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“Worth the detour”
Review of Tirimbina Lodge

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Tirimbina Lodge
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in La Virgen
GreenLeadersSilver level
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
37 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Worth the detour”
Reviewed December 4, 2011

My friend and I stayed at La Tirimbina Jungle Lodge (room 12) for 2 nights. We'd heard bad things about the capital, San Jose, so decided to detour straight to La Virgen. We did the Chocolate Tour, Bat Program, Self-Guided Walks and had a thoroughly amazing time! I wish we'd stayed longer! I've broken down the review into different areas for fairness:

Staff/service:
All of the staff were super-friendly, enthusiastic and available most of the day! This includes the lovely young lady who took us on the Chocolate Tour and Bat Program (can't remember her name, sorry). They give you a safety brief and map when you go out on the trails by yourself and make you tell someone when you go and come back, so you know they're looking out for you.

Rooms:
The rooms are basic but larger than expected and very clean, with a nice safe for your valuables! Ours (room 12) had 2 beds, a desk, chair, shelves, bug screens on the doors/windows and shower/toilet. There are also a couple of chairs outside for chilling out to the sounds of the forest. Ours was right on the end of the row, right next to the rainforest. The only downside to this room was the night bar, which was also fairly close.

Facilities:
Apart from rooms there's a small shop (where you can buy water, souveniers and DELICIOUS hand-made rainforest chocolate), restaurant, hanging-bridges and about 9km of fantastic trails for you to walk. For such a small operation, there's easily enough to keep you busy for 2-3 days solid!

Food:
Food (breakfast/lunch/dinner) was canteen style but DELICIOUS! This was our first taste of Costa Rican food so rice, beans, salad and plantain were very welcome meals - can't get enough fried plantain! Mmmm. I don't know if they change the menu every other day, but for the price you couldn't ask for more.

Tours:
Tours were fantastic, and the guide was really nice and VERY down-to-earth and knowledgeable. The trails are also VERY good, both in how they're maintained and the wildlife we saw. We saw poison dart frogs, spiders, lizards, beetles, toucans, sloths, everything! The only trail we didn't manage to walk was the longest one, which I imagine would take most of a day to do. Researchers put pink markers where they find poisonous snakes, so it was quite comforting (on our first day ever in a rainforest) to have little warning signs every now and then, rather than unwittingly wandering into snake territory.

The Chocolate tour is a MUST... and once you've done it (and tasted how chocolate should taste) you'll never be able to go back to Cadburys. Stock up on chocolate from the souvenier shop though... this is one of the only places they make it properly!

The Bat Tour was also really interesting. And it was nice to see some of the nights bats up-close and released first-hand.

Location:
La Tirimbina is a little out of the way, but well worth the trip! The ride itself was beautiful... through farms, roads through dense jungle. The actual facility itself is right next to the town of La Virgen, but is bigger than it looks and tucked away from the road. There was no car noise or trouble at all. And, having been to most of the national parks in the Central Highlands now, I can safely say we saw far more unique wildlife here than we did anywhere else. The 'Strawberry' Poison Dart Frogs were a highlight for me :)

Room Tip: Room 12 was right on the end, near the forest.
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
5 Thank PeteLightning
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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155 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
Date | Rating
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English first
Saint Francis, Wisconsin
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 2, 2011

Stayed here 4 nights as a chaperone for a school group. Rooms were clean and comfortable with A/C and ceiling fan. Had a small problem with the safe and they had staff there within 5 minutes to replace it. Other staff were friendly and remembered us daily with the "bartender" waiting for us past his shift to see if we wanted a drink after our night hike. Our guide was extremely informative and knowledgeable. Great location with ziplining, whitewater rafting, pineapple plantation and coffee plantation an easy drive away. Scenery is beautiful and the tours on site were just wonderful. Chocolate tour and night hike are "must do's". Food was good, although limited on choices. I will definitely return here when I come back to Costa Rica for a personal vacation.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank mazurdp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 2, 2011

We went with a school group and the experience was perfect. The rooms are clean and air conditioned. Internet access was a plus. Food is not fancy but very delicious and the open air restaurant is peaceful. The many tours make this a great educational experience for all. Guides are very knowledgeable from the day and night hikes to the, chocolate tour and bat class. We loved the suspension bridge and saw many types of wildlife. We didn't even need to cross the bridge to see sloths in the trees overhead. Amazing experience for all. If you want to see and learn about the rainforest first hand, this is the place to go.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank garciamk6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wisconsin
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed June 30, 2011

It might be considered "simple" to some, but it's nowhere near simple when you take a look at what the Tirimbina Lodge has to offer. The rooms have the basics including air conditioning, WIFI, and fresh towels every day. The food is excellent but the choices can be limiting. There is no tv in the rooms, but who needs it with all the opportunities the Tirimbina Lodge offers its guests. From their unique chocolate tour to an evening night hike in the rainforest. Tirimbina Lodge may not be "flashy", but has much to offer than just a place to sleep and eat. I'd recommend it anyone looking to visit the Sarapiqui region of Costa Rica.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank gravenpj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed June 19, 2011

This was the best place we stayed on our Costa Rican holiday. It's not a luxury hotel (there is no pool or spa or anything like that), but if you're looking for a peaceful, relaxing setting with rain forest a short stroll away from your hotel room, this is the place.

