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“Tranquill spot in the Jungle” 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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Gilbert, Arizona, United States
1 review
“Tranquill spot in the Jungle”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2013

I stayed at Princesa de la Luna Eco Lodge last week and WOW what a great place to stay. I had no idea what to expect going in but upon arrival we were greeted by the gracious owner and host Jonathan. He was so welcoming and made us feel like we were at home.

The eating area, kitchen and lounging decks are all open air with great views out over the valley next to the Arenal Volcano. The many sounds and sights make this place a must stay. There are tons of trails on the property including one that takes you to a secluded waterfall.

The food was great and they even let the girls in our group learn some of the local cooking secrets. The neighbor Diego is a great taxi driver and such a pleasure to be with.

To top everything off, they recently got the most adorable puppy that wants nothing but love.

I highly recommend staying at Princesa de la Luna Eco Lodge when you visit La Fortuna!!

  • Stayed March 2013, 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
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Dan R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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216 reviews from our community

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Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
127 reviews
80 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 155 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2013

It was late and we had already endured many hours of flight delays and traffic in Costa Rica so perhaps we weren't off on the right foot. When we got into La Fortuna, the gps coordinates (from their website at the time) took me to some dark road where we drove around aimlessly until we found another hotel to ask them where this was. They didn't know but after making some phone calls, we were pointed back down the main route 702, where there were signs (in the dark), pointing down a dirt road. For 2km, our rental car endured to bumpiest and most unsettling ride into the pitch black, over huge uneven rocks. Finally we saw the lodge's sign and the British owner came out with is dog and flashlight and pointed us down his driveway to the hotel. When he let us in, he opened up the deck doors and then left the front door open, urging us it's ok to leave them because it's safe and there aren't any mosquitos. Uncomfortable with the doors wide open while we slept, we shut the doors but his dog refused to leave, so he ended up sleeping in our room for the night. Our room was lovely and rustic with a nice deck facing the the plant farm and you could see Arenal in the distance. Our bathroom however needed a major update. The old cast iron bathtub had rust stains, and there was a used soap with hair on it still. We only stayed that one night just to catch the canyoning tour in the morning. Up and early, the owner prepared us a nice breakfast overlooking the back of the mountain, and then we took a short walk down through the garden and to the pool. The pool was very dirty with tadpoles swimming everywhere- so they shouldn't be advertising that they even have a pool. Back up to the hotel, the owner started asking us why we were only there for one night and started lecturing us about how it's a shame and the roads are awful in CR. We told him we had a 7hr drive to our next destination and we had booked our hotel already, but he kept saying we shouldn't even be on the road after sunset, and he'd give us a discount on another night etc. I think he was being more pushy than helpful because the lodge was empty and we were the only guests.

When it came time to do our canyoning tour, the truck almost drove right past the hotel without us but the owner flagged him down. It turns out all the canyoning tours are right up the end of that same rocky road, and we jumped onto the back of their pickup truck. After the tour we decided he was trying scare tactics to make us stay, and just the thought of driving down that rocky road and back just to go into town was another thing, so we checked out and made it to our next hotel 7-8hrs later in one piece.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank occasionaltravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burnsville, North Carolina
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2013

My wife and I stayed at this beautiful eco-lodge for 5 days in February. The house itself is hard to figure out by looking at the pictures. It is a hotel with a home-like feel. Your food is prepared for you in an open kitchen, which is also available to use at your leisure, if you choose. I recommend having breakfast daily and at least a couple dinners as well. The meals are authentic, home cooked, wonderful, and served family style with the other guests. We were very comfortable in our room and loved the interaction with the owner and staff and other guests. The grounds are breathtaking, and a swim in the jungle pool is a unique pleasure. I have never felt so relaxed, and I truly miss the owner, staff and other guests we were able to share our vacation with.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 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
Helpful?
Thank jeffngreer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southfield, Michigan
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

My family of 5 stayed at Princesa de la Luna Eco Lodge in December. I was a little leery at the time due to reading some negative reviews. I had already paid for three nights, so I figured if it wasn't perfect that we would make the best of it. I was pleasantly surprised. The accommodations were incredible. My kids(ages 17, 20 and 22) stayed in one of the bedrooms in the main lodge area and my husband and I had the other room. The rooms and bathrooms were very large, clean and comfortable. We had no problem with having enough hot water for the five of us. Since we were the only ones there at the time we had the place to ourselves and loved it. Unfortunately, it rained for for the 3 days we were there, which made staying there with all the room to spread out and hang out that much more important. Every night my family hung out on the deck area, relaxing and playing cards. We wished we could have seen the volcano, but the fog didn't lift the 3 days were there. Jonathan has built an incredible place. We explored the property and only wished we had more time there to hike around to see it further. Jonathan was very interesting to talk with. He was a perfect host. He talked with us and gave us advice, but also gave us our personal space. He even made sugar cane juice on our last day before we left. Maureen, who made us a great breakfast each morning was very sweet. Diego came by one morning and chatted with us. Even though we aren't "dog people", we all loved Paco. My son and him became best friends by the time we left. As other reviewers said, if you are looking for a resort, this place is not for you. if you are looking for an incredible property in the middle of the jungle with people who live in the neighborhood taking care of the place this is for you. I am glad that we prepaid and I didn't get cold feet about staying here, or I would have truly missed staying at a unique, incredible place. My entire family felt this place was one of the highlights of our trip. If I came back to the area I would not hesitate to stay here, and would make it must stay destination. As other reviewers said, the road to get there was a little rough. Having a 4WD vehicle would be a help.

