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“You're in heaven...with the best food of Costa Rica served as well” 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
Boesingheliede
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“You're in heaven...with the best food of Costa Rica served as well”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2008

We traveled across Costa Rica (top to bottom), stayed at numerous places and found this lodge in the lonely planet guide. They offered loads of activities, like rafting and horseback riding (and more). The trip to the lodge was adventurous, with lots of wonderful wildlife to spot, and the roads were easy accessible. Traveling along the road, you imagine going to the end of the world. And when the road ends...you're looking at a little paradise on earth. A big wooden bar/restaurant main lodge, with a palmtree roof, looking out over their huge property, containing beautiful trees and flowers, a view over their lake, 2 horses relaxing in the grass, beautiful butterflies, colorful birds, like toucans, loads of hummingbirds and even rare species of big birds are chilling in the trees. When we walked up to the main lodge, with all the beautiful hand made wooden furniture and chilling hammocks, we met Constant and his wife. They told us that the owner (their son) was on holiday himself, and the lodge was closed.
Never the less, they welcomed us in their home and showed us around. Even though they were in the middle of a small renovation, and the staff had their last working day at that time, they put in the effort to accomodate us. Even the staff was willing to stay on a few days longer. We've never felt more welcome!

The African style tents extending the free standing stone lodges were enormous. They were located between the trees and within nature, to create your own privacy. Two of them even had lake view. The tent part alone, contained 2 single beds and a double bed, with still plenty of space left. The back part was one huge tiled bathroom with toilet and a very big shower cabin. A dream come true! The build of the layered tent, made you feel save and secure. No bugs to haunt you in the night.
The nights were pieceful. You could hear the frogs and other little sounds, but it didn't keep you awake at night.
A beautiful wide patio was attached to the tent, where we enjoyed the early morning birds and squirrels playing in the trees.

Constant and his wife (I won't use her name, because I might spell it wrong), were ever so friendly. They were amazing people to be around with. We had long talks and dinners together. They obviously have a lot of life experience and shared very interesting stories. We were captivated by the conversation as we were enjoying the best meals served by their superb cook Giovannie. His food was not only extremely tastefull and perfectly cooked, but he also made his own salad dressings with fresh herbs. Two different dressings each time and the second day he made two other flavoured dressings. Every meal was carefully prepared, with the table set with beautifull flower creations, using his own creativity every day. Besides Giovanni being the best cook, he was also very modest and super friendly. My husband is spoiled now, because I will never match these 5 star like dinners.

Constant arranged two horses for the next day and a wild water rafting trip. We were stunned about all the things they were willing to do for us, to make our stay memorable. The horse ride with the guide, was not just a boring trail ride. He showed us all kinds of herbs and recognizable pieces of nature, like cinnamon, anise, clove, natural bug protection to rub on your body and even a natural tattoo, which was a leaf of a vern. It had a white powdery side which you could slap onto your arm. We also got some speed out of the horses (if you wanted to of course).

The rafting after the horse ride was also a great experience. We got nice 3-person sized rafts, which makes you experience the rapids much better than a big family raft. We had well trained guides who knew the river as if it was their own. We had some stops at waterfalls where we could swim and relax, and a nice prepared lunch along the river side, by the magical touch of Giovanni. He even baked fresh cookies (I wish I knew his secret recipe). During lunch, we also saw a snake. It was not poisonous, but still vicious. One of the guides was brave enough to pick it up, so we could make a picture.

Back at the lodge we took a 20 minute walk through the rainforrest to see the waterfall (on their property). The lodge uses water from nature to keep a wall sized fish tank filled up, with fish out of their own lake. The fresh water is also been used to run through a natural build stone slide, which is great fun to go down on. It runs through bushes and flowers, and ends up into this cosy pool down on the bottom of the hill.

Unfortunately we had to leave after two nights, because our holiday was running out of days. If we had known about this place, we definately had come earlier. It was the icing on the cake...the best place to stay, with the most friendly people. It felt like being in heaven.

When we were sitting in the plane, I said to my husband: "We forgot something!" I checked our carrier bag and noticed we forgot to take home Giovanni....we will sure miss his 5 star dnners and his friendly smile.
Now that I'm home, I really miss the nice talks with Constant and his wife. I wished they lived around the corner, so we could visit them every now and then.
I hope we will be able to come back one day.
Thanks a lot for these precious memories!

Angela Wagemaker
Kevin Young

  • Liked — Kindness, food, nature and activities
  • Disliked — That there are not more than 24 hours in a day
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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219 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)
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Wyckoff, nj
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2008

If you like nature, adventure, great food, and relaxing I would highly recomend this place. If you like white water rafting you MUST GO HERE. Not for those who are afraid of nature or breaking a sweat. Although there is a nice pool and a lot of relaxing to be done if you choose.

