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“Perfection” 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 #4 of 8 Hotels in Drake Bay
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
“Perfection”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2014

After finishing grad school in NYC I wanted nothing more than to escape everything and feel a million miles away. But I also wanted to feel pampered in a comfy hotel. La Paloma fits the bill! Most people tend to spend 3 or so nights but I spent 5 and could've stayed longer.

I'm a bit surprised that this place is listed as a 3 star hotel on here. To me it felt like a 4 star.

The only way to/from the lodge is via boat. The speedboat was waiting for me when my van transfer from the airport arrived, and only took about 5 minutes to get to the lodge. One of the lovely staff people were waiting for me with a vehicle to drive me part of the way up to the lodge (on other days the vehicle wasn't offered, but it's only a 5 minute walk, if that). I expected to be offered a beverage immediately upon arrival, but instead I was seated at a table with an amazing view of the water, and even better... an amazing view of a spread of fruit, juice, homemade bread - and was then given the option of a couple of different lunch entrees. Throughout my entire stay the staff were absolutely charming, called every guest by their first name, and were perfectly attentive. The food was also great & plentiful through the entire stay.

Everything is gorgeous. The wood floors & buildings are stunning, the lounge area is comfortable, the grounds are lush & natural, the pool area is relaxing, and my room was beautiful. I asked for a room with A/C and closable windows. To be honest I've got a bug phobia, so it was important to me that I could seal off my room. Many of the rooms/bungalows onsite are not able to do that so you get, ahem, wildlife in your room - so make sure you request what you're up for. I didn't have a clear water view from my room, but still greatly enjoyed the hammock on my porch. Once I drew the curtains on the two windows facing the clubhouse, my room and deck were completely private.

For excursions I did the Corcovado trip, the Cano Island trip - which were both included in my rate, and I also did the extra Mangrove trip. I enjoyed all of them! Randall & Walter are fantastic guides and lovely people. I'm not comfortable snorkling, but I still enjoyed the trip out to Cano Island with the scenery and a bit of time just swimming in the warm water. All of the excursions were on covered boats, so you can limit your sun exposure.

I have mixed feelings about writing this review - the hotel was fantastic & I love singing their praises, but I also kind of want to keep it a secret! :)

  • Stayed May 2014, 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
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305 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 (70)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Flagstaff, Arizona
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2014

I just want to start off with saying that my wife and I absolutely loved staying at this place and would also love to go there again with our children. I would describe this place as roughing it, luxuriously! I know that sounds counter intuitive but hopefully this will help explain my thoughts about this.
From the very start, it was crazy! We had bought this trip through a travel agent and were not aware of what in consisted of to get there. We got on a tiny 8 seat plane where I could see out the cockpit window as we were landing on a tiny runway (photo shown below) attached to a unique airport (also photo below) if you would call it that. Then we got off the plane and there was no one there so we were just standing for a while. Then this van showed up and called out our names and picked us up. The van drove along a pretty rough dirt road and then straight into a small river (photo shown below) which while crossing it the driver said that if we got stuck we may have to get out and carry our bags to the other side but the crossing went totally fine. Then we drove to a really small run down town where we got out on a beach and there were two guys there driving a small motor boat that we got on and they loaded our bags. We then boated maybe a mile over to the hotel. The hotel consists of a main check in and dining area along with several small units that are fairly spread out and overlooking the bay (very nice view!). Right when we were checking in, there was a sloth just sitting in a tree directly across from the dining area (photo below) that we were able to watch as we ate our lunch.
Activities: The hotel had two different activities set up each day which were included in the costs and you could just choose which one you wanted to do or none if you were not interested. We did things live scuba diving, guided wildlife hike (best guided tour we had in Costa Rica), and a boat trip. Each one was great and we did not hear of anyone who did the other trips being dissatisfied. You could also just walk down to a really private beach which was nice, but the sand wasn't as soft as others and the swimming was ok but it stayed shallow pretty far out and had little tide so we saw kids playing in it quite a bit. There were also, little trails around the hotel that you could do, one just followed a stream a ways into the forest, one followed the beach for a LONG ways (you could easily go 20 miles if desired) and another into the small town of drake. A person could also just check out a kayak and either take it up the stream a ways (which I saw many monkeys while doing) or out into the bay area and around there. It was really enjoyable!
Services: The help there was very friendly and the place was kept clean. When you checked in, they just took down your name and you could just charge anything you would want to the room so you did not have to carry around your billfold. Then when you checked out, you could just write down tips for whoever you wanted and include that on your credit card bill which was very nice. Also, most things are included already with your stay but if you were wanting some wine at night or something like that you could just charge it and they offered it at very reasonable prices! A really nice option that they also offered was for doing a load of your laundry for either $5 or $10, I forget which. It was super nice though because they would wash, dry, and fold it for you and have it back in your room by that evening so a person would not have to bring a lot of clothes nor have a huge bag or dirty clothes when you leave. The meals were set up at a specific time and there were two different choices available. There were just a set of tables in the dining area laid out such that you just sat around with other guests and discussed things. It was really nice and the food was very home made and great tasting. I am sure the limited choices and company could bother some people but we really liked it. When you did one of the activities, there was food brought with so that a lunch was provided on them. I did see some rooms that did not have air conditioning but ours did and if you get uncomfortable sleeping when it is pretty humid and warm, a person might want to make sure that you have a room with air.
Wildlife: All I can say is there was wildlife everywhere! All the different birds, monkeys, lizards, and other animals that we saw was crazy! Just walking in for breakfast one day I saw two different groups of 20+ monkeys, a sloth, a coati, and I have no idea how many different birds. There is wildlife all around and we talked to people who just sat on there patio one day and I could not believe everything they saw. It is like having your own personalized rain forest built around you!
I can see how this place might not be the right fit for everyone, but we absolutely loved it and are already planning on returning there in the future!