Room Tip: Both rooms in the main lodge area were great.
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank nfine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gilbert, AZ
Level Contributor
21 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2013 via mobile

I'm not one to complain much about an experience, but since this location fell so short of our expectations, I thought it was important to share with others who may consider going there.

Probably one of the biggest drawbacks to this property isn't the owner fault directly, but I felt he could have, or maybe should have, been made an attempt to remedy the problem. The problem was the access road to the property. The property was approximately 1.8 km off the main road, an it was accesses by a horribly maintained dirt road. Even driving a 4x4 SUV, my girlfriend and I found it to be grueling. Now I feel it's important to preface this statement by saying, I'm not some city slicker just complaining about less than perfect road. I use to live in the country, and had to boxblade our road every time it rained hard, so I know what a dirt road access can be. Just imagine what it was like, to go and play around the Aernal volcano area, and then having to make the decision, do we strap on the kidney belts for a 12 min ride in and a 12 min ride out, or do we just stay gone all day??? I remember on one occasion we just went and bought new clothes rather than deal with that horrific road.

The second part to this review would be the property's condition. At a far, and in pictures, this place looked amazing, and with good cause. The inn it was situated on was a wonderful parcel of land, that felt like it was nestled deep in the rainforest. What could be better than that right? Wrong!!! The same lack of attention to the property's egress affected the property's condition. The hot tub was empty when we got there, so was one of the pools. The second pool was nothing more than a hole in the ground, cemented in and tiled, but 1/3 of the tiles were popped off. No drain, no filtration, and means of keeping it sanitary, the bottom felt furry! The bathrooms felt like my 5 year old cleaned them without supervision and mold was growing like wildflowers in the armoire where our clothes were suppose to be kept. The kitchen was anything but sanitary. There were fruit flies were all over the wooden counters, sinks, and on the produce. The exterior of the refrigerator was all rusty and its interior was about as dirty as our bathroom. Last but not least regarding property issues, the wireless internet we were promised supposedly broke right before we got there.

The inn keeper and owner was a middle aged Welshman named Jonathan. He was very friendly, but the more I talked with him, the more her reminded me of Crocodile Dundee's Australian sidekick Walter, kinda lost and full of it. While there, we heard other guests complaining about no hot water, holes in their roof, and so on... He appeared to simply acknowledge the problem, but never fixed it. Sadly, my girlfriend and I kept saying, "This would be an amazing place if Jonathan would just put some love back into it!"

So if you are reading this review Jonathan, please understanding it wasn't written to be mean or cause you to lose business. We simply want you to put back into Princesa de la Luna the magic you did when you built it!

I'm sure the defensive response to this review could be, "this is the Costa Rican rainforest, not a Hilton hotel in the states," but we were in Costa Rica for 10 days and stayed at 4 other places, so I think we gained some good perspective on local accommodations.

I hope you find this review helpful. I'm not sure if you can ask a person making a review questions after the fact, but if you can, feel free to contact me...




  • Stayed January 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Steve W
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
You ask me if the comments you posted were helpful...unfortunately I think they are misleading and damaging.

Your first point, complaining about the 1.8km pebble dirt road. Yes some parts are bad and we are pressuring the local authority to make further improvements, it´s not as if our community doesn´t care!!!!.....Look we share the hope and the dream that this will be much better ,but low non four-wheel drive cars come up and down everyday. Yes this has been a challenge from the start and I paid for most of the bridge at the bottom of the hill...but this is really out of my hands. It takes about 6 minutes to go down the hill and about 9 minutes to come up , driving reasonably slowly... it is a price worth paying for the beauty, the nature and privacy that we have here.

Your second major point complaining about the secluded second pool in the jungle.....The pool has drainage etc but it´s not practical as a swimming pool the river comes up over the top...it has rarely been used for swimming , now it is best used as a fish pond and for acquatic plants, I´m amazed you complain about this as it´s quite deep in the jungle,it is a place to explore and walk around not to swim.. there are some crying ot weeping walls and natural pools in the river where people swim , not in the fish pond! ...You don´t mention the main naturally spring fed swimming pool down in the valley, very beautiful , crystaline blue and totally private, we use no chlorine or chemicals. This pool is a star attraction of the Princesa.

The hot tub can be filled and put into action , we prefer to do this by request , that evening it was available for use and you went out early....although we can have issues with this.

There was a functioning plug in internet option right infront of your room....the wi-fi was not working the router was deprogrammed and ICE the local electrical company solved the problem the day after you left. I am sorry but I believe our internet service to be a bit unreliable ...if there are storms it sometimes doesnt work...I want us to offer a consistent service, and for me this issue is very annoying as I can not control the reliability.

