My wife and I spent 3 weeks holiday travelling around Costa Rica with two young kids (aged 8 and 3), 5 days of which were spent at Iguana Lodge.
We're experienced travellers and can be fussy at times, and our stay there has prompted me to post a review on TripAdvisor for the first time.
I've been reading some of the negative reviews here and, whilst everyone has a right to their opinion, I think that any dissatisfaction they experienced was due to an error of judgement on their part. Complaints of bumpy roads, lizards in the bedrooms, no air-con and no parasols on the beach are absurd. It's the jungle! Remember, when you stay here, you are staying in a hot, humid, coastal jungle retreat. Osa Peninsula and Corcorvado National Park is the last true wilderness of Central America. It is a unique and special place. If you want chocolates on your pillow, go elsewhere. This ain't the Hilton but neither is it "glorified camping". The facilities here are all perfectly fine, backed up by friendly, helpful & knowledgeable staff. A clothes iron was found, a cut-price fishing trip negotiated, a guitar restrung and a personal introduction to the animals given upon arrival by their wildlife expert Sydner. The owners constantly ensured our well-being and our kids presence was valued just as equally as our own.
The jungle wakes up at 5am and therefore so will you. Our night's sleep was interrupted by howler monkeys, large seeds falling off the trees onto the corrugated iron roofing with a loud thud, a bat head-butting the ceiling fan, and a couple in the room below us in our casita very audibly doing what couples do. Did this bother us? No, not really. We were in bed by 9pm and the connection with the animals there is one of the things that makes this place special. The blinds only partially cover the bug-mesh windows, so sound and light will invade your privacy. Luxury is relative. A five star hotel room would isolate you from the surrounding environment and the point of being here would be lost. We really wanted a strong connection with the rainforest and, for a few days at least, that is exactly what we got. This felt like the real Costa Rica and a welcome world away from my London home.
And that really is the key to the success of this place. The owners and their staff ensure that none of the effort and stress of running the place is transmitted to the guests. This helps to detach you from your "normal" life and allows for a uniquely personal & memorable experience. I could bore you with the details, from the New Year's party fireworks on the beach, or the humpback whale and her calf who surfaced right next to our fishing boat, or the petrified 14 year old girl who swore blind she saw a jaguar at 3am, but I'm certain that each visit here offers something different. This place is perfect nature; it is so abundantly rich and varied that you sometimes have to stop and take it all in.
Is it cheap? No. It's a quality experience that comes at a cost but the memories will last a lifetime. My only complaint was that we had to check out and come home. We could've done with a few more days here. But that will be easily remedied by coming back in future, something I rarely do. During our three weeks travelling around Costa Rica, we stayed at a number of highly-rated places along the length of the Pacific coastline. All had their plus points, but Iguana Lodge was the place that left an indelible imprint on our hearts when we finally returned back home.