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“Scarlet Macaws & a Loo with a view.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Cerro Lodge

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Cerro Lodge
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Intermedios Tarcoles | Garabito, Puntarenas, Tarcoles, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Tarcoles
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Scarlet Macaws & a Loo with a view.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2012

We were in the area birdwatching and loved staying at this lodge. Good value out of season and for two nights we had the entire place to ourselves. Lovely staff and very accommodating for early risers with a super breakfast. You can have supper here too and for lunch there is a fantastic Soda at the turnoff on the main road. The cabinas are spacious and the "open air" bathrooms a brilliant touch. Nice pool, gardens and as it's located on a high ridge some pretty views too. You do need a car to get there and about. Carara NP is only a 20 - 30 minute drive away and Tarcoles 10 minutes more.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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157 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 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 (26)
Date | Rating
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English first
paris
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2012

We stayed only 1 night at Cerro Lodge in August and enjoyed our stay there.

+ sides :
- Good location, quiet place and great view.
- Large bungalows (thought the decoration could be improved, and there were 3 beds in ours, which took a lot of space)
- Nice bathroom open on the outside (no roof) which made us part of the wild nature surrounding us (a large iguana was perched on top of the bamboo wall !)
- Discrete and helpful staff (they helped us book our crocodile tour)
- Good breakfeast and dinner (actually, we were not very hungry in the evening, since they serve dinner quite early for us -7:15 pm at the latest- so we asked for a light meal: soup and fruit. They readily complied to our needs and were quite flexible.
- Nice pool and surroundings.

Negative sides ( Not a lot) :
- The only thing is the owner did not talk to us at all although we saw him several times, so we did not feel really the touch of Costa Rican hospitality that we found in most other places during our trip. The service was effective but a bit cold.
- The price : 90$ for one night (bungalow, the other rooms are less expensive) : not so expensive as such, but it was the most expensive night of our trip, we payed less in other places for the same or even better. Of course, the Tarcolès area is expensive I think, and I cannot compare with other hotels nearby. But they should maybe offer lower prices for the green season, since it is not the high season.
- Not really a negative side, but the road is bad to arrive at Cerro Lodge and we missed it the first time (the sign indicating you should turn right comes too late), so the drive to arrive at Cerro Lodge is a bit tiring, but this is often the case in Costa Rica, so you sould be aware of it !

But we enjoyed our stay overall.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Treasure Island
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2012

Don't let their remote location scare you away; this place is amazing. We saw many many Scarlet Macaws during our three-day stay there. It was enchanting.

The rooms were simple, rustic, clean and ample.

Thought we did not get one, they have rooms with private bathrooms that have little outdoor gardens in them. The owner showed us a few of those rooms and... Incredible! One of the most unique hotel features I have ever seen.

The staff is wonderful and friendly. The owner was very kind and offered to pick us up (for a fee) from the location our bus dropped us off near Tarcoles. He sent his employee, but then on the way to the hotel, he called to say hello and sorry that he could not pick us up himself. Very nice and thoughtful gesture.  A great first experience with the lodge.

There was a nice outdoor roofed restaurant with picnic tables for the guests. The swimming pool surrounded all this breathtaking beauty.

Cerro Lodge is the kind of place that cannot accurately be described with words. No way. You will forget all you have read and heard about it when you get there and see it for yourself.

Suggestions for the owner:
Have an outdoor place with comfortable chairs and hammocks where guests can lounge around and chill out all day. Your location is perfect for it.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakland, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2012

We only had a few days left in Costa Rica, and our original plan of going to Corcovado National Park was not going to happen. Still in pursuit of the scarlet macaw, we checked out our alternatives. It turned out that Carara National Park was a great place to see them.

As far as lodging, we wanted to avoid Jaco, and there didn't seem to be many options in Tarcoles. Then I came across Cerro Lodge. I emailed the owner, Federico, who promptly responded to my email. We booked a standard room for three nights.

We didn't have a car, and getting to the lodge seemed a bit tricky, but it actually worked out just fine. The shared shuttle services (Interbus, Greyline, etc.), will not drop you off at Cerro Lodge. We took the shuttle to another hotel, gave Federico our approximate time of arrival, and Marcos from Cerro Lodge was waiting to pick us up when the shuttle dropped us off!

Rosie had dinner ready for us within 30 minutes of our arrival. She was super friendly and accommodated all of our requests. After dinner we retreated to our room, which was clean and had an electric showers that worked well.

Since we arrived after dark, we didn't discover the true magic of this place until the next morning. We woke up at 5 in the morning to go on a walk (turn right out of the property for a picturesque stroll) and discovered how beautiful the lodge was. We must have seen around 50 scarlet macaws over the course of our three days here. Guess how many we saw at Carara National Park? Zero!

I highly recommend this lodge for a couple days of relaxation and bird-watching. We just spent our days walking around, swimming (the pool is cleaned a few times a day, and I recommend going right after since obviously there are going to be bugs), and chilling in the dining area (which has wifi).

