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“Maybe a gem in the rough” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Tree House Lodge

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Tree House Lodge
200 meters south of primary school in Playa Chiquita | Punta Uvs, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca 7304, Costa Rica   |  
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toronto
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Maybe a gem in the rough”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2012

We spent two nights at the Tree House Lodge in Puerto Viejo. While I have been to
many of the "surf towns" on the Pacific side as well as up and down the Nicoya Peninsula.......
I must say that I like Puerto Viejo the best. Very charming and authentic. Fabulous restaurants,
touristy ( but cool) shops to fulfill that "inner hippy" desire to drape ourselves with various
bohemian accoutrements. I like the fact that the town (and the PV area) goes along the shore so the
beach is almost always in site. It is lush and green everywhere.....and a great abundance
of wildlife.

In writing about Tree House Lodge I want to be unbiased and fair. I know that sometimes
a hotel can get a very negative review based upon a rare bad experience. Also, it is not
unheard of for someone to write a glowing review because they were given an upgrade
and this was subtly requested by a hotel staff member.

The setting for the Tree House Lodge is very private and right on the beach. While the
beach in front is not really swimable.....a 5 or 10 minute stroll in either direction
will have you on some of the most beautiful beaches I've seen in Costa Rica. We stayed
in the Beach Suite. We were two couples and one single. I loved the setting and the ability
to open up all the doors to the outside. To lie in one of two hammocks and hear the
waves crashing is pure heaven. These are my issues with Tree House Lodge, and
more particularly the Beach Suite.....

This is not ideal for three couples. In the main building the two bedrooms are in close
proximity. The main level bedroom has no roof separating it from the upper bedroom loft.
So it's really almost like being in the same room. The upper bedroom has no
WC so if one wants to use the bathroom during the night they will need to walk down
a winding staircase. The bathroom itself is a very bizarre modern design (some
may like it but not my cup of tea)....very large with two showers, a hot tub and toilet.
The problem is, there is a big opening right in the main living area and no doors!
Even the toilet is not behind a door (just tucked in behind a curved wall).....very uncomfortable for all.

The third room is across the main entry porch. It has a bathroom. There is also
a powder room (which our friends used regularly because of the awkwardness
of toilet in main bath). This bedroom has no opening windows! So it is necessary
to close the door at night and turn on the AC. What were they thinking?
To sleep in a room listening to the rattle of the AC and be denied the lovely
sound of the ocean is not at all desirable. In fact it causes a feeling of
claustrophobia

The rooms are very tired........just very basic. The cushion covers on two sofas in
the living room have seen better days. Linens and towels are well used and again
very basic. The large doors that open to the ocean are out of wack and need some
repair. Very complicated and difficult process to open and close them (which must
be done every time one leaves room). Our shower head was in bad shape and
spewing water to the sides. The coffee maker in the kitchen was basically a two
cup pot which means we had to make three to four pots each morning....etc...etc.

Again, we loved the setting (which is a valid reason for a higher price point than other
accommodation in the area). What is lacking here in my opinion is "pride of place".
The grounds were not that well kept. The area in front of the Beach Suite was just
awful. Large dead leaves all over.....weeds and dead fruit everywhere......as if it had not been tended
to for a long time. Someone spending a half hour cleaning this up would make a
dramatic difference. It just drags everything down when the the view from your space
is so bad.

There was an issue when we checked in as we requested three separate bedrooms
but they had booked us into the Tree House which is two bedrooms. Caleb quickly
dealt with this and put us into the Beach Suite. Luckily it was available. Caleb
was very helpful and Pamela was able to book me for a wonderful last minute
massage.

Here is what should be done in the short term
Clean up the grounds
Put a sliding curtain on a rod between bathroom and main area
in main building (at least when someone sees a closed curtain
they will know not to go in)
Make one or two of the windows and third bedroom openable
and put in a ceiling fan
Do some serious work on those doors that open to the outside...
it is one of the main assets of this space
Fix shower head
Provide proper size coffeemaker for a space sleeping six...
Recover the cushions on two sofas.....us a darker colour that
matches the wicker and that will solve a lot of problems as
far as dealing with staining......

i think this place could be a gem in the rough.....needs some serious
attention to detail.....and again.....pride of place...

