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“Costa Rica at its best” 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
Culver City, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Costa Rica at its best”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2014

My wife and I absolutely loved Rafiki Safari Lodge. I can't imagine ever returning to Costa Rica without a stay at Rafiki. The accommodations were clean and comfortable, and the sheer beauty of the place more than compensated for any compromise in opulence. We loved the feeling of being out in nature, listening to the intense rainstorms while sitting on our protected porch, overlooking the beautiful Savegre Valley. The staff was great and the food delicious. We participated in two activities, rafting and horseback riding, both of which were fun and educational. Our horseback ride was led by one of the owners, a biologist by training and very knowledgeable about Costa Rica and the Savegre Valley where they are located.
Rafiki felt like going back in time a bit. To a time before the internet, before cable TV and cell phones. (But not to a time before refrigeration and beer!) Rafiki felt like what Costa Rica must have been like before eco-tourism became a thing--it felt real.
Loved it. Don't miss this experience.

Room Tip: Upgrade to the lake view rooms if you can!
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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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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)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2014

The RAFIKI rafting trip was a fun experience. The staff is personable and educated and learning the story behind the ecolodge and it's purpose was an added plus. We were staying off site in Manuel Antonio. They promptly picked us up around 7:30 for the hour (bumpy) ride to the lodge. We were greeted by the owner and treated to a traditional costa rica breakfast. We were then given a tour of the grounds and an explanation of the mission statement behind RAFIKI. The rafting guys were awesome and super educated as well showing us local plants such as cinnamon bar, licorice, etc. We then set out on a great rafting trip with break for lunch an waterfall. The trip was a mix of rapids and calm waters. Just a great way to experience the costa rican ecosystem. I would definitely return again.

Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2014

Wow! Rafiki Safari Lodge exceeded our expectations in every way. We took advantage of the "Super Lekker" package which included four nights at the Safari Lodge and two nights at Rafiki Beach Camp (which I will write about in a separate review). It was worth the splurge because of all that was included. We had the Lakeview Tent #2 which I would highly recommend, because of its amazing view of the lake and grounds from the porch. All tents have a large, elegant (yes -- "elegant") bathroom/dressing room as well as a comfortable sleeping area.

Here are some highlights of our stay at Rafiki: The friendliness and helpfulness of the co-owners/managers, Carlo and Janel. One of them seemed to be around all day for whatever we needed. The dining, housekeeping and maintenance staff was great too. The food was excellent -- especially the dinners; I believe the menu was prepared by their Peruvian chef. Don't miss the chocolate volcano cake if it a dessert choice when you are there. The grounds were beautiful and everything was kept up so well. We loved getting to know (from a safe distance, ha-ha) the big iguana that lives around the pond, as well as all the lizards and butterflies and other insects we spotted.

The activities were top notch, especially the white water rafting on the pristine Rio Sevegre; we loved our guide, Mono, and photographer, Juan Carlos. And don't miss the Aqua Hike. It starts out with a short white water rafting experience and then it's onto dry land. The hike is almost four miles long on mostly gravel paths and winding trails through the rainforest, but since it lasts 4 or 5 hours, it is well paced. We visited several waterfalls where we jumped from the top, swam below them, and even drank the water coming down from one of them. This river is the cleanest in all of Central America. We had an amazing nature guide, Loki (Carlo's brother and another of the co-owners), who pointed out birds and insects that we would have never spotted on our own. The lunch stop was memorable. This open kitchen and simple open-air dining structure seemed to pop up out of nowhere. There were three local villagers cooking a fantastic Tico lunch of chicken, rice, beans and tortillas over a wood burning stove.

I think what we will remember most, however, is getting a better understanding of all the things that this family is doing for the local economy in terms of jobs, skill building and community collaboration. Here is an example: Another not-to-miss experience is the outdoor jungle massage on the premises by one of the young women from the village. She learned how to be a masseuse thanks to Loki paying for her expenses to learn this skill. With the money she is earning she was able to open up a small store in the village with her sister. The commitment by the Boshoff family to the community as well as their commitment to the environment (including their efforts to reintroduce the tapir to that area) is to be commended.

Room Tip: We had the Lakeview Tent #2 which I would highly recommend, because of its amazing view of the lake...
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  • Stayed March 2014, 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.
Hartford, CT
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2014

This was an amazing "tent" experience! The tent itself is huge - ours had a double bed and two singles. Each has a front "porch" which is covered and which has rocking chairs for great relaxing. We were in #1 which looks out onto a pond where birds congregate. We saw toucans and vultures and ducks and, well. lots of birds. Food was wonderful, as was the staff. The water slide is FUN! We did some rafting on the river in mild rapids and, even as a nonswimmer, it was fun and safe. One problem: we did NOT have hot or even warm water for shower. It was COLD WATER only.

