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“A complicated review” 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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Michigan
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
“A complicated review”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

This is a complicated review because there is so much positive about this imaginative, creative, and beautiful lodge. (We stayed in the Beach Suite which was not exactly on the beach but a short walk through the forest/gardes away.) I truly understand why others gave this eco-resort a 4 or 5 rating. My rating of 3 does not tell the full story as the Treehouse lodge is a mixed bag; the positives are REALLY positive, but the negatives.....are tough. So, by all means go there; it is a special place in many ways, but I do believe that being forewarned about some of the drawbacks or challenges might make one's stay more enjoyable. So here goes:

Positives:

1. Amazing paradisaical gardens.
2. Whimsical architecture is a WOW!. We had a Gaudi-inspired bathroom!
3. The beach out front is beautiful
4. Nice restaurants in walking distance
5. Enjoyed our horseback riding beach trip with Bruce from nearby Chiquita Beach Stables
6. The staff tries very hard to resolve any problems (of which there are a few....see below).

Challenges:

1. It rains....a lot. and when it does EVERYTHING gets wet/damp/mildewy inside and out. We were there in the alleged "dry" season, so I am not sure what it would be like in the "rainy" season. This fact made all of the problems below much more intense.
2. Neither of the "jacuzzis at our property worked properly. The inside one not at all and the outside one just never got to the right temperature. Again, no big deal if we weren't soaked through and through and dying for some warmth and relief.
3. To make matters worse, there was no hot water in the shower.
4. Fire ants in the outdoor hammocks made them unusable leaving us no place to sit when it rained, which it did....a lot....as I've mentioned.
5. The beach is beautiful....but unswimmable due to the proximity of the reef. You can get in thewater a bit by walking to the north a ways, but in order to actually "swim" you have to walk 500 meters to the south to the official Punta Uva "beach" (which has the benefit of a fresh water stream running into it (very refreshing when it is hot....not so refreshing when it is raining.)
6. It is Costa Rica, and sometimes things just don't happen when they are supposed to. Just ask for everything a half hour before you need it.
7. The staff told us we could call anytime if there was a problem, but the rain knocked out the phone system, so we were somewhat stranded.
8. The lighting was intense in our bathroom but non-existent in the living room, making it difficult to read or play games when it rained, since we could not sit on the hammocks.
8. The high price (which would have been reasonable if not for 1-7 above.

So that is the whole, complicated, story. I really hate to pan a place that has so many positives and which is really a very bold attempt to bring eco-tourism to a new level, but I know I would have appreciated a heads up about some of the issues, so go to the tree house lodge, by all means, but do so with your eyes wide open. And if you are lucky enough to get sunny skies probably none of the drawbacks listed above will even matter!!!!

Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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
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denver
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2012

We stayed in the tree house July '12- It was a vacation we will not forget! The tree house was amazing- the wood and designs were very clever! The vacation removed us all from our usually electronic devices- although we did have internet. We would ride our bikes to the beach or to one of the many amazing restaurants in the area. Then we would spend our evenings playing cards and listening to the critters in the jungle and be on the watch out for large bugs. We aren't a camping family so it took us out of our comfort zone, but we had some great laughs at each other when we got surprised by a giant grass hoppers. The hosts were very friendly and helped us organize trips and make recommendations. The only negative- they had some guests that were switching to our tree house our last night and they came and yelled at us for not having moved. We had been waiting for the beach house to be cleaned and had been ready to switch from 10am. Time moves a little slower in Costa Rica and the hosts handled the rude guests.
We left Costa Rica loving the people, food and our tree house in the jungle!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012

The Tree House Lodge is beautiful, and the perfect jungle experience. The only reason we are giving 4 stars rather than 5 is because 1. we got the Garden House because it was the cheapest option, and it is just far less nice than the other houses. It is just much more cabin-y, and I had house envy our entire trip. There were not many guests while we were there, it would have been nice to be offered an upgrade (it was our honeymoon after all). and 2. On our second day, reception was either out to lunch or for some other reason not there every time we went by, and so we were never able to request the fire for our hot tub for our last night. We tried to light the fire ourselves, but the rainforest was just too damp, and then our lighter ran out of fluid. Very disappointing.

Otherwise, it was really fun to go look for iguanas whenever we wanted and have a nice oasis away from town.

Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2012

We chose to spend part of our honeymoon at the Tree House Lodge. The Beach House was perfect for us. As you walk in on the first floor, you'll see a double bed with a mosquito net, a well-equipped kitchen with coffee maker, a blender (you're welcomed to pick the fruits from their trees to make your very own fresh fruit juice, just add ice and some sugar according to your taste), all the utensils you need, pots and pans, etc.

Bathroom is huge and is has glass ceiling so you don't need to turn on any lights for your morning shower. Beach towels and fluffy bath towels along with a rack to dry your clothes are included. The hot water there is operated by solar panels. That means on a cloudy/raining day you can expect no hot water (or just luke warm).

Master bedroom is upstairs lead by a beautiful set of wooden spiral staircase. There is no window screen (as a reviewer complained) but we thought that was the whole point of living in a tree house. There's not much on the second floor except a queen bed also with mosquito net. There is no tv, or air conditioner (if you cannot live with these, this place is definitely not for you). Both floors have ceiling fan to circulate the air. Outside there are 2 hammocks, a huge deck, a firewood operated hot tub, a stone grill, and a large pentagon dinner table and chairs.

Tip for the hot tub: It takes about 3 hours to get the water hot in the tub. Ask Antonio to start the fire for you before you go out for dinner so by the time you come back it would be ready. ALWAYS fill up the tub first. You could either ask him to maintain the fire, or do it yourself by adding more firewood (which my husband loves to do).

Please DO read the guest information book thoroughly upon arrival. Lots of good info and I believe most of the complains were due to lack of research prior to booking this place and refusal to read the information book.

Breakfast is included on your first morning only. Geraldo will bring you fresh fruits, hot bread and buns, cheese and ham, and a small jar of fresh fruit juice. Just let him know what time you would like him to bring you breakfast. I believe I also read a review complaining about the breakfast. Honestly, we weren't big fan of having fruit for breakfast. But after this trip, we appreciate so much of having fresh and healthy food to start our morning. If you prefer big bacon, sausages and all the high-cholesterol food, All-inclusive would suit you better.

Pita Bonita is on the left hand side when you walk out of the main entrance of THL. We loved their food so much that we went again for lunch 2 days later. If you like local food, I heard a lot of good things about Selvin's (which is about 5 more mins walk from Pita Bonita). However it's only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday so we missed it.

I highly recommend you to rent a bike. If you turn right when you walk out of THL, you're going towards Puerto Viejo town. About 10 mins walk, on your left hand side you'll see a small sign "RIDE ON ME". Owner is a friendly German guy. His bikes are $5 per day and if you rent more than 3 or 4 days, he'll charge you $3 per day. His bikes may not look very new but trust me, we had them for 2.5 days and loved them.

In the THL guest info book, they recommend grocery store El Duente. It's about 5 mins bike ride towards Puerto Viejo direction. We didn't have good experience with it. If you bike 10 more mins towards PV, there's a bigger supermarket called Pirripli which has more friendly staff and more variety of food (and slightly lower price too). It is highly recommended you buy some food from the store and make your own breakfast (we even made dinner on the grill too) to save money. After all, it isn't cheap to stay at THL and eating out every night is a big expense. There's a butcher shop on Calle 215, which is in Puerto Viejo. You can get a few pieces of steaks for about $4. We bought some potatoes and a tomato at Pirripli for $1. We went back to THL and had Antonio to start the grill for us. $5 for a dinner for 2 of us.

Hotel offers a free iguana tour every Tues and Thurs. DO NOT MISS IT. Our guide Boogie is very knowledgeable, very passionate and knows every plants there and the use of them. Also, if you ask, Antonio will chop you a few fresh coconuts with his machete. You can leave the coconuts in the fridge (just be careful as they may spill) and there you'll have fresh cold coconut water. It's amazing.

There's a private path from our Beach House to the beach. It's not quite swimmable but beautiful. Punta Uva is also a beautiful beach. To those who were complaining about the beach, this is a natural beach and it's for everyone. It is not the resort-type of beach where you see resort workers driving a 4x4 picking up cigarette butts and garbage every morning.

We truly enjoyed our experience at THL and Puerto Viejo. The only thing that I wasn't impressed (but it wasn't their fault) was the bugs. Here at THL it's got jungle and beach together. At night even though I ensured the net was closed and I stayed under the sheets, I still woke up in the middle of the night with bites on my toes and ankles. Most people didn't have any problem so I think it's just me. Here at home bugs love me so much that even when I go out to the yard for 2 mins and would come back with a few mosquito bites. Unfortunately this is something I had to deal with.

