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“River rafting best tour in 9 days--not to be missed” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Rafiki Safari Lodge

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Rafiki Safari Lodge
2.5 of 5 Lodge   |   16 Km from Pacific Coastal highway, Rio Savegre, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Charlotte, NC
Top Contributor
150 reviews 150 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
97 helpful votes 97 helpful votes
“River rafting best tour in 9 days--not to be missed”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2013

We did not stay with Rafiki, but I was intrigued with this resort and chose to do a one-day excursion with them from our hotel in MA, so the majority of my review is focused on the river excursion. However, I did thoroughly tour the property during our visit and guests should expect a beautiful but more rustic experience if staying here. This is for folks that really want to be unplugged. I am always on the go and would need to be on tours daily and then socialize at the bar/restaurant area until bedtime as the location is isolated and self contained. The only negative thing I have to say is something needs to be done about the access path to the pool slide. Saying it's, "a little slick" doesn't cover it. I had to remove my shoes and slowly scale the path like Spiderman (constant moisture causes it to be slick and slimy). This is an accident waiting to happen. Otherwise, I found the property well cared for and beautiful all around.
Regarding our day--this was the absolute BEST excursion we did over the course of 9 days in CR. (I emailed them directly to book our day of white water rafting)
They sent transportation to pick us up from our hotel, and when we arrived we had a lovely full breakfast at their retreat before starting our adventure on the river. I enjoyed exploring the grounds of the resort and taking a tour of the facilities while we waited for our guides. They had beautiful horses grazing on property as we entered the grounds and I almost wished we had booked a full day that included horseback riding.
This was my 11 yr old son’s first time on real white water (we live close to man- made white water training center). I couldn’t have been happier with the guides and the pre-tour safety exercises. Being June it had rained quite a bit, so the water was high and the guide said it was Class II/III rapids which was perfect.
The scenery was breathtaking and we stopped and swam at a large, beautiful waterfall. Also, the hot lunch we were served (included) was delicious.
During this excursion we were accompanied by a photographer that kayaked ahead of the group to get photos that are available for sale at the end of the journey. They were reasonably priced and we liked having the photos to reminisce about our adventure.
If going to Manuel Antonio area, I absolutely would not miss this tour or do it with anyone else. Worth every penny. The whole experience with Rafiki was surreal—you will not be disappointed.

Room Tip: Choose a tent closer to the main restaurant/bar area.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 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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238 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 (41)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Godalming, United Kingdom
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2013

We didn't stay at the lodge but were picked up from our rental property and driven to Rafiki with a great driver and the guide/trip photographer/joker - Mono. What a fantastic day, just the right number of people, 3 rafts, 3 guides and Mono. We loved the lodge and would have happily hung there for a few days. We headed off to the river, some of the other party went by horse back, we did the conventional bus but had a guided tour and saw a sloath and many species of birds. The white water rafting was fast, fun and very wet! This is a must for anyone with teenagers, something to be enjoyed by all the family. Lunch was at a lovely spot under cover as the heavens opened and what seemed like a monsoon hit us, it rained hard for the rest of the trip but this didn't dampen anyone's spirits it just made it more fun. The waterfall stop and swim was beautiful!
Thanks guys especially the lovely Alan our guide and resident paramedic based at Rafiki!!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Key West, Florida, United States
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2013

We were very excited to arrive at rafkiki, after a 4 hr drive driving up and thru mud and rivers we were not greeted as we thought we should have, we all carried our luggage up the stairs and met one of the owners who was nice but not so gracious? We were told we were the only guests there for 2 nites? I didn't like that too much? ( I like to socialize) after given 2 only 2 choices for dinner we were taken to our tents but not before we had to be told that u must use flash lights at all times when it's dark why because there are snakes! I knew that going there but when we saw that the mountain is dark with no lighted walk ways that made it a little nervous not just for snakes but walking up and down in the dark and on muddy paths! ( which I happened to have fallen down cause of the mudd!! My legs ended up under the platform which the tents are built on! And snakes come to mind? The tents r cute bathrooms great but the beds were damp cause your in the rainforest! Things I didn't think of!! The food was not good we only had 1 dinner and 1 breakfast but they were not good!!! I also didn't think how annoying it would be to have to unzip and zip back up the tents everytime we left or came in! That sucks think about it? Also the activities look great but what to do when u return say 3 in the afternoon? Your stuck because u r sooo far away ! No way to get taxi and go into town! The mountain is dark and dangerous and no way one could rent a car and drive it!!! The slide that is there is black from mold , even my kids thought it was kinda dirty looking!! I think that if your in costa rica u might want to stay with costa ricans verses south Africans! I thought it would be a combination of both with food choices but the choices are so limited I was hoping for more Typical costa rican food but that was not the case!:( I realize we only had one dinner but since we were the ONLY family there we would think that our welcoming dinner would have been better! We also got up at 5:30 am and could not get a cup of coffee for 2 hrs! No fresh fruit or anything till it was there wake up time ! We came from Florida where it is 2 hrs ahead in costa rica, I'm sure they have travelers from all over the world on different time zones so it would be nice if they had a do it yourself coffee maker and cooler with some fresh fruit or something to hold u over till the workers arrived!? Thank god I had brought some granola bars ! It would also be nice if they suggest u bring some your own food for cases like this! So after our crappy dinner and our crappy breakfast we had a cab pick us up and left! We felt bad about it but not bad enough to stay! Hope this info gives everyone a little more of what to expect when staying at rafkiki! My sons and husband did get to go whitewater rafting on the river they also use and said it was amazing!! So for those who want to really get away from reality this could be your place , for our family we needed a bit more!!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RafikiJJ, Manager at Rafiki Safari Lodge, responded to this review, July 14, 2013
We try very hard at Rafiki to let our guests know what to expect prior to arriving at our lodge. We are an ecologically sound, remote, luxury tent camp surrounded by primary and secondy rain forest and are proud to say that 95% of our employees are local Costa Ricans. The day your family arrived it had rained nearly 10", which creates a challenge for both guests and staff. With less than fifteen hours at our lodge and only three during day light hours, it is unfortunate that you were unable to experience Rafiki at it's best.

