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“Interesting, Laid-Back Ecolodge”
Review of Selva Verde Lodge

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Selva Verde Lodge
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Sarapiqui
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed April 30, 2008

We stayed at Selva Verde for only one night, but really enjoyed it. It's an oasis of rainforest in the midst of a mostly agricultural area. The dark-wood rooms built on stilts in the midst of the forest felt very remote. One of our party spent 90 minutes lying in the hammock outside his room, just marveling at the wildlife and gorgeous plants.
Staff was generally friendly --- made terrific drinks in the bar. The dining room, which looks out over the river, felt a bit like a summer camp, complete with slightly institutional food served buffet-style.
We took the river cruise offered at $20/head. It was a bit sedate and the guide spoke limited English. But we did see a fair amount of wildlife, including lots of howler monkeys, a huge iguana, some nice birds, a sloth, etc. Finding the cruise on our own was an adventure in itself -- it left from a difficult-to-locate spot behind what looked like a snack bar, 10 minutes drive downriver from the lodge.
I was awakened very early one morning by the howlers and decided to do the 6 am free birdwatching tour. It was surprisingly interesting. We saw some gorgeous toucans, parrots, hummingbirds. Plenty of other animals on the grounds. We heard some of the longer walking tours were good, too.
I thought the place was good value for money and definitely worth a visit. We had some children with us, but almost everybody else appeared to be a serious birdwatcher or part of a group. Very few other children. But that could have been just at the time we were there.

  • Stayed: April 2008
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Thank Marco2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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464 - 470 of 644 reviews

Reviewed February 24, 2008

Selva Verde Lodge was our favorite place on our recent Costa Rica honeymoon. The rainforest was right outside our room, and we had a nearby troop of howler monkeys that increased the "inside the jungle" feel. The room was very clean and comfortable, and they sent us a tray of fresh fruit when we arrived. We had the birding package, and our driver and guides were excellent - they found many birds that I would have missed. The food was great, with fresh juices every morning. We loved kicking back with a tall drink and a beer on the riverside patio bar. We will definitely return.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank ecologist06
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2008

We stayed in Selva Verde for one night in January to experience some of the plants and animals of the Sarapiqui area. The lodge is rustic, which is what we expected. It was pretty much taken over by a group from Elderhostel. They looked like they were having a good time. Food was good by Costa Rican standards, and it was a good value overall. We wanted to do hiking and enjoy the rainforest from our bungalow. We were disappointed in the hiking trails. The trails you can take on your own were limited. To access most of the primary rainforest, you have to hire a guide. We didn't luck out with our guide, who at first didn't show up, then ended our 2 hour walk after 1 1/2 hours. We stayed in a bungalow to be deeper in the rainforest.They are very clean and comfortable, but not very well laid out. If you sit on your deck, all you can see is the metal roof of the walkway. We didn't mind that they were far from the lodge, but it would have been nicer if they weren't so close together. We had howler monkeys outside our cabin, so that made it worthwhile.

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Marcia432
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2008

I stayed at Selva Verde for 3 nights in January 2008. The grounds of the property are fabulous which give you the opportunity to see tons of wildlife. Some of what we saw included poison dart frogs, red-eyed tree frogs, howler monkeys, iguanas and many birds. We felt so secluded within the rainforest staying at Selva Verde. There are many self-guided paths that you can take by yourself to see all the plants and wildlife. We stayed in the bungalows (of which there are only six I believe) which are a 10 minute walk from the rest of the lodging. I wouldn’t recommend staying in the bungalows if you have a disability that would prevent you from walking up lots of steps up a fairly steep grade.

The cleaning staff did an excellent job considering we were in the middle of the rainforest tracking in dirt from our hikes. Everyday the floor was immaculately cleaned! I was expecting to see bugs in the room, but didn’t see one except for a dragonfly that got in when we were bringing in all our luggage. The bungalows also have a screened in patio which is nice to sit out on and listen to the wildlife. The only drawback is that the chairs were extremely uncomfortable, so we couldn’t sit out there too long.

The food was very good. Typically for breakfast there would be fresh fruit, rice and beans, eggs, toast, cereal and fresh squeezed juice. Lunch and dinner would include variations of rice and beans, chicken and some other meat, salad, and a fresh dessert.

Recommendations:

Do the river rafting! I saw much more wildlife (snake, sloth, herons, river otters…) than I thought I would.
Take a flashlight. You can find the red-eyed tree frogs at night. Also, if you do stay in the bungalows, the path is dimly lit so a flashlight definitely helps.
Use their laundry service. You will get so muddy, especially if taking the guided hikes in the primary rainforest. In addition, it is so humid, your clothes will never dry out unless they are tossed in the dryer.
Bring an alarm clock. There are no clocks in the rooms (at least the bungalows didn’t)
Bring your own shampoo. They don’t provide any.
Clarify where you are supposed to meet for the tours. Some meet in the lobby, others in the dining room.
If you stay in the bungalows, bring a backpack with you to carry a poncho, flashlight and other necessities when you are out and about. It can rain unexpectedly, and that walk back gets longer and longer the more times you do it!

Overall, Selva Verde was exactly what I was looking for: being closely connected in the rainforest and seeing lots of wildlife. Highly recommend!

