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“Paradise Found in the Osa Peninsula, Costa rica” 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
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Paradise Found in the Osa Peninsula, Costa rica”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2009

My husband and I (we are in our late 20s / early 30s) just got back from a five day stay at the fabulous La Paloma.... The resort offers Ritz Carlton service (they never say "no" to any request) with the perfect mixture of relaxation on amazing beaches mixed in with snorkeling trips to a nearby island and hikes through the nearby Corcovado jungle, where we spotted several different kinds of monkeys, scarlet macaws and several other types of mammals (a family that was there while we were even saw two pumas). Nicole, La Paloma's manager, is totally accomodating, organized and extremely personable. In fact all the staff have these same qualities, and the nature guides, especially Randall, are extremely knowledgeable not only about the wildlife, but local customs and are just fun to be around. We booked pretty late for December (that is the busiest month) so we had to switch rooms a few times during - but they made it nearly seamless to us by moving our luggage for us, plus we were able to experience the different types of lodging there - if you are a family or two couples, book Villa #1 ... amazing 180 degree views of Drake Bay and scarlet macaws and white faced monkeys right outside of our window. This is "good living" right in the nearly untouched wilderness of the Osa Peninsula. One last thing to add - the other visitors to La Paloma are great and we really connected with a few of the families who stayed there. Plus, they only have 7 villas/rooms - that, combined with the family style dining makes it really feel like you are at home, but in the jungle of Costa Rica.

Just one last comment to add - I never usually add reviews on these types of websites - but La Paloma inspired me and I highly recommend it to anyone considering visiting Costa Rica.

  • Liked — The amazing service.
  • Disliked — NA
  • Stayed December 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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309 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 (73)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
South Riding, Virginia
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2008

My family (wife, two children ages 11 and 14) enjoyed our five night stay at La Paloma lodge at the end of July. Although we enjoyed it greatly, we were happy to leave at the end of our stay (heat and humidity).

It takes about three nights to get into the routine and feel as if you have some familiarity with the area. There is enough to do to make the time go by fast and three nights wouldn't do it justice.
If you are like me, you are somewhat worried about rain ruining your trip, so, I describe how much we encountered each day below.

1. Arrive during sunny skies, kayak the river (not the best because you can only go so far upriver before the current is too strong to paddle against), visited beach, waves were rough, so, we didn't go in. Rained from about 1:30 to 5:30 pm. While it rained, we sat in Ranchero and watched howler monkeys forage in the trees. Picture of one is provided. The monkeys made the rain shower become not an issue at all.

2. It rained from 7am until about 11 am. Started out deep sea fishing but turned around after 1.5 hours because of the rain. Captain did not charge us. Kids went horseback riding that afternoon and enjoyed it. Went for walk on trail along coastline. Entertaining, saw variety of wildlife along the way (macaws, monkeys, coatis, etc). Was able to watch flock of toucans later in afternoon from ranchero. Kids also enjoyed the pool and the wildlife visible from it (monkeys, lizards).

3. Deep-sea fishing. Captain and mate were excellent. Did both trolling and bottom fishing. Caught Yellowfin tuna, pargo snapper, rainbow runners, mexican bonito, mullet snapper, triggerfish, and spanish mackerel. La Paloma served the tuna sashimi style and california roll style for two days. Served pargo snapper for dinner another night. It rained over land during the day for two hours (12 - 2) but at sea it was sunny and did not rain. Later that evening it poured from about 6-7pm.

4. Hiking at Corcovado's Sirena ranger station. This costs $105/person including $10 tip. Once you travel there you understand why it costs so much. You travel by boat to the station and make a beach landing. Wow. Crazy stuff. The captain guides the boat along the crest of waves as you get closer to shore and it is exciting. Leaving the beach is just as harrowing. Wouldn't want to do it on a rough day. This time of year we didn't see more than ten other people along the trails which was nice. We only caught a brief spritzing of rain for a short period during our hike. That evening it poured from about 6-8:30 pm. Our night tour was cancelled it was raining so much. Also stopped by the beach again and was able to swim because the waves weren't so rough. Still a little nerve-wracking with my 11 year old.

