there that the Jacuzzi was broken. You can not advertise you have a Jacuzzi for your guests if it's broken. That's false advertisement.
3. The kitchen tables were infested with termites. It was hard to sit and eat without fighting off the termites. The entire place is infested and needs a good extermination or reconstruction with treated wood to solve that problem. Termites everywhere including the rooms and beds. No mosquitos tho and that was a big plus.
4. The refrigerator where we kept our food and water was DISGUSTING. It looked like it had never been cleaned and was full of mold inside. Food is kept here...for heavens sake, clean it!

Another issue was that there was no way of contacting someone if there was an emergency; a fall or a heart attack. You'll die there. Each night when we returned to the lodge from running around La Fortuna, the whole place was shut down - pitch black. We were the guests and we were the ones who had to run around in the rain all over the lodge turning on light so we could see where we were going. I would at least expect, if Jonathan could not be there, that lights to the entrance of our rooms would be turned on or to the path that leads to the kitchen so we could get our waters for the night. This was annoying.

- Jonathan is a nice guy but needs to make some changes at the lodge. The customer service outside of chit-chat is poor. Although, if you complain about something, Jonathan will address it just enough to get you by. Don't expect to get royal treatment or discounts for complaints.

My advice to Jonathan is, u have a gold mine that has the potential to be #1 in La Fortuna. It's a unique place but it's run down, dirty, needs upgrades, clean soap or advertise that guests need to provide their own toiletries. Beds should be clean and rooms properly swept prior to guest arrival. Showers, sinks and toilets should be cleaned prior to guests arrival also. Lights should be lit at night for the cabin homes and there should be some sort of emergency phone your guests can use in case they need help. It doesn't matter if you are in the middle of the rainforest, cleanliness, good customer service, and safety should not be a concern for anyone who pays for lodging anywhere.

Also, you can make so much more money if you have an open bar for your guests and greet them with a cold drink upon arrival like many other lodges do. You can sell cold pipa's from your own land; sell fruit salads from fruit harvested from your own land and some weekend entertainment with open cash bar and appetizers. Put a air hockey table, darts or a pool table for teens and kids to play. Make it more family friendly and a place ppl want to stay and spend their money. Put up a gift shop with Princesa de la Luna mugs, cups, magnets, t-shirts and stuffed animals with Paco and Luna's names on them. For sure we would have bought these things there simply bc our kids fell in love with the dogs.

Would we stay at Princesa de la Luna again? Not for now. But if I win the lottery, I would make Jonathan an offer and buy the place and turn it into a "happening" family friendly hot spot. :)

I would recommend this for single men who are on safari type adventures...who need a bed, shower and a quick meal in the morning before moving on to their next expedition. I advice ppl with families or kids to not stay there. You'll enjoy your stay more at a hotel.

Room Tip: Bring your own soap.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kingston, Canada
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2012

It was a very new interesting experience for us. It is easy to understand the previous negative comment about the place if you compare it with a five star hotel. If you expect air conditioners, towel service and jacusy in your room - this is not place for you. Even though the place might be lacking in features that would be expected as standart, we thought the whole experience was very unique.
It is a quiet, isolated place in the middle of the forest. There are lots of fruit trees, small swiming pool and a path to a waterfall. You can see Arenal volcano while drinking coffee in the morning.
When we just arrived we were a bit disappointed, as there was no wifi due to a recent storm. Also, there was some problem with communication, and maybo because we were not expected to arrive at that time, our room was not ready. We were somewhat overprotective going to Costa Rica and brought littres of repellent and all kinds of long sleeve tops, rubber boots, pants, etc. It was surprising that in Princesa de la Luna we didn't need it at all. The owner said that they were lucky with a location, as there are no insects, such as moskitos, there.
There were small things that bothered us in the beginning, for example your shower was out of order, but it was fixed very quickly. We had to drive 2 kilometers on unpaved road to get there. But again, there were other things, that compensated for the inconvenience. We would definitely recommend this place to our friends, and if we decide to go to Costa Rica again, will stay there.
We agree with previous comment about advantage having a car.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2012

PROs:
- Very nice setting in the middle of the rainforest with trails down to the river and around a vast property
- Good breakfast for $5 per person
- Interesting host


CONs:
- Very DIRTY and UNSANITARY
- Lack of basic hospitality (turn the hot water on for your guests!)
- Empty hot-tub (you can't advertise it but not have it ready to save some $ on electricity)
- Do not pay the 100% deposit. 50% is customary for this kind of lodging.


