Pura Vida, literally translated means Pure Life but also means something approximate to Full of Life, Purified life, This is living! My husband and I had an amazing 4-night stay at La Paloma (March 2009). The weather was perfect, there was no rain, it was not too hot, and the ocean was unbelievably warm.
Drake Bay is surprisingly developed, to us anyway. There is the small village but also a multitude of resorts. Once we arrived at La Paloma itself though the resort felt absolutely secluded.
The flight into Drake Bay is particularly scenic. We flew in a 4-seat propeller plane from Manuel Antonio. It was an exciting adventure by itself! The plane landed on a dirt runway with a small building alongside, but not much else.
We were picked up in a van and driven to the village where a small boat from La Paloma was waiting for us (we did have to wade in the water to get on the boat). The boat ride was very short, maybe 5-10 minutes. The boat takes you to La Paloma’s dock area. Steps lead up to the path/road to the resort. The climb from the dock to the resort is decidedly steep.
We stayed in Rancho 6. Ranchos 6 and 7 are located the furthest from the main buildings, closest to the beach, and down a long, long flight of stairs. Rancho 6 is a sizeable room with a separate bathroom area and a beautiful balcony with 2 chairs and a hammock. We had a safe, a small refrigerator, a king-sized bed, a single bed, and a sitting area. Did not have any problems with insects even though the windows are not screened. There was a soap, shampoo, and conditioner dispenser in shower.
The ranchos are sited so that you cannot see any other balcony from yours. The Sunset Ranchos must have at least 2 bedrooms and are huge. We did not see a room, but we would consider it for next time since they are less expensive than either of the ranchos.
Corcovado: Just taking the boat from La Paloma to Corcovado was incredible. We saw dolphins leaping out of the water, flocks of sea birds, and flying fish. Once you reach Corcovado you will need to wade ashore. On the hike we saw howler monkeys, scarlet macaws, coatimundis, snakes, lizards, insects, and birds. After lunch we hiked up to a waterfall and swam in a small pool. The cool water felt fantastic after the hike to get there.
The Cano Island Tour: The boat ride out was at least an hour. But, again, along the way we saw dolphins leaping, flocks of sea birds, and a humpback whale and her baby. While snorkeling off the boat we saw a turtle, white-tip reef shark, parrotfish-wrasse-groupers-snapper-triggerfish-chromis-goatfish-durgons-pufferfish, and even some coral. Let me just say that the snorkeling was much better than we anticipated. The picnic on Cano Island gives you time to eat, lie in the sun, or swim. We were there on a Sunday and the beach was surprisingly crowded with other groups.
Bug Tour: Conducted on the resort grounds it was very enjoyable and informative. Highlights were the trap-door spider, the net/parachute spider, and some poisonous toads.
Around the Resort: There is a path to a beach a short walk downhill from the resort. The path continues past the beach and goes for miles. So there is quite a bit of walking traffic from the village and other resorts along the dirt road behind La Paloma to reach the path.
To reach San Josecito Beach (has a reputation for good snorkeling) it is a 2.5-hour walk south from the resort along the beach path … or you can be taken in a boat from the resort. We did not snorkel at the resort’s beach or San Josecito; we were too busy looking at the terrestrial wildlife. The beach is a good place to see scarlet macaws in the almond trees.
We enjoyed kayaking along the creek during high tide. We saw lizards, birds, iguanas, and many butterflies. There is a small suspension bridge over the creek to a trail that leads past other resorts and into the village.
You never know when the white-faced Capuchin monkeys will appear. They frequently go to the dining room and kitchen (to try to steal food). We always just missed seeing them during our stay.
Of course, there were also howler monkeys and coatis around the resort grounds. Along with birds, lizards, snakes, and leaf-cutter ants ... we also saw leaf-nesting bats in leaves along the path up from the dock.
Food: Many reviewers have raved about it as 5-star. It was good but not exceptional, in our humble opinion, I would give the food 3-4 stars. The dining room is lovely, table settings attractive and service was good. The bar is in a corner of the dining room. Drink prices were reasonable.
Staff: Nicole is an invaluable resource. If you want to arrange any additional tours or have any problems, she is a treasure. Also remember to ask staff if there is any interesting wildlife on the resort grounds. One of the gardeners took us to see a sloth in a tree behind the kitchen. There is no way we would have seen it if it was not pointed out to us, those sloths are very well camouflaged. It was so important to have guides; otherwise we would have missed many wildlife sightings.
The Osa Peninsula is a beautiful part of the world just teaming with wildlife. If we are fortunate enough to return, we would hire a birding guide for around the resort and village, do some snorkeling at San Josecito, and perhaps spend a few nights at Sirena Ranger Station to see anteaters, tapirs, and even more wildlife. Pura Vida, indeed!
If I can answer any questions my email is: email@example.com.
- 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