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“Unforgettable Experience”

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Laguna del Lagarto Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 2, 2014

A paradise in the middle of nowhere. This is how i would describe the place. I was there on a school trip for 2 nights and it was a relaxing and adventurous experience. After a long “bumpy” ride from Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, we made it to the wonderful Laguna Lagarto Lodge. A perfect location where you can observe birds (toucans, green parrots, oropendulas, humming birds), relax with no Wi-Fi connection or phone service and explore the tropical forest. We got a welcome dance from 2 spider monkeys and we were surprised of the decoration and lovely preparation of the rooms and the dinner table. This is what we would call “exceeding the customers expectations”. Laguna Lagarto is indeed a really nice location I would recommend to any tourist no matter if they were seeking adventure or relaxation. Boca Tapada is a town located in the Northern Plains and Lowlands area of Costa Rica close to the border with Nicaragua. The Laguna Lagarto Lodge has around 20 room with double or triple accommodation and open-air restaurant, reception and different facilities for the tropical forest explorers and for the birdwatchers. Food was delicious, diverse and prepared with local ingredients. Staff extremely friendly. We had indeed a great time.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
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1  Thank ioanabenea15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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37 - 43 of 164 reviews

Reviewed February 20, 2014

In spite of ten previous visits to Costa Rica, I had never seen the Great-green Macaw, and this is the place (for much of the year - none around in a previous September visit)/ We stayed two nights. Comfortable room, average food. A specialty of the area are huge river prawns - you'll have to go into town to get them, but they are good (but not cheap). We came to see the Green Macaws, which were easy in January, but really didn't see much else exciting. This place is very committed to photographers, to the extent that they have very natural looking feeders, but also (in season) a restricted area on the restaurant balcony for only members of a particular photography club. I found this a little off-putting, particularly when I attempted to ask a privileged member how to order a beer, and her response was: this is a private area. There is an extensive trail system, but it was seriously muddy (early "dry" season). They had boots for guests, bit not US 13's. They could easily tame the mud with a little more trail work, but as far as I know the photographers with their immense equipment don't use the trails. When you stay in 10 "bird-lodges" over two weeks, you have so much advice, Oh well. Great palce to take pictures of beautiful birds

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank BobBoca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 8, 2013

I stayed here as part of a group. This was my second visit and I was delighted to be back again. The food is very fresh, with plenty of flavour. In fact I would go back just for the food, never mind the birds. This time I thought the illumination in the rooms had improved and the place now has wi-fi, which works. It was installed 4 weeks before we arrived. The manager and staff are friendly and helpful. It is in a lovely setting with a great viewing deck for the many birds, which arrive in the gardens and at the feeders. A superb place to say and I hope to return.

Room Tip: Just hope you do not have noisy neighbours, who talk too loud or snore as the large window is mesh o...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Moira G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 6, 2013

This lodge is basic, very basic. No hot water except in shower, and there no control of temp., just hot or cold. Rooms are not well lit and not overly large. HOWEVER, WE CAME TO PHOTOGRAPH BIRDS, and the experience was wonderful! Would we come back? Yes, we are planning on it for next year. The staff was attentive to our needs as photographers, the food was good and plentiful, the manager was great, even taking us to his home to photograph more birds in a different setting. Lots of Toucans, honeycreepers, woodpeckers, and many more. The deck was covered, so rain not an issue with our cameras. Nice deck off our room as well. How to rate this place? As a lodge, below average; as a photo op, one of the best!!! Location is in the boonies; weather hot (no A/C) humid. If you want to see a lot of birds, come!

Room Tip: All rooms about the same
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Wotsmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 10, 2013