TIPs:
- Bring your own disinfectant
- Make sure they TURN the HOT WATER ON
- Do not stay there unless you have a car otherwise I suspect you will feel trapped as this property is about 10/15min drive away from the city via dirt road and there is no restaurants/bars/businesses around.
- Room 1 (king size bed and single bed) and 2 (kind size bed) have access to a great deck with beautiful views
- If you like to sleep in dark rooms, bring an eye mask so you're not awaken by the (very early) morning light.


IF YOU WANT THE FULL DETAILS...
Wanting to experience the Costa Rican rainforest and hospitality, my boyfriend and I booked a room at Princesa for 4 nights from Nov 7th-11th, 2012.
We wanted to stay away from chain resorts and have a relaxing few days in the middle of nature.

The first impression of Princesa de la Luna was good: spacious room with a king size bed nicely decorated in rustic style, great wooden deck with beautiful views, gorgeous setting in the middle of the rainforest, and plenty of common spaces around the lodge.

If you like people with a personality, Jonathan will not disappoint! I think he could seem 'odd' to some, but I enjoy people who are not vanilla-flavored. While he is not exactly 'warm', he seemed truly interested to have a chat with us. Cute dog Paco was very friendly, decided to settle on my boyfriend's laps for a snooze, and welcomed us in and out of the property.

The problems started when we settled down in room #2, and found the soap (and its paper wrap) had been eaten (we assumed by mice) and droppings were all over the bathroom sink and counter. And all over the bed cover and decorative pillows. And the bedroom floor. :(

We thought a good hotelier would have checked the room before his guests arrived (especially when they have not been in use for a while as this was beginning of touristy season), but did not think much of it: this is an Eco lodge in the middle of the forest after all.

On our way to dinner in La Fortuna, we stopped by Jonathan's house and asked him to clean the bathroom and change the bed cover. He seemed surprised by the situation, replied it was probably geikos' droppings. He said that the maid was out in town and seemed bothered he may have to clean up himself. We told him we will be back in one hour and half from dinner.

While he did offer a small 'sorry about this', we did not feel that he was taking this cleanness issue very seriously. We decided to buy a bacterial disinfectant on our way back 'just in case'. We're glad we did!

Upon returning to the room, the bathroom had barely been cleaned: while most of the droppings were gone, some droppings where still on the sink, some below the soap holder, some behind the faucet. The quick, poor 'cleaning' job had probably disturbed a huge cockroach which had now settled behind the faucet and the mirror. The eaten soap had been moved from the soap holder to the shelve below the sink, (one can only assume) so that the mice (or geikos?) (or cockroaches?) can finish their meal.
The bed cover had been replaced by another one with stains, the decorative pillows were still on the bed.

My boyfriend gently escorted the cockroach out by the front door (we like nature after all!) and I cleaned up the bathroom myself. And the shower. And the plastic light-switch covers which had brown stains over them.

We decided to make the most of the place and went to explore the grounds at night, down to the swimming pool and searching for frogs, and had a great 'national geographic' moment with a huge spider to whom we fed a cricket (yes, we forced the cycle of nature a bit!)

Upon returning from our night hike, we had the bad surprise to have only cold water for shower. Jonathan did not think of switching the breaker on for his guests. We did not know where it was located so proceeded with a very cold shower. We went to bed. We had to clean whatever stuck to our feet before getting in between the sheets. The bed was a bit 'springy' but OK. Except for the absolutely awful mold smell of the pillows. I understand this is a humid environment, but somehow other hotels we stayed at in La Fortuna and Monteverde managed to keep their pillows smelling OK.

In the morning we had a very good breakfast prepared by Maurene. We had a nice chat with Jonathan talking about US elections. I borrowed a broom from the kitchen and swept the floor of our bedroom (disgusting). The wooden closet was eaten by termites (see picture by other tourist). We wanted to relax and read a book on the deck, but the vinyl sofas were very dirty (bird dropping on the seat cushion, thick layer of dust and dirt, glass marks, etc...)

We decided that we were not going to relax and enjoy a place where you had to watch where you seat or walk on, and clean everything you touch. We decided to forgo the 2nd night we had prepaid and left after only 1 night instead of 4 (after explaining why to Maurene (Jonathan was not around).

We're glad we did not pay the 100% deposit (4 nights) that Jonathan asked for at booking (in insight, this was probably a sign! We can only assume Jonathan had a lot of early departures in the past!)