We offer more than just accomodation if there was an issue with the state of the bathroom you just have to say something and you were asked if there was anything you needed. Your room when you entered was in excellent condition and newly decorated..

The food is excellent quality ,abundant and good value, you should have tried it. I can assure you we are putting a lot of love into this place ... and you imply we don´t, just not true.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2013

My girlfriend and I had the privilege of staying at Princesa de la Luna for the last few days of our Christmas and New Years trip to Costa Rica. It was an absolute pleasure and a wonderfully relaxing site to end a fantastic trip. John was very hospitable and the morning breakfast was delicious, not to mention a beautiful view of the volcano from the breakfast table.

Our room was open and clean, with a surprisingly comfortable bed!!!

For those of you that are use to staying in hotels and absolutely spotless resorts with full time cleaning crews, keep this in mind. Princesa de la Luna is a Eco Lodge that is located smack in the middle of a jungle roughly 15 mins up a rough dirt road. It is an open concept escape that it intended as a means of immersing ones self in the beauty of nature and being surrounded in a location off the beaten path.

Of all the holidays I have been on, this was tops in my books and Princesa del la Luna will most definitely be on my "must see again" list. Where else can you see wildlife in their habitat while perched high above the jungle sipping a cup of tea? Not to mention that John built the place from the ground up!!!

Much thanks and we hope to see you in the years to come!

Cheers
Ed

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Travellers W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2013

My husband and I were scheduled to stay at Princesa de la Luna for two nights in January. We were definitely caught off-guard by the remoteness of the place and by the extreme poor condition of the road going up. When we arrived, Jonathan was asleep in his room and we didn't know where we needed to check in, so we entered the nearest structure and called out "hello?" We were greeted by a groggy man, dressed in filthy clothes, who had clearly been caught off guard by our arrival. A supposed explanation for his unpreparedness, he placed the blame on me for not emailing him our arrival time. He showed us to our room, which was nice enough; very large (overly so, with a lot of empty space), and then took us on a tour of the property. Everything, from the furniture to the building itself, seemed to be in a state of squalor or decay, and when we got to the kitchen that state of squalor was disgustingly apparent in dirty dishes and pans, insects co-mingling with rotting fruits on the counter, and stray cats on dirty countertops(I assume they are strays because when I asked Jonathan what the name was of one of the animals, he replied, "cat" before aggressively pushing it off the counter.)
I wouldn't have minded as much if the dirtiness had been confined to furniture and other common areas, but to see it in the kitchen was overwhelmingly off-putting. Paying over $100/night, you should not have to be confronted with your worst nightmare of a college boy bachelor pad gone awry (I indeed saw kitchens like this in college, but at least those were small-scale and I wasn't paying to eat food made in them.) When Jonathan asked us what we would be eating for dinner that night, I replied that I didn't have anything planned and I hadn't anticipated such a rough drive into town. Jonathan then told me that I should have let him know if we would be having meals at Princesa, re. an email that had been exchanged months prior that I hadn't replied to at the time. Jonathan, when you are running a business, sometimes you need to follow up. A week before our arrival, you could have checked in with us. I know it is annoying when people don't respond to the first email, but a follow-up is standard and necessary in these instances if you haven't heard back within an appropriate timeframe.
My husband and I took a short walk through the property, which is beautiful, and we spent some time on the deck overlooking (in the far distance) Arenal volcano. After reviewing our options, we decided that, as we were on our honeymoon, we would be upfront with situations that weren't satisfactory to us and would move on to another place. We told Jonathan, trying not to be offensive in explaining our reasoning for wanting to leave, as he is a nice enough man who just seems to be clueless on running a business in the thriving tourism industry of Costa Rica. My husband ended up saying, vaguely, "this place doesn't really have amenities we were looking for on our honeymoon." More honestly, we were both disgusted by the dirtiness- not "outdoor" induced dirtiness, as another reviewer said, but human-caused dirtiness that comes from neglect and not taking proper care of your property- that we encountered at nearly every turn at Princesa de la Luna.
The property has so much potential; the rainforest flora is spectacular, and the layout of the place is really unique and beautiful. My impression, however, is that Jonathan built the lodge and doesn't have the money to keep it up. Also, that he himself finds his surrounding state of squalor normal and acceptable, and he can't understand why other people do not feel the same. Upon us leaving, Jonathan said that he couldn't understand why; that this had never happened to him before. Reading other negative reviews of this place, I see that it has indeed happened with other guests. Reading the positive reviews, these travelers seem mostly to have been traveling in large groups; I can see how this would be fun, if approached like jungle camp for grownups, as long as travelers overlook the kitchen completely and justify the dirtiness as "rustic".
One positive: Jonathan did refund our deposit completely, for which I give him a lot of credit. Other proprietors we encountered on our trip would not have done this. Again, Jonathan is a nice and interesting person, but his lodge needs some major updates, cleaning, and he needs to learn how to interact with clients who are giving him their money with the expectation that they will in turn find lodgings that meet the standards of basic cleanliness, comfort, and professionalism.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank jmk286
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
#15 Family Hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos
#17 Romantic 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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