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“Magnificent Eco-adventure retreat on the Osa Penisula” 5 of 5 stars
Review of La Paloma Lodge

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La Paloma Lodge
Drake Bay, Costa Rica, Drake Bay, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 6 hotels in Drake Bay
Massachusetts
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Magnificent Eco-adventure retreat on the Osa Penisula”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

This was our second stay at La Paloma and it is just magical. The setting on the Osa Peninsula is spectacular- we stayed in a beautiful bungalow with a view of the ocean and everywhere we went we were surrounded by wildlife. The food was delicious, served as all of the guests sit together and talk over the day's adventures. The staff at La Paloma are some of the best we have ever met in years of travelling and staying in hundreds of hotels. They are there to help in ANY way -even loaning us some of their own "jungle appropriate " clothing when our luggage was delayed. The guides were very knowledgeable- top notch wildlife spotters and also well informed on the history, culture and political realities of modern-day Costa Rica. I am sure that we will return to La Paloma and when we do we will feel like we are visiting old friends.

  • Stayed June 2013, 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lizzy06osa, Manager at La Paloma Lodge, responded to this review, September 13, 2013
Thank you for reviewing your experience with us at La Paloma Lodge.

We aim to enhance what the Osa Peninsula has to offer, by providing freshly prepared meals and a high level of personalized service to all of those guests that visit us and will always go the extra mile when we can.

We look forward to your next visit with us. Hopefully your luggage will land with you next time!

Warm regards,

Jess
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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 (62)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2013

We were for the 3rd time in Costa Rica this year and 2nd time at La Paloma. We came the 2nd time to La Paloma Lodge this month after being a guest the first time in 2012. From the warm and professional service to cleanliness of the rooom, amazing food and ambiance, to the breathtaking views and omnipresent wildlife everything is like in paradise! For the first time n the tourists we recommend the tours organized by the lodge, especially that this year o Cano Island trip they saw not only humpback whales but one killer whale too!! If you spend more than 4 nights - and you SHOULD - you must hike to Playa Josesito and back. It is a hike through the jungle that is sloping into the ocean. It is a path less travelled that requires a little effort but it is absolutely worth it! As you approach Playa Josesito you must stop at Ricardo who is offering a canoe/boat trip on Rio Claro. You stop and Rio Claro and just swim in the river as it flows into the ocean. The "RIcardo" boat trip requires about 1 1/2 hours and is recommended that you do it as a separate trip. La Paloma can arrange to drop you off at Playa Josesito, you hike back to Ricardo and take his boat trip. You actually paddle with one of his guys up on the river up to a point where the boat cannot go anymore, then you get off the boat and swim back taken downstream by the river all the way down to the river mouth at the ocean. Amazing. We have done this even on a day when it rained and it was one of the best experiences we've ever had.

About the La Paloma team, the proof of outstanding professionalism came on the day of our departure when the Nature Air was delayed due to weather conditions in San Jose. Jessica, the lodge manager, and Andrea, the office manager in S.J. were in close communication and immediately booked us on a flight with Sansa that was only in 20 minutes time! The rest was like in a James Bond movie: the Professionals at La Paloma run with us down to the dock, got into the boat along with Jessica who accompanied us (!) and they dropped us off on another beach farther from the town but closer to the airport. There there was Delfin, the driver (how did he appear there in no time?) who got us into his Range Rover where we changed our shoes (beach landing, remember...) using a towel he had ready for us. We made it at the airport on time and made our connection in San Jose with the United flight, back to Toronto.

Now what? We cannot wait to go back in 2014!!

Room Tip: we stayed in Rancho no. 4 both times. Breathtaking view.
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  • Stayed August 2013, 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lizzy06osa, Manager at La Paloma Lodge, responded to this review, September 13, 2013
Thank you so much for your account of your visits with us at La Paloma Lodge. We're glad to hear that everything went smoothly with your flight back to Canada.
The Osa Peninsula is so diverse that it is possible to make multiple visits and enjoy a new experience each time. You have truly done that, embracing the community as well as the wildlife that can be seen.
We aim to provide tasty meals made with fresh, local ingredients and are extremely pleased to know that you enjoyed the food provided. It is guests like you that provide the pleasant ambiance at La Paloma!
We look forward to seeing you again in 2014.

