We woke up to the sounds of toucans and went to bed after hearing the sounds of our forks scraping our plates for one last delicious morsel. The Rio Magnolia has something for everyone and is full of wonderful juxtapositions.
Although isolated, high up in the middle of a jungle, you are never far from a friendly face thanks to John and Maureen and their wonderful staff. As other reviewers write, staying with John and Maureen is like visiting old friends or family. Conversations and tours with them were some of the best parts of the trip. (Even their dogs are exceptionally well-behaved and adorable. And this is coming from ardent cat people)
The winding, unpaved road up to their property makes you feel cut off to the world, but the coast (like Domincal or Hacienda Baru) or the bustling town of San Isidrio really aren’t that far away—an hour or so (Maybe a little further depending on where along the coast you want to go.) Actually riding with their charming driver – Eliecer – was another favorite part of our trip. His budding English and our limited Spanish made for a lot of fun conversations. He also picked us up at the airport in San Jose and let us off over a bridge brimming with crocodiles. (There is no way we would have known where to stop to see such a sight, one of many insider gems shared by the folks of Rio Magnolia.) John and Maureen also helped us plan and coordinate all our excursions before we even arrived, like visiting Hacienda Baru, snorkeling at Cano Island, visiting Corcovado National Park, and going to San Isidro. On a free day they suggested visiting a cool beach with caves called Playa Ventanas. Though really there are enough interesting things at the Rio Magnolia to keep you busy for days there.
Again, with such beautiful, hilly terrain and being located literally on the edge of a dense rainforest, the Rio Magnolia is like another world. Beautiful birds sing and fly by and there is all sorts of other wildlife around. But they have wireless internet should you want to ruin this other-worldly feeling. And the comforts of the place are on par with any lodge or B&B you can find.
The only cons we can think of are really unavoidable and actually just part of the whole experience. The place can be a little humid and damp, but that is part of the deal when you sleep in a rainforest. (The weather there was much cooler and more pleasant than along the coast.) And the ride up to the lodge from the main highway could be a little long and bumpy for some, but for us, it made it all the more exciting. You also get to drive through the tiny village of La Alfombra along this road. The village was another highlight in our book.
We stayed a week in early July and the weather couldn’t have been better. It rained only in the late afternoons and in the evenings, never interfering with any of our plans - only enhancing our naps and evening slumber. We can’t recommend the Rio Magnolia enough. It was a great time and great value, and we really feel like we made new friends—friends with the remarkable vision to find, build, and run such a wonderful place.