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“Luxury camping in the Rainforest” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Rafiki Safari Lodge

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Rafiki Safari Lodge
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2.5 of 5 Lodge   |   16 Km from Pacific Coastal highway, Rio Savegre, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Mequon, WI
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“Luxury camping in the Rainforest”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2013

We stayed one night at the Rafiki Lodge as part of a Backroads multi sport trip. We trekked the last few kilometers on foot, which made the approach really great. We stayed in cabin 4. The beds are very comfortable and the bathrooms attached to the tents (which are on platforms) were very nice and large. There was adequate hot water, which is pretty amazing in the middle of the rainforest. Food was excellent and the service was very friendly. The owners live at the lodge. There are a total of ten cabins, all pretty much the same. The photos on their website are very representative of the actual location. We did the white water rafting with our group and they did a superb job. One of the highlights of our visit to Costa Rica. The water slide is amazing.

Room Tip: Room 1-5 seemed to have the better view.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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215 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (33)
Date | Rating
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English first
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 23, 2012

We have just left the Rafiki Safari Lodge in Costa Rica and wanted to share what a wonderful experience we had. The owners and staff were fantastic, the lodge and surrounding property were breath-taking. From the delicious food, thrilling water slide, pool and hot-tub to the memorable excursions, we couldn't imagine a better "camping" experience!
Thank you, Janelle and Carlo.

Room Tip: Tents 1 and 2 have a beautiful view of the lake.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Murrieta, California
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2012

We were staying in Manuel Antonio and often like to make our own tours/adventures happen, versus booking a tour and getting on a tour bus with a group of strangers. We decided to go white water rafting and happened to notice a brochure and subsequent road sign offering white water rafting at the Rafiki Lodge.

Driving there was half the adventure as we travelled along a dirt road for about 45 minutes passing small authentic Costa Rica villages and it's inhabitants. The road was rocky and rough, and we would occasionally see signs for the lodge.

Upon arrival to Rafiki Lodge, we knew right away that we had stumbled upon a true gem in the rain forest. The Lodge looked like it was transported straight from Africa into the Costa Rican rain forest.

We were there early and the only ones there and asked the local maintenance/lodge care taker if there were any rafting adventures available. He looked at us inquisitively and replied in spanish "no-one is here, and you have to call a day in advance to book a white water rafting experience". He then proceeded to call the owner (Loki) of the lodge who instantly showed the utmost customer service and told us he would make a couple of calls to his guides to make things happen for us. Within a half an hour we had our two guides (Chookie and Randall) who lived in the local village of Santa Domingo with a population of 150 people.

Our guides were awesome to say the least as they educated us on the local plant species and indigenous culture of their families and community.

The rafting trip was amazing with roaring rapids, waterfalls, various animals, along with an amazing lunch half way down the river in a secluded spot in the jungle.

On a scale of 1-5 stars, The Rafiki Lodge receives 10 stars on my rating scale! Thank you once aging to Loki, Chookie, Randall, and Raphael in making this one experience that we will never forget.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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.
Laguna Beach, California, United States
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2012

Well...it should tell you a lot that I returned after only one year, for another stay at Rafiki lodge. The first time I visited the lodge with a girlfriend, and this past summer I returned with my 3 kids...13, 17, 21. I knew they would have a blast...and I was right! They loved the luxery tents (and they are luxery). It is so much fun to hear the frogs and other sounds of the night while sleeping comfortably in a cozy tent. The meals are made to order (and delicious) and the bar tender not only makes yummy drinks but we also had a great time listening to his acoustic guitar/singing. My girls are musicians too so they all took turns playing and singing. The first day we all went rafting and had a blast. The guides are so personable and make the trip so fun! Half way we stopped and had a delicious lunch and coverstaion with everyone on the trip. The second day my kids went horseback riding and were lucky enough to have Lautjie, guide them on their ride. Loacha is the owner's son/manager and lives with his family on the property. Because my kids are familiar with riding horses, he catered the ride to them...so they were able to gallop, and even ride through the small near by town to get a close up look at local Coasta Rican life. I think this ride was the highlight of their trip! Thank you Lautjie! And meanwhile...I was getting a relaxing massage on the porch of my tent. Overlooking the lagoon.