Regards,
Jess
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England
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2013

We stumbled across La Paloma by chance and are so very glad we did. We received the warmest welcome from Nicole the manager and Jess and were overwhelmed by the breath taking views from the restaurant. This was somewhere where we could truly switch off, due to the wonderful care of Nicole and Jess who took care of everything. We had made some incredible memories on the nature walks and boat trips with Randall the nature guide who is not only incredibly knowledgeable but also a lovely person to be around. The grounds were magical and the accommodation fantastic. This is the place to come if you love nature. We can't thank the staff at La Paloma enough for such a wonderful experience.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TLV
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2013

Our family had a wonderful five day vacation at La Paloma Lodge.
The location is great and the staff is very nice.
Everything was fantastic.
On our last day it was our anniversay and I asked them to prepare my wife's favorite desert - Pavlova. They did not know what it is, but looked it up on the Internet and actually prepared it for us. This and all the rest of the meals were delicious.
Also, all the tours we did with them were great including snorkling and diving in Cano Island and guided tour to Corcovado National Park.
I would strongly recommend this place for any family or couple.

  • Stayed August 2013, 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

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lizzy06osa, Manager at La Paloma Lodge, responded to this review, September 11, 2013
Hi Oded,

Thanks for the review of your stay with us at La Paloma Lodge. It was also a pleasure for us to share your anniversary with you. We aim to make vacations in the Osa Peninsula a memorable and unique experience for our guests.
We hope to see you again in the future for more diving and wildlife experiences.

Jess
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2013

We originally booked the lodge based on some web research and review feedback
So here is ours in the hope that our review may just tempt an inquisitive mind
Just book it !!
From the aircraft landing on nothing short of a minor road to arrival at the lodge via the speedboat and being greeted by the smiling Jess adourned with fruit punch you know this could be special.
It truly is , this is a nature lovers paradise with accommodation which allows you to almost touch the jungle from your bed awakening each morning to the howler monkeys and bird chorus .
Views across the jungle to the Pacific Ocean which subject to the season can also reward you with views of humpback whales
Tempted , just do it.

Room Tip: We stayed in room four I believe all have good views and same standard This isn't four seasons...
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  • Stayed August 2013, 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

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lizzy06osa, Manager at La Paloma Lodge, responded to this review, August 16, 2013
Hi Guys,

We appreciate you taking the time to write a review. All of us at La Paloma take great pride in our work.

We're glad that you enjoyed all of the trips and the whale sightings while you we here.

It was our pleasure to host you all and hope you enjoyed the next leg of your Costa Rican Vacation.

We really hope to see you again back at La Paloma.

Jess
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2013

Attention to every detail is what makes La Paloma _the_ place to go in Drake Bay, or truly your best bet for a relaxing/adventurous beach vacation anywhere in Costa Rica. Nestled in the forest just outside of the spectacular Corovado National Park - La Paloma offers the ideal mix of opportunities to relax, enjoy nature, sunbathe on the beach, and take in a wide range of adventure activities in the area. Monkeys, sloths, toucans, scarlet macaws abound here – and when you’re on the ocean, you’re bound to see dolphins, sea turtles, rays – and possibly whales if it’s the season.

Service, accommodation, food, activities - everything is 5 star. The attentiveness of the staff is outstanding. They learn your name and really try to understand what you want to make your time there the most fulfilling. Then deliver on it. Nicole, the manager, is a gem. I had the chance to go diving at Cano Island and saw a plethora of sea-life right before my eyes! Sea turtles, rays, reef sharks, eels, all kinds of tropical fish large and small – a real delight.

And to satisfy a hearty appetite from all the activity - the food at La Paloma ROCKS! All fresh and deliciously prepared – their own bread served warm at the table. Appropriate options are available to suit any dietary needs. Tropical style recipes and excellent preparation capture the essence of the local fruits, vegetables, fish and meats. Any special beverage you like is yours for the asking – beautiful juices, and of course tropical drinks like margarita’s, mojitos, pina coladas and more!

What I particularly appreciated about La Paloma is their care for the precious environment in which they operate. While not going overboard, its clear that they are conscious of working within a fragile area that requires respect and careful treatment. You won’t find air conditioning, for example, but its really not necessary if you dress appropriately and wile away the hot parts of the day in a hammock.

At the dinner table, I overheard other guests lamenting that their time was too short, and that they would have preferred to make La Paloma their 'one stop' in Costa Rica for adventure, relaxation and top service. I felt the same – and am awaiting my chance to go back! Thanks to La Paloma team for the extraordinary hospitality and experience.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013

Fantastic, special and unique place - a must! I want to share my experience, and give you lots of tips in case you go.

