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“Fun Stay in the Jungle” 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   |  
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Stowe, Vermont
Level Contributor
24 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Fun Stay in the Jungle”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

Rafiki is a unique lodging experience. The service, food and views make this a 5 star experience. The luxury tent/cabins were perfect for our family of 4 and made us feel like we were part of the Jungle. I can imagine some people not liking the hour drive on the bumpy road and the whole tent/jungle experience - so be it....but if you are looking for a cool and unique Costa Rican place to stay for a couple nights - then this is it.

The food was amazing. The rafting was a blast (first time rafting for our 10, 12 year olds), The people that work there are all friendly and become your friends. The massages with Yerlin were really good and a great value. One other tip - the waterslide is FAST!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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251 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 (45)
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English first
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013 via mobile

We didn't stay at the lodge but took the white water rafting tour that starts up at the lodge. It was an all day event....we were picked up at our villa, taken for about a 90 minute drive up to the lodge. The drive was long but our guide was excellent throughout describing the sights as there were many interesting things to learn along the way. When we arrived at the very remote lodge, what a pleasant surprise! It was wonderful, serene and very remote, (we might be back to stay)!! They fed us breakfast, we relaxed and then we ranted for about 3 hours. We stopped along the way for lunch, ( which was excellent also)! The river is low this time of year so they use smaller rafts, which is fine as 1 raft took our family of 4. Our guide was awesome! Our trip down the river was both educational and a whole bunch of fun! When we were done, they took us back up to the lodge where we could relax a bit before they took us right back to the door of our villa....perfect. We all had a great day and highly recommend this day for any level of white water rafter.

Stayed March 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
21 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

We didn't stay at this lodge, we were driven in from Manuel Antonio for the white water rafting. Upon arriving you get breakfast and a tour of the grounds - really gorgeous. The kids really loved the water slide - super fast and scary! The rafting here really is a lot of fun. Besides being an overall great family adventure, what really makes the trip memorable are the awesome guides. These guys are so good at what they do and so sweet - they just make the trip that much more enjoyable. Our group of guides consisted of Josue, Juan Carlos, our personal guide, 'Gringo Loco', & 'The Chef'. This was our boys' (ages 7 & 9) first rafting trip (my husband's too) and the Savegre River was a great way to introduce them to the sport. I never had a concern for safety: Josue gave an excellent (and perfectly humorous) water safety intro-course before we got started. There's lunch in the forest (which is great since you work up an appetite), a fantastic waterfall swim and breathtaking scenery of the lush mountains along the way. Again, we can't thank the guides enough - they're true gems and Rafiki is lucky to have them. As a side note, if you get a chance, don't miss a stop at Club Roncajon restaurant on the way back to Manuel Antonio. It's right on the highway, about 10 minutes or so outside of Quepos, and has the best Ceviche we'd eaten anywhere! If you're lucky, you'll get to ride back with some of the guides who live nearby and this is a great chance to offer them a beer! Thanks Josue, JC, GL, & 'The Chef' for a wonderful time!!!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 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.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013 via mobile

We were there for three days - two adults and one 11 year-old. We rafted during our stay. It was a great experience. Our tent was not fancy but we did not expect it to be. It had tile floors in the bathroom that was cleaned every day! The dinners were amazing - especially given the remote location. The staff was accommodating and welcoming.

The only downside is that it is VERY difficult to find an the road is treacherous - and that is coming from an Idaho gal! In fact, it was so difficult to find we did not make it our first night and stayed at Rafiki Beach. The beach was amazing! So, no regrets. All in all, a great experience. Would strongly recommend it for families!

Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Island
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2013 via mobile

Folks, I realize my second review will skew the statistics by a hair, but I really feel the need to respond to a recent post implying the activities at Rafiki aren't both well explained and safe. In February I took my 11 year old daughter and 10 year old autistic son to Rafiki for a week and we had the time of our lives. We did the hike, horseback riding trip and rafting, everything was completely explained and at no times was our safety ever in question. Regarding the skill level required for the horseback ride, if my 10 year old autistic son who has never done anything other than a pony ride at the circus can handle it, so can most other people. But yes we did get a scratch & scrape or two; that's what happens when you hike in the rainforest. I agree Rafiki is not for everyone, but if you're looking for a back to nature experience in the wild with spectacular scenery, amazing wildlife and a friendly & caring familial experience, it is certainly for you.