5. Snorkeling at Cano Island and whale watching there and back. This was fun. Snorkeling wasn't as good as many places in the Caribbean but if you enjoy snorkeling it isn't bad. Also, the beach at Cano Island was fun to swim at and safe. Was able to see humpback whales - females with calves. Didn't rain until 6 pm. It stopped by 7 pm or so and we got to do the night tour. The night tour was fun.

So, it rained everyday, not the whole day, and on some of those days it did result in cancelled tours.

Very nice, only a couple folks speak English thoroughly. So, knowing rudimentary Spanish helps a great deal in talking to others.

I thought it was all very good.

Very nice and roomy. Two floors was great. Kids loved the hammock. I enjoyed watching variety of wildlife from large window. Beware, bed linens are damp due to the humidity.

Four things to keep in mind:
1. Corcovado National Park is NOT just around the corner.
2. As someone else posted, things do not get dry on the Osa peninsula. Cotton clothes absorb moisture from the air and get damp even if not worn. If you have cotton, pack the clothes in plastic zip-loc bags. Otherwise, nylon clothes are best and even these will stay damp once wet but not anywhere near as bad as cotton.
3. It gets dark around six pm. There aren't many lights and those that are on may attract bugs. Thus, bedtime seems to be just after 8:00 or so.
4. It is hot and humid. If your local zoo has a walk-in tropical exhibit, check it out. The Osa peninsula in July will feel just like it. You will perspire just standing. The only relief is if you go for a swim, shower, or between 4-7am when the weather is cooler.

  • Stayed July 2008, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kathmandu, Nepal
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2008

Hard to isolate what we enjoyed most about our recent 4 night stay here. Staff were friendly and helpful and the food was mostly good (a few dishes seemed overly salty). Evenings were spent sitting with other guests at long tables sharing stories and enjoying the 4 course dinners - including a fresh catch of the day option and a vegetarian choice. Snacks were always laid out at the bar upon your return from any excursion and again at happy hour.
The swimming pool was disappointing - small, cold (shaded) and almost tucked away but as the hotel has a beach 5 minutes walk with good waves for boogie boarding, our 11 and 13 year old daughters were not bothered by the pool's shortcomings.
Our 2 bedroom villa with its view of the ocean on one side and the jungle on the other was not overly luxurious but clean, comfortable and airey. The shower wall stops about shoulder height and there;s nothing between you and the jungle garden. A few times I found myself being observed by a curious toucan! Early mornings, as one other reviewer noted, can be noisy: howler monkeys dont wait for the dawn to begin their raucous barking, scarlet mcaws are squawking and the tink frogs are calling. You have to learn to wake with the calls of the jungle and just go to bed early!
During the rainy season (or green season as it is euphemistically called) (roughly May to November) the place has a dampness about it - it was hard to dry swim wear or hiking shoes but the staff were helpful carting loads of wet clothes to the generator room overnight. Expect rain most afternoons but only for a couple of hours and you can certainly while that time away on a hammock with a good book and a pair of binoculars.
We chose this season on the recommendation of a biologist friend who said it was ideal for whale watching. And we were not disappointed on that account. En route to the Corcovado National Park by boat, we stopped several times as Randall, the guide, pointed out humpbacks breaking the surface of the sea. This season the whales are migrants from the Antartic and are mostly mothers looking for warmer waters to give birth and raise their newborn calves who don't have the blubber to survive the Antartic waters. At one point we were close to a mother and calf humpback and as we sat patiently waiting, cameras loaded, the mother breached right out of the water 50 metres from us. It was an unbeleivable sight. We also did a whale watching half day tour - we saw some fins and tails coming out of the water but mostly too far away for photo ops. Dolphins were easy to find as they were trailing flocks of sea birds anxious to join in the seafood fest. A few came close to the boat and did their playful leaps and turns.
Tours - recommend the horseback sunset ride along the coves near the hotel. We also did the night bug tour. If you have read about this in the Lonely Planet, your expectations may be too high. It was interesting to see various spiders (and Tracey knows everything you ever wanted to know about them), and even a cat eyed snake hunting the toads in the swimming pool, but I wouldnt rank this as a 'must do' activity.