We just returned from Costa Rica and visited two cities; Quepos and Drake Bay. We were looking for a true Costa Rican, rain forest / jungle experience, while also staying in a beautiful place. La Paloma is both! Quepos was ok (Manuel Antonio is beautiful, but you can get the same but more with Corcovado in Drake Bay, and it's a bit commerical in Quepos). If I did it again, I would visit Arenal for 2 days and Drake Bay the rest - two totally different type places; volcano and National Park. We were in La Paloma five days.

When we stepped foot off our boat (super fun transfer, an added bonus to have to take a boat to your hotel! we saw crocodiles, bird, and some little settlements on the way), and walked the breathtaking stone path to La Paloma's club house, we were greeted with fresh baked bread (at every meal), fresh juices, and lots of delicious and healthy lunch options. THIS is what we came for!!! Heaven!

When we stepped foot in our room it took our breath away. The rooms have lots of windows (no screens or glass) all over and whether you are in the bedroom or bathroom, you are looking at panoramic views of the Pacific and rainforest. Look at the photos on the web site. I watched monkeys and macaws while I showered! At first I was slightly worried about such an open room and no AC, but it completely adds to the experience and where you are. Evenings cool down and the ocean and fans keep it breezy. They offer mosquito nets at night, which we actually never used, but others there did. They will put them up and take them down for you. I wanted my kids to have a complete different experience from home, and they had it and LOVED it! The Osa Peninsula (area where Drake Bay is located) is very remote and the real jungle.

The staff is wonderful - they are patient, accommodating, learn your names and make you feel at home. Dinner is family style - you eat at a large table with whomever else is there (you can request your own table if you want). We were reluctant at first, b'c we were using this trip as family time, but we tried it the first night and we all, kids included, loved it! We made new friends, shared our days adventures, and it really added to the trip. One couple was from Germany, another from Cali, and another from NC. Our favorite excursions were a day of horse back riding (they will let you cut loose on the horses if you want, and we galloped and cantered on the beach), bug lady (we saw red eyed tree frogs among other things), snorkeling, and a hike at Corcavado Park. They always pack lunch for you, which is so nice - they take care of all those logistics. You can also just spend a day at the beach, which we also did. It's a little hike, 5 minutes, and pretty. The staff will set up chairs and bring you a cooler on a moments notice; so wonderful. You need to go at low tide if you want to swim; the undertoe and ways are pretty rough otherwise. We did this an enjoyed swimming in the warm ocean water. I advise, if you are traveling with kids, to try and leave a "chill" day in between excursions.

Food is great. There are always Costa Rican and AMerican options at all meals. Dinner is so fun; appetizers first (I will miss fried plantains and guar!) along with a glass of wine. There are always two choices for dinner, which you decide at breakfast time. Dinner has mult courses; soup, salad, bread, meal, dessert. A lot of food! Very delicious. My fave was fajitas - out of this world. I thought the portions were big, and asked for less so I would waste such good food. Very healthy, lots of fresh fruit and veggies.

Another very interested thing - the sun goes down at 6pm and it's dark! The jungle wakes up at 5:30 am and it's bright and noisy. We fell into a pattern of going to sleep at 8:30pm and waking with the jungle at 5:30am. Don't let that scare you!!! I'm a night owl and usually hate to get up early, but there is something about your body going with the natural rhythm of the earth that just works. No TV and electronics meant my kids played and played, really grew closer on this trip (what I wanted) and my 12 year old even read a book (oh my). We all felt so rested. There's something to this concept of sleeping when dark, rising when light. Novel. I don't think the USA will allow us to carry out that schedule unfort, but I can't help but think that's how nature meant it - sleep when dark, rise when light.

The monkeys!! So so so cute and fun! What more can I say. We had a great time just watching them, right on the lodge site. We came across a family with a baby and we were only about 3 feet away and watched them play. Where else can you go where monkeys are wild? And sloths? Not many!

Travel so light. You can do laundry there; $8 for as much as you can stuff into a large laundry bag (cheap compared to the first place we stayed in Quepos). Shorts and tops that are not too expensive in case they get dirty, one long sleeved rash guard, sun screen, swim suit (not white). Rain ponchos. Flip flops, keens (shoes that stay on your feet but can go from wet to dry and you can hike in them), maybe rubber boots or some old sneakers or hiking shoes). Bring one pair of long pants for horse riding, or if you want your legs covered during park hikes (I just wore shorts, but I saw some wear pants). Ladies, keep the cosmetics minimal. It's humid. I used a good face wash for after a day of sweating, moisturizer - no make up (just not necessary; not the vibe). I could have saved myself the trouble. They provide soap and shampoo (I prefer to use my own). Perfume is not a great idea b'c you will just attract bugs. That said, there are no gnats, and some mosquitos but really not buggy surprisingly. We are from east coast USA and constantly fight biting bugs.

