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“The experience of a lifetime” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Lookout Inn Lodge

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Lookout Inn Lodge
3.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Carate, Carate, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica   |  
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Stay 3 nights
gent
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“The experience of a lifetime”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2009

We've stayed at the Tortuga house in Carate for 3 weeks on a home-exchange swap. The house was great and just next to the Look-out inn. Carate is at the far end of the Osa Peninsula by some called the wild West of Costa Rica ( see Tico-Times from 8/14 ).You need to look up to Look-out, the sign says and yes indeed this special hotel is nestled high up against the mountain facing the Pacific. So some climbing needed to get there- but if you are by car ( good chance ) you can drive all the way up. Once you get up there off go your shoes and a final walk up the staircase brings you to a wonderful place. Sure you will be welcomed by Polly, the tame scarlet macaw. Views are incredible and depending on the weather dramatic some times.Terry, the owner was on vacation when we arrived but we were immediately and very warmly welcomed by Osa Polar.
Everybody at Look-out has a nick-name and the polar bear is Jeff. Jeff natively from Florida, is the manager ad interim while Terrific/Terrible Terry is away. He's also a super bar-tender - a great cook ( not as good as Jockson but close ) - a wicked story-teller - an experienced bar-gamer and riddle-teller. Jeff is in the Osa for a few months less than a year and he has done a lot of very interesting things in his life.
The hotel itself has some very special Tico-style rooms of which the monkey-room is the wildest. As it is really all-most part of the jungle itself the smells - sounds and views are of the most enchanting ,on condition you like the jungle - but who would ever come to that place anyway if he is not a Junglo-phile. There is a very nice pool that we did not use as we were not staying in the hotel but our daughter Lara (9) was immediately invited by Itzell, the daughter of the cook to get a swim there. No need to go anywhere else to see all kinds of frogs at night as there is a very well kept frog-pool as well.The gardens are just beautiful and very well kept by Erwin and the gardener who was so friendly to show us a not so easy to see animal every now and then , like an ant-eater in a tree or an iguana. Crossing the dirt-road ( one car per hour ) brings you to the ocean with special facilities for the guests ( bar at certain times - big camp -fire - huge barbecue and other specials like the special guarded shower ( by Polly the macaw ).
Back to the bar where Jeff serves the best Margheritas I've ever had with the locally found lemons - the beers are served very cold as they should and free fruit-juice and coffee made by Jockson.The atmosphere at the bar was always top due to the nice people we met there - mostly a mixture between tourists who seem to come back there time after time and expats who like to have a drink and a story every now and than ( greetings Patrick - an determined biologist owning a huge piece of well kept forest there )
tAt 6/30 PM dinner is served one story higher that can be reached following the meticulously curved wooden spiral staircase.Views even more spectacular and the food was the best we ever had in Central America. Specialities are soups from fresh crab to mahi-mahi soup not to forget the special bean-soup. Mains are one choice only but always made with the best ingredients and a good diversity every other evening. The cook is also preparing great vegetables with butter-sauce and excellent salads. The price for this feast is 20 $ round.From this upper-deck restaurant there is another staircase leading up a lot higher - called Stairway to Heaven after a famous Led Zeppelin song. We tried that the next day or so and walked up 60 or more steps to a trail starting there and taking us to some very nice waterfalls. On the trail we saw several animals we thought we could only see in the Corcovado National Park ( more soon ).
Needless to say we spend lots of good times in the Look-out...but the best had yet to come.We were given excellent advise about trips to the National Park and got to know Erick Gomez who would become our guide.Erick is an independent guide but he was advised to us by the Look-out people. He was one of the reasons we always saw so many animals.We saw several tapirs, really special and big snakes, anteaters, sloths, BIG Iguana's, lots of frogs and Jesus Christ lizzards,all the sorts of monkeys Costa Rica homes, and then the lesser gods - but also very nice , the Koattis,muttis,peckarries etc..not to forget the morphos and other beautiful butterflies by the hundreds ( not the morphos but still a lot ).Now for the best...Early August Terry came back from vacation. He's the cream on the cake - a very direct guy - says all what he thinks, has a very free mind I suppose - a nature person but so very professional in all what he does- and you can tell he has made this place how it is - a strong brand and more.Very funny also so add this one to Jeff and you got bingo at the happy hour and beyond.
One day he came to our house - tortuga house remember and told me and my wife to drop everything and bring my camera. I had only my underware so to speak - forgot my glasses- no repellent on and off we went. About 1 km further Terry drove us to a place which was actually the end of the "stairway to heaven trail" and there it was - a magnificent aprox 1 year old mountain-lion ( probably male - not sure ) lying on a branch of a nearby tree. We were standing at 3/4 meter distance and the big cat staring at us but calm and steady. Not like me, this was a dream coming true - I was really shaking on my knees and afraid to blew it up. Photo-wise I mean, I got an OK camera with a pretty good lens but since I forgot my glasses and my monopod I could hardly see what I was doing. Luckily enough there was Terry who took the first shots.After a while I calmed down a bit and Rita had done a great job running after my glasses and the rest so I could take some nice pics. I was eaten alive by mosquitos and ants - but who cares in front of such a wonderful creature - who can ever think of shooting this during more than half an hour?
Thanks Terry, Jeff, Erick, Jockson and the others