  • Liked — bird life, animals and fantastic ocean views
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 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.
Thousand Oaks, CA
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2008

My family just returned from Costa Rica. La Paloma Lodge was our highlight. Our children, 10 and 14 loved it. We felt in tune with the environment, people and the wildlife. It is what a trip to Costa Rica should be. The whole experience at La Paloma was very hospitable and gracious. We enjoyed a canopy tour through secondary and primary rainforest. The trip to Cano Island and the park were wonderful. Randall was the best guide we had in Costa Rica. Sanda took great care of us and led us through the snorkle trip. We enjoyed the horse ride eventhough it rained part way through. It made it exciting. Our guide was very kind and the horses are expert. We love the balance between tourism, environment, and villagers. I truly hope that development doesn't cause harm.

Be ready for rugged exploration and feel confident that they will take care of you.

  • Stayed July 2008, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2008

My girlfriend and I stayed here for 5 nights and it was the highlight of our trip to Costa Rica. It was green season, so there was rain on occasion, but even better was that nothing was busy and the beaches were empty!
As mentioned, the trip to Drake Bay is interesting, although it was our third NatureAir flight so we'd gotten used to the small planes. The washed out roads and such just added to the ambience.
Upon arrival by boat, we were greeted by Nicole at the dock who walked us up the hill and showed us around. We had our first of many delcious meals before we started planning what we'd do while we were there.
A short aside, they will ask you if you have any special meal requirements and seemed able to cater to vegetarians, allergies, etc.
We got the deluxe diving package, which gave us our own rancho (and two days of scuba diving). So amazing. Two floors, each with a queen bed and bathroom. Beautiful ocean view. Occasional visits by howlers and capuchins, agoutis and coatis. A hammock on the deck for relaxing. I could have spent all five days in this rancho. It also had a small refrigerator (that they can stock with beer or wine for you, if desired).
Sleeping was interesting! Between the cicadas and the tink frogs, the night is louder than the day. We didn't mind the noise and actually found it soothing. The heat and humidity can be challenging. The fans go off at 10 or 11PM so they can turn off the generators. It's best to just open up your windows and try to let in a breeze. The bugs were nearly nonexistent, although I suppose it is season dependent. We used the mosquito net, anyway, because we just felt better using it (especially after the bug lady tour!). Other people there did not use it and had no trouble with bugs.
The meals were all top notch. There were always many options for breakfast, and it came with fresh orange juice and fruit. Lunch always had two nice options (usually a salad or a rice dish), plus fruit and juice. There is a snack available midafternoon. They ask you early in the day to pick between a couple options for dinner. Every dinner was so delicious (filet mignon vs. shrimp scampi, for example). Always start with an appetizer while enjoying the sunset, and then you are seated for soup. I was a bit reluctant about having to eat at the same table as the other guests, but we actually really enjoyed it in the end. The other guests were all very friendly, some couples, some families. It was nice chatting about what they'd done already and hear advice on what activities to do.
The pool is nice, with a nice view from the pool area. It's not very big, but was very handy for some instant refreshment after taking a hike.
The first night we did the sunset beach horseback ride. Our guide did not speak english, but seemed friendly. You lead and he follows, which made me a little apprehensive at first since you are on narrow muddy paths. There are occasional trees blocking the paths but the horses were able to handle everything nicely. Riding on the beach was neat, although my horse was scared of water, but I didn't mind and I enjoyed the challenge of trying to steer the horse. We rode to a point along the shore and hopped off for a short break to play with some capuchins eating a coconut before heading back.
We also did two days of scuba diving at Cano Island. All the scuba guides were friendly and knowledgeable. The gear was top notch, and the boat crew practically dressed us while we were seated. The dive sites were beautiful and we saw huge schools of fish, white tipped sharks, rays...
One day we went to Corcovado National Park with Randall, a guide at La Paloma. He seemed very passionate about nature and made the whole experience that much more enjoyable. We saw spider monkeys, howlers, capuchins, scarlet macaws, a curasow, a fer-de-lance and a ton of other wildlife. Very good day. You hike for a few hours in the morning, have lunch at the ranger station, and then hike to a waterfall for a swim.
We took one day to just relax and explore around the hotel. You could actually spend the whole week exploring the area. There are kayaks for guests to use to explore the nearby river. Definately worth doing to at least get a closeup pic of a 7ft caiman. Also, there are boogie boards for use on the beaches.
Regarding the beaches, to get to the beach it is a 5 minute walk from the hotel. It's worth it, and once there you have many beautiful beaches to choose from. Some good snorkeling can be done right off the shore, although there are scattered rocks to look out for.
The town of Drake Bay is a short walk from the hotel, and would probably have been neat to visit if we'd had time. Some other guests we'd talked to enjoyed walking through town.
I really enjoyed my time in Drake Bay. The area is the perfect blend of seclusion and nature. I'm saddened that there are plans for development in the area in the future, and I hope I can make it back before that happens. There were a few other hotel/lodges in the vicinity of ours. They did not look as nice aesthetically, but I'm sure you can have many of the same experiences there. If you can afford it, I highly recommend La Paloma.

