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“At Home in the Jungle” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge

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Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Peninsula de Osa Golfo Dulce, Golfito 1000, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #1 of 11 hotels in Golfito
Sarasota, Florida
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“At Home in the Jungle”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2013

I recently had the wonderful opportunity of spending 5 nights with a yoga group at the beautiful Nicuesa Lodge. Only accessible by boat, it's very remote. You are IN THE JUNGLE! No wifi or cell service. We were met at the airstrip in Puerto Jimenez by Daniel - such a kind and gentle soul. He put it perfectly: "We may not have wifi, but I'm sure you'll find a better connection." Those words couldn't have been more accurate, and they stayed with me during my entire experience. The lodge is a pillar of sustainability and is designed to exist in harmony with the environment. Electricity is provided by solar energy. A solar drying room is used to dry all of the wash. Three delicious meals were prepared every day by the incredibly talented chef with an emphasis on fresh fish, tropical fruits and local cuisine (do the Edible Garden tour!). There ware tons of amazing wildlife-viewing opportunities: scarlet macaws, blue morpho butterflies, howler monkeys - we didn't see them but could certainly hear them... very Jurassic Park! One day, on the boat, we found ourselves completely surrounded by a pod of about 100 dolphins. They were following us, playing in the wake, some leaping straight out of the water. Another day, we were swimming off the dock (a must! Especially at night because of the phosphorescence) and were "chased" out of the water by a crocodile. Turns out it was just Fernando, the local croc who prefers to keep to himself. Yoga on the beach platform was lovely, with the waves crashing around us. When it rained, the staff allowed us to move up to the main deck. Massage - done by the wonderful and lovely Anna Lucia - was also done on the yoga deck... so relaxing! At first, I was disappointed by the torrential rains that would arrive every afternoon. However, I soon discovered that it was the perfect opportunity for afternoon naps... usually on a hammock somewhere. Everything about this place was wonderful... but the staff really made the biggest impression. Daniel, thanks so much for your kindness throughout the whole week. You really helped to make the experience what it was. Gustavo, I really enjoyed the incredible hike to the waterfall (that was my favorite tour) and time we spent getting to know each other at the bar. Mello, you are such a sweet and attentive bartender. Thanks for putting up with us :) Erick, your knowledge of the area and it's ecosystem is marvelous. I can really see the love you have for your job. Beautiful Ana Lucia, thanks for one of the best massages I've had in a LOOONG time. Joe, we didn't meet until the end but you had a great way of making us feel like we were old friends. There are many more people to thank but I don't remember all their names :) Each and every member of the staff couldn't have been more welcoming, accommodating and attentive. Their genuine love for the environment, the lodge and its purpose evident. I cannot recommend Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge enough, and I swear I WILL return one day. I came away from this experience feeling, not only relaxed, but deeply inspired. Thanks guys!!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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.
NicuesaLodge, Owner at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, responded to this review, July 22, 2013
We are thrilled you enjoyed your yoga retreat with us. Thank you for your detailed and appreciative review of Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge. We'll be sure to pass on all of your lovely acknowledgments to our dedicated staff members. So happy you had an amazing, relaxing and inspiring stay with us. Please come back any time you want! We'll be here -- dolphins, crocs, monkeys, macaws and all! :-)
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157 people have reviewed this hotel

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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
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
Date | Rating
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English first
Sarasota, Florida, United States
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 25, 2013

The most beautiful place on earth, second only to the lovely people that care for you while staying at Playa Nicuesa. The rainforest in the Oso is a magical place and the Costa Ricans are the most Incredible human beings on the planet. Not only are they committed to conserving the natural environment but also restoring balance in human nature.
The Kindness and passion for all things living are evident in the service, the food, the accommodations and most of all the love that these people share. I am forever changed by the experience and will be back in 2 months. Truly humbled by this vacation.

Room Tip: Go for an individual cabin deep in the forest, prepare to swim with crocodiles. Loved every inch of...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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.
NicuesaLodge, Owner at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
Thank you for writing such a lovely and heartfelt review of our Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge.

We are pretty passionate about protecting and conserving this magical natural world -- thanks for joining us! You are welcome back any time, and we look forward to seeing you soon! :-)
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Saint Louis, Missouri
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2013