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Weymouth, United Kingdom
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2014

We were fortunate to have the corner room which overlooks the ocean and tropical forest, the views from the balcony were stunning. The monkeys kept us entertained as were confined to our room due to having eaten something that disagreed with us, the staff could not do enough for us. We only managed to go on one or our three planned trips, the one we did go on was excellent and the guide was amazing. We only managed to eat dinner in the restaurant twice, eating 'family' style is an interesting experience as it gives other guests the opportunity to share their experiences with you.

Room Tip: Room D gives you stunning views. It has A/C is quiet.
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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.
Belleville, Canada
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 May 7, 2014

My husband and I spent three amazing days at La Paloma in March of this year. As is obvious from photos, the grounds of La Paloma are stunning. We were fortunate to have a corner room which viewed both the ocean expanse and the tropical forest. The rooms are surrounded by windows and a patio door which open, so we had the fascinating experience of awakening to the howlers and a myriad of insect and birds sounds! We were able to see many varieties of the birds that inhabit the Osa Penninsula without leaving the lodge and were so excited to have a visit from the capuchins one morning! Our room was immaculate, comfortable and equipped with air conditioning that we found useful on one of the particularly hot and humid nights.

The staff at La Paloma were incredible. Regardless of their job title, they were all extremely pleasant, able to converse in English and eager to help in any way they could. They all seem to be working together toward a common goal—to provide a perfect stay for their guests. We had a bit of an unexpected health issue while there, and they could not have been more obliging. Jess is simply phenomenal in her capacity as manager! Randall, our guide for both the Mangrove Tour and Corcovado, was exceptional, brimming with knowledge and enthusiasm. Who knew that spotting a Tapir, a sleeping snake in a tree or a croc who had captured a shark could be so exciting?!!! He was also conscious at all times of his group, aware of anyone who was lagging behind and always warning of potential dangers we might encounter. Although we did not have the opportunity to meet Andrea, La Paloma’s office manager, she was delightful to communicate with in preparation for our trip, offering helpful suggestions and responding quickly to questions we had. She is definitely an asset to La Paloma as the first point of contact for guests!

The quality and quantity of food throughout our stay was outstanding. The flavours were fresh and varied; the food prepared daily in-house. In addition to regular mealtimes, there were juices and snacks available in the dining area each afternoon. The day we ventured to Corcovado National Park, we were told that a ‘picnic’ would be provided. As we arrived at our lunch spot in the park, Randall suddenly produced a lavish spread of meats, cheeses, interesting salads, bread, drinks and dessert, all atop a table cloth covering the picnic table—a classy touch in the wild! From what we heard, the staff are happy to make menu adjustments for those who have any food allergies/restrictions. We were given evening-dinner choices each morning, usually a meat and fish option and always a vegetarian alternative. The family-style-dining concept works very well for the evening meal at La Paloma, providing the opportunity for interesting conversations with guests from around the world. The added touches of candle light, table linens and dinner formally served to the tables creates a relaxing but casual atmosphere after trekking all day.

One of the most impressive attributes of La Paloma is their superb organization, whether it be with the boats leaving for tours, the boats collecting and delivering guests to Sierpe or to the Drake Bay air strip, the tours themselves or the timing of meals to accommodate departures, arrivals, etc. The staff ensures every guest knows the night before a tour when and where they are going, what they need to take with them and what will be provided. It is a remote area and all this information and timing is crucial. The La Paloma boat captains don’t just drop you off on the next beach or point you in the right direction, but rather they ensure you and your belongings are safely on your next leg of the journey before they bid you farewell. As a traveller who speaks only a few words of Spanish, to feel confident you are in the correct vehicle, headed in the right direction and will arrive at the next destination on time is priceless. Communication among the staff is excellent, both on the grounds and off site, and this ensures everything happens like clockwork.

For those travellers who want outstanding service, luxurious relaxation, outdoor adventure, and to be surrounded by the most beautiful, lush foliage and the amazing sights and sounds of abundant jungle wildlife, La Paloma should definitely be your destination of choice!