No address here at Rafiki hehe. We drove on the tiniest rode through the jungle in the south to get here. There were no markings accept for one sign "Don't fall off this bridge". I swear! We arrived in the dark so we had no idea what the place looked like. But I walked into the lodge and something fell on my leg and it felt big and wet. I looked down and this huge frog was stuck to my leg like a suction cup. I had a minor tweak and quickly got used to it because critters are everywhere but we grew to loooove them. Anyway, so this place is owned by two South African family. They are awesome! We sleep in these huge tents to keep the critters out but inside the tent is a typical room with wood floor and beds and full bathroom. We have a patio that looks over a pretty lake. This whole place is hydro powered by the river it is near the Rio Sevegre. There is also a water slide into their pool. So fast and long. CRAZY! The water is fresh and clear, no chlorine, really beautiful. There is one little town close by called Santo Domino. There are only 80 people in the town and almost all of the kids work here. We've had so much fun with them. Two of them took us for a little white water raft to star which was a lot of fun. They convinced us to take the Bushmaster tour. They said it was beautiful and we could handle it. Only 15 or 20 people have ever done it. We left at 7am for a 4 hour hike that lead to a lodge in the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It's not a lodge, it's a cabin and only two people live there. We had lunch there with them and then we launched into the river for a 30 mile raft down the rio sevegre river. OMG! This was the craziest thing I have ever done. The hike was insane. The most physically strenuous feat I have ever accomplished! Straight up a hill in the mud and blazing sun. 2 horses carrying our rafting gear. I was so hot and delerious all I could do was laugh hysterically most of the way. Then suddenly we started down into the "bush" part of this trip. It was ridicuouls, literally bush wacking to get through. Then suddenly this little house built next to this beautiful waterfall and pool in the river. Some of Jurasic Park was filmed there. After I got over the heat exhaustion and pretty much collapsed on the wood floor we had a nice lunch and launched into the river. The river took away all of that pain from the hike and it was magnificent. The tour guides were amazing! We love the people of Santo Domino. We stopped and played a little soccer with some. We stopped at a church and spoke to a few locals.

When we stayed here the young family that usually runs it was not there. But their parents were, who are the original owners. They were very nice. Although at times they hovered. We loved Rafiki!

  • Liked — Outdoor Adventure and Uniqueness
  • Disliked — loved it all
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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St. Paul, MN
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2008

You really feel good about staying in a place like this. You get the first-class treatment from the staff--especially the owner, Lautjke--but you also get a deeper appreciation for nature and the environment.

When you're there, ask Lautjke (pronounced Lokey) about his big dreams to create a refuge for tapirs on the property.

At night, you won't be sitting in your room, falling asleep to the TV (because there aren't any). You'll be listening to the sounds of birds and other wildlife, just beyond your bed. You're in a tent, sure, but it's a tent with a fully furnished bathroom and a lovely porch with spectacular views.

We really enjoyed the water slide, followed by a thrilling rafting ride on the Savegre River.

We're used to staying in 4- and 5-star hotels, but we enjoyed this place just as much.

  • Liked — The location and the staff
  • Stayed July 2008
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Home
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2008

While in Manual Antonio, my husband and I really wanted to do some adventure sports so we decided on White water rafting. Now, there are MANY outfitters for this so we asked the lovely man at our hotel, Hotel Mandarina (great place to stay if staying in M.A.). He strongly encouraged us to check out the not all that well-known Rafiki Tours so we did. We went to Rafiki's office in M.A. and chatted with one of the awesome owners. She said that we needed to trust her--that we would really enjoy it. Boy, shoudl we not have doubted her even for a second! Rafiki picks up their people at the hotel and you drive up about 1 hour to the Lodge which is amazing. After a lovely homemade breakfast, you set out on a 1 hour horseback ride through the rainforest. After that, you being your rafting trip. Our guide was AMAZING and the river was the purest, most delicious (trust me I drank enough of the water), and most scenic river I have ever been on. The rafting guide was one of the best I've ever had. Since it's not the high season, we had basically a private tour--just me, my husband and the guide--how wonderful! Although the prices are a bit steeper, it's well worth the personalized trip. Plus, Rafiki is super eco-friendly--they supply all of their own power at the lodge using water energy. I definitely recommend them--

  • Liked — Beautiful grounds, unique
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 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.
Georgia, USA
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2008

We stayed at eco friendly Rafiki Safari Lodge for three days and two nights. It couldn't have been better -- excellent accommodations, great food, beautiful scenery, and warm hospitality. The open air, thatched roof Lodge was a terrific place to soak in the vistas, enjoy a drink or a fabulous meal, and relax at anytime throughout the day. Birds, butterflies and jungle sounds abound. Our accommodation was a well appointed safari tent on a wooden platform set among the privacy of trees and jungle vegetation. The white water rafting on the Savegre River was great -- lots of rapids, excellent guides and a wonderful riverside lunch. Don't miss the hike to the waterfalls; it's worth every step. And the waterslide and pool back at the Lodge is a great place to cool off too. Though Rafiki Lodge is in a remote, pristine mountain setting, it is easily accessible from Quepos and the perfect combination of rustic jungle luxury.

  • Liked — Hospitality and jungle ambiance
  • Disliked — No dislikes
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Atlanta, Georgia
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2008

Looking back upon my recent trip to Costa Rica, the one part that sticks out to me was my stay at Rafiki Safari Lodge. Whether it was the friendly staff, the beautiful scenery or the one of a kind cabins, my stay at Rafiki couldn't have been better. It gives you a personal look of Costa Rica!

  • Stayed June 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2008

In our two weeks in Costa Rica this is by far our favourite. The whole set-up could not have been better concieved - the accomodations and the lodge / bar / dining room are all great; and the people are interesting and fun. Rafiki is in a very small class of hotels I've stayed in around the world where you can easily interact with the staff and with other guests and find the people young, interesting and fun.

The meals were all excellent, and we chose to do the horse riding and white water rafting trip. Their 3 person rafts are so much fun compared to the big boats that big commercial rafting companies use. Highly recommended!

  • Liked — The waterslide
  • Disliked — they were booked for the next night, so we couldn't extend our stay
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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 ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #29 of 446 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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