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.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.