This place is absolutely magical. Amazing adventure with so many great activities, guided and unguided. The people are absolutely amazing. Everything was beautiful and special. From the food to the fantastic guides, we felt so taken care of. It was really like being at camp as kids because everything was so exciting and everyone was so much fun. We made great friends with the staff and enjoyed doing activities with other travelers, although you could always do things on your own too. Walking from the arrival boat through beautiful plants and arriving at main building felt like something out of a movie. I cannot say enough about the food. Everyone raved about everything each meal, but they also were super knowledgeable about my gluten free diet and made special for me when I could not have what others had. They even made me special desserts! Everything was fresh and made from scratch, down to the special cookies and new local fruit juice with every meal. We did the waterfall hike, night walk, mangrove kayak, and dolphin/snorkel trip...ALL AMAZING!!! Our awesome guide Gustavo was a gem! He showed us the rainforest and introduced us to the country. This place also has a luminescent bay which we did not know before we got there. We swam in it at night and it was like swimming in a sky of blue stars, UNREAL. We also took yoga on the coolest yoga deck on the beach amongst the palm trees. The instructor, Molly, was so fun and challenging. We did all kinds of special things and she took her time and made sure it was right for our level. We saw so many amazing animals too from dolphins to Capuchin monkeys, frogs to tropical fish. This place is a nature lover/foodie paradise. Our room was upstairs in the Mango guesthouse which felt like a tree house, in the rainforest, there was even an orchid plant growing in our open-air shower. The monkeys came right by our room and we also saw macaws, coati, and geckos from our deck. I cannot possibly say enough about the fun we had on this four day leg of our trip. We hope to travel back their with our boys some day. We miss you already Nicuesa!!!!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NicuesaLodge, Owner at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
We've always liked adventure and nature camp too!

Our goal is to provide every guest with an experience that they will always remember fondly. Thank you for letting us know so thoughtfully that we're doing a good job! :-) We really do try our best to customize each guest's travel experience -- whether diet, special physical needs, likes, dislikes, wishes, dreams, or interests. So glad we fulfilled yours.

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is our special paradise, and we love sharing it with others. Please do come back with your boys! We look forward to seeing you again. :-)
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Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2013

This was my husband's and my first trip to Costa Rica (or anywhere tropical). It was my bucket-list trip - I felt I needed to experience tropical nature at some point in my life and living in Alberta all my life meant that Costa Rica might best be described as a fantasy. Research about the country, the lodge and the area got me part way there, but it was nothing compared to actually being in this unique rain forest, smelling, feeling, tasting, hearing. I am a science writer and my husband is a science teacher so we meant to come here to explore the plant and animal life and hopefully write about it and make lessons for kids. Wildlife here does not disappoint. It is exuberant, joyous and loud in both colour and sound. I saw predator and prey and learned about intricate secretive relationships from the expert staff here, but I was most struck by how much the animals were exploring, goofing around, sleeping and talking day after day. As someone who has seen some of these exotic animals only in zoos or, God forbid, pet stores, witnessing them living how they are supposed to live moved me deeply. I did not expect to be taken in on such a deep level. It felt as if a giant part of my brain very suddenly decided it could finally sleep while another deeper part of me woke up and, how do I put this, started drinking.

Mother Nature is powerful here, she is hitting all the chords. The unique design of the place with rooms set open to everything going on around you means that all the wildlife and plant life connects to you in a way that feels simultaneously profound and familiar. Here, you are encouraged to let go. You only need to come in for mealtime and the rest of the time you get to play. Long forgotten childhood memories of playing on my parent's and grandparent's farms kept popping into my head. On the waterfall hike with Gustavo and my hubby I felt like we were all about 15 and he was showing us his favourite secret spot. You are IN the waterfall after all! Later, with Daniel, the assistant manager, I was gently coaxed to not to be afraid of the slim constrictor snake that they had brought inside for all of us to see, and I think he could sense how much I was drinking in. Molly, the young yoga instructor, allowed me to take in both a soothing massage and challenging yoga on the beautiful open-to-the-ocean deck.

The open cabins are meant to maximize your experience and I highly recommend them even if you are a little afraid at first. Don't be. The food is beautifully prepared and I don't think it is possible to eat healthier. I got to try mahi mahi for the first time, prepared several different ways. Fish so fresh is a rare treat to a land-locked Albertan! I loved how our bar tender let us be guinea pigs and try out a bunch of new delicious concoctions. My husband showed me how to snorkel and together we saw countless jewel-like fish both just offshore and around one of the bends, along with eels and a turtle I could almost touch. And I learned how to kayak (but I still paddled it like a canoe).

Eating meals is like our Canadian kitchen parties. You start out strangers and end up fast buddies. We learned from the guides and staff that Playa Nicuesa was once a banana farm before they got diseased and then a cocao farm before they too caught a highly transmittable fungus (the original abandoned farmhouse is now home to fruit bats and a puma that likes to come around). Because farming did not work out, people are forced to either move away or learn to make a living from fishing. Golfito, nearby, has that feel of a struggling town in transition. But Costa Ricans are powerfully resilient and savvy problem-solvers, to all of our benefit. It clicked here for me: how small the world really is.

If you come, I suspect your experience will be unique to you but I can almost guarantee it will be moving. I suggest a reusable water bottle, good sunscreen, hikers and water shoes, simple clothing that dries fast. Forget makeup, lotions, hair styling things - all that stuff is so unnecessary here.

Thank you so much to all the wonderful staff for welcoming us to this special place!

  • Stayed May 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NicuesaLodge, Owner at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
We are so thrilled to hear that your trip to Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge was a dream come true! We hope your "bucket list" continues to grow and you are able to experience more of the world's fabulous natural places ... we also hope you come back to Nicuesa! :-)

It was our dream to create a special place where guests can intimately experience the natural world of both the tropical rainforest and the Pacific Ocean. We're extremely pleased that you enjoyed both. We hope that many, many children benefit from science lessons based on what you learned and experienced with us in Costa Rica.

