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“A disappointing stay”
Review of Selva Verde Lodge

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Selva Verde Lodge
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Sarapiqui
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Florida
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“A disappointing stay”
Reviewed April 1, 2009

The wide variety of reviews of Selva Verde puzzled me until we stayed there for three night in March. I think for anyone not used to the tropics this might be a great experience, especially waking up to howler monkeys booming right outside the bedroom. The setting is gorgeous, with rooms built on stilts so that the walkways look down into the jungle. But luxurious it isn't - inside, the rooms are getting a little seedy and in need of redecorating, a bit like a third-rate motel in Florida; if it's raining, which it mostly does, after all this is the rainforest - the lack of windows means you get into a damp bed and put on damp clothes in the morning - and there's constant roaring background noise from the road, where trucks use their engine brakes on the slight hill. The bungalows across the street are air-conditioned, but they are kept closed up when not in use and smell of mildew. Be aware that the foot bridge over the river was taken out by the aftermath of the recent earthquake, so that most of the private rain forest is no longer accessible to visitors. The food is plentiful but basic - it reminded me of a Florida boy scout camp - loads of fresh tropical fruit and the ubiquitous black beans and rice. A small restaurant has been opened that serves light suppers a la carte, though when we were there the chef was ill and pizza was the only thing on offer. But you can sit and watch a flock of toucans feeding on bananas on the bird table as you eat, and the staff are unfailingly helpful and friendly. There are hotels in this price range in Costa Rica which can provide the wildlife experience and comfortable rooms and sophisticated food all together - it's a great pity that Selva Verde isn't quite keeping up with them.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank christineflorida
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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625 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (155)
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English first
Houston to Yosemite
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 25, 2009

My first trip to Selva Verde, my husband's second. I was a little hesitant when realizing how remote this lodge seemed from any services from civilization, but was reassured when I found that their kitchen served a buffet for all meals. The cuisine is nice and typical Costa Rican but not that exciting, so if you're expecting gourmet, head elsewhere.
The covered walkway to open air cabins made the walk pleasant even under rainy conditions.
After unpacking we took a self-guided tour around the trails, calmly admiring the adjacent Sarapiqui river and resident birds. Suddenly we spotted two howler monkeys about 25 ft up in the canopy, ambling slowly toward an unknown destination. The pair became a troupe and we were mesmerized!
We planned a raft trip and a guided jungle hike via the front desk and were pleased with both. Michael knows his way around wildlife of Costa Rica.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Gaslight1230
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arlington, VA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 8, 2009

I see that Selva Verde has gotten some mixed reviews, but perhaps some folks had unrealistic expectations. Our room was clean, with a modern bathroom. We loved waking up to the sounds of howler monkeys! And the staff could not have been nicer. This was also a great bargain, with all meals covered with the room rate. The buffets had enough variety for any carnivore or vegetarian. We had an early morning birding tour with one of their guide, which was also great. if you are looking for ecotourism this is a great place to be!

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank WendyW50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vientiane, Laos
Level Contributor
19 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed February 26, 2009

We stayed here for one night en route to Arenal. The hotel had been highly recommended in the Rough Guide, and locals we spoke to confirmed that it was THE place to stay in the area....so perhaps our expectations were too high.

The clientele were exclusively US tourists over the age of 60. The hotel bar was deserted, except for the depressing sounds of Elton John and the Beatles on muzak (and, of course, "The Girl from Ipanema"). The walkways through the jungle (which is truly lovely) are made of poured cement, giving them all the charm of an inner city elementary school. The pool area was tiny given the size of the hotel and looked like it had been lifted from a Holiday Inn circa 1983. The room was adequate and comfortable, but in need of maintenace and a facelift ( peeling paint, cracks in the walls). In general, the ambience was dour and lifeless.

Breakfast was fine, if unremarkable.

To their credit, they did have recycling bins thoughout the area -however any environmental benefit is totally eradicated by the outdoor ice machines placed next to them.

We did not have the opportunity to take the guided walks - which are apparently very good.

Someone else described the Selva Verde as "Sheraton in the Jungle" - and I´d say that´s a good description, the only thing I´d add is "Seriously Out-dated".

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Fassia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
131 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2009

We stayed here for four nights, and it was the perfect place to stay in order to explore the attractions in the region. The #1 selling point has to be the way the lodge is integrated into a natural rain forest setting. From the veranda outside our room, we saw all kinds of wildlife, from howler monkeys to black-throated trogons. And that doesn't even count the free birdwatching tours twice a day. The rooms are very nice and large, but be sure to keep your doors closed to keep the mosquitos out. The reception staff were very helpful in re-arranging tours after some floods caused havoc. Location-wise it's about halfways in-between La Selva and La Tirimbina/Centro Neotropico SarapiquiS. The only downside is that the food from the restaurant gets a bit old after a few nights. We went with the three-meals a day plan, in retrospect I might ask if other arrangements are possible.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Racandee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Ontario
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed January 27, 2009

When I came out of the washroom I saw a woman from housekeeping looking in my bag.
She gave several reasons for being in the room, none of which involved hovering over my personal belongings.
The founder of the lodge was very rude to me after I reported it.
She told my tour guide that she didn't trust me and thought I was making it up to get a free vacation.
He found out from a staff member that there had been similar complaints about the housekeeper but she wasn't fired because she was friends with people who were in higher positions.
It really ruined my holiday and I was nervous about staying at the remaining locations on our tour.

Stayed January 2009
Helpful?
3 Thank Cinnamon777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SeasmokeVictoria, Public Relations Manager at Selva Verde Lodge, responded to this review, March 5, 2009
We are sincerely apologetic about this guest’s experience, as it is a highly isolated case.

The maid in question has worked at Selva Verde Lodge for just over a year and has not previously had an incident regarding any