Our room had plenty of space, a good shower and air conditioning. It was clean and well presented. There was a little porch looking out onto the lovely gardens, where you could relax, read, or watch the many birds that visited.

Food was cafeteria style. There was a fairly limited choice but it was very tasty. Also extremely good value: $10 for lunch and $12 for dinner.

The main purpose of staying here is obviously to visit the rain forest. There are a variety of guided walks. We did 3, all excellent. The guides are helpful, enthusiastic and well informed. From the hotel, it's just a few yards to the hanging bridges that span the fairly wide river to give access to the rain forest (you need to be able to handle bridges that sway a bit, but they are quite safe!).

The hotel staff are also friendly and helpful.

Add to all this the fact that your visit is helping to fund the other activities of the centre, such as research and educational visits for local schoolchildren and you have the perfect place to stay.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
4 Thank happyholiday41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
133 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 130 helpful votes
Reviewed June 2, 2011

We stayed here quite by accident! We were NOT disappointed! WILDLIFE EVERYWHERE .... walks and more walks! Spacious accommodation with HOT showers!
Lots of guided walks (including a night walk) were available! Our guide Daniel was sooooo informative and patient whilst we took photos!
The food was great! There were no crowds! The education that this centre provides is astounding!
Well Done!!!

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank SharonForest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ra'anana, Israel
Level Contributor
82 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
Reviewed May 9, 2011

Many places in Costa Rica offer birding or rainforest tours. This is the only place I found where you can also learn about bats or about the origin of chocolate. We took both programs and they were very interesting.
Found this place as I was looking for a place to make a short stop on the drive from Tortuguero (La povana) to Arenal. Turns out there is so much to do there, it is worth stopping for the night.
We arrived in the afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful the grounds are. So many types of flowers.
We took a self-guided tour of their private reserve. The trail includes long HANGING BRIDGES, beautiful forest with lots of wild life. Tour of the reserve is free for hotel guests.
They offer several programs in the evening (7:30pm). We took the bat program. It was very interesting. Learned all about different species of bats and their importance. It is a lecture that is held in an auditorium not far from the reception. TIP: wear closed shoes. The path is covered with leaf cutting ant and other crawlers you don't want inside your sandals.
In the morning we took the chocolate tour. You learn all about the origin of chocolate and how it is made, and you get to taste it!
Food: breakfast is included and was good. You must reserve dinner and lunch in advance if you want to eat there. But there are plenty of nice sodas and supermarkets close by (if you have a car). We ate at a really nice soda, a bit to the north. Sorry that I can't remember its name. It cost us about 1/3 of what is would have cost in Tirimbina and looking at the dinner served in Tirimbina, it didn't look like we missed anything.
The rooms are basic, but large and clean. Had a bit of a moldy smell when we entered, but the air condition took care of that. Have a nice patio in the back. We were a family of 5 so we stayed in two rooms one next to each other; each one had a double bed and a single bed.
Overall really liked the place and would defiantly recommend it.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank NoPlaceLkeHome
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tirimbina Lodge

Property: Tirimbina Lodge
Address: Tirimbina Biological Reserve, La Virgen 3069, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Heredia > Sarapiqui > La Virgen
Amenities:
Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in La Virgen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Tirimbina Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 26
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the Sarapiqui region, the Tirimbina Rainforest Lodge along the Sarapiqui River, is contiguous to a Biological Reserve of 852.5 Acres.We offer 12 comfortable rooms with A/C, safe deposit box, hot water, WI-FI, and phone. Enjoy our welcoming atmosphere and discover the exciting tropical forest, walking along several trails and suspension bridges of tropical forest and river discoveries from our study trails and bridges.Services (Restaurant, laundry , 24h security, a be-lingual staff welcomes)Facilities (souvenir shop, parking lot, A/C conference room, library, internet access) Attractions: (More than 9km trails, chocolate tour, bird watching, bat program, self walking tour, guided tour, night walking tour, eco education programs, volunteer and research opportunities and more) ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tirimbina Hotel La Virgen
Tirimbina Lodge Sarapiqui, Costa Rica

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