IN CONCLUSION:
This is a pity as the location is really nice and it could be a fantastic lodge if Jonathan decided to take his job as hotelier a bit more seriously instead of solely relying on the view and beautiful nature (which by the way are in no way unique: several other options exists with same view and rainforest charm around La Fortuna).

We felt that while Jonathan is a nice guy, he's a hippy converted into hotelier who thinks there is not much to the job of receiving paying guests.
The Princesa de la Luna is not a backpacker hostel (nor is the room rate): clean bathroom/bedroom and hot water should be a given!

Room Tip: room 1 (king size bed and single bed) and 2 (kind size bed) have access to a great deck with beautif...
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Soto11PV, Owner at Princesa de la Luna Eco Lodge, responded to this review, April 5, 2013
We are very saddened to read that guests were disappointed with their experience here.

In this example it was a case of everything going wrong at once. Everyone has a bad day sooner or later and this was ours. I was ill on your first day and the second day I was completely out of action, our house keeper did not arrive nor inform me and these unfortunate guests were caught in the middle of this communication breakdown. I don't agree that things were as bad as they described and suspect them of exaggerating a bit, but I can understand why they would as they had every right to be disappointed. Things were just not up to our usual standards.We always provide soap, we fumigate for bugs regularly and use gallons of disinfectant.

Taxis are available quickly , our nieghbor is normally available at short notice, and we can organise transport, so transport should not be a problem.

For others contemplating a visit, please note that such situations are rare. We are consistently improving and our standards are quite high. We invite these guests to come again and give us another try, free of charge; and we hope that you the reader will come to experience our piece of paradise as well.

We upkeep 6 miles of trails , it is a 25 acre tropical park and farm ...we have much more to do than a typical hotel which we are not...besides waterfalls , natural swimming pools and protecting wildlife, attracting birds etc... and we are very much integrated into the local community , so the atmosphere here is different...The bathroon had not be cleaned this was a mistake ,which we regret.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2012

Look out from the balcony of this lodge and all you can see is dense tropical forests. You are living literally in the forests, but maybe just out of it. The customer service was superb. The owner took a day or two to warm up to us, but once he did he was very welcoming. He served some cheap, traditional and really good breakfasts.

The best part about this is that there are a number of hikes that you can do, just outside the house. I love the hike that leads to the waterfalls. The swimming pool has natural water and it also makes for a great experience, if you get up early morning. It can be a little too hot later in the day.

The only inconvieninces were that this is a bit away from the town (2-3 miles) & the road going up is a little rough. There was also dim lighting in most of the rooms which made it hard to read in the night.

The place is safe & cheap. The customer service was fabulous and the experience of being amidst the tropical forests was ecstatic!

Room Tip: Get one of the rooms connected to the deck overlooking the forests, so you can sleep outside at nigh...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2012

Princesa de la Luna is a true unique experience. If you're looking for a luxurious resort you should look elsewhere. However, if you're looking for a unique and authentic Costa Rica experience this is perfect. The location is absolutely beautiful. I recommend taking a walk in the morning and taking in nature's beauty.
The house is truly amazing. The architecture is unique and almost one with nature. The common areas are open so you have an amazing view anywhere you go. There are plenty of sitting areas to relax and Jonathan (the owner) is incredibly helpful and can help book any activities you might be interested in. Something to be aware of is that the house is a little off the beaten path so it's difficult to find at night, I recommend trying to check-in during the day time. Also, if you're driving keep in mind you need to drive on a dirt road uphill so SUVs might be better. Another thing to keep in mind is that because you are in the middle of nature and the house is open you will see insects, bugs, lizards, etc but it's part of the whole experience.

  • Stayed August 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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 Princesa de la Luna Eco Lodge

Address: La Fortuna, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 506, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Arenal Volcano National Park > La Fortuna de San Carlos
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Best Value Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#19 Romantic Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#22 Family Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Park Princess of the Moon Ecolodge is nestled in a lush tropical plant farm with a great location. This magical place is unusual, with more than 100 types of fruit trees, including many threatened and endangered species. The area is one of the most biodiverse and fertile in the world so wonderful to understand, observe and experience wildlife and nature. The aim is to integrate the principles of permaculture and creating a lifestyle self-sufficient and sustainable in harmony with the local biodiversity. Swimming pools, waterfalls, jacuzzi and many hiking trails on the farm as well as many other activities in the area. This is an interesting place for a honeymoon or a romantic adventure. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Princesa De La Luna Eco Lodge Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park

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