Room Tip: The bungalows have super cool bathrooms.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Princeton, MA
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2012

My mother and I spent four wonderful nights here in December 2011. Federico picked us up at the airport as arranged and it was an easy drive to the coast. If you want a fancy, overpriced tourist hotel with air conditioning and lots of organized activity and swarming with guests, this is not the place. If your idea of heaven is a small quiet lodge with tropical birds everywhere you turn, easy transportation to Carara National Park or a mangrove birding trip, friendly and helpful staff, and simple but tasty food, then book a stay at Cerro Lodge. I loved the open air bathrooms with hummingbirds watching as you brushed your teeth. I thought the ceiling fans were more than adequate to keep me cool and comfortable at night. There were black-and-white owls in the trees at night, paraques on the walkway, aracaris on the feeders, and scarlet macaws sailing up and down the valley as we ate our meals. We identified eight species of hummingbirds without leaving the property. Much of the food comes from the farm that shares the site, including milk fresh from the cow for your morning cereal. What's not to love? I will return, and return again!

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chanhassen, Minnesota
Top Contributor
114 reviews 114 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2012

We only got to stay one night here as they were booked up, but we enjoyed it thoroughly.
The young man running the place does a very good job - he's very helpful and hard working - seemed to be there 24/7 from what we could tell.
We visited in January 2012, so it wasn't quite so bad heat-wise, but the lack of cross ventilation is an issue. We pulled the drapes away from the windows which helped, and it cooled down at night enough to sleep well. The outdoor bathroom was fine for us. We didn't feel unduly exposed and it was a pretty neat idea. The down side was that there was no window out that side of the room - contributing to the lack of air flow.
The food was buffet style like other eco lodges. Not great compared to others we had sampled during our trip, but convenient and ok. We liked being able to get our own drinks as needed - writing down our purchase on a notebook which we settled when we left.
The outdoor deck was very nice for bird watchers, and we found some great birds on the small grounds. The pool looked inviting, but we didn't try it. The best parts of a Cerro Lodge stay are the grounds, the staff and the other birders you meet there who are all very helpful. They had no problem keeping our luggage there while we visited the National Park (so it wouldn't be in the car). Got some fabulous pictures of birds during our very short stay there.

I can't imagine a better spot to stay if you're a birder visiting nearby Carara National Park.

Room Tip: Probably want a stand alone room to maximize cross ventilation.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
186 helpful votes 186 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2012

First of all, I apologize for the tardy review. We stayed at Cerros Lodge in late January, 2011. We spent 3 weeks driving Costa Rica, concentrating on the birding areas we had missed on our other 2 visits. Our favorite lodges were the Trogon Lodge, Hacienda Baru, and Cerros...opinions based on the birds, the staff, and the ambiance. We saved Cerros Lodge for last, planning two or three nights, and stayed for 5. Federico Ferraro was extremely accommodating in arranging our stay in spite of some days when it was fully booked already. Gonzalo and all the staff were excellent and did everything to make our stay enjoyable. We had one of the bungalows (#8) and did have cross ventilation. Yes, some of the afternoons very hot, but after a long morning of birding, we were ready to relax in the cool pool, take showers, and lie under the two fans reading and sipping iced tea. We have certainly been in more uncomfortable heat in Costa Rica (further south in Manual Antonio, for example). We did not miss airconditioning; nor did we have it in any of the eco-lodges we stayed in during the 3 weeks. The elements which make Cerros Lodge so special are the beautifully landscaped grounds, the staff, the guests all sharing birding experiences, the food, the reasonable rates, the well-decorated and comfortable stand-alone bungalows, and those outdoor showers with garden filled with heliconias. Where else can you sit on a toilet and watch a hummingbird flitting among the flowers right beside you? We never saw scorpions or other insects; nor did we ever have any bites. We did enjoy a visit from a little frog on the shower curtain one morning. We had complete privacy, and we never felt anyone could see in the well-enclosed bathroom/garden. I think the connected rooms would not be as comfortable or private, however. We enjoyed some amazing birds in close proximity at the lodge every day...Fiery Billed Aracaris, tanagers, wrens, parrots, scarlet macaws, 4 varieties of hummingbirds, motmots were only a few. At dusk and evening we had the ferruginous pigmy and black and white owls. On the road outside the lodge we found many warblers, cuckoos, trogons, euphonias, woodcreepers, woodpeckers. Be sure to get permission from the managers, and go through the watermelon farm at the bottom of the road. Excellent birding in the wooded and riparian areas to the mouth of the Tarcoles. For birders, you can't find a more outstanding location or lodge for the price.

Room Tip: Choose the more private, stand-alone bungalows (more expensive, but worth it), rather than the rooms...
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Cerro Lodge

Address: Intermedios Tarcoles | Garabito, Puntarenas, Tarcoles, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Tarcoles
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Tarcoles
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Also Known As:
Cerro Hotel Tarcoles
Cerro Lodge Costa Rica/Tarcoles

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