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“Paradise in the rainforest!” 5 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 #3 of 8 Hotels in Drake Bay
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Atlanta, Georgia
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“Paradise in the rainforest!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2008

They tell you what to expect and that includes a wet landing to get to the lodge. Knowing they are off the grid (though not for long) I was a bit concerned, but I was amazed at how everybody works together to make this lodge a top notch place to stay. Yes, you have to climb into a boat to get to the lodge, but if you booked a trip here, you came to hike, visit the rain forest and swim....no big deal.

The food is sublime, fresh, tasty, healthy and you will never go hungry as they offer a full breakfast, mid morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and full 4 course dinner. They usually offer two choices for each meal. At dinner one of the choices is usually fish caught fresh that day, either by the owners son or one of the other guests (usually yellowfin tuna or mahi mahi). Chicken is usually the second most served with filet minon and shrimp one night.

The service is excellent! Mornings here start early, most of the tours start at 6:30am or 7:30am, so they offer a wake up knock service where they bring you coffee to your rancho. This was a wonderful way to wake up...drinking gourmet coffee overlooking the Pacific.

The tours they offer in their package deal (usually Corcovado NP and Cano Island snorkel tour) are nice, but think about taking the mangrove tour, you will see many more animals and birds from the comfort of a covered boat. A note on the snorkel tour, if you are expecting the calm, light blue waters of the Caribbean, this ain't it. The shoreline is volcanic with waves and doesn't have the pretty coral heads you might see elsewhere. Expect to use a life jacket (they give you one) if you aren't a strong swimer. The bug lady tour is okay, probably not worth the $$ in my opinion, but they offer zip lining, horseback riding and fishing among other things. All the tour operators are not in house, they use local operators.

They offer differnt types of rooms. They have standard rooms with no view, rooms that are attached to each other near the lodge. They also offer at least one small rancho with a ocean view (#7, we stayed in this one) and it is perfect for a couple, they also offer deluxe two story ranchos that are great for larger families. All the ranchos have plenty of vegetation surrounding them for privacy.

We stayed during the 'dry' season (Nov-April) where it only rains about once a week. The days are in the mid-80's and at night it's in the high 60's. You usually need a sheet and cover with the ceiling fan to be comfortable. Yes, there are bugs, but few of the biting kind although mosquitos do exist. They do shut your rancho up during the evening to help with the bugs. The eves and other areas are open so just be mindful of leaving lights on during the night. Yes, it's humid, yes, your clothes will get wet. You are in the rain forest, what do you expect??? The waves on the coast below are big and you can see the vapor going up the cliff face. Take clothes that dry quickly and take Teva type shoes plus some hiking boots. The laundry service is reasonable ($8 a load) and although they don't use fabric softner, it does come back cleaner and less stinky that when you gave it to them.

Overall I really enjoyed my stay here, I saw tons of wildlife; sea turtles, reef fish, spinner dolphin, reef sharks, scarlet macaws, white faced capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, toucans, 3-toed sloths, agouti, coati, leaf cutter ants, boa constrictor, crocadile, caiman, spider monkeys, and tons and tons of birds and butterflies that are colorful and beautiful. Many of these I saw either off my balcony or on the path in front of my rancho (not the crocs, caiman or boas though....whew!). If you enjoy wildlife viewing and can handle the humidity, you will love this place. I would go back in a heartbeat!!!!!

  • Liked — the view!
  • Disliked — the humidity
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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333 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
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English first
Omaha, Nebraska
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2008

What a great find! I feel a little guilty it was not our first choice but now I fell lucky the first property was booked. I wish people wouldn't complain about bugs as if this property were somehow lacking in amenities or housekeeping. The insects aren't necessarily the biting kind, they're just flying around everywhere. This is life in the rainforest. You will be damp, muddy, and slightly smelly just about the entire time you are here. Bring multiple bathing suits and quick-drying performance clothing and socks. Tevas are a must.

The service is top-notch and the food is excellent. We never wanted for anything. The only thing I didn't enjoy was my massage, but I've had many of those in my life and you can't win every time. We saw tons of animals and the lanscape is stunning. Our very handsome guide to Corcovado and Cano was a bonus too!

Go to La Paloma Lodge. Go by yourself, bring your spouse, bring your kids. Everyone will enjoy it.

