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“overwhelming rainforest” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Selva Verde Lodge

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Selva Verde Lodge
3.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Chilamate, 553069, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Goes, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
78 hotel reviews
Reviews in 70 cities Reviews in 70 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
“overwhelming rainforest”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2014

A stay at Selva Verde is the perfect place for an introduction to the rainforest of Costa Rica. Covered walkways are very much appreciated, especially during the rainy season. The reception area and grounds are a tropical paradise. Poison dart frogs are easily spotted as well as a variety of iguanas. The birding was still wonderful. I found the meals tasty and plentiful if not extremely varied. The room accommodations are quite adequate for an eco-lodge, but we did not stay in a standard room. We had 1 of the 7 bungalows at the other side of the road. The bungalow was fantastic, a beautiful setting. (a standard rooms is one of the 4 rooms in a block) the bungalow is detached. Now we had to walk 15 minutes to the dining room, but it was worthwhile. The bungalows are air-conditioned and have a fridge. The lodge has jungle trails for you to enjoy, they have areas where they put out food for wildlife, which is perfect if you are a photographer. At breakfast, I took a table just 20 meters from a feeding station where I could sit and photograph the Toucans. There is also a very nice river just a few meters from the lodge.

Room Tip: bungalows at the other side of the road are fantastic
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  • Stayed April 2014, 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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299 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (64)
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Cambridge, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2014

Arriving at Selva Verde was a bit of a shock after the tucked-away serenity of Esquinas; nevertheless, it's a good place to stay for an action-packed wildlife watching experience. Selva Verde feels more like a conference hotel than an eco-lodge: you reach it right off a busy road and go straight into a plush reception area. There's a little lecture theatre off the reception area and a couple of others elsewhere in the grounds.

Our room was at the opposite end of the complex, overlooking the Sarapiqui river, so we were untroubled by traffic noise at night although we couldn't really avoid it during the day time. The neighbouring farm throws vociferous cockerels in the mix, so Selva Verde could not be described as peaceful. What it does provide - in spades - is easy access to a vast treasure-trove of bioidiversity in comfortable surroundings.

Our room was reached by a looooong covered walkway and it was vast! Two double beds, a big sofa, a writing desk and a generous bathroom greeted us. The rooms seem mostly to be arranged in blocks of four, each block surrounded by a balcony. Each room has a couple of chairs and a hammock on the balcony. We stayed there in the green season and we were the only people in our block of four so we weren't overlooked by others; you probably wouldn't get much privacy if the entire block was booked out.

There are two restaurants, one serving Costa Rican food, the other serving Italian. Because occupancy was low when we stayed there, only the Italian restaurant was open in the evenings so we didn't really get a choice of restaurant. You can help yourself to tea and coffee at any time and the upstairs balcony is a good place to sit and watch the resident wildlife; we had our closest encounter with a howler monkey here, as well as observing a sleepy porcupine nestled in a hole in a nearby tree. The resident iguanas are fed just below the restaurant too; if you've never seen an iguana stalking a banana this is the place to do it.

There are two self-guided trails; the small one is noisy owing to proximity to the cockerels and the road, but it takes in a really good spot by the river to see poison dart frogs in abundance. Across the river, reached by a suspension bridge, is old-growth rainforest. You need to be accompanied by a guide if you go there. The second, larger trail is across the road and is quite a climb in places but is well maintained. It's possible to find some tranquility here. There's a small botanical garden nestling at the bottom of the trail. You can also stay in the bungalows here although proximity to the road would prevent me from wanting to do so.

If you stay at Selva Verde you absolutely must spend a day at the nearby La Selva Biological Research Station. Although a lot of very important biodiversity research goes on here, the Organization for Tropical Studies, which owns and runs La Selva, takes outreach to amateur naturalists very seriously and we were made to feel very welcome. We were blown away by the wealth of species that we saw in a day here. In our first 20 minutes or so we focused on one tree in the garden and there was such a variety of different colourful species of bird in it that we really didn't know which way to point our camera lenses! We felt drunk on nature by the time we got back to Selva Verde.

