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“Look out for those white-faced monkeys!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of La Paloma Lodge

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La Paloma Lodge
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Drake Bay, Costa Rica, Drake Bay, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in Drake Bay
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Look out for those white-faced monkeys!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2012

We recently spent five nights at La Paloma with our two boys, 7 and 12. A highlight was snorkeling at Isla del Cano where we saw Hawksbill turtles, a school of barracuda and a white-tipped reef shark. We also got a bit of a lash from a jellyfish which put my children off for a second snorkeling encounter but it feels like a brush with a stinging nettle and the pain disappears. It is just a bit alarming when it happens. Another absolutely wonderful experience was walking in the Corcovado National Park with Randal, La Paloma's guide. He was delightful with the children and extremely knowledgable. We also did a tour to the mangroves which was beautifully peaceful. An alarming piece of news Randal shared was the influence of foreign interests in Corcovado with the Chinese and the Costa Rican government joining forces to build a dam which will have a huge influence on the Oso Peninsula and the completely nonsensical idea of a further international airport in the rainforest. When you travel through the waterways or experience the walk in the park and the harmony and serenity that exists there, it seems unfathomable that the government, once so progressive in things that protected the bio-diversity of this amazing place, could make such appallingly ill-considered decisions. My advice is to visit as soon as you can before the changes in the Oso Peninsula begin.

Room Tip: We stayed in a deluxe ranchero. A tip re the bathroom - do not leave anything in the bathroom. It i...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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318 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (75)
Date | Rating
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English first
Gainesville, FL
Top Contributor
210 reviews 210 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 59 cities Reviews in 59 cities
184 helpful votes 184 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2012

My husband and I spent six nights at La Paloma Lodge in January, overlapping with reviewers lisak12 and I think TLJ_12, and we could not agree more with their assessments - we highly recommend La Paloma. This was honestly one of the most relaxing (yet exhausting, in a great way!) vacations that we have ever taken.

Although it is tempting to write a review describing every wonderful detail of our six days and nights, previous reviewers have done a great job describing the hospitaility, wonderful food and rooms, and nature that make up a La Paloma vacation. We concur! Nicole, Sue, Jamaica and Daniela all went out of their way to make our vacation fantastic and to make us feel very much at home. Guides Gustavo, Randall, and Mauricio were all excellent and provided us with great adventures. (We also heard great things about Sergio but he was away while we were at the lodge).The food was very good, especially considering we were in the jungle - our favorites were the gallo pinto, arroz con pollo, tuna salad nicoise, fajitas, fresh fruit and juices, and freshly baked cinnamon rolls and bread. The rooms were great - we left our doors open everynight and slept under the mosquito net - pure heaven to be awakened by the birds and howler monkeys! The $8.00/load laundry was absoutely great - very essential (you get dirty when you are out in the field all day!) and so reasonably priced. All of those aspects of the Lodge were exemplary, but for us the absolute best part of the trip was the ability to see so much wildlife.

My husband I are both biologists and he spent two summers doing field research in Costa Rica over 30 years ago, and we really came to this lovely country to see the wildlife. We were not disappointed in the Osa and at La Paloma. Although we were usually out in the field during the daytime, we still managed to see numerous bird species (scarlet macaws, chestnut mandibled toucans, motmots, trogons, lineated woodpeckers, hummingbirds, tanagers) from our balcony, as well as seeing a resident sloth coming down from a tree to eat almost every day and capuchin monkeys using our rooftop as a corridor from one side of the property to the other. In our nightly walks on property and the road to the beach, we were able to see several species of frogs, including the red-eyed leaf frog and a gladiator frog. Upon arrival wIthin a few minutes of first getting to the property upon we saw a racer (species of harmless snake).

The excursions were even better. We saw the most wildlife on the mangrove tour - it was incredible. The tour travels up and down the Rio Sierpe and into side canals. We saw all four species of monkey that live in the Osa, including three separate troops of endangered squirrel monkeys! We also saw a tree full of toucans, a pair of scarlet macaws, a sloth, two boa constrictors, river snapping turtles, green iguanas, black iguanas, caiman, six basilisk lizards, crocodiles, and several birds that I had never seen before - a boat-billed heron, a pootoo, a yellow-billed cotinga, and two yellow headed caracaras. Also many birds that we have here in Florida (various ibises, herons, egrets, pelicans, frigate birds, an osprey). But the coolest birds for me were the red-footed boobies that we saw before entering the Rio Sierpe. Although they are best known in the Galapagos, we had not seen these boobies at all when there in 2007, as the tour we were on did not go to Tower Island. Had no idea we would see them in Costa Rica but there they were! Randall was our guide for this trip and he was very knowledgable about the flora and the fauna, and was armed with excellent field guides that he was happy to pass around so everyone could get as much out of the trip as possible.