Stayed February 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

Our family of four (13 yr. old daughter, 16 yr. old son) had an unbelievable time here at Rafiki Safari Lodge. We had been told, as atravelingone complained, that the road is bumpy. Welcome to Costa Rica! We had a very careful and wonderful driver, (Rafiki Lodge employee Edwin) who not only navigated the bumps perfectly, but was able in good English to show us and tell us about interesting things along the way, such as details about the African palm and teak plantations, the little villages of Santo Domingo and Silencio, and even the wildlife we were passing. Once we arrived, Mauren welcomed us and Ann had delightful fresh fruit drinks for us. Because the Lodge was not fully booked during our visit, Mauren very kindly offered our teens to stay in a separate "tent" next to ours, doubling our space. I put tent in quotations because this is like no tent I have ever experienced. The hardwood floors, the deck with handmade beautiful wooden rockers and tables, and the adjoining spacious, bright and light bathroom with large counter spaces and shelves for weary travelers, a generous and lovely shower (which YES provides as much hot water as one might want), and even fresh flowers all speak against the stereotypical tent experience. The "roof" is indeed a sturdy, wonderful tent, and my husband who is 6'3" and I at 6' had no shortage of space.
Carlo Boshoff, whose spectacular vision created a place of beauty and delight and elegance in the middle of the jungle, was a very down-to-earth and friendly host. His wife-who I understood more often interfaces with guests-was away on a family emergency during our stay, but Carlo, Ann, Raphael, Sadie, and the entire staff made sure we lacked for nothing.
The waterslide and pool were a welcome diversity for all of us, though the slide is verrrrrry fast (I am surprised atravelingone did not comment on...maybe did not try it out?). Dinner was delicious, as one of the other reviewers noted, Johannes is a "real chef" who is a Tico who cooked professionally in the states and returned to his homeland.
Indeed, the cacophony of cicadas was omnipresent. That is one of the things though that I enjoyed. We intentionally did not want to "go to Costa Rica and stay in a luxury hotel on a beach that might as well have been in Miami or Malibu but with monkeys." We wanted to truly experience Costa Rica and Rafiki Safari Lodge delivered that beautifully.
In the morning, we enjoyed our coffee (at 6:30 am) while sitting and watching the many cherry tanagers and hummingbirds feed from flowers just under the deck railing and fresh bananas that had been put out on tiny feeding perches by one of the groundskeepers in order to entertain us!
Breakfast was hearty, and we spent the morning horseback riding with Carlo up to the part of the Savegre River where we were to begin our whitewater rafting experience. The horses appeared healthy; Turbo, Tigre, Mosca and Canela were gentle rides and very responsive to simple commands. The saddles were completely serviceable (actually somewhat softer and more comfortable than others I have ridden) and Carlo was a wonderful guide. An educated naturalist, he pointed out many interesting things among the fauna on our way uphill.
When we arrived at the "put in" spot, we were met by two amazing guides: Kenneth nicknamed "Chucky" and Randall, and Ann joined our little rafting party. The rafts were two person/one guide. We cannot say enough good things about "Chucky" and Randall. These fully bilingual, personable, charming and funny gentlemen navigated our foursome through the river like a good musician knows his instrument. Every chance they had to make my 16 yr. old son laugh and me get splashed (we wanted to) they orchestrated. On top of the traveling fun, they both introduced us to amazing things (breaking off bits of dozens of little edible plants or leaves whose scent gave away its origin: vanilla beans, "ben gay plants," wild ginger root, tiny citrusy begonias, and so many others I cannot name them all).
We had a picnic lunch during the trip (ok I'll mention the chicken was overcooked just so no one thinks I am just a positive Pollyanna about everything) so what? This is the jungle. The fruit was perfect. After lunch, we realized our daughter's ear began to bother her more than she was comfortable with. She had developed swimmers ear during the week, but was hoping to ignore it until returning home. Sadly we had to shorten a little the afternoon part of the rafting trip, but Chucky and Randall were very flexible and not at all bothered by last minute adjustments. They brought us to a beautiful waterfall, where they caught fresh water shrimp with our children, showed us these amazing ferns that respond to touch by closing up to protect themselves (Avatar-anyone?), and then we finished up the rafting and were met by a safari vehicle with outdoor seating to enjoy the breezy ride back up to the lodge.
Dinner again was very good, and this time we were fortunate to meet Carlo's warm and welcoming parents Constant and Ralene, and enjoy dinner with them and another couple who were visiting for the day. Carlo's son's nanny was able to give our daughter some eardrops, and between that and the Boshoff home remedy of white vinegar, she was stable for flying home in the morning.
Despite having only spent a couple nights and days at Rafiki, we were truly welcomed like extended family and felt so glad to have experienced this magical place at the end of what was a fantastic vacation.
I think when some people travel they are not really looking for something different from what they have at home. Unless you are lucky, Rafiki Safari Lodge is probably nothing like your own home. We were grateful to really travel - on a bumpy road, maybe even a little beyond what was in all of our "comfort zones" to experience adventure while the Boshoff and staff's hospitality made us feel at home.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Prior Lake, Minnesota
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