We don't understand how people find things to complain about this place. Honestly, if you do your research at home, treat everyone wish respect, pack lots of patience and humbleness with you, appreciate the natural resources they have, you would love this place as much as I did.

Thanks again, Edsart for lending me salt and pepper so I could make my steaks and potatoes so yummy.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wichita, Kansas
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2012

Truly enjoyed our experience at the Tree House Lodge in July, where we stayed 6 nights for our 20-year anniversary. Lovely accommodations in a gorgeous, natural setting...we felt as much a part of the jungle as we could get while still being completely taken care of! Martin was just wonderful, incredibly helpful and completely on top of everything, and he and Caleb were full of terrific ideas and recommendations!

It's not a typical luxury resort, even though we felt pampered...if you want all the latest electronics, don't want to get close to any wildlife, and prefer servants everywhere, it's probably not the place for you. But the accommodations are well-conceived and well-built, and maintained with obvious pride, and there are AMAZING restaurants in the area - I had no idea we'd eat so well! There's also plenty to do, especially if you go when the seas are calm. The zip-line was an incredible experience, and so was the Jaguar Rescue Center, where a monkey crawled into my arms!! It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The only reason I didn't give it 5 starts is the price point, even though the Garden House where we stayed is the least expensive. It is RIGHT ON the road, which makes it quite noisy anytime a car goes by, taking away from the peace of the experience. Also, all the units are quite large, which is really not what we needed, given that there were only two of us. We felt that the privacy was worth the extra price, but we were expecting more noise from the howler monkeys than the road, which wasn't the case.

All in all, this was our first trip to Central America, and it was a simply remarkable adventure. When my son gets old enough to appreciate (and not accidentally threaten) the wildlife, we'll take him!

Room Tip: Garden House was right on the road, too noisy. I'd recommend any of the others, which all looke...
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Somerville, Massachusetts, United States
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2012

The world is small, and getting smaller. Virtually every destination offers a lux hotel, a family friendly resort, a chic boutique inn. Rare is the unique property that appeals as much to honeymooners as families, eco-travelers and urbanites, those seeking high design and those looking to just getaway. That property is the Tree House Lodge, where my family stayed for five nights (May/June 2012). Monkey howls greeted us in the morning, iguana made our short stroll to the beach even more interesting, and one evening a sloth even visited us as if to say "goodnight." And all the while the thoughtful, go-the-extra-mile staff (including the resident Rhodesian Ridgebacks) went out of their way to make us feel at home. It was worth every star, and every cent.

Room Tip: The Tree House room has reliable WiFi (there are no TVs), and there is an air conditioner in the gro...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
46 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
122 helpful votes 122 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2012

We stayed at the Costa Rica Tree House Lodge (the tree house building) for two nights in May 2012. This is like a child's fantasy of a hotel room, with trees sprouting up from the floor, a toilet inside a tree trunk, and suspension bridges connecting the master bedroom to the main living area. The unit has a full kitchen, two full baths and two bedrooms. We could have spent a happy week here doing the adventure tours (hiking, snorkeling, horseback riding, rafting, etc.) and hanging out in Puerto Viejo and on the beach.

The free welcome breakfast we received on the first morning was an enormous pile of fresh fruit, meat, cheese, bread and juice. Very nice.

The grounds are also stunning. On the one-minute walk to the beach alone we saw colorful crabs and many lizards and birds. Some guests have reported seeing sloths, but we weren't so lucky. We did hear plenty of howler monkeys, though.

When my friend and I checked in to the lodge, we were both sick with a 24-hour flu, and the staff were incredibly helpful, offering to carry our bags, bring us anything we needed to eat or drink, etc. We really appreciated their attention and concern.

My only word of caution: Be prepared for a rustic version of luxury. The common areas are open-air, so there's no air conditioning or protection against bugs (except in the bedrooms). You will need to wear bug spray, and you will need to keep your food covered. Also, the lodge doesn't have the services of a usual hotel, so you will need to bring your own groceries or schedule time to purchase them in Puerto Viejo. And, the bedrooms are screened but not soundproof, so you'll need ear plugs if the bugs and howler monkeys might keep you awake.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 5 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 Tree House Lodge

Also Known As:
Tree House Hotel Puerto Viejo
Tree House Hotel
Tree House Lodge Costa Rica/Limon
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 #16 of 63 Specialty lodging in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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