We skipped the included trip to the "first" Corcovado ranger station (San Pedrillo) as we had just visited there the week before on an excursion from the Windstar. Instead we opted for the trip to the "second" station - La Sirena - and this turned out to be an excellent hike. From La Paloma it was about an hour and 15 minute boat ride, with the group departing at 6:00 a.m. Absolutely worth the 4:30 a.m. wake up knock! On the way there we saw an Olive Ridley sea turtle, and that was just the first of many "firsts" for me. Although the station was more crowded than I expected it to be, Gustavo took us into the park through a different route that meant that we saw few people until we had almost completed our hike for the day. We saw three of four species of monkeys (with Gustavo having a "conversation" with an alpha male howler monkey), as well as a tapir, a fer de lance, bull sharks, and many interesting frogs, toads, and insects. What a great day!

We also took the Cano Island snorkeling tour with Mauricio and again had a great time, with the snorkeling better than we expected. We saw schools of jack, several blue fish and surgeon fish, one species of angelfish, a couple of species of butterfly fish, a hawksbill sea turtle, a scorpion fish, lobster, two eels, two color forms of puffer fish and numerous fish we have not yet identified from our photos. There was also a school of barracuda that we somehow missed, and a white tipped reef shark as well. As other reviewers have indicated, the coral is not too impressive but there are A LOT of fish. And the water was much warmer than I expected in the Pacific (we are terribly spoiled with our warm water in the gulf and keys in Florida). Mauricio was happy to dive down and take pictures of the fauna on the bottom (at least 15 feet) and kept an eye on the weaker swimmers in the group. All in all a great day!

The Bug Lady tour was excellent, and we will be adding a review for that tour under that listing in Trip Advisor.

One of the things that I really liked about La Paloma was that Nicole and Jamaica very much wanted to know what we wanted to do and see, as well as our general approach to those activites, and then worked to find touring partners that would be compatible to our interests AND approach. We REALLY wanted to see the wildlife, and were serious about doing so. That means lots of hiking, patience, and quiet, so as to not scare away the animals and so that we could hear the animals to better locate them. We were very lucky that like minded people were at the lodge, and we were able to pair up with them on the tours.

We also liked that if La Paloma did not offer a particular tour, they were happy to try to find someone who did. We were very interested in seeing poison dart frogs, and the lodge is not necessaily the best place to see them. Jamaica (via Gustavo, I believe) located a tour for us with Martin, a local property owner who has posion dart frogs on his property. For $30.00/person (or maybe $35.00, can't quite remember), Martin met us at La Paloma, walked us into Drake Bay and then to his property, and then took us on 2.5 hours of hunting for these lovely frogs. For some reason we sort of had the notion that we'd be going to Martin's house and walking through a pasture or some such to see a few frogs and then be on our way back to the lodge. But instead this was a difficult (hot, sweaty, hilly) walk through a very natural,uneven, narrow, leaf-strewn trail to a lovely creek, which we were able to walk and look for the frogs. We saw 5 individuals of Dendrobates granuliferus and one Phyllobates vittatus - awesome! And I can't thank Martin enough for all of the help he gave me in the hilly, difficult terrain. Such a gentleman! I highly recommend this tour, but only for people who are serious about seeing the frogs, and who are wiling and able to deal with a difficult and exhausting hike (and take enough water! We drank every single drop we took with us and when we returned to La Paloma my husband and I drank one pitcher of raspberry juice and one pitcher of water in 10 minutes between the two of us!)

My husband very much wanted to take a night walk through a stream to look for frogs and snakes. Although we loved the Bug Lady tour, he wanted something a little more intense, since he used to do nightly stream walks as a grad student. Although La Paloma did not offer such walks, Gustavo does offer one through another lodge and we were able to join that trip. Again this was a hike through primary forest on a leafy trail, and then through a stream. Gustavo picked us up at La Paloma around 4:00 pm, walked us into Drake Bay (on the way we saw a scorpion-eating snake) and then drove us to the other lodge. On the night walk we saw numerous species of frogs, including two species of glass frogs (amazing creatures - if you look at their undersides it is like looking through glass - you can see their organs and in some species you can see their bones; in some species the bones are blue!). Finally, after the walk Gustavo found a massive tarantula, and we had some fun getting it to come out of its home.

Every excursion we took, whether offered by La Paloma or facilitated by them, was excellent. And the small number of people on the excursions made wildlife viewing more likely and more enjoyable. Including the guide and us, there were 5 for the La Sirena trip, 4 for the posion dart frogs with Martin, 6 for Cano Island, and 6 for the night hike at the other lodge. There were 9 altogether I think for the mangrove tour, but since we were in a boat on a river having such a large group was no problem at all.

When my husband and I were in Drake Bay the week before (shore excursion from Windstar), he asked me "what will we do here for SIX days?" By the time we left La Paloma, we realized that six days is not nearly enough time to experience the place. We would have loved to have taken a second trip to La Sirena and perhaps to Cano; we didn't have time to horse back ride, zip line or go on one of the bird watching tours (all of which had been on our list before we left home). We only went to the beach once! And we never really got in a rest day (would have been great!) until the last day when we just stayed on property to rest up before our night tour with Gustavo. We are already planning our return, with the hope that we can stay longer the next time.