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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272 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 (79)
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  • Dutch first
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English first
Black Canyon City, AZ
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2009

We truly found paradise -- at least, what WE consider paradise! The Lookout Inn is a perfect jungle getaway. If you're looking for the typical nightlife (lights, glitter, noise, etc.), this is not the place for you. But, if you enjoy being lulled to sleep by the sound of the ocean surf and being wakened by the cries of macaws and the multitude of other birds, then this IS the place for you! It was definitely our dream vacation from the jungle right down to the beach: uncrowded, unspoiled, beautiful, bathtub temperature water, no phones, and no television. The food was superb and there was plenty of it. Every meal was fresh, healthy, and delicious. Terry, Katya, Jeff, Jocksan, Wagner, and the rest of the crew were friendly, courteous, and helpful.

Our original plans were to stay five nights, and then move on to our other planned destinations in Costa Rica, but after experiencing a combination of the ambience at the Inn and the boundless jungle experiences available, we checked with Terry to see if we could extend our stay for an additional five nights. Luckily, there was room available.

As Terry and Katya say, we arrived as guests and left feeling part of the family. We;re looking forward to our return to this idyllic getaway.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
New York City
Top Contributor
118 reviews 118 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2009

We had a fabulous time at the Lookout. The location is great - despite the heat, its perch in gardens above the beach meant that every breeze reached us. This is a solar-powered spot, and the limited power has been put to great use with little bed-mounted fans, cold drinks, and energy-efficient lighting (you'll be glad to brought a headlamp or flashlight to find your way to your cabin after the sun goes down).
The owner, Terry, wasn't there when we visited, but his manager, Jeff, gave us a great welcome. The food was fantastic, especially given the limited options of ingredients available. Fresh-caught fish several days, which was made into the best ceviche we had in Costa Rica, sashimi, and grilled.
My only complaint - if you can call it that - is that their guide, Eric - didn't know the birds as well as I might have liked. But he took us on a long hike into Corcovado where we found tapirs, anteaters, strange lizards and lots of other wildlife.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Miami
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2009

If you ever wanted to see the end of the world, this is your kinda place. While it is not luxurious or fancy (which I wouldn't want anyway), it more than makes up for those qualities with sincerely good service, food, and location. Nature is the star attraction, but the characters and adventure of a place at the edge of the ocean, come in a close second! We will return to Lookout Inn.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Iowa City
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2009

We loved the dinners and the lovely ambience at the Lookout Inn. We were staying at a nearby house, but we had our dinners for one week with Terry, his wife, and their assistant Jeff. They are lovely people, and we had a wonderful time. We would highly recommend it. The food was excellent. Every night we had delicious food, and we always had a wonderful, fresh salad. Everyone was extremely pleasant and welcoming.

Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
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Gatineau, Quebec
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2009

We stayed at the Lookout Inn on our way to Corcovado National Park. We first had planned to spend the night in Puerto Jimenez but changed for the Lookout Inn in Carate. We wished we could have stayed there for longer, actually I wish I were still there. The food, the atmosphere and the setting are out of this world. Terry is a colourfull guy. Walter, one of the staff, is a great asset to the place. Just go. For more than one night.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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New Jersey
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2009

If you are looking for a place to get away from it all, this is it. This was my 4th trip to Costa Rica and 3rd to the Corcovado area because I love the territory so much. We chose the Tiki Huts which open directly into the jungle, meaning there are only 3 walls. The ocean is visible through the different flora and fauna and a mosquito net encircles your bed. Definitely a unique sleeping experience we all truly enjoyed. They have other options as well for those that need 4 walls and a personal bathroom though. I highly suggest you treat yourself to a Tiki Hut or the Monkey House if they are available for your travel dates. Seemed like we were showing off our rooms to those that chose the real rooms and felt everyone wished they didnt go for the 4 walls option.