My wife and I spent 2 nights at Laguna del Lagarto in June 2013. To reach this lodge, you travel to Pital where the paved road ends. Then through lots of agricultural land, and finally, after almost 2 hours on the rough dirt road, you arrive at this lodge.
Our room had a private bath, and a very innovative and effective ventilation system. On one side of the room were places for air to enter near the floor. The roof was sloped up from this side, and on the opposite wall, at the highest point in the room, were more air vent to allow the warmest air to leave. With a single wall-mounted fan, the room was very comfortable for sleeping and relaxing. Also had a balcony overlooking the lagoon, with table, chairs, and a hammock.
At first, we did not have hot water in our shower, but Adolpho, the very warm and friendly manager, got it fixed quickly. And they provided us with some extra towels and a pillow for my wife. The bath was simple but clean.
The food was typical Costa Rican fare, with meat, salad, and vegetables for dinner, sandwich and fresh fruit for lunch, and rice/black beans/fried plantain/fresh fruit for breakfast. There was always coffee, and meal prices included one drink.
There are bird feeder near the dining area, some of them at the same level. Great pictures of parrots, gorgeous tanagers, honeycreepers, etc.
Our biggest reason for coming here was to see birds. This is probably the best place in Costa Rica to find Green Macaws, a seriously endangered species. While we did not see them at the lodge, we saw a pair a short distance away flying with a flock of Scarlet Macaws. Another favorite of mine was the King Vulture, along with an American Pygmy Kingfisher. So small it almost did not look real. And lots more first timers for me.
Our guide, Didier Ortega-Castro, was very knowledgeable about the birds and natural environment, communicated well in English (and knew the English names of birds). He took us on a hike through the property, then on a canoe ride in the lagoon. Felt like we were a million miles from anywhere.
During the afternoon we drove up to the Rio San Juan, which at that point, is the border with Nicaragua. Because the official border is the south bank of the river, I waded in so I could say that I have been in Nicaragua!
Adolpho lives nearby, and his wife has put up some wonderful bird feeders in their yard. Here in a short period of time we saw 8 different hummingbird species, along with many different birds who were attracted to fruit placed in some other feeders. Really enjoyed this.
We recommend this place highly. Amazing environment. Wonderful staff. Comfortable facilities.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank David S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 19, 2013

We stayed at the Lagarto Lodge in October 2010 (4 nights) and again in November 2012 (3 nights). The rooms are clean and spacious. Most rooms come with a hammock and a balcony overlooking the lagoon. The restaurant of the lodge offers delicious Costa Rican food. Especially recommendable is the terrace where you can have breakfast and at the same time observe birds, agoutis and coatis. Beside toucans, oropendolas and hummingbirds the great green macaw is one of the flagship species of the Lagarto Lodge. The staff is very friendly and helpful, knowing a lot about the wildlife around the lodge. On different trails through the private reserve you can explore the rainforest and its wildlife on your own or with one of the experienced guides. On two lagoons you can use canoes for free. A special experience is an evening walk to the lagoon to observe the numerous caimans that will come out of the water when they are fed by Henri who knows them all by name. Boat trips on the Río San Carlos to the Nicaraguan border can be booked at the lodge for a reasonable price. From the boat, crocodiles, iguanas, basilisks, turtles and many bird species can be observed. Lagarto Lodge is surely a place worthwhile to visit more than once.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Stefan D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 6, 2013

Have stayed here twice, once in 2005 and now in June 2013. In 2005 for three weeks, this trip for a week. Both times it was fantastic experience. The birding is outstanding. This lodge provides bird feeders within ten to fifteen feet of the photography deck. The deck is constructed so that you can shoot photos even when the dinning deck is in use. Food was plain, but excellent quality. All the fruits and veggies were locally grown.

If you are on a budget, this is the place to stay. Getting there is long, hard and expensive ... BUT ...well worth the trouble and expense. I will return again and again. I use a cane and walker and they are arranged for the handicaped.

The staff could not be more kind and caring. The guides were knowledgeable and accomidating. By all means take the optional river tour to see crocidiles, caiman and iguanas.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Birdingbaja
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Laguna del Lagarto Lodge

Address: Pital de San Carlos | Pital de San Carlos, Boca Tapada 995-1007, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Boca Tapada
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Boca Tapada
Price Range: $59 - $85 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Laguna del Lagarto Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Come and experience an "Off The Beaten Track" Tropical Rainforest Adventure. Located approximately 150 km from San Jose, we are surrounded by 500 hectares rain forest. The lodge is secluded and cozy with an open-view restaurant. For your enjoyment we offer: canoeing, hiking, horseback riding, boat tours, bird watching/photography and free WiFi. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Laguna Del Lagarto Lodge Costa Rica/Boca Tapada

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