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Seajax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2008

we came straight here from a long flight from London to Costa RIca via Madrid. Iberia had lost one of our bags and we were very tired and jangled by the time we arrived...

once settled, we had a look round. The cabins, linked by covered wooden walkways, were comfortable enough. The walls however are VERY thin and as we had inconsiderate and noisy neighbours this was a drawback. As there were few people staying at the time, one would hope that guests would be spread out better, but we were unlucky to have "neighbours from hell."

We saw a huge amount of wild and semi wildlife around the grounds. There were iguanas, poison dart frogs, small jumpy mice, jesus christ lizards, a caecilian, and much birdlife. There's also a ridiculously tame coati on the patio and an agile oppossum. we were spoilt and saw much here in the first two days.

unfortunately on day 2 came down with flu and spent next day in bed with raging temperature. equally unfortunately, there was a great deal of building work going on at the time, including some at reception and fitting new sinks in a lot of the cabins. Unfortunately this meant that the sounds of the rainforest were broken by drilling, banging and people fitting the sinks. unfortunately this was in the rooms next door to us, and again, I would have hoped that the Lodge would have planned works better around guests.

I think on day 3 there was some confusion as the lodge thought we were leaving that day, and so didn't service the room; we had to dig out all the paperwork to show them we were meant to be there and didn't need to be charged an extra day.

the self guided trail on site is quite short, but OK. The real action is on the other side of the river, crossed by suspension bridge; there's great trails here, and a day spent wandering these trails would be most worthwhile. We did a guided trail with the great Alexander but the experience was severely marred by the "neighbour from hell" who wanted to chuck his trash into the undergrowth on our hike and then started screaming abuse at me when I asked him to pick it up.

i would have liked to have spent much longer hiking these woods.

we took a river trip on the Sarapiqui which was great - monkeys, birds, caiman, croc, sloth...really worthwhile.

At the end of the whole holiday, we refllected that this was one of the better places that we stayed: the wildlife is great, food OK - good fruit platters and plentiful food; the covered walkways are a bonus given the frequent and heavy rain.

For us, bag loss, flu and bad company spoiled our stay which was not the hotels fault, but the building work on site (and the loss of a shirt from our room) was and so can't be wholly positive.

MZ

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank MollyZero
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2008

what a wonderful experience. everything about selva Verde lodge is unique and pleasurable.
The rooms were clean and accomadating with very interesting windows (screen and lattice) in the rain forest (and rain it did) there are covered runways to everything so you dont get wet.
The dining hall was very impressive with excellent tica food, and an spectacular view of the river and grounds so you can eat and bird watch at the same time.
The staff were friendly and helpful, and went out of there way to show you the birds or monkeys etc in the vicinity.
There is a bit of a language barrier if you do not speak spanish although the staff all try very hard to speak english and to understand you.
The tours arranged through the lodge were sensational. We did a boat tour of the sarapique river-- saw a lot of exotic wildlife and plants and plantations. and we did a private tour with a guide named Lennon in the primary forest. That was incredible. He was so informative and passionate about his country and nature. it was a spectacular experience.I learned so much about the animals and wildlife from him.
All in all i had a great time , wished i could stay longer and will definetly be back.
The only down fall was that come 7pm. the whole place rolls up the carpets and shuts down. Everyone goes to bed very early in costa rica. Im a night owl. so it was a little hard to adjust. But they all love to be up and at em when the sun comes up at 530 am.. the roosters are crowing the birds are singing and the neighbor is whistling in the shower. you can hear a fly toot in the rooms next to you.
But it was all part of a great experience.

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled with family
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1  Thank Lynia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2008

We stayed for two nights in a river lodge and it was fantastic. The cabins are in the middle of the rainforest and although I had difficulty sleeping the first night adjusting to the all the noises, it was exactly the experience we were looking for. The food was nothing to write home about but it was decent and the guided tour of the primary rainforest was incredible. Our guide was so knowledgable about the plant and wildlife and we learned a great deal. We explored the infamous area across the highway and though the bungalows looked decent, they were far from the amenities of property and certainly not as nice as the river lodges. Our only complaint was the lack of activities to do at night. The sun sets promptly at 5:30 and after dinner there was little to do. I guess most people were content retiring to their cabins but we were looking for a bit more to do. All in all, a unique experience that I would highly recommend.

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled with family
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Thank ChrisOMalley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Selva Verde Lodge

Address: | 9 Kms from Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, 553069, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Heredia > Sarapiqui
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Ski-In / Ski-Out Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Sarapiqui
Price Range: $113 - $146 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Selva Verde Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 58
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Selva Verde is more than a lodge and more than a rainforest reserve. It is your gateway into a magical world of towering Almendro trees, Mantled Howler Monkeys, and Keel Billed Toucans. Immerse yourself in tropical nature as you hike through deep green forest or reflect quietly in a comfortable hammock. Discover something new as you encounter Selva Verde's amazing wildlife and vibrant people. Rekindle your sense of wonder and experience the out-of-the-ordinary. Experience Selva Verde! Located just 2 hours from San Jose, Selva Verde provides easy access to the wonders of the rainforest. For over 30 years, we have been a haven for nature enthusiasts from around the world. Our abundant biodiversity, comfortable rainforest lodge, and exciting activities are ideal for adventure seekers, bird and wildlife watchers, students, and families. Come explore Selva Verde's 500 acres of vibrant tropical nature in the heart of Costa Rica's Sarapiqui Canton. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Selva Verde Hotel Sarapiqui
Selva Verde Lodge Costa Rica/Sarapiqui

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