Especially when we showed them our bathroom and shower. Talk about being out there.. Once again, 3 walls.. No one can "really" see you unless they are walking underneath you, so besides the landscaper it's just you and the jungle.. And they even have warm water if you shower the earliest! A real bonus in the Corcovado area..

Beds were comfortable enough, a little fan is located on the headboard but wasn't really needed because a nice breeze from the ocean always swept through the room. Sleep is easy. Especially if you take advantage of everything there is to do during the day which I will outline below..

Predawn, seriously 20 minutes before the sunrise, it's like a light switch was turned on and every bird in the jungle is saying good morning as loud as they can. 5:30am to be exact.. Thankfully there is no night life here to regret the morning after.. That is unless you consider nightlife to be when it is dark outside, say 7ish? This nightly event occurs when all the guests have finished their dinner and the DJ starts spinning the tunes and the bar comes alive on the 2nd floor. In reality, someone connects their ipod and pushes play. The owner Terri tightens the handkerchief around his head, concentrates on the bottle he opened the day before and presumably tells the same story about monkey and other random jungle stories us travelers love to ask questions about. Terri, his wife and the other staff were great. Your evening all depends on what you want to make of it and who's visiting. Every night though was conversational fun with lots of drink.. Great chance to meet other people, share stories and kick back in the perfect weather and atmosphere.

All meals were provided and were delicious everytime.. I suppose you can call this a Bed & Breakfast/Dinner. There is too much to see in the park and miles of coastline to explore to say we had lunch. When you go on your daytrips, a packed lunch, usually pb&j shall be your culinary experience with some cookies.. Both breakfast and dinner were always provided and there was always enough to feel full and the meals were always very good.

As far as location / surroundings, really cant get much more remote and beautiful so close to the USA. All starts with the flight in a tiny 6 seater airplane and landing on a dirt strip 100' from the ocean. Corcovado park ready to share its wildlife treasures once again. Toucans and Scarlet Macaws always overhead or squawking nearby. Howler monkey's heard, white faced and spider monkey's seen in their natural environment every day. (Cool banana setup Lookout did to attract these wild monkeys btw. 5' away they eat casually so great photo and video ops I took advantage of.)

I suggest doing the corcovado trip at least 2x while there.. Each day brings a new experience and sighting.. Our highlight was an Anteater that was so close I could touch it. Others saw Tapir. Some saw Jaguar. None of us saw the same thing though so going more than once obviously betters your odds to see the certain species you wish to view.. Just know they really are there and you are in their environment...

A few possible Negatives:

This place is not for the handicap. I am physically strong but and it didnt bother me/us. Lots of stairs to always climb. Very vertical location.. If you like stairs, they even have a Stairway to Heaven you can try which I personally think is the stairway to hell.. Did it, got peed on by the locusts and thought it was rain (very cooling btw) Decent view but learned my legs were out of shape..

Beach can be dangerous... Riptides, No lifeguards and they have some pretty decent sized waves that rocked all of us at certain times... If you dont believe me, ask about their poor doberman that got swept up and drowned.. So swimmers, make sure you have at least a few buddies with you..

Finally, the heat and sun are no joke... Do the obvious, sunscreen, lots of water etc, but be prepared to sweat like never before on any hike you venture on... Ocean temp was great. No wetsuits etc needed to feel comfortable..

To sum this trip up, Pura Vida is a saying in Costa Rica which means, "The Good Life".. It doesnt get much "gooder" than this. Lookout Inn is not a 5 star hotel, not even a 3 if you are a holiday inn type of traveler. If you are looking for a remote experience, good food, good people, enjoy birds or wildlife, I assure you a good time shall be had here..

  • Stayed January 2008, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
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Additional Information about Lookout Inn Lodge

Address: Carate, Carate, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Osa Peninsula > Corcovado National Park > Carate
Amenities:
Beach Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Carate
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Lookout Inn Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Lookout Inn Lodge is a Costa Rica eco lodge in the Osa Peninsula rainforest. It is located completely off the beaten path in the town of Carate and is next to the world-renowned Corcovado National Park. Ideally situated to offer comfortable and affordable eco-friendly accommodations to the traveler visiting this remote part of Costa Rica, the Lookout Inn Lodge is sure to impress. Nestled in the hillside right above the road and the black sand beach, the lodge provides spectacular views of the surrounding jungle rainforest, the majestic Pacific Ocean and an endless unspoiled Osa Peninsula coastline. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lookout Hotel Carate
Lookout Inn Lodge Costa Rica/Carate

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