“Know what you're getting into! Also... make sure you have a good guide.”
First off... this is a 4 star LODGE, not a hotel and is located in a very remote location... the Corcovado National Park. If you want a luxury hotel then this is NOT the place for you. To arrive at Casa Corcovado you need to fly to Southwestern Costa Rica (on a very small plane) and then it's a 2 hour boat ride from Sierpe town to get to the lodge (down a river and south along the coast). From there... you're pretty much out in the jungle. The hotel is extremely well run and Carlos (the manager) does a good job at making sure everything goes smoothly. The set up is a beautifully gardened lot a overlooking the ocean with office building, a main dining room, a number of bungalows set up for guests, and a set of lodges for the staff. The bungalows are comfortable, have hot water/electricity, and are very attractively situated amongst the gardens.
You're really out in the middle of the jungle. Wildlife is everywhere, and it's an experience like no other. The hotel grounds are simply gorgeous, with lots of small trails you can hike, a private beach, 2 pools (1 for swimming and 1 isolated for 'adults'), a beautiful sunset bar where you can relax and watch the sunset and have a beer/margarita (overlooking Cano Island). Hot water in the bungalows, indoor and outdoor showers, and they have all the gear you'll need available for you (day packs, big rubber boots for hiking in the mud, snorkel gear, etc.)
You're out in the middle of nowhere... if there's an emergency.. well... hope there's not an emergency. It's rustic, which is part of its charm but if the water is rough/stormy you can have an absolutely sea-sick inducing/miserable cold 2 hour ride out on the uncovered boat. You can have large insects and/or jungle rodents that make their way into your room (we experienced both), and the food is decent... but you dine on a schedule and you're also at the mercy of what can be acquired and cooked this far from a grocery store.
Our biggest issue wasn't with the accommodations... it was with our guide. Casa Corcovado has some amazing guides. Unfortunately... we weren't assigned to one of them. We were assigned a 'new' guide who stayed with us for our entire trip (as seems to be their policy). We did 2 excursions with her and she was absolutely awful. She wasn't knowledgeable (actually gave us incorrect information on the few occasions we asked her questions), was unsuccessful at finding any of the wildlife (the place was teeming with it, and what little we saw... we were pointing out to her), and she spent over half of her time playing on her iphone. After a 2nd excursion was pretty much ruined (Cano Island) we did address the issue with the manager who was extremely responsive, and gave us 2 additional excursions (AM bird watching and a local rainforest walk) with a decent guide (Marlon.. who was wonderful) which helped to salvage the experience. The manager didn't seem all that surprised with our issues though, and I'm still stunned that they would have someone of that caliber working there when their other guides all seemed to be of such good quality. So... as irate as we were with our first guide experience, they do want you to have a good time and a good experience so definitely speak up and they will do everything they can to make it right.
All told.... it's a one of a kind experience. If you don't mind roughing it a bit (insects, etc.) and want a bit of a jungle adventure... this is definitely your place. If you want everything neat and tidy... pass on this and find accommodations that are less rustic and you'll probably have a better experience. Also... make sure you get a good guide! They will absolutely make or break your experience.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
February 11, 2013
Thanks for the review! That's a good tip - "know what you are getting into" - because jungle lodges, however 'gorgeous' and 'well-run', are, by nature, remote and surrounded by wildlife, and the luxuries on offer here are the natural sort - a beach to yourself, birdsong, that margarita and view of the sunset and private rainforest trails - which isn't for everyone. But, as you say, if you want a bit of jungle adventure, this is definitely your place.
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One thing I should point out is that our staff has first aid, and wilderness first aid training, and, because we are situated right on the edge of the national park, and on call to provide support to the park rangers, excellent emergency evacuation procedures in place.
As for 'the cons', I was sorry to hear that you had been in an uncovered boat, and I am looking into how that came about, as our own boats are covered. Luckily we're blessed with hot days and calm, bath temperature seas most of the year, but on boat trips in rainy weather, we cut out the sightseeing which reduces the journey to less than 1hr 30 mins, an hour of which is on the river. I apologise if that was not the case for you, and, as I say, will look into it.
I'm sorry also that your first guide experience was disappointing, but happy that the manager was able to offer additional excursions and an alternative guide. The guide in question is no longer with this organisation. Thank you for letting us know. We're very proud of our enthusiastic expert guides and committed to keeping our standards high.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.