Many travelers visiting Costa Rica are looking for a quiet, tranquil escape surrounded by nature. Others are looking for nightlife, restaurants, shopping and being with a lot of other guests. Most prefer a mix of the two. Our unique lodge will never be able to offer the latter nor can we compare to large, name-brand hotels located throughout CR. When not on tours our guests enjoy reading a book, visiting with family and other guests or just relaxing on their patio enjoying the sights and sounds of nature. While I wish we could say that Rafiki is a destination for everyone, this is not the case. It is obvious that we were not the right fit for your family.

Thank you for the review. We appreciate all comments and will do our best to improve the issues you mentioned which are pertinent to our lodge.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2013

This place exceeded our expectations.
The location is beautiful, and the accommodation is novel and quite good.
If we could have stayed here longer, we would have!
The owners Carlo & Janel were friendly and made you fell at home, and the staff was very good, and this just added to the whole experience.
Meals were excellent and the tours which we did (White water rafting and Waterfall hike) were first rate!
I don't think there is one thing we did not enjoy!
Again, the staff and owners are what make this place worth going to.
They were friendly, helpful and let you set your own pace.
There is also horseback riding available at the lodge, in addition to the other tours.
A water slide is built into the hillside which empties into the pool and this is something which you simply must try ….. Its FAST!! ....... lots of fun, but hang on to your swimsuit.

Coffee is ready at 6am for any early risers!

We absolutely loved this place!!

  • Stayed June 2013, 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
11 reviews 11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2013

Our stay at Rafiki Lodge was the best holiday experience our family has ever enjoyed. Everything about our stay was fabulous - but it was mostly about the people, who delivered an extraordinary service experience.

The drive to Rafiki is part of the fun. We flew into Quepos (an adventure) and rented a car (another adventure). From there, we drove to Rafiki. Once you leave the main road, the adventure really begins. Have faith! The road will eventually get you there. :-)

Upon arrival, the place is wonderful. Meals are served family style (the food was spectacular), the bartender and cook and warm and friendly, the desk is managed by the family that owns the place. Every person that we met along the way was lovely, charming, and fun to be with. I was traveling with my husband and two teenage daughters and everyone found something to love about it. One highlight was the wonderful and fun waterslide that is part of the water system at the lodge (ask someone to tell you about it!)

Our tent was comfortable and spacious, with a real bathroom. It is a safari tent, and not at all luxurious, but it was such a nice place to relax, with a beautiful deck and a nice walk to the main building.

The main attraction at Rafiki is the white water rafting. Our rafting experience was amazing. Our guide was so much fun and really made the trip spectacular. It was clear that he loves what he does and helped up to love it too. Lunch was arranged and we enjoyed a gourmet picnic by the river, and cold beer at the end of the day. The Lodge arranged a "paparazzi" boat on the river as well, so we had a photos and a video of our day to take home with us. (extremely reasonably priced!)

I cannot recommend Rafiki enough. It was the perfect way to spend a few days with my family and we will treasure the memories of our experience always.

  • Stayed August 2012, 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Taunton, Somerset
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2013

What an impressive place to be!!! My husband and I visited 'Rafiki Safari Lodge' for a couple of nights whilst on our honeymoon in Costa Rica last month. We hadn't actually booked our stay before departing the UK, but instead emailed Rafiki a couple of days before we wished to arrive to investigate whether we could make a last minute reservation. We received a prompt, friendly and helpful response to our email, advising us that our visit would not be a problem.
Simeon (my husband) and I were blown away by the views when making our way up the drive to Rafiki. The location just fantastic, absolutely beautiful and the safari lodge itself so unique. We can only compliment Janal and Calos (the owners) for what they have created there. The setting, lodges, staff, food, drink, tours etc were all just perfect. If you are looking for a unique, clean, fun and friendly place to be, you must visit Rafiki! The meals provided at breakfast, lunch and dinner were so tasty, and the bar/waiting staff were incredibly nice and helpful - I only wish I had thanked them better for their service.
After much persuasion from my husband and Carlos, I decided to 'have a go' white water rafting (an excursion offered by Rafiki). I was amazed at how much I enjoyed the experience, and this was the best thing that we as a couple could have done whilst on our honeymoon - so memorable! We couldn't leave before a horse-ride up the mountain with Carlos - which was so interesting and exciting. All we can say is 'THANK YOU SO MUCH' to all at Rafiki (and to our white water rafting guide), you made our honeymoon so special and we hope to visit you again one day - if only so that I can plunge down that slide!!! Best wishes to you all. Rebecca and Simeon - June 2013

Room Tip: Don't forget your torch for the snake path!!!
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  • Stayed June 2013, 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stowe, Vermont
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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
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 #20 of 472 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 
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Also Known As:
Rafiki Safari Hotel Province Of Puntarenas
Rafiki Safari Lodge Costa Rica/Province Of Puntarenas

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