For all of the reasons described by previous positive reviews, we agree that La Paloma is a must stay. For my husband and me, the ability to see so much wildlife in a six day trip made this our best trip ever!

  • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2012 via mobile

We stayed for 4 nights in jan. the lodge was beautiful. The wildlife amazing. And the service fantastic. There was just one downside - communal dining. We found ourselves seated neat the sort of people we work with - ie a bit like us. But we went on holiday to escape work! As a result we spent our evenings being brought back to (work) home. La Paloma is beautiful, but we won't go back unless they let us eat on our own!

  • Stayed January 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Chicago, Illinois
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2012

My family of 7 (four adults and three children ages 15 and 12) just returned from a two-night stay at La Paloma Lodge. Two nights is NOT ENOUGH! Minimum I would recommend would be 3, but 4 or 5 would be best. We were rushed and didn't have much time to relax and soak in this piece of paradise. This is the second time we stayed at La Paloma. The last was 16 years ago. It was very nice then, but much more beautiful now! The resort is beautifully groomed and set in the rainforest. The rooms are magnificent and open air which is what I look for on this type of vacation. Who wants to close the rooms from the sights and sounds of nature? The food was fantastic!!!!! We were sad to leave the leave the bread! The staff was as beautiful as the rooms. They could not do enough to accommodate your every wish and whim. They offered a personalized service. They met your boat at the dock, walked around at dinner asking about your day and giving you your instructions for the next day. Took care of every detail. They treated you like family! Every member of the staff was friendly, caring and accommodating. I will return again, hopefully in less time that 16 years. When I do, this resort is the only option!

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Linwood, New Jersey USA
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2012

Stayed with the family over the Christmas holiday. Spent 3 nights (which is a few nights too few). The lodging was magnificent...beautifully kept and decorated...and open to the forest which was an interesting experience. Views of the forest and the Pacific were just spectacular. The beauty of the lodge was only equaled by the kindness and hospitality of the staff. Nicole, Sue, Jamaica, Sergio, all provided us a memorable visit. Food was great, excursions from this venue were truly unique, and "undercrowded" to say the least. Will look forward to a return trip in the near future.

  • Stayed December 2011, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC
Top Contributor
141 reviews 141 reviews
70 hotel reviews
Reviews in 71 cities Reviews in 71 cities
283 helpful votes 283 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2012

My husband and I spent nine nights over New Year's week at La Paloma and had a terrific time. This was our third time in the Osa; we had previously been to Bosque del Cabo and Lapa Rios. We chose La Paloma for its proximity to Corcovado and the ability to do water activities, and we were not disappointed. We were in room number 7, which is located at the end of the property farthest from the dock and restaurant and closest to the beach. We liked this room for its privacy and quiet (and I saw a tayra walk in front of our deck one day!). Highlights of our stay were a couples massage on our deck overlooking the ocean, the excursions to Corcovado (we went to both stations), the mangrove tour (lots of wildlife), the trip to Cano Island (better snorkeling than I expected, plus we saw spotted dolphins several times), relaxing by the pool with monkeys playing in the trees overhead, the amazing freshly-baked loaves of bread served at every meal, the bug lady tour, and just lounging in the hammock reading a good book. The staff is very good, the food tasty, the beer cold. Don't bother bringing much clothing other than T-shirts, shorts, water sandals, and hiking shoes; they do laundry for $8 per load which is well worth it. This was one of the most relaxing trips we have taken. Our only disappointment was that we did not get a good sighting of scarlet macaws as we have had on previous trips to the Osa, and the toucans were a little scarce as well. Falling asleep to the sound of the waves crashing is incredible. Staff was happy to accommodate our request to sit at our own table for meals. My husband was a bit disappointed with the way a guide handled one of the tours he went on, and management later resolved the issue to my husband's satisfaction. Nicole is just a fantastic manager and clearly her top priority is to make sure that guests have the best possible time. Only improvements would be if the rooms faced the sunset, and unfortunately monkeys can get into the rooms even with doors locked. Highly recommended.

Room Tip: Room 7 is the most private but also the farthest from the restaurant and dock and requires a long wa...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nyack, New York
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2012

My family and I spent four nights at the Paloma Lodge over the Xmas vacation; we had an amazing time- the rooms are spacious, clean and beautifully decorated. The staff is very helpful and the owner, Sue, makes sure that every guest, young or old, is well taken care of. I very highly recommend it.

Room Tip: every room is special
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about La Paloma Lodge

Address: Drake Bay, Costa Rica, Drake Bay, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Osa Peninsula > Drake Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Drake Bay
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Drake Bay
#2 Romantic Hotel in Drake Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — La Paloma Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We have outstanding views of Drake Bay and the Pacific Ocean from our Lodge. Our standard rooms are large and include a private bath and an ocean view balcony. Our ranchos are one and two-story private cabins that also offer balconies with stunning ocean views. They hold up to 6 people and are very spacious. Some are equipped with a bathroom on both the upper and lower level, and are suitable for families or two couples traveling together. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
La Paloma Hotel Drake Bay
La Paloma Drake Bay
La Paloma Lodge Costa Rica/Drake Bay

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