We only did one guided walk at Selva Verde itself - an early-morning bird walk. We should really have done this before we went to La Selva because we'd already seen most of the species that our guide pointed out to us. Our guide was knowledgable, equipped with an excellent scope, and really friendly; after our walk he popped in to see us whenever he saw us in the restaurant. The lady who founded Selva Verde also came to introduce herself to us; we thought this was a really nice touch - despite the fact that Selva Verde is bigger than the other lodges we stayed at, the staff made a special effort to get to know their guests.

Room Tip: Try to get a riverside room to avoid road noise.
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Banbury, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
113 reviews 113 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
98 helpful votes 98 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2014

By the time we reached Selva Verde lodge in the Sarapiqui area we were getting more used to the terrain, the it-could-rain-anytime-weather aswell as living out of a suitcase...which is not ideal.... The accomodation here was really SUPERB, it is just what we needed in a lodge- the rooms are very spacious and light - plenty of space to place everything where you can see it and not feel constricted -again the lovely comfortable large twin beds with supportive pillows, an extra separate bed settee (which proved most useful in spreading items about upon) and our room was lovely and LIGHT- something which you don't often get because of the low wattage in Costa Rica. The room was painted cream with cream curtains which together with all the wood really makes for a most pleasant surrounding to live in. The windows are all around the room and have a mixture of mesh, louvres aswell as glass panes so you have a lot of choice as to how you would like to sleep at night or during day hours- ie for air aswell as coolness/noise levels. I was amazed at just how dark it got at night- I thought we'd need black out material on the curtains- no way= believe me it is DARK at night. I was a bit reticent with the room at first because altho we were at the back end of the place - ie next to the river which was delightful, we also didn't realise that there was a road carrying lorries etc quite nearby which you could hear from our distant room so I was bothered as I am a light sleeper- however the only thing to disturb my slumbers was somebody's damned cockerel at 4.00am! The bathroom too is spacious- double sinks, toiletries provided aswell as the wall dispensers which you seemed to get in all the places we stayed at in CR, massive shower with foot shower included - again this arrangement seems to be the norm in CR and again plenty of light both from the ceiling window and great lighting within.In fact all the various lamps seemed to be working as they do back home- ie bright. I was really happy with this. You have two leather rockers aswell as a hammock on your porch, there are water facilities in the room aswell as two ceiling fans which were perfect for the climate- a/c can be very cold/noisy or worse still- give you a cold, it gets very cold just before dawn so you really don't need a/c at all. I also thought that as the door jamb wasn't quite flush with the door that we would be invaded with insects through the night as they must be attracted to the outside lights- however this did not happen despite seeing a myriad of huge and small insects on the porches at night time. This could have been insect city but we were not disturbed. Some beautiful specimens of leaf moth -which was about 4 inches in length and wider across- beautiful, never seen this before, the camouflage of insects and animals/reptiles is amazing in this country.. There were illuminated bugs whose abdomens pulsed light- fascinating and of course spiders and lots of other insects crawling or flying about in the evening- and we were able to enjoy these little critters just as I like them- OUTSIDE -the room as opposed to IN the bedroom- perhaps my banging the door jamb had done the trick !
The one only down side for us was the food- our tour specified that we eat buffet style which was a bit limited in choice and the food was not kept hot, the dining room was up stairs and you could always find some sort of spider's webs complete with amazing spiders and humming birds hovering in the ceilings- downstairs was a pizza place which probably served better food- don't know we never tried it but it certainly looked nice
This lodge hosts all sorts of conferences regarding the protection of wildlife aswell as being an opportunity to learn new information- there is a large lecture theatre near reception for the purpose and we watched a film near the gift shop in the evening- Almondero- about the almond tree and the beautiful clever green macaw parrots who mate for life and is fed by and make their nests in the tree. There was an exhibition showing the long nest certain birds create - I think the orupendula ? as well as skulls of creatures and information about the area and the lodge itself. We were lucky in that our guide showed us his den in the lodge the following day- it is next to the stone fountain-here they keep preserved specimens of poisonous snakes such as the coral snake, large bugs, moths and butterflies in cases, several with gigantically long probosis- it seemed to be the only airconned room in the whole complex.
The rooms are reached via bridges which are covered in case of the rains- it was a fairly long and rather arduous task wheeling the cases back to reception as there is a very steep incline just before you get to the lobby. I was amazed to read some of the signs in the place- please do not use flash photography when taking pictures of the frogs and reptiles as it damages their eyes and skin..! You live and learn eh! There is a small stream which runs through the grounds and you can take your own hike on the designated trails or simply wander about and enjoy all the flora and fauna and animals. It is larger than you think, there is a small pool which is welcoming in the heat after a hike, a small gift shop with eco type items for sale- we bought a video about the wonderful green parrot. Altho there was a party of school kids and teachers and several families staying at the lodge it was quiet. At night the security guard shone his torch at the gardens below our walkways and you could spot rabbits and small rodents. He told us there was a huge black snake in the grounds but we never saw it. The whole forest comes awake in a different way at night time.You can walk around the gardens below- indeed they encourage you to hang your washing under your room which is a good use of space, and you will find a lot to see and do. There is a water station along the bottom road which is welcome in the heat. Again you cannot see much of the sky under the walkways and the tree canopy keeps out the heat.
There is a fab hanging bridge over the wide river at the back of the place- and this is where we started our tour of the forest to watch for animal life and learn more about the preservation of life and the work that goes on at Selva Verde. The guide and Sergio were most informative.The dawn really wakes the forest up, you can hear wonderful sounds and the banana plants are wet with dew. The lodge is part of a coridoor linking South to North America across Nicaragua to help the jaguar and the other 5 wild cats to survive. A place is a healthy place if it has cats as they need a lot of space. Sergio told us that there is a need to educate Costa Ricans themselves- they hunt and eat the peccary pig for example and other protected species...local people will kill a jaguar or cougar if it eats their cattle- but they should keep the cattle in a closed protected hut. Sergio was very interesting to talk to- he has a passion for his work aswell as wanting to further more protection of birdlife.It seems to me there is a lot of work to do with the local Costa Ricans themselves.It was also good to hear that despite the politics between Nicaragua and CRica not being good they at least have come together- ie animals have brought them together for the good aim. As the heat heats up the noise of the insects rises. We had a fantastic forest walk the following day- our guide showed us plants that monkeys use as insect repellants, he held up the strawberry poison dart frogs, beautiful turquise and black poison frogs for us to see, we watched the golden orb spiders, the castle building spiders with their castles,beautiful damsonflies, the rare glass butterflies, red headed woodpeckers,cappucin monkeys, a troupe of spider monkeys and no less than forty howler monkeys- fascinating to stand under the trees and watch them swing from one canopy to the next -absolutely toe curling. He showed us the walking trees, camphor tree, the giant 300 year old almond tree and at the end we spotted a two toed sloth asleep in the trees above. We found for ourselves the black squirrel- how lovely a creature he is. You only have to stop and watch and listen- you will be amazed at the abundance and richness of life in the forest- it is all there !
A VERY VERY INTERESTING PLACE WITH A FANTASTIC ATMOSPHERE OF CARE FOR WILDLIFE.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Myers, Florida
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2014