Room Tip: Beach suite good for family in main buidling....and couple in second building... Don't know tha...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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124 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (25)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Anchorage, Alaska
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2012

We stayed at the Beach House for three nights in October. What an absolutely amazing place. If you like wood and interesting architecture, you will love this place. If you are looking for an airconditioned motel with TV and a Marriott hotel experience, this is not the place. It is beautiful, unique and very private.

The house itself is a delight just to look at, live in and explore. The spiral staircase leading upstairs to the bedroom is one of the coolest staircases I've seen. The entire house opens up (windows and entire walls open as doors) from cross ventilation. The bathroom and shower with the stone floors and clear ceiling above is quite a treat. The hammock on the porch is a place to spend quite a few hours listening to the jungle sounds. And since this is right in the jungle there are monkeys, bugs, iguanas and all sorts of critters who come to visit. It is probably best to close up the windows and doors at night to slow down the visitors!

But the house is just a part of the reason to stay here. It is a five minute walk to the beach. The beach in front of the property is not great for swimming, but just a short walk down the beach is fabulous swimming.

I will not soon forget swimming with the herons, the howler monkeys screaming in the trees and no other people to be seen. It is a magnificant place.

The staff was helpful and friendly, the first breakfast was delightful.

It's a bit expensive and a bit of a splurge, but it is one of the most unique places I've ever stayed. Would I stay there again? Yes, absolutely! The property is very cool, the area is amazing and just a short drive to Punta Uva, which must be one of the best beaches on the planet.

Room Tip: There are four houses. We stayed at the Beach House, but there are three others. Each is unique and...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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.
Arborfield
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2012

We stayed at the Beach House for three nights. This is nice luxury private accommodation in a secluded spot near the beach (no swimming possible here) near the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge. The Punte Uva beach is a 20 minute walk or a 5 minute drive with excellent swimming. Layout of the Beach House is quirky to say the least. Best suited for a family and not for two couples as the second bed is in the kitchen/living room area. Although in general in good condition the house and its content are now showing signs of tiredness (towels old, furniture showing age, iPod player not working well, decking needs painting and fixing). The small compound where the houses and the iguana verde foundation are located is also showing signs of neglect, including the entrance area. Staff are friendly. Don't try to visit without a car as Puerto Viejo is a 20 minute drive away although there is a good expat supermarket a short walk away. The website advertising the accommodation and its location is glamorous but does not reflect the reality when we visited.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
greeniguana, Owner at Tree House Lodge, responded to this review, March 17, 2012
I appreciate your comment, however want to specify a few details. First off all the beach house indeed is build to sleep up to 5 people, but is always recommended to just sleep two. The downstairs bedroom is in the living room, so not comfortable for everybody to share.

Less than a month ago the beach house has been completely remodeled. Painted all over and all furniture sanded and varnished as new. So where the comment comes from that you write the house shows signs of tiredness. Anyhow, everybody has the right to give its opinion.
My last opinion is that Puerto Viejo is not as far as 20 minutes by car, but 10. A taxi to town cost $10 and usually does not take longer than 15 minutes to pick you up. Also, around the tree house are more than 6 restaurant options within walking distance from the lodge. So, if you do not travel by car the tree house lodge is still a great place to go.
Anyhow, i appreciate you share your opinion with us. for me its always good to read and indeed, i will change the ipod player. The salt of the ocean must have speed up its duration of life.
kind regards, edsart besier
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 29, 2012

We just returned from our honeymoon at the Tree House (we stayed in the actual tree house). You really are in nature-- we had sloths, monkeys, giant spiders, bats and all sorts of other small animals near and in the house. The house itself is gorgeous, the beaches nearby are stunning and the staff and owner Edsart couldn't have been nicer or more accommodating.

Overall, it was an amazing week!!!!

