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“So how to experience a pure natural wilderness with young kids?” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Iguana Lodge

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Iguana Lodge
3.5 of 5 Resort   |   Calle a Calle Platanares, Puerto Jimenez 60702, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #5 of 16 Hotels in Puerto Jimenez
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“So how to experience a pure natural wilderness with young kids?”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2014

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.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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229 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (47)
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English first
Stockholm, Sweden
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2014

We stayed at the top floor of a casita for two nights and it was the best hotel room experience of my life. The casitas don’t have normal walls, but walls made of mosquito net with retractable blinds to stop rain from getting in. This makes you feel just as if you are staying in the jungle with all the sounds of insects and animals.

The casita we stayed in also has a private deck facing the jungle with deck chairs. Waking early and sitting there listening and watching as the forest come alive is pure magic! We woke to the sound of howler monkeys in the trees just above the casita every morning. We had numerous sitings of white faced monkeys, iguanas, cool Halloween crabs and lizards at the lodge. It is hot in Puerto Jimenez, but the casita had two fans that kept us nice and cool.

The casita is very clean, has a very nice bed, a cool tropical shower and nice furniture.

The lodge has a communal dinner over the main lodge. There is another restaurant for lunches and dinners. The view is great, the food ok. The breakfast, served at the main lodge, is by far the best food at the lodge. We had mango scones, banana crepes and fresh fruit. Delicious!

The people who work at Iguana were very friendly and were always ready to help us. I highly recommend the Iguana Lodge.

Room Tip: We stayed at the top floor of a casita for two nights and it was the best hotel room experience of m...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Canada
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2014

My husband and I stayed at Iguana Lodge for 4 nights in July 2014 in one of their club rooms. The grounds are beautiful and we were able to see lots of wildlife over our stay. Macaws regular visit and we got some great photos of Howler Monkeys. They can get a little noisy in the mornings, but we loved the experience! The beach is stunning and so quiet. The water is very warm and safe for swimming.

Our room was good, but the bed was NOISY. It really bothered my husband - that would be the main downside. It sounds weird, but they are made of Bamboo and every time you move they make really loud cracking noises and we kept waking each other up. We ended up having to get earplugs to get some sleep.

The property has two restaurants and we ate at both. One is a regular type restaurant with good food and lots of variety. The other is reservation only and a family style buffet. You sit as a "family" along with the hosts and it was a great dinner conversation. We liked both :) On Tuesday nights they do a beach BBQ - so nice!

The front reception was very helpful in booking tours and we both really appreciated their honesty. They told us which tours were good, and which were "not worth the money".

We ended up doing the 1/2 day wildlife tour in Matapalo with Sidnar - awesome! Sidnar was a really good guide. We were able to take him in our rental 4x4 and drive down saving us transportation costs. He is a great guy and very knowledgeable.

We also did horseback riding with the neighbour Ivan. The tour was good, but Ivan doesn't speak any English … so the tour was quiet! Some may enjoy this, but we do like to learn about the area on a tour so that was a little disappointing. We should have asked, oh well! That being said, the horses were well training and a lot of fun to ride. They trail is beautiful.

The pool area is stunning and very relaxing. We loved the sarongs they offer as well as all the other "ocean toys" - boogie boards, fins, beach mats etc …

The little town of Puerto Jimenez is small but super cute! Try sandwiches from any of the local bakeries and if you like Seafood … boy do we have a place for you! This place was actually recommended by Sidnar (the guide) and it was THE BEST, FRESHEST seafood!!!! In town, there is a little line of 3 "sodas" along the beach … the middle one (blue sign) offers a "Mixed Seafood Plate". OH BOY is it awesome and HUGE!!!! My husband and I shared a plate for 1 and were stuffed. It was 13 000 colones (or just over $20) but SOOOO worth it! The waiter says they regularly make up huge plates for 5 or more people. Wow!

Great place, and you won't regret your stay!

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2014

My wife and I stayed here for 3 nights. I want to especially thank one of the owners. She was able to arrange for us to fly into Corcovado after I told her we weren't going to be able to. This turned out to be the greatest experience my wife and I have had in search of wildlife on 4 continents. Thank you so much!!!! Corcovado was an experience neither one of us will forget for the rest of our lives.... more on that later!

Sid, the amazing wildlife tour guide and Jorge were awesome. So was the rest of the staff but I don't recall their names unfortunately. My favorite experiences while staying at this pearl of a property:

1) Watching the Costa Rican staff cheer for the Ticos during a World Cup match. I have never been so emotionally involved in a sporting event I personally had little interest in. Watching the staff cheer as they won a shootout in the World Cup was incredible!!!!