I was so fortunate to meet the owners Constant and Ralene on both of my visits to Rafiki. Between conversation with them and getting to hang out with Lautie I almost feel like family when I stay there! It's a most amazing place...and I can guarantee you...you will have a magical, memorable time!

Room Tip: I enjoyed over-looking the lagoon
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  • Stayed July 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2012

Our family (2 adults and kids ages 10, 14, and 14) spent 3 nights at Rafiki Safari Lodge at the end of July 2012. We were on a 3 week tour of Costa Rica and the reviews of Rafiki on tripadvisor convinced us that it was a destination we shouldn’t miss.

Even with our possibly over-inflated expectations, the experience at Rafiki exceeded them. Rafiki is a magical place. Why? Because it’s small and intimate. Guests here are treated like they are being welcomed into a thoughtful, fun-loving community. The lodge is in fact run by an extended family whose ultimate goal is to create a sustainable business not just for themselves but for people in the surrounding villages. The care and joy that the staff at Rafiki bring to the experience is HUGE. The staff is happy to be there. And guests feel it. Rafiki aims to please - if you relax and trust them you will have a great time! And you will make some new friends along the way.

While we were at Rafiki we participated in river rafting. My kids went on the horseback riding to the put in spot and said the horses were very well mannered. They had never rafted before and it was better than any rafting I’ve done on the rivers of Northern California. I was the nervous nelly in the group and all I can say is that the guys who ran the rafting trip get 10 stars for safety. There was enough white water to keep my husband on the edge of his seat too…

We also went on an unforgettable “aqua hike” where we hiked along the edge of a river and climbed up and around over a dozen waterfalls ranging from 8 feet high to 50 feet. We got to swim under most of them. And we got to jump off (that part was optional) one of them! Along the way we learned about the flora and fauna of the jungle. There were lots of natural Tarzan-type swings for the kids to swing on, and a 4 foot wide, 416 foot long, 131 feet high suspension bridge to cross at the end. The entire day felt like we were on an Indian Jones adventure. It was a once in a lifetime experience that I will treasure forever!

A few other comments which might be helpful to other travelers. I had a hard time deciding how much of our vacation to spend at Rafiki vs. other parts of Costa Rica. Prior to coming to Rafiki we had spent a week at a beach house in Santa Teresa which was nice (part of a family reunion). We took the taxi boat (highly recommended) from Montezuma to Jaco to get to Quepos and then on to Rafiki. We didn’t go to Manuel Antonio because we were told it was too overrun with tourists. After we left Rafiki we went up to the Arenal/Monteverde area. If I had to do the trip over, I would spend far less time in the Arenal area. The Arenal area offers a lot of interesting, one-off activities for tourist, but in my opinion, it is difficult to experience the real Costa Rica there. And, it is very built up and commercial. There are a few hotels that look like they would have been better situated on the Las Vegas strip. If you are trying to commune with nature, this isn’t really the place. The experience there is much more impersonal, and you’ll find yourself stuck with a bunch of other tourists. ( I would however, make time to see Proyecto Asis and the Tabacon Hot Springs (if not to soak in the hot springs, then at least for the beautiful landscaping – it’s expensive but worth it). Monteverde is an entirely different experience but only for people who take the time to learn about the rainforest and cloud forest ecology. The most fun way to do this in my opinion is to stay on the campus of the University of Georgia where meals, lodging and naturalist-guided activities are all inclusive. OKAY I’m getting too far off track but I would have liked to spend 4 nights or more at Rafiki, 3 nights at U. of Georgia, 4 nights on the beach at Santa Teresa or Montezuma area and 2 nights in Arenal. The next time we travel to Costa Rica I would like to visit the Osa Peninsula and Tortuguerra which we didn’t have time for on this trip.