  • Stayed December 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Milwaukee, WI
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2008

The setting of La Paloma Lodge is idyllic as you are in a comfortable casita overlooking the Pacific Ocean with the beautiful flora and fauna of the Corcovado Rainforest at your footsteps. We woke to the sound and sights of beautiful Macaws and monkeys in the trees out our balcony. The food at La Paloma is superb...healthy, proportionate and delicious. The service and staff are friendly and helpful. The tours and guides are thorough, knowledgeable, and endless in possibilities. We loved our visit to the Osa Penninsula and especially loved the La Paloma Lodge.

  • Liked — The setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean
  • Disliked — Bugs at night - no screens on the windows where there are windows
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
43 hotel reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2007

You are really in the Rainforest now. Staying here is quite an experience. In a sense, you are really isolated from the rest of the world, as are all the lodges in and near Corcovado. This is not a bad thing, it is a wonderful thing. What an escape. This is not a place where you can take off on your own and explore.

We were lucky to get the last remaining cottage/hut - the very last one, nearest to the hike down to the beach. Probably not as nice as some of the others. It was not as nice as the website, and I was disappointed at first. The huts are built so that the roof and the walls do not connect, there is an openning. At night, you need to keep the lights off so that insects do not crawl into the room. I kept imagining snakes and deadly insects crawling in at night while we slept. DO bring insect repellent.

The food is excellent, the dining, meeting area was very warm and inviting. The service and employees are top notch. We enjoyed the cocktail hour every night before dinner where we met other guests. The small beach alcove was the best beach we had seen on Costa Rica - very rustic and natural, loaded with land crabs and hermit crabs. The surf was ruff enough for body surfing and pleasing preteenage boys.

We took the trip to the far end of Corcovado early in the am. Did not see much - got a glimpse of a jaguar. That was about it.
Did not see much on the shorter trip either.

Do not use the laundry service while here. It is expensive and everything comes back smelling as bad as it was when you sent it. Nothing dries either, socks, bathing suits, etc - remain wet the whole time you are there.

Honestly, we did enjoy our stay very much and did not want to leave. Would we return? I am not sure.

  • Liked — THE FOOD, the beach
  • Disliked — Our room - just alright.
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Atlanta, GA
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2007

I must confess that I waited almost a year to write this review because I wanted LaPaloma all to myself. This was the best trip I’ve ever taken, including my other 3 trips to Costa Rica. This place is a tropical dream.

One thing that made our time at LaPaloma great was that we were with three families of four. This way, there was always someone to spend time with, whether relaxing or seeking adventure. Also, we were able to meet other guests in the living areas before mealtime but our group took an entire table for dining and sharing our experiences.

The food and drinks were absolutely fabulous! Everything from the seafood, to vegetables to bread and desert was completely fresh, local, clean and delicious. The ratio of staff to guests was almost 1 to 1 so that we were never in want of anything.

Our two story Rancho was perfect. Our children slept downstairs while my wife and I had privacy upstairs. Lying in bed at night I didn’t want to fall asleep because the view of moonlight shimmering on the ocean and tropical sounds were so magical. We kept the lights off at night so that we never needed the mosquito net even with all our windows open. The soothing ocean breezes lulled us into deep relaxing sleep.

The adventurers in our group had a blast scuba diving off Cano Island with sharks and tracking a Jaguar through the jungle with a guide. For those wanting relaxation, naps in the hammock overlooking the Pacific, in-room massages, and lying under coconut palms on the beach washed all cares away.

We wanted for nothing. We were so well attended in this fantasy setting overlooking the deep blue sea thru lush tropical vegetation that my 6 year old son cried as we had to walk away for the trip via boat-van-puddle hopper plane back to San Jose.

The final miracle by our hostess was over the top. Our commuter plane was delayed by a mishap on the jungle landing strip which threatened to cause us to miss our flights home. The owner of LaPaloma got on the phone and pulled strings as only the president of Costa Rica could accomplish and kept us informed all the while. She had our little plane land in an “off limits” area, our bags brought in by one van, while another van whisked us from the plane to the front door of the international airport. We all made our flights. One lucky couple on our commuter flight thought we must be celebrities.