Tips:
-They provide waterproof day packs and water bottles
-If you travel in the rainy season (basically USA's summer time), bring footwear that you are ok with getting MUDDY and wet! Keens work great, but on one trip we needed closed shoes b'c it was so muddy and it's the jungle, so I'd bring old sneakers and even leave them there when done. Another good idea would be rubber rain boots, but there are also bulky to pack.
-If you leave from Drake BAy to go home, fly out from Drake to San Jose, and then book your international flight for the NEXT DAY (sleep in San Jose one night). The in-country flights are often late and could cause you to miss your connection.
-Drake Bay, being rain forest, is very humid, and things do not dry. Bring materials that are light and dry out fast. La Paloma has a dry room and they let you put your things there overnight at no charge to help dry things out.
- I was going to bring my nice, big, fancy camera, as there is so much to take amazing pictures of, but I opted for my pocket size point and shoot. I'm so glad I did. We zip lined, horse back road, fished on a boat, and got stuck in many rain showers. I think it would have been so inconvenient to always worry about a big, expensive camera, not to mention I wanted to feel hands free. I used a small pouch and put my camera in a zip lock so it would stay dry.
- Bring a box of gallon size zip lock bags. They come in handy for everything.
-Fishing boat and whale watching - we did this and saw whales and caught a tuna, which the lodge prepared for dinner! Yum and amazing. However, if you are not used to being in a boat on the ocean, be prepared. My family got pretty queazy, and so did another on a different day. I do not usually have a motion sickness problem. We even wore sea bands (can get them at pharmacy) but I'm not sure they worked. Dramamine? Just be aware.
- Rain - well, it is a rain forest! Rain comes and goes. We brought super cheap ponchos from a sport store that have a hood and almost look like a trash bag. Not glamorous, but again, things get muddy and dirty, so leave your North Face home and bring these to stash in your back pack, then pitch them or donate them when you leave.
- La Paloma supplies you with nice, big umbrellas; a nice perk. You don't need to pack any.
- bring simple, flat flip flops. Nice to have to go to dinner when your other shoes are wet from the day.
- NO cell service, and no room phone or phone to a "lobby." If you need something, you walk to the club house and ask. They will do anything you need they are amazing. We brought walkie talkies so we could communicate with each other in case one went to the pool, the other to the beach. They use walkie talkies too, so you could tune into their channel.
- Shots before you go? We got typhoid, hep A, and tetnus (TDAP or something). The last two are routine for kids and yours either have had them or will need them anyway. Typhoid is to protect from dirty water. Then our travel doctor recommended malaria pills. We got them, despite the fact that insurance did not cover it AND they cost $600 for our family!!!! After taking them 3 days and experiencing nausea, vomiting, tiredness, we stopped. We then learned there is no threat of malaria in the Osa P / Drake BAy. I believe it's possible in the Limon area (more east/Caribbean side). SAve yourself the money and pain. I can't believe we are out $600 and felt awful the first few days. Do get your shots - they do not hurt. Do it 2 weeks or more before in case of slight reactions. The DTAP made my 10 year old very tired for a day or so.
- You cannot drink the tap water there, but La Paloma provides an abundance of reversed osmosis water, the best there is. We drank it and brushed our teeth with it.
- have fun! this is true Costa Rica at it's best. We will def be back.

Room Tip: We stayed in RAncho 1; two floors, we are a family of five; had one king, one queen, one single, two...
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  • Stayed July 2013, 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 19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lizzy06osa, Gerente at La Paloma Lodge, responded to this review, July 26, 2013
Dear Bo and Ronit

Thank you so much for your wonderful review.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank you again for embracing your stay with us as fully as you did. We know that the gifts and visit to the school were enjoyed by everyone there.
We aim to provide all of our guests with a unique and special experience, while visiting the Osa Peninsula.
We hope to see you again in the future.

P.S. Have you tried out the chickpea salad recipe yet?
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Additional Information about La Paloma Lodge

Also Known As:
La Paloma Hotel Drake Bay
La Paloma Hotel
La Paloma Drake Bay
La Paloma Lodge Costa Rica/Drake Bay
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:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Drake Bay
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Drake Bay
#2 Family Hotel in Drake Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
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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