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“Pura Vida” 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
13 reviews 13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“Pura Vida”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2009

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: sue_williams3@hotmail.com.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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305 reviews from our community

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  • 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
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2009

Visited La Paloma in april 2009 with my girlfriend , we have stayed in other places in costa rica before but never in the Osa , i wanted to stay somewhere that was secluded , but was nice ( my camping days are over )i wanted to be able to see wildlife without having to search it out, i wanted to have good food and a clean room , i also had to convince my girlfriend to go to this area due to it's remoteness, if this sounds like i am picky ...... i am , but La Paloma came through ,everything about this place was awesome the location was perfect , the staff Nichol, Randall our guide for two excursions, and everyone else were very down to earth and made you feel welcome and comfortable . I didn't know if i would like the dinner arrangements where everyone sits together ,because when i am on vacation i like to just be in my own little world and chill-out, but...everyone was really cool ,we were the youngest couple there i think and got to listen to some really nice people tell of their experiences in costa rica ( they camped out in corcovado national park) and they told us that they try to come back here every year they like it so much , i can see why . I could go on and on about seeing McCaws in the almond trees on the beach or how the monkeys came to our open windows every morning , or how toucans would land in the trees outside our window , or our tour through the mangroves , or those fresh little loaves of bread they served at dinner . La Paloma gave my senses a good workout while my body relaxed for a change .

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2009

The best view of any room we had in Costa Rica, wide windows looking out at nothing but sea. Guides were great and wildlife excellent - we saw sloth, anteater, scarlet macaws, toucans and much else. Food good, staff very efficient. Lovely boat ride into the mangrove swamps.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Elkhart Lake, WI
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2009

Beautiful 2 story bungalows with breathtaking views, great food, and a very friendly staff. We stayed in bungalow #1, and thought it had the best views of a;; the rooms-very private, floor to ceiling doors open to the ocean. It is a very remote resort-jungle-like, my daughter was afraid of the bugs, but loved the monkeys playing in the trees all around us. No tvs-just family time, very relaxing-went snorkeling, nature hikes, swimming....

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Chicago, Illinois
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2009

La Paloma Lodge exceeded all expectations. In addition to truly wonderful food, a beautiful setting, and terrific rooms, the staff couldn't have been more helpful. My two young adult sons, my husband and I were in the middle of the jungle while our luggage - swim suits, hiking shoes, etc - were stranded in Dallas. Nicole of La Paloma gave me her hiking shoes, found bathing suits and was even able to locate size 12 shoes for my son. The guides are quite knowledgeable and clearly enjoy their work. I look forward to returning to this slice of heaven.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2009

My wife and I have both been to to Costa Rica a few times and Drake Bay / Corcavado National Reserve is by far the most beautiful place we have seen. You can take a boat in from Sierpe or drive from Rincon (the drive is not that serious and it is beautiful scenery along the way). We stumbled across La Paloma while hiking around and decided to splurge for a few nights (we had been staying in $40-50 a night cabinas). There are a few resorts / lodges in the immediate area including some great tent camping sites. After checking them out, La Paloma stood head and shoulders above the rest based on its location and quality. For a reasonable price that included 3 excellent meals a day we stayed in a 2 story, free standing, open air lodge with windows all around and a massive porch (with a hammock). From the porch we saw monkeys, sloths, toucans, and macaws. La Paloma served as a great starting point for day hikes in the jungle - some of the most amazing scenery we have seen (think Jurassic Park). The staff at La Paloma were very helpful and kind. If you are looking for the lap of luxury this may not be your cup of tea. If you want beauty, good food, comfortable amenities, and are interested in seeing the jungle by boat, kayak, and hiking, La Paloma is the spot.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2009

I have the good fortune of having been to La Paloma many times--with groups, with family and friends, and on my own. It is a very special place that always calls me to return. The staff is always incredibly warm and welcoming and will do whatever possible to be helpful...right down to drying one's shoes overnight by the generator (this is a real plus as nothing ever really dries on its own on the Osa!); morning wake up knocks, freshly brewed coffee, home baked bread and muffins; arranging for the guide and boat to depart for Corcovado an hour early because the guests want to see the sun rise and get a super early start in the park, etc. etc. La Paloma attracts interesting and engaging guests; it's great to compare notes about one's day or one's life with others before and during the delicious family style dinners. Sometimes these acquaintances are delightful friendships of the moment; however, on more than one occasion, these friendships have blossomed and continue long beyond the shared time at the Lodge.

All the rooms and ranchos at La Paloma are spacious and lovely. They are not lavish yet they are appropriately elegant and in harmony with the surrounding environment. Each has a porch and hammock with beautiful views of the ocean, trees, flowers, and plants, and the bird and animal viewing is spectacular. And, I never tire of sitting on the porch in front of the dining area to watch one of the beautiful sunsets; they are the best. Relaxing, and completely "unplugging" at La Paloma is easy and a true joy. Given the intense and ultra fast paced world in which we live and work these days, unwinding at La Paloma is the best.

My absolute #1 favorite activity while at La Paloma is going to Corcovado National Park. I never tire of my time there and always see and learn new things from the great La Paloma guides. I also love the mangrove boat tours. The staff at La Paloma, particularly Nichole, the long-time manager, provides a wealth of information and creative ideas about what one can take advantage of while at the Lodge and also in other parts of Costa Rica. In fact, it was Nichole who introduced me to the indigenous community of Boruca where I took a whole group of people to see their village, learn about their customs and traditions, and see the Borucans carve and paint their extraordinary masks and weave their beautiful textiles. It was a highlight of the group's trip.

La Paloma is for my family and for me, but it is not for everyone. For instance, there is no air conditioning (although there are great ceiling fans), no telephones in the rooms, and while wildlife abounds, it is not a zoo! That said, there is an extraordinary amount to see, hear and experience as long as one's eyes, ears and mind are open. Come with the right attitude and outlook, and you will not be disappointed. I encourage everyone who is thinking about La Paloma to review the lodge information carefully, peruse the Trip Advisor reviews and feel comfortable that it's a good fit. If you decide it sounds right for you, then take the first chance you can to go and experience this little "slice of paradise". It's the best.

  • Stayed July 2009
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
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 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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