  • Liked — The ranchos!
  • Disliked — This place is heaven. No complaints.
  • Stayed June 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)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Savannah, Georgia
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2008

My wife and I are in our late 40's and well traveled. This is our 25th anniversary trip which began at La Paloma and we could not be any happier that we did. As mentioned in other reviews, the arrival is adventurous as you arrive by small plane on an unpaved runway with essentially little more than a lean two as an airport. This is followed by an SUV ride over a very bumpy road to a wet departure on a small boat to La Paloma's dock area. Nicole, Emilio, Nancy and other staff make you feel right at home, very cared for and show a great willingness and desire to make your trip memorable. We loved the casual friendly atmosphere, wonderful fresh food, the Corcovado tour with Randall, great snorkeling off Cano with Gustavio and did take the bug lady tour at night - the only tour we would not gladly do again. During our stay, we saw Macaws, a Three Toed Sloth, many hummingbirds, many rare birds, Leaf Cutter Ants, three types of monkeys, unbelievable first growth rainforest, natural waterfalls, and much more. Two things to keep in mind – although it has one, La Paloma is not a beach destination and we did not visit for that reason and, there are no screens on the rooms. Bring a flashlight or small reading light so that at night you don't have to turn on the bug-attracting room lights. After the first night, we learned and began using our flash lights. We didn't have any further issue thereafter. The screenless, open air view to the trees and ocean is a magnificent thing to enjoy. La Paloma is a wonderful, relaxing oasis away from large, packaged resorts with little personality - La Paloma has wonderful charm, personality and more! We had a wonderful time and would highly recommend it.

  • Liked — Wonderful, first class and very real exposure to the ocean and rainforest of SW
  • Stayed June 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Northern MI
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2008

My family (myself, my husband, and two daughters, 11 and 13) just returned from La Paloma and had a fabulous time. It is a real adventure getting there (small plane, bumpy roads, and a boat), but well worth it. The staff is absolutely outstanding and made us very comfortable in the rain forest. We loved the food, the Corcovado tour (Randall is an awesome guide. He should have his own TV show!), great snorkeling off Cano (not so great off San Josecito, but still a beautiful beach to visit- recently purchased by Mel Gibson), and the "bug lady" night tour. Just a great time all around. Would definitely return!

  • Liked — Lots of adventures, beautiful rainforest
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled with family
    • 4 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
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 On the Beach Hotel in Drake Bay
#2 Family 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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