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“Wow, this is paradise” 5 of 5 stars
Review of La Carolina Lodge

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La Carolina Lodge
San Miguel | Bijagua, Bijagua de Upala, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Beaver Cove
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Wow, this is paradise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

We stayed for 5 days at LaCarolina Lodge, it was great!! The food was fantastic and seemed never ending. Everything is grown or produced right on the property. The trail riding and walking is just amazing. Our days there were so peaceful. Swimming in the river then in the wood fired hot tub was great. The staff is very attentive to your needs and the owners are super people. The ranch is almost totally off the grid, so dining is by candle light, but very romantic. This is the place to go and relax, nothing finer !!

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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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190 people have reviewed this hotel

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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
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (37)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Avon, CT
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

The road is tricky and slow. You may be tired from a long trip but from the moment you step out of your car you hear the river and you feel yourself freed. As others have said it's not luxury but it is definitely Pura Vida. Swimming in the river and looking at the fish with the mask provided by the owners was fun. The wood-fired hot tub soothing, especially in the candlelight. The rooms are rustic which suited the site and us just fine. We had the private cabin on the hill with a separate master bedroom, a private bath and a large second bedroom with two double beds and a single bed for our kids. There was an outdoor table, a hammock and a wrap around porch. Mosquito netting hung over the beds if you felt you needed it. The beds were comfortable, a private shower, toilet and a a shared sink in the main room. If you are looking for luxury, look elsewhere, if you are looking for authenticity stay here. The staff is wonderful and and the owners regard them as family. We went on the horseback ride with Alejandro who is a champion jumper and roper. The horses were extremely well-trained and even the person who had never ridden enjoyed it. They have a beautiful hike on the property that wanders through pastures and jungle alive with exotic birds and some guests spotted monkeys. Alejandro is also the guide for the Rio Celeste trip and even though we did not have our own transportation the lodge arranged it. The food was excellent!!! They grow their own food and even my daughter who rarely eats meat or poultry loved it. My only regret is that we were only there for one night and as we drove away I kept asking myself "Why are we leaving." For me it was my most enjoyable experience in Costa Rica and I loved it everywhere we went! (Pacuare, Arenal, hiked Cerro Chato, Playa Langosta) We will definitely be back.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013

My wife and i stayed here for 2 nights and we loved it. The hike to the waterfalls and Rio Celeste was "dampened" by some serious rain, but that did not stop the Lodge's guide Alejandro and the 10 of us from seeing what we were there to see. (They also offer an afternoon horseback ride, but we passed on that.) All the meals are included and were excellent. Most of the meat, vegetables and fruit comes from their own farm so it is FRESH. In fact, the eggs in the morning were some of the best eggs i have ever eaten -- the yolks were bright yellow.

Try to book the River Cabin if it's available and you're only 2 people.

A couple of things to keep in mind: the staff does not speak much English (but they are very gracious and we managed to get by), the road up to the lodge and from the lodge to the hike is an adventure in itself, and there was no hot water in our cabin for the 2 days we were there. If your usual lodging is the Ritz Carlton or 4 Seasons, Le Carolina Lodge is probably not for you, but if you are willing to go a little off-the-beaten-path you should definitely spend a couple of nights here.

  • Stayed December 2012, 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
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Owings Mills, Maryland
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

My stay at La Carolina Lodge was the experience of a lifetime. We went as a group of four friends and stayed for three nights split in two cabins. The property was absolutely gorgeous! There was so much wildlife on the property that you can catch a photo opportunity of almost every Costa Rican animal you wish.

Going to Rio Celeste with Alejandro is a wonderful experience. The climb down to the waterfall is grueling, but worth it. Definitely wear the right clothes. Alejandro is quite patient.

The food at La Carolina Lodge was quite delicious. On our first night we had pork, which came from their pig farm, and it was the best pork I had ever eaten in my entire life. I dream about the pork to this day.

The service is fantastic. The owners are quite hospitable and have a really nice bunch of children who are both polite and fun to play with.

The horses are beautiful and the trails are quite interesting. Overall, La Carolina Lodge is one of the best experiences I've ever had. I wish I'd stayed there in the middle of my trip to Costa Rica. I think at the start, I was still unwinding from work and at the end I was anxious about going back to work. So, it probably only would have been a better stay if I could have forgotten about work completely.

Room Tip: If you are a large group, stay at the main lodge, but for groups of 4 or less, stay at one of the ca...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Flora, Mississippi
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2012

We have just returned from a 3 night stay at La Carolina Lodge. We happened on this place from a recommendation while on the road just touring around the country. We had no reservation, but were heartily welcomed and pleasantly surprised at the warmth of the staff. The owners were not in residence, so Alejandro placed us in the casita at the river's edge, which is very quaint and secluded. This is a working ranch with lots of available activities to participate in, if you want. But the bird watching alone is worth the trip. Everything is included for a per person price, so there are no surprises. The food is excellent and plentiful; all cooked on a wood stove! The outdoor areas are lit at night by candles, and the scene is perfectly lovely. We are already talking about a return trip. Please note, it is very rustic, so don't expect any luxury. But be prepared for the utmost in hospitality. The horses are excellent specimens and well trained also.

Room Tip: There is a casita with it's own wood fired hot tub, which we would choose for our next stay. The...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2012

I visited la Carolina Lodge for 10 days in the context of a wedding.
The owners and the staff were extremely welcoming and accommodating.
The place is beautiful and I had a very relaxing stay.
I definitively highly recommend it!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Chicago, Illinois
Reviewer
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 November 13, 2012

Our stay at La Carolina prompted me to sign up on TripAdvisor so I could tell others what an incredible place it is. My friend and I just returned from our yearly Central America trip (her third, my fourth). Between us, we've stayed at nearly 20 hostels, hotels or lodges in CA - and almost immediately upon arrival, La Carolina shot to the top of the list.

We were given the cabin on the side of the road leading to the main lodge - spacious & clean, with bed nets, screened windows and doors, and a front and back deck - the back deck featuring a hammock, rocking chairs, small table and our very own wood-fired hot tub. But the cabin - hot tub or no - wasn't the highlight of our stay. La Carolina's incredible staff, delicious food, and lovely grounds really made our stay special. We ate fresh eggs and fruit from the farm, rode horses around the property, and sat for what must have been hours watching toucans and bright songbirds at the bird feeder by the lodge. It rained nearly the whole time we were there, but who cares? All of the porches, hot tubs, and the communal fireplace are covered, so we relaxed, chatted with our fellow travelers, and enjoyed being in the middle of nowhere. My only regret is that we could only stay two nights.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.

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Additional Information about La Carolina Lodge

Address: San Miguel | Bijagua, Bijagua de Upala, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Bijagua de Upala
Amenities:
Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 hotels in Bijagua de Upala
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Also Known As:
La Carolina Hotel Province Of Guanacaste
Hotel La Carolina
La Carolina Lodge Costa Rica/Bijagua De Upala

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