2) The Macaws were so fun to watch! Seeing two Macaws at the crack of dawn fly in tandem at miraculous speeds as the waves broke on the shoreline of the beach was incredible!

3) The staff..... so engaging, so helpful. You all are a credit to your country, the hotel industry, and people in general. Thank You!

4) Sidnar....you were the leader for the experience of our lives in Corcovado. I know wildlife is unpredictable and we were lucky to see tapirs, crocodiles, anteater, spider monkeys, fer-de-lance, coati, and owls. Nonetheless, your guidance, uncanny ability to spot wildlife, and overall disposition was incredible and enjoyable.... thank you.

5) Corcovado.... simply breathtaking. (see above)

6) Walking along the beach and jungle trails to Puerto Jiménez. If you can handle a 3 hour hike please do this. Great scenery and some wildlife (crabs, birds, butterflies, lizards). Best of all, amazing Ceviche at the end of the Journey.

What a great place. Thank you all for the memories!

Room Tip: The budget rooms are good enough and have a great view of the ocean and beach.
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Marin County, CA
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2014 via mobile

The Iguana Lodge provides a peaceful refuge in a largely undiscovered corner of paradise. The staff and owners are very friendly and provide great service.

This is an Eco-lodge and Puerto Jimenez is hot and humid. There's no air conditioning and the heat can be uncomfortable with no refuge, so if you like your creature comforts this isn't the place for you.

We stayed in a two story casita. Each casita is a 30 second walk from the main dining areas. They are two story with a bedroom on each level and bathroom and toilet on the ground floor. The bedrooms are open except for mosquito net blinds (and retractable blinds to stop rain getting in), privacy is not 100% like in a walled room.

Our first night sleeping in a casita was challenging. Although you're 200 yards from the beach the noise of crashing waves can be fairly loud, or soothing depending on you. There are ceiling fans, but it's still very sticky and hot. Mattresses are not the most comfortable. But this is an Eco-lodge.

Showers had plentiful hot water, water pressure was ok but not great. There was wifi throughout but getting a connection was spotty, they didn't seem to have enough "slots" for guests.

Meals were very good indeed and not too pricey. Breakfasts were included and generally to a very good standard with a broad enough selection on offer that even our fairly food fussy kids didn't go hungry.

We also slept in a Club Room. These are more like conventional hotel rooms above the main dining area of "The Pearl". They again don't have air conditioning, there are fans that provide some minimal extra comfort from the heat. You get proper walls. The Friday night salsa dancing is very loud but thankfully ends around 9pm. Most people turn in early.

Excursions are on the expensive side. Expect a half day excursion for a family of 4 to cost over $200. One gets the impression the place serves a fairly high end clientele based on excursion pricing. You don't need to tip for meals, but it is suggested you pay a 10% gratuity on your room price which is split between the staff.

We highly recommend the dolphin watching boat trip with Josh. He claims a 98% chance of seeing dolphins! we had dolphins repeatedly swim right alongside the small boat. The water was very clear when we were there and the snorkeling was excellent.

We also did the Matapalo nature hike with Sid, the lodge's local naturalist. This involved a 45 minute drive followed by a leisurely 3 hour walk where he would stop and explain things about every 300 yards, the trail was fairly flat so I'd recommend this tour to those looking for an activity that's not too strenuous in the heat where you can see a lot of wildlife.

The only hiccup was midway through our stay we had to change rooms (at their request). We returned exhausted and grimy ready for a shower and change of clothing from the boat trip, but despite being away 6 hours our new room was not ready. This should have been seamless.

The beach had quite a few waves and darker, volcanic sand. The pool was perfect for cooling down and in an idyllic clearing next to a yoga platform that looked like it inspired by Bali.

Overall the Iguana Lodge, Puerto Jimenez is a fantastic place to see somewhere off the beaten track in tropical paradise.

Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
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Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2014

Service is excellent. Professional and accurate.
Nature is one of a kind, views , ocean , forest and wildlife (we been all over the world), we did a short walk one hour drive away with the hotel guide and it was great.
The place is well organized. Resturant , pool and Yoga area are all very good nicely done.
But Know where you are going to - No AC (there are fans)

Stayed June 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2014

I spent a couple of days at Iguana Lodge last week and greatly enjoyed my stay.

Mid June is not high season, so I was the only guest in the Club Room area. Only two couples with children were staying in the Casitas.

My room was in the Club Room building located right on top of the La Perla Restaurant. It had screened windows and a fan, both helped me keep cool in the intense heat. I found the room to be appropriate, clean and with the amenities you would expect of a moderately priced lodge. My only complaint would be the loud music from the restaurant. Not a problem as I spent my days outside, but I would see how it would be bothersome if you want to take a nap.