A stay at Selva Verde is the perfect place for an introduction to the rainforest of Costa Rica. Covered walkways between the lodging and dining area are very much appreciated, especially during the rainy season. The reception area and grounds are a tropical paradise. Poison dart frogs are easily spotted as well as a variety of iguanas. We arrived during nesting season so there was not as much activity at the feeders, but the birding was still wonderful. I found the meals tasty and plentiful if not extremely varied. I was quite content, though, with this buffet option that was included in our package. The room accommodations were quite adequate for an eco-lodge, especially given their beautiful surroundings.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2014

Myself and my girlfriend spend 2 weeks traveling around Costa Rica in Oct 2013. We had the pleasure of staying at this lodge for a few of those days.

Our room was a little out dated and rough around the edges with a couple of creepy crawly room mates, but I guess this is to be expected as these rooms are well and truly in the jungle and just added the whole experience. That said, the room still had everything we needed and more.

The lodges have free parking and the rooms are situated right under the jungle canopy, with a covered walkway guiding you from A to B. This is great because walking to the restaurant, for example, was amazing as you are walking through rainforest with Lizards, Spiders, Toucans all in their natural environment. There are also water coolers situated throughout the walkways, which is handy.

The lodge has jungle trails for you to enjoy, they have areas whereby they put out food for wildlife, which is perfect if you are a keep photographer. I had a table with a coffee just 20 yards from a feeding station where I could sit all afternoon and photograph the Toucans. There is also a very pleasant river just a few meters from the lodge which is lovely place to unwind and relax, I wouldn't get in it though.

Breakfast was pleasant as was our evening meal. The lodge offers guided walks with educated and friendly staff. The price was very reasonable and I would return in a heartbeat.

  • Stayed October 2013, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mississippi
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2014

We spent two nights at Selva Verde and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit. The property is a rainforest wonderland. We stayed in one of the lodges near the river. It was a long walk from the bar and lobby but it was a beautiful walk along a covered walkway to keep you dry when it rained. There was complimentary drinking water stations which were nice. The room was well equipped and had a large safe. The water pressure in the shower was really good. The italian restaurant has great pizza. We didn't get meals included other than breakfast. The expensive buffet dinner didn't look too good so one night we walked to town for dinner when the italian rest was closed. The staff there were so nice. They really took care of us. I would go back in a heartbeat.

Room Tip: ask for the lodge facing the river
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
McLean, Virginia
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
44 hotel reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
88 helpful votes 88 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2014

The Selva Verde Lodge is a stunning 500-acre private retreat situated in the rain-forested Atlantic lowlands of northern Costa Rica. The rural location -- a couple of hours north of the nation’s capital, San José- is truly spectacular, and visitors staying on the property can avail themselves of a variety of eco-touristic activities, including birding, guided walks, white-water rafting, horseback riding, and boat rides on the Sarapiquí river,

Unfortunately, when considered purely as a hotel, the Lodge does not measure up to the high standards of its impressive surroundings. The accommodations do offer a few attractive features, but they also leave a lot to be desired. The rustic rooms are nothing to write home about -- noisy, a bit shabby, under-equipped, and suffering from sporadic insect infestation and deferred maintenance.

On the positive side, the property offers ice dispensers and water coolers in the spread-out guest room area. The long walkways from the rooms to both the front desk and the restaurant are conveniently covered to ward off the frequent rain. Conference rooms are adequate for small or medium-sized meetings, and free wireless Internet is available at both the restaurant and the reception area, although not in the guest rooms.

On the downside, the food in the all-buffet restaurant is mostly indifferent, with a limited set of choices. The rooms are not air-conditioned despite the high humidity, although a ceiling fan provides some relief. There was no usable drawer space in my room and no closet -- just a small rack for hanging a few items of clothing. As befits an eco-tourist retreat, there are no TV sets in the rooms. The sparse furnishings include a desktop (no drawers) along with a stiff desk chair, but nothing comfortable to sit on other than the bed. More seriously, I was unable to lock my door securely from the inside because of misaligned parts that made the bolt lock unusable. The in-room safe required a physical key as did the door to the room, and while the old-fashioned keys worked OK, they were bulky to carry around on hikes and other outdoor activities.

Bathroom amenities were limited to towels, a small bar of soap, and a hair dryer, and there was no stopper in the sink to facilitate hand-washing of personal laundry. The shower in my bathroom worked well, and the shower stall included a welcome safety bar. Unfortunately, its faucet kept dripping annoyingly day and night, and I was unable to stop the leak.

For better or worse, you will definitely be close to nature in your room. I got used to the occasional ants and other insects crawling around on the bedroom floor and running along the sink and through the bathroom towels. But loud animal noises from the outside made sleeping difficult, especially the cacophony of barking dogs -- not that they were too much louder than the human sounds emanating from adjoining rooms through the thin walls that did nothing to dampen the noise.

That said, you are not exactly roughing it at the Selva Verde Lodge. If the accommodations are somewhat Spartan, they are still adequate and clearly have been designed to complement the natural setting. As for any creepy-crawly critters that you may encounter inside your room and the incessant sounds of nature outside it, just consider them part of the rainforest experience. Presumably visitors come to the area to explore the amazing natural setting and to marvel at the wonders of the flora and fauna -- not to wallow in luxury. They would be well advised to put aside any unattainable indoor expectations and spend most of their time at Selva Verde enjoying the great outdoors.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Selva Verde Lodge

Address: Chilamate, 553069, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Heredia > Sarapiqui
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Ski-In / Ski-Out Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 13 Specialty Lodging in Sarapiqui
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Selva Verde Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 50
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Also Known As:
Selva Verde Hotel Sarapiqui
Selva Verde Lodge Costa Rica/Sarapiqui

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