Our time at LaPaloma was a tropical dream that we didn’t want to end. We are so grateful.

  • Liked — Incredible rooms (two story Ranco)
  • Disliked — Eating at a table with other guests (although we didn't because we had 12 in our party)
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2007

I dont want you to stay at La Paloma! As a matter of fact I am not sure why I am writing this review, because if you read this you will likely go to La Paloma, and you will tell your friends, and the next time that I go to La Paloma the secret will have been discovered. Our stay at La Paloma was in June of 2006, and my wife and I had an amazing time. From the moment that we were met in Sierpe the staff was helpful, friendly, accomodating, and interested in our opinions. It was as if a magnificent property was being run by friends. Set amongst the ranchos, and cabinas were a perfect way to enjoy the rainforest, while maintaining the feeling of being at a high end resort. Looking out from our balcony were were treated to frequent visits by macaws, and white faced monkeys, sloths, and hummingbirds. The food at La Paloma was great. Meals were prepared with fresh ingredients--some grown right on the property itself. Another plus for Paloma is its acknowledgment of surroundings. I believe La Paloma was eco-friendly before the phrase "eco friendly" was even coined. Consistent with everything from towel usage to reusable water bottles helps lessen impact on the amazing surroundings--and you are surrounding by jungle. One morning at breakfast we got up close to a boa constrictor, saw a tucan perch in front of the lodge, and were spooked by howler monkeys, and this was before we were going to the parque nacional. Thank you to Nancy, Nicole, Laura, Eric, Randel, and Captain Fred, who was honest about what we were likely to catch--and catch we did...
I shall return!!

  • Liked — being a part of the natural surroundings
  • Disliked — leaving
  • Stayed June 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kansas city
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2007

I travel quite a bit and run and design eco-trips for various companies. This paticular trip was just a vacation. I have stayed at hundreds of eco-lodges and this was one of the best. We stayed in a two level room with an ocean view. On both levels, you could slide the windows and doors open to give you full access to the amazing view. The floors were hardwood as were most of the furnishings.The showers were all open air and it was possible to see monkeys, toucans etc..... while you were showering. In fact it was easy to spot a considerable amount of wildlife from your room. The deck had great furniture and a hamock.

I found the food to be outstanding. You had several choices for breakfast. You had two options for lunch, one of which usually involved seafood. You also had two choices for dinner. I stuck w/seafood most of the time as this had to be the fresh. I usually try to avoid beef in that part of the world, so could not give an opinion on that.

This was the nicest place we stayed on our trip but not the wildest. Hiking from the lodge is limited and probably would never offer more than you could see around the lodge. They have some excellent tour options that by comparison, meaning other lodges on the Osa, were very reasonble. Great tours into Corcovado and good whale-watching trips. However, for someone looking to be completely independent, this is not the place.

I think this place is great for families and couples. I would probably not take a child under 5. There are many things that could happen with small children. The place is not childproof by any means and it would be a long time before you could reach a medical facility. For that reason I would also not reccomend this for anyone with any major physical limitations.

I would like to offer my advice on your means of transportation to the drop-off point for the lodge. Many people fly in, I think this is a great option. We drove in because we had been to other places on the Osa. We drove on many rough roads and drove through many streams. Felt that this was all part of the adventure. However, when we book La Paloma, we were told that because we were driving, we needed to cross a river in our 4wheel drive. We were told to ask the locals when we arrived how to cross and if it was safe. We were also told if we could not cross, we would need to walk accross. When we arrived at the river, we asked the locals, they showed us where to cross. We followed their instructions but did not make it through. Our SUV was stuck in the river and began to fill up with water passed the seats. We were pulled out by a horse and 5 locals. When we arrived at the lodge, they then told us that there was another option of leaving our car with someone before the river and being picked up in a Range Rover Taxi. I am mentioning this in my review because knowing what I know now, I would never attempt to cross this river. Even if it is ok to cross on your way there, you never know about your return. There is no reason for this added stress if there is a safe place to leave your car. By the way, there was another SUV the following day that had this happen.

  • Liked — Loved the wildlife seen right from the room
  • Disliked — getting there, but loved it and tought it was worth it.
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 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.
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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
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 Romantic Hotel in Drake Bay
#3 On the Beach 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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