The bottom line is this: You won’t forget Rafiki – it is a slice of heaven on 900+ pristine acres in the jungle – spend as much time there as possible! Oh yeah – the rooms are great, the gardens are spectacular, the waterslide is a blast, and the food is very good! It is fun for the whole family!

Room Tip: I was surprised at how clean the rooms were. There is no room service so I didn't give it a rati...
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  • Stayed July 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
    • 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.
Quincy, Massachusetts
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2012

As a family, we have traveled to quite a few places and nothing comes close to the experience we had here. My two children, ages 16 and 10, enjoyed it as much as my husband and I. We stayed for two nights as part of a package which included horseback riding to the river, and then the rafting back to the lodge. I can't say enough about our guides, who were knowledgeable and fun and always had safety as a priority. The horseback riding is good for beginners, but anyone more advanced might be a little bored since the horses walked the whole time. The rafting was definitely the best part of the adventure. I was nervous about having my youngest child fall into the river but eventually got over it, especially after everyone at one point ended up in the water. I certainly felt like we were in safe hands the whole time, and it was quite a thrill! We had an amazing lunch provided by Rafiki halfway through the trip (complete with a bathroom in the middle of the jungle - how great is that?) The lodge itself is in a beautiful setting, and the luxury tents are clean and comfortable with a huge bathroom attached. It was a little unsettling to be reminded to use flashlights after dusk when you walk back to your tent due to the possibility of snakes, but I never saw one. So long as you stick to the path and remember to zip up your tent you should be fine. The staff and owners of the resort were amazingly attentive without being too intrusive, and we enjoyed the family atmosphere. We were there for the third week of August and were the only guests during our stay, which was initially a little odd to us. However, it is the start of the rainy season, which probably scares people away. It didn't affect our plans as it tended to rain in the afternoons and mornings were hot and sunny. There wasn't much to do after dinner except go back to your tent, but we were tired after our long day so it wasn't a big deal. The road to get to Rafiki is long and bumpy, so if you plan to go for the rafting or other adventures, it would make sense to stay there rather than trying to travel back and forth in the same day. Also, the food was fantastic and makes it worth the stay. It was very fresh and delicious; always two choices and they were attentive to the needs of my youngest who was a picky eater. However, that being said, there were no chicken nuggets or fries so he had to learn how to be flexible on his end, too! Our host Ralene was very helpful in arranging for our transport back and forth to the resort since we did not rent a car. All in all, we loved it and were very glad that we squeezed it into our week of traveling from one end of Costa Rica to the other.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aromas, California
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2012 via mobile

We did not stay here but we took the white water rafting tour. Our 7 and 8 year old boys fell in love with the rafting and the place.... which we would have stayed at if we had known about it before. The water slide to the pool is FANTASTIC. Our boys could have done this all day and my husband and I could just hang out at the bar above it watching them. So relaxing and the staff is wonderful. If you go on the rafting trip be sure to buy the photos the very talented photographer takes. One of them will be your best Christmas card ever!

Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rafiki Safari Lodge

Address: 16 Km from Pacific Coastal highway, Rio Savegre, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #29 of 441 Specialty Lodging in Province of Puntarenas
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Rafiki Safari Lodge 2.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Rafiki is a sustainable adventure lodge located in the Savegre Valley of Costa Rica. The lodge sits on 840 acres of tropical forest. Rafiki specializes in custom white water rafting, horseback riding and hiking trips. Guests sleep in imported luxury Safari Tents which feature hydro electric fans and lights. Each tent sits on a raised hardwood platform, has a deluxe bathroom with glass showers heated with fire. The units also have a private porch with rocking chairs looking over the Savegre Valley. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Rafiki Safari Hotel Province Of Puntarenas
Rafiki Safari Lodge Costa Rica/Province Of Puntarenas

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