Room Tip: Tents #1 and #2 have the best views!
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  • Stayed April 2014, 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.
Boulder, Colorado
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2014

My family (including 3 kids ages 9,7,20 months and 2 grandparents) stayed at Rafiki for 3 nights in March 2014. We had a wonderful time. The jungle backdrop is beautiful and the lodge is impeccably maintained. The tents were clean and comfortable. The food was great and easily the best I had in Costa Rica. The staff was extremely pleasant and accommodating. We enjoyed visiting with the owners Janel and Carlo on a daily basis. They were very helpful in arranging excursions and were a wealth of knowledge on the local flora and fauna. The pool is a bit small, but our kids loved the waterslide and hot tub. They quickly made friends with the other children and had a great time. We did the aqua hike, rafting trip, and horseback riding excursions. They were all fun. We are experienced travelers, and Rafiki exceeded our expectations. It is a real gem.

  • Stayed March 2014, 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2014

My husband, myself, and 2 boys (age 10 and 11) stayed at Rafiki for 3 nights in late March. We are in our early 40s. I can't tell you how much fun we had and it was the absolute highlight of our entire trip to Costa Rica. We stayed in tent 9, which was at the back of the property and very private. The porch was delightful and we all loved to wake up and enjoy the "jungle" scenery. We would drink coffee and just enjoy the sights and sounds. The beds were very comfortable and the bathroom was nice and clean. The shower took a little while to warm up (like 10 minutes), but when it did it was very hot. We really enjoyed the staff and excursions. We did the Aqua Hike with Kenneth our guide, who was amazing. He showed us a cinnamon tree, wild ginger root, and a bunch of other plants, rocks, trees, and animals. The kids (and adults!) loved jumping off the waterfalls, swimming in the crystal clear pools, and rafting. I felt like we were in a Fantasy Island episode as it was so tropical and beautiful. The water was clear and warm and amazing. We all learned so much about the nature in Costa Rica that we are still processing it. Our kids now want to learn a ton about the nature in Minnesota so we can know as much as where we live as Kenneth did about where he lives! That in itself is worth every penny we paid for our entire trip to Costa Rica. The lunch at the spice farm as part of the hike was the one of the best meal (if not THE best) we ate the entire week in Costa Rica. What an amazing surprise! Kenneth knew that one of my son's played soccer and even brought a ball to kick around with him the next day! It was very hot (in the 90s and very humid) when we stayed and I was worried about the lack of air conditioning in the tent and being miserable sleeping. However, the ceiling fan and floor fan did the trick at cooling off the tent and I actually woke up chilly in the morning. The food at the lodge is out of this world. The dinners consisted of a salad or soup, choice of 2 entrees, and dessert (they ask you early in the day to make your entree choice). The mahi mahi the last night was my favorite! Breakfasts had at least 2 to 3 choices, served with freshly squeezed juice and fresh fruit. We ate lunch one day in the lodge and ordered off the menu (included when you stay overnight), which was good. It is such an amazing atmosphere there...the fresh flowers on the table, the mountains, the animal sounds, the drinks, everything is top notch. It exceeded all of our expectations. I had read all of the trip advisor reviews and expected it to be great, but it was even better than we imagined. The guests we met were wonderful as well and our kids enjoyed playing on the awesome waterslide and pool, as well as card games with the other children. The pool, slide, and hot tub were superfun! We all enjoyed hanging around the thatch lodge in the rocking chairs talking to Carlo and Janel (owners) and the other guests in the morning and evening. Carlo and Janel are exceptional hosts. They regaled us with stories and insight into the area and took time to get to know the guests. It is an intimate lodge and it is clear the staff care deeply about the guests' experience and want to personalize to each guest. The drinks were very reasonable ($3 dollars for a beer or smoothie, and couple more dollars for a margarita or pina colada). Service was awesome. We also did the horseback ride and it was amazing. We saw white faced monkeys, vampire bats (flying out of tree root, not at us!), a turkey like bird, and beautiful scenery. Carlo took us and showed us vanilla flowers and other plants on the property. The horses were very calm and it was an enjoyable ride for sure...up the mountain and along the river. I was surprised at the steep terrain the horses can go on, but they handled it well. The trails around the resort are beautiful and you can see many birds, lizards, ect. I could go on and on, but you need to experience it for yourself to truly understand how great it is. We wanted our kids to experience new things, see the world in a new way, and know there is so much in life to enjoy and learn. Rafiki did all of those things and made a deep impression with them that they will carry for a life time. Thanks to all the staff at Rafiki who made this a trip of a life time and will be with us for many years to come. Their influence will continue to spread as we tell our friends and family all that we learned and experienced. We would recommend our friends and family to stay there in a heartbeat without any hesitation. The bugs were not bad at all either...the bugs in Minnesota are much worse! I would come back in a heart beat (and hope to come back) !

  • Stayed March 2014, 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 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2014

Our experience with this trip was absolutely incredible. The ride to the lodge was a little tour itself! After driving through the unique villages we had a delicious breakfast in the lodge-even though we weren't staying there. Since it was just the four of us in our family, we got to take two small rafts accompanied by the two best tour guides:Kenneth and Randol. They made the experience even better than it already was by adjusting the trip to your personal likes and needs. After a delicious lunch at a beautiful waterfall with no one else around- we got to do MORE rafting! If you have only one day in Costa Rica- go on this trip! You will not regret it.

Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
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 
Also Known As:
Rafiki Safari Hotel Province Of Puntarenas
Rafiki Safari Lodge Costa Rica/Province Of Puntarenas

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