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“The Best of Both Worlds - Nature and Luxury” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Rio Magnolia Nature Lodge

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Rio Magnolia Nature Lodge
3.0 of 5 Small Hotel   |   La Alfombra de Baru | 25 km east of Dominical, Dominical 11901, Costa Rica   |  
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15% off room rate
Ranked #1 of 13 Dominical B&B and Inns
Raleigh, NC
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“The Best of Both Worlds - Nature and Luxury”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2012

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.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2012

My boyfriend and I stayed here for 7 nights- we got an Adventure Package that provided us with big and delicious breakfasts, happy hour appetizers, amazing three course dinners, a horseback riding and waterfall tour, and a ziplining tour and picnic. It was the PERFECT vacation for us. John and Maureen are incredible people and stupendous hosts. Their property is beautiful, and they are so knowledgeable about the area. We went in June (during the rainy season) and it was actually perfect for us because we were able to be active in the morning when it was sunny, and then we read for hours in the afternoon when it was raining. The rainforest sounds are so peaceful- living in the city, we miss the natural white noise terribly! We were also able to see (and hear) some unique wildlife which was fun looking up and trying to identify in the plant and animal books that they have.

It's hard to describe the unique quality of this place- it was just so relaxing staying at the property, eating delicious food, and chatting with wonderful hosts. We can't wait to make it back to Costa Rica, but more importantly, we can't wait to make it back to Rio Magnolia!

Room Tip: We stayed in El Cielo, which offers incredible views and is just separated from the main lodge by a...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Birmingham, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2012

We had an amazing stay in the rainforest. The room and facilities have been top-class and we didn't want for anything, thanks to the hospitality of John and Maureen. The meals and the cocktails have been amazing! Ben and Amy, Birmingham, England

Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Fort Worth
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2012

My wife and I have visited Costa Rica three and four times now, the last two at Rio Magnolia. The place is fantastic. Where to begin. The driver picks us up at the airport and through our limited Spanish and his emerging English we had a very nice drive which because of our late flight has us arriving at the lodge near mid-night. We're shown to our room (El Cielo) and Maureen asks if there is anything we need before we retire. I walk out onto the balcony. It is too dark to see the valley, but a clear sky without light pollution provides a view of the heavens that is just fantastic. I would have star gazed for hours if I had not been tired from our trip. The next morning the view of the valley from our room was incredible with clouds working their way up the valley and the trees around our room populated by beautiful birds. In a few minutes I've seen at least a dozen that I've never seen before. But the view – you have got to see this view. In a few minutes the cares of work have dissolved away and I realize I'm in what I refer to as “my right mind”. From there the trip just gets better.

The food as so many folks have already mentioned is fantastic. The coffee which is grown on the property is first rate. Many of Maureen's recipes from her cookbook are now regular items on our menu at home. John and Maureen are incredible hosts and we quickly felt like we were visiting friends. There are a number of great tours that they will set up for you, but the property itself can keep you entertained as you learn about the coffee growing and processing, visit the hydro-electric plant and the tilapia pond and in general bird watch and explore. On our last trip their driver took us down to Dominical to visit the beach and practice our limited Spanish. We joined John and Maureen on a trip to San Ignacio which we really enjoyed because of the lack of tourist influence. It helped us get a feel for what it might be like to live/retire to Costa Rica which is something we are considering. All the staff is very helpful and nice – it really is a great place.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Boston, Massachusetts
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2012

I can't say enough good things about Rio Magnolia. It's beautiful, relaxing, and the food is amazing. Maureen & John are the best hosts you could ask for - it feels more like visiting old friends than staying in a hotel. The staff are super nice and more than accommodating. We had a great vacation and would recommend Rio Magnolia to anyone interested in visting Costa Rica.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Gravenhurst, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2012

There truly is only one word for this fabulous place and that is AMAZING. AMAZING hosts, AMAZING lodge, AMAZING food, AMAZING transportation, AMAZING staff, AMAZING activities. Second year in a row at Rio Magnolia and just can't wait to book year 3. Maureen and John have created paradise. It is heaven and truly the most beautiful place I have ever been. God Bless John and Maureen for their vision and for sharing that vision with family, friends and guests. It is a magnificent. Thank you John and Maureen for being the AMAZING people that you are.

Room Tip: Every room is unique and every room is beautiful.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Santa Ana, Costa Rica
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2012

This was our second stay at Rio Magnolia and it was just as spectacular as the first visit. Maureen and John have built a beautiful home in the mountains above Dominical and luckily for all of us, they have opened it as a lodge with first class dining!

The lodge is set on a spectacular piece of farmland. It's well located to take day trips to the beaches and parks, but I doubt you'll want to leave.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Rio Magnolia Nature Lodge

Address: La Alfombra de Baru | 25 km east of Dominical, Dominical 11901, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Dominical
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 13 B&Bs / Inns in Dominical
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Rio Magnolia Nature Lodge 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Staying at Rio Magnolia is fun, relaxing and memorable. Our property is 280 acres, which is primarily jungle; 70 acres are pasture and a beautiful river, Rio Magnolia, with several waterfalls. Located between Manuel Antonio and the Osa, we have numerous birds and interesting wildlife and plants and trees. You can hike to the waterfall and explore the property. We have hiking trails for you to enjoy and offer guides to show you the fascinating features of our primary forest. Dining at Magnolia House is a great experience! We offer daily menus for 3 meals a day, sunset appetizers daily. Rates are for 2 and include a full Breakfast. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Rio Magnolia Nature Lodge Costa Rica/Dominical

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