After leaving the highway, the near hour long drive bouncing between our seats and the roof on a poorly maintained road barely adequate to support our vehicle, which left our driver cursing, we arrived at Rafiki. It is a beautiful location near the river, but not on banks as stated; the river is not visible from lodge or tents. Beautiful and wondrous sights and sounds abound. Tents are quite nice and decks and views are private, however sounds are shared with all, (those prone to flatulence and active newlyweds beware). You "WILL" awake to a deafening and amazing sound of Cicadas and other creatures at 6:00 am....... you and your clothes will still be damp with the previous days sweat.... coffee will not be served until 7:00. Bringing your own instant coffee won't help as there is no hot water. We were told water would become hot after about 15 minutes... my watch must have been broken. Food was very good but limited to two options per meal served approximately at mealtimes designated by Rafiki (when not short staffed). One has two customized activity options per day; they are “yes” or “no”. The rafting, high walk bridge and water slide were great, meeting and exceeding my expectations. The horseback ride with ragged saddles and tack on a hot, dusty, shoulder-less, dirt road shared with speeding vehicles was substandard and dangerous for inexperienced riders and added nothing to the jungle experience. The jungle hike was ripe with real potential for physical harm from slips, falls and the unseen. We were not advised of these dangers by Rafiki management (who characterized the hike as suitable for a 3 year old) before being dropped from rafts half clothed in wet walking shoes where we were greeted by our guide clothed in long pants, and knee high boots. In spite of the dangers the hike did provide wonderful scenery, sounds and joyful play in waterfalls and pools. As for wildlife we had close up views of 2 lizards, 2 spiders and the back side of a Tucan. Fortunately our group of 10 survived with only bruises, scratches, bites, and blisters. A good meal was served before our three mile walk back to our pickup point on a dusty dirt road in the “HOT” afternoon sun. The guides and what staff there was at Rafiki were outstanding…. special thanks to Ann. The sustainable nature of Rafiki and its respect for the environment is admirable and worthy of support. Some may find the "fly by the seat of your pants" “make it up as you go" management adds to the experience, others may not. While I sustained no serious injuries, enjoyed myself overall and have fond memories of my Rafiki jungle experience, it is not for everyone, contrary to what you may be told.

Room Tip: Short walk to lodge most convenient, long walk quietest.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
RafikiJJ, General Manager at Rafiki Safari Lodge, responded to this review, March 18, 2013
Thank you for your recent review of our lodge. I am glad to hear you enjoyed the sights and sounds of the real Costa Rican rain forest. We are located in the heart of the forest and though the drive is bumpy you are guaranteed to be off the beaten path during your visit with us. I am disappointed to hear the hot water was not working in your tent. We are working on upgrading our current fire-heated hot water system to individual hot water systems in each tent and the project should be completed within two months. We strive to provide excellent service in the restaurant, bar and during our guided activities no matter how many guests are at the lodge. We also pride ourselves on our unique blend of Costa Rican and South African cuisine served in our restaurant. Due to our remote location and small lodge size, it is difficult to offer more than two dinner choices each evening. We put a lot of effort into our kitchen in order to serve exceptional cuisine at each meal. Our coffee is made using the traditional Costa Rican coffee sock method without the use of percolators or coffee makers and we try to serve fresh coffee by 6:30 each morning. I wish we could offer individual coffee pots in each room but our small, private hydroelectric system creates the challenge of conserving energy wherever possible. Our guided tours are what our guests enjoy most about Rafiki. With a white water rafting trip, a waterfall hike, bird watching, fishing, and two different horseback riding tours we feel there is an option for everyone. While we do our best to explain our tours making sure everyone knows what is to be expected, we should have better explained what the waterfall hike entails or suggested another tour for you that day. Thank you again for your comments. We will use your feedback in order to create a better experience for future guests.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #21 of 492 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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