The location is very nice, right on a long and lovely sandy beach that is perfect for bodysurfing, swimming, wading and walking on late afternoons and early mornings. Like everywhere else in the Osa, the sand is black and gets extremely hot so it is a good idea to bring your water sandals.

The pool is quite large and feels refreshingly cool when you come from the beach. It has a shallow area that is perfect for children or just for sitting around and chilling. A veranda area with lounge chairs is perfect for reading a book or enjoying a quiet moment.

To my taste, the food was mediocre but I was coming from a week at Bosque del Cabo where the meals were top notch. Otherwise, I would say the food is acceptable, with extensive choices and moderate prices. The restaurants close at 8.00pm and the lodge gets very quiet after that.

The early morning is filled with the songs of birds. To my delight, two scarlet macaw pairs kept doing their rounds back and forth around the lodge.

As far as activities, I spent all my time at the beach and pool but the reception can arrange a wide variety of tours right on the spot. Some tours require advance notice such as visits to Corcovado.

Overall, I found Iguana Lodge to be a good place for a stay in PJ. I recommend the lodge for anyone who wants to use PJ as a home base for a trip to the Osa, not just solo travelers and couples but also families with young children because of the safety of the beach (relatively small waves, no riptides, no rocks), pool and grounds. Note the mosquitos can be quite persistent so repellent is a must.

The PJ airport is less than 20 minutes away and a taxi takes you there for only $ 10. This is another convenient point to the lodge.

Room Tip: The casitas are larger and a better choice for families or couples. Clubrooms are nice too, but rath...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
glorialauren, Owner at Iguana Lodge, responded to this review, July 21, 2014
HI,

Thanks for visiting. We didn't get a chance to meet you as we were away.

We take our food quite seriously here, and "mediocre" is definitely not a word we often hear about our food - so we followed up - we were fascinated. Who are you, and what did you eat?

Due to the wonders of​ technology, we found ​out how long you stayed and ​what you ate while visiting: interestingly, you only​ spent one night in a Club Room and only ate only one dinner. You chose to dine not in the Iguana Lodge Rancho where our epic food is well known throughout Costa Rica, but at our bar/restaurant, The Pearl of the Osa. Moreover, even though the Pearl's menu is broad and offers many delicious, interesting options such as Grilled Goat Cheese and Walnut Salad or Grilled Fish Tacos with Ginger Marmalade, you ordered the most basic options on the menu: a Costa Rican Chicken Casado and an ice cream sandwich.

Now, Costa Rica is known for a lot of wonderful things, but their food is​n't on that list. Our Casados - as we explain on the menu - are one of the few Costa Rican dishes we off​er. We keep it on our menu because the Pearl is open to the general public, and we often have Ticos (Costa Ricans) eat here. We also have guests who, understandably, want to taste real Costa Rica food​.

However ... ​It is a pity that if you were interested in great food, you ordered such a simple dish, that frankly would have greatly pleased almost any Costa Rican, and disappointed almost any North American with a penchant for great food. Costa Ricans expect from a Casado rice, beans, a small piece of meat, fish or chicken and some overcooked vegies. That is how they like it! Hopefully next time, you will branch out a bit - and I am quite certain that you will duly impressed with our meals at both of our restaurants.

Re mosquitoes, the rains have arrived as it is June, and they were definitely making an appearance in June. (Nothing like the big mozzies found in the northern US and Canada - but a few are present here - no doubt).

Re the music, our youthful staff is always happy to turn down the music​, all you need do is ask!

Again thanks for coming, and taking the time to share with fellow travelers. I am sorry we didn't get to meet you, and find out ahead of time that you love great food.
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Additional Information about Iguana Lodge

Address: Calle a Calle Platanares, Puerto Jimenez 60702, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Osa Peninsula > Puerto Jimenez
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Puerto Jimenez
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Jimenez
#5 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Jimenez
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Iguana Lodge 3.5*
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Iguana Lodge is the Osa Peninsula's premier beach eco-resort. Established over eleven years ago, Iguana Lodge is founded on the principles of sustainable tourism, personalized service, joy, health, and well-being. Located on the most beautiful beach on the Osa (no kidding), Iguana Lodge is a contemporary, lushly landscaped resort with a 20 meter lap pool and Jacuzzi, two yoga decks and complimentary yoga classes*, a deluxe spa, a fabulous Tico staff, award winning fresh, healthy meals at our two restaurants, our own naturalist, and excellent jungle and ocean adventures. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Iguana Hotel Puerto Jimenez
Iguana Resort Puerto Jimenez
Iguana Lodge Costa Rica/Puerto Jimenez

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