We invite you to come back any time to lose yourself in nature and adventure in our tropical paradise.

Thank you for such an eloquently written review. Thanks also for the travel kit recommendations to future guests!
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Whitstable
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013

A very interesting experience with our 2 bedroomed cabin right in the middle of the rain forest...and did it rain every afternoon!
Obviously everything is quite damp but they do supply a "dry box" in each room. One can also have clothes dried in a solar drying room.
The trails are very wet ...to be expected in a rainforest. The howler monkeys wake you up at 0500 every morning.
The electricity is solar powered so one cannot comfortable read at night.
The food is good and all the guests eat at on refectory table in a huge first floor open (sides) dining room.
They have 2 ornithologists/biologists. We went to the Esquinas River twice and saw a lot of birds. We also saw about 100 spotted dolphins at close quarters in the Golfo Dulce.
There are some very large creepy crawleys and it is not the place for people who don't like huge bugs as they are all around. There are also a lot of snakes on the trails including the fer de lance.
The gardens are attractive and the beach is also a nice place to relax on a sun lounger.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
NicuesaLodge, Owner at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
Thank you very much for taking the time to review Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge and your stay with us. We are happy you enjoyed your time in the wilds of the Costa Rican rainforest -- thanks for being brave with the rain and abundant wildlife ... especially the creepie crawlies! :-) Nature's creation is pretty amazing.

We welcome you back any time. For your future travel ... it tends to rain a bit less in February and March.

Thanks again. :-)
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Chicago
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 5, 2013 via mobile

We have experienced several adventure trips including deep in the Amazon and chimp and gorilla tracking in the jungles of Uganda. Always wanted to go to Costa Rica, but zip lines and spider monkeys eating out of our hand was not what we were looking for. After stumbling across Nicuesa while searching the Internet, and trusting Trip Advisor, I researched the area and read lots of reviews. The gulf and jungle was very intriguing and we were thrilled with our decision to spend 8 nights the end of April. Being primate lovers, we wanted to see and hear the Howlers and they did not disappoint us. We heard them every morning, afternoon and night and saw them within 50 feet of our cabin once. The trails around and on Nicuesa property were excellent and immersed you in the jungle within a minute of the lodge. Saw lots of other Howlers and White Faced Capuchins, Pecary's, Cuati's, Toucans, lots of Macaws and dozens of other birds and wildlife. Accomodations were very nice and housekeeping every day. You are "in the jungle" so you are sharing space with lots of insects, but they do not bother you. The jungle sounds are non stop and mixed with the waves on the beach. In addition to the jungle, the gulf provided more to do than we had anticipated. Fishing, kayaking, dolphin watching, mangrove tour and just relaxing. Because the gulf is so much more protected than the ocean, the waves were very small and many times non existant. We really enjoyed the food as every meal was healthy and plentiful, with most ingredients coming from their own garden. All this was made possible by an excellent staff. From the moment we were met at the airstrip in Golfito until we departed, they did an outstanding job. Take advantage of the guides as you will learn so much more by hearing their stories and listening to their suggestions. We highly recommend!

Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NicuesaLodge, Owner at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
Thank you so much for your very detailed, thoughtfully-written review of our Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge. We are especially appreciative of your comments given the wealth of experience you have in jungle travel! We think our eco-lodge is pretty special, and are thrilled that you do too! Thank you also for mentioning our staff and guides -- we are very conscientious in hand-picking our employees and are proud to hear they are doing such a great job.

We welcome you back to Nicuesa any time!
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Virginia
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2013

We stayed here for spring break 2013. We have a 6 year old son. The lodge is set in the rainforest next to a stoney beach. The cabin we stayed in was literally in the rainforest. There are trails that thread through the property that start near the cabins and main lodge. Within minutes, it feels as though you are deep in the rainforest. The main draw for me was the hiking and birding. I was able to birdwatch without a guide and see most of the birds on my wish list for the area. My husband loved the fishing. He fished from the pier and took a fishing tour. Our son loved jumping from the pier, especially at LOW tide (longer drop!). We all loved the guides, esp Gustavo; the bartender- Yooie, the food, the open dining, the open shower in our cabin, the small number of guests, the sustainability tour, the wildlife sanctuary tour, the snorkeling.... I could go on and on. Our son cried when we left, my husband and I felt like crying too.

  • Stayed April 2013, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge

Address: Peninsula de Osa Golfo Dulce, Golfito 1000, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Golfito
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 11 hotels in Golfito
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge 3.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Playa Nicuesa is an environmentally-friendly eco-lodge set on a 165-acre private rainforest preserve on the undeveloped Pacific Coast of Golfo Dulce in southern Costa Rica. Our jungle & sea location provides a unique adventure and nature vacation: the front yard is a gulf right off the Pacific Ocean, and the backyard consists of thousands of acres of pristine tropical rainforest. Overall, the experience embraces conservation and harmony with the natural environment. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Hotel Golfito
Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Golfito
Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge Costa Rica/Golfito

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