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:
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.
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.
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 (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 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.
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 :)
- 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