  • Stayed March 2014, 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
La_Paloma_Lodge, Manager at La Paloma Lodge, responded to this review, May 10, 2014
What a wonderful review. We are all so delighted to receive such positive feedback. It is this level of enjoyment. that we strive to achieve for each and every guest here at La Paloma.

We hope to see you again in the future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2014

Our family stayed at La Paloma Lodge for Spring Break, which included our two teenagers. It was a great adventure! We loved the Rancho and the grounds were beautiful and wild. It was amazing to see wildlife out our window, and we had a few small encounters with wildlife inside our window! I would caution anyone who has a fear of bugs or small creatures that this may not be the resort for you, but if you have ever been camping, and enjoy it, then this would definitely be "glamping"! The thing that we loved best about La Paloma was the peace and quiet. It was wonderful to be away from the world in such an exquisite environment. We went on several tours, which were all excellent, Sirena Station Corovado hike, Cano Island Snoikeling, Bug Lady Night Hike, and Mangrove Tour. The animals we saw were amazing. Both of our guides, Randall and Manuel, where so knowledgeable, and were excited to share the animals and the Costa Rican culture with us. We also found the food at the lodge to be excellent. Everything was so fresh and was grown locally. The staff was welcoming and friendly. A trip to Costa Rica must include the Oso Pennisula and La Paloma Lodge.

  • Stayed March 2014, 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.
La_Paloma_Lodge, Manager at La Paloma Lodge, responded to this review, May 4, 2014
La Paloma Lodge and the Osa Peninsula have a lot of wildlife to offer in a safe and comfortable environment.

It was pleasure to have shared your jungle adventure with you and your family. We look forward to seeing you again!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richboro, Pennsylvania
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2014

La Paloma Lodge was the perfect fit for our family. Our 11 year old daughter and 10 year old son had a non-stop adventure. It was exactly as advertised. The lodge was situated on a beautiful hillside overlooking the ocean with magnificent views and abundant wildlife all around. We stayed in rancho 3 and loved the toucans and other birdlife that visited the nearby tree daily. I felt very comfortable allowing my children to roam the property with their new found friends in search of wildlife.

As stated in a previous review, there is insect life in the cabins. This did not bother us as it was to be expected and our children handled it well. It sis definitely important to store away anything that the monkeys might be attracted to. There was a capuchin in our room the first day and I doubt it was the only one to visit.

The only negative was the capuchins that have settled in at the resort. They visited our room and the restaurant area looking for food. This is simply the reality of providing a beautiful habitat for wildlife.

As for the dining, La Paloma did offer two choices at every meal. Often it was a fish option or beef/chicken. My daughter is a vegetarian and a vegetarian option was offered if requested. They were also willing to prepare pasta or a grilled cheese if requested.

The tours were all wonderful. We did both San Pedrillo and Sirena ranger stations hikes, the snorkel trip to Cano Island, the night hike with Tracy and the Mangrove tour. It was a very busy week and it would have been nice if one tour left later, but it was our choice to pack our week with activities.

Jess, the guides (Randall, Walter and Manuel) and all of the staff went out of their way to make us all feel welcome. Thank you for such a wonderful vacation on the Osa Peninsula!

Room Tip: We loved Rancho 3. Close to lodge and excellent view of ocean.
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  • Stayed April 2014, 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.
La_Paloma_Lodge, Manager at La Paloma Lodge, responded to this review, May 4, 2014
Thank you for your review of La Paloma Lodge.

We're delighted to hear that you enjoyed the wildlife that La Paloma Lodge and the Osa Peninsula have to offer (including the insects :)).

We hope to see you again in the future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Socorro, New Mexico
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2014

Staying at La Paloma Lodge was an unexpected treat for a 68-year-old woman traveling alone to the jungles of Costa Rica. A vegetarian no less. My transition from the San Jose Airport to the adjacent Sansa Airline that carried about a dozen of us passengers to Drake Bay was easy. The flight over the mountains and coastline was spectacular. I was greeted by La Paloma Lodge staff that carried my luggage, assisted me onto the boat. Informed ahead of time that I was a vegetarian, a lunch awaited my arrival. Throughout my four-day stay, I was served excellent vegetarian meals, recipes I have tried since I returned home. The lodge’s beauty is unsurpassed with birds and flowers just outside my deck. The dining area in the lodge is very hospitable and as a lone traveler it was welcoming to join the other guests in talking about our daily adventures. When I wanted time alone, I spent it at the swimming pool or at the beach nearby. When I indicated I was walking down to the beach, the staff made sure someone brought me a chair. The service was incredible. During the walking tours and the snorkel trip, I never felt out of place as a lone women traveler. It is family friendly vacation site that I only hope to return to soon.

  • Stayed December 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
La_Paloma_Lodge, Manager at La Paloma Lodge, responded to this review, May 4, 2014
I'm so glad that you enjoyed your stay with us at La Paloma Lodge.

We strive to meet the individual needs of all of our guests and ensure a comfortable setting for a jungle experience.

We hope to see you again here in Drake Bay.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Drake Bay
#3 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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