Room Tip: The tree house was great-- the beach suite also seemed cool.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2012

recently stayed at the Costa Rica Tree House Lodge. The staff couldn't have been more helpful. If you need anything or just need help arranging a tour, ride to the airport or a restaurant recommendation they will handle it for you. This was our first trip to the area and questions inevitably come up. They were invaluable in their assistance. The Lodge is nestled in the jungle next to the ocean. Every bungalow is unique to the environment and comfortable. The sound of the nearby ocean will lull you to sleep at night. There are many fruit trees on the property and one of the staff will bring a pipa to your door when you arrive. They cut the top off and stick a straw into it so you can enjoy the juice. The owners are environmentally minded and maintain an iguana rescue/sanctuary on the property. One of the staff will take you on a tour and it's fascinating to learn more about the mission and all of the plants on the property. The Lodge is a great place to stay, very quiet and secluded and is a great place to introduce yourselves to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica.

Room Tip: The area is a very humid part of the country. You don't really notice it but if you are carrying...
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  • Stayed January 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Clemente, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2012

We loved staying in the tree house. It was a very cool experience. The staff is great and always helpful. The gardens are really pretty to walk around. We had a sloth in the tree next to the tree house, so being able to watch it was very cool. I would for sure stay here again.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
109 helpful votes 109 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2012

We had the pleasure of staying at the Tree House Lodge’s whimsical “Beach Suite” from December 1-5, 2011 as part of our Costa Rican honeymoon adventure. Puerto Viejo turned out to be our favourite spot in Costa Rica thanks in part to our stay at the Tree House Lodge.

Puerto Viejo is the opposite of your all-inclusive beach destination - in the best way possible. It’s not pretentious, glamorous or full of designer shops and casinos. It is a fascinating little Caribbean community of a diverse group of people living in jungle homes near stretches of some of the most stunning, untouched beaches in the world.

If, while on vacation, you MUST have TV, air conditioning, lighting-fast WIFI, cell phone reception, 24/7 concierge, and perfectly done hair then maybe Puerto Viejo and the Tree House Lodge aren’t for you. Also, if you dislike crabs, struggle with arachnophobia, hate monkeys, get grossed out seeing a dog on a restaurant patio, and would freak out upon seeing an 8 year old walking down the street with a machete, then Puerto Viejo is definitely not for you. And that’s totally OK! To each their own! However, if you don’t mind dressing down for dinner, getting to know local restaurant “guard dogs”, biking in the jungle, being on “island time”, being woken up at the crack of dawn by monkeys and enjoy different cultures and a more rustic side of elegance, then by all means consider paying this paradise a visit!

Sounds like your kind of place? Then read on. :) Our experience - from booking our stay with Martin in reception - to sadly saying goodbye to staff on our last day - exceeded our expectations. I think someone else who reviewed the property said that staying here “changed them”. I agree. I tend to prefer more of the usual comforts of home when I travel, so being in an open-air house in the heat of the jungle helped me open my mind - and my soul. I learned to stop sweating the small stuff and live more like a local.

Upon arrival, Martin greeted us like a long lost sibling. He carried my heavy suitcase from reception to the amazing Beach Suite and pointed out tucans, sloths and monkeys in the tree tops as we walked. The sincere joy in his voice was contagious. We instantly knew we’d love our stay. It was raining a bit that day, but the grounds were so lush with greenery and vibrant tropical flowers that the owner Edsart had spent several years cultivating. It was like staying in the most glorious of botanical gardens. We had never seen such large palms and tropical plants! Heaven! We were immediately impressed with the architecture of the Beach Suite and were in awe of its Fred Flintstone/Jurassic Park/James Bond bathroom complete with a stone jacuzzi with a seahorse spout! It has to be seen to be believed. Words do not do it justice. Note that the hot tub takes about an hour to fill because it’s HUGE and since it’s solar powered will take a little while to heat. Just be patient and have some bevies or snacks while you wait! (Ask Martin or Caleb in reception how to get it going when you arrive. It took us a few minutes to figure it out! LOL! And don’t worry about draining it either. They’ll do that for you!)

The kitchen had everything we needed and it would be sufficient for even a longer term stay as it had a stove, oven, full fridge, blender, coffee maker, pots, pans, etc. Breakfast was included on the first morning and Edsart delivered it himself. We were happy to have the opportunity to chat with him. Breakfast was lovely! It was continental style complete with locally made bread, croissants, fresh fruit, cheese and cold cuts. We love that kind of healthy breakfast. It reminded me of those I've enjoyed in Holland and Denmark but with a tropical twist. :) The papaya was out of this world! There was so much fruit left over that we saved some and made smoothies the next morning.

The Beach Suite was so big it could easily accommodate 3 couples or a family of 5 or 6. It has two bedrooms in the main part of the house and one on the “wing” of the house with its own ensuite bathroom, TV and private entrance. That bedroom has A/C. We stayed in the upstairs, open-air bedroom where we could hear the ocean in the distance. It was humid during the day but with the ceiling fan and breeze, we were never too hot at night. The beautiful four-poster bed donned a mosquito net and we never got bitten although one night I woke up and found a firefly on my pillow! :) But he was cute and harmless. Just a part of being in the jungle! I’ll take a firefly over a spider in bed any day! Speaking of spiders, yes, we saw some on the grounds while there. No big deal to us. They’re a part of Mother Nature’s posse! We’ve seen spiders in Canada that are uglier than the ones we saw in Costa Rica! As for bugs in the suite, we spied a couple of ants on a pineapple we'd bought but that’s it. Remember, you’re in the jungle, and other critters called the place home before we did so we must share! Indoor animal sightings were limited to seeing a couple of geckoes playing in a lamp shade one night and a crab that seemed to make the toilet brush stand his home. Ha-ha!

The property’s beach is remarkable. So “real”. And close (1 min walk) thanks to the private path! We walked about 20 minutes along the beach to Punta Uva and were wowed by being sandwiched between the jungle and the sea. Dreamy! The Beach Suite features a nifty outdoor shower on the beach path. It’s completely secluded if you wanted to shower al fresco. We didn’t but we did use it to clean sand off our feet before going in the house, even though it was cleaned every day by their sweet housekeeper, Eilynn. She did a fabulous job and left flowers for us and made cute art out of the bathroom’s towels and even the kitchen’s tea towels.

A lot has already been covered here about the Tree House Lodge and Beach Suite so I’m trying to be brief but it’s not working because we enjoyed our experience so much! One of the most resonating things about our stay was observing the owner’s commitment to preserving the environment. Nothing was built without consideration of the local eco-system. I commend him for this. How amazing to be able to stay in a space built in harmony with nature. All building materials were chosen with sustainability in mind. No trees were cut down - only wood from fallen trees was used. Water is heated with solar energy. Some of the patio’s artsy flower pots were made of up-cycled tires! These are just a few examples of how truly environmentally conscious the Tree House Lodge is. Based on the frequent sightings of sloths, capuchins, howler monkeys, tucans, blue morpho butterflies and iguanas, it is clear that Edsart has excelled in creating a place for both humans and animals to enjoy harmoniously. We spent hours lounging on the deck’s hammock and roof top terrace gazing into the trees amused by the antics of monkeys and lazy moves of the sloths. How we miss those early morning howler monkey wake up calls! We laughed ourselves silly the first time we heard them! :) How gracious of Edsart and his team to share this paradise with the rest of us!

Edsart, Martin, Caleb, Antonio, Eilynn, Tida and Sol... Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! You made our honeymoon stay one we’ll never forget. Thanks a million for the many memories. We hope to return someday! Best wishes and happiness to each of you. Pura Vida!

Room Tip: All of the four houses on the property are all private and unique in their own way. You can't go...
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  • Stayed December 2011, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tree House Lodge

Address: 200 meters south of primary school in Playa Chiquita | Punta Uvs, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca 7304, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Limon > Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #21 of 67 Specialty Lodging in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The only tree house right on the beach of the southern Caribbean of Costa Rica. This is your best nature hotel and romantic hideaway. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tree House Hotel Puerto Viejo
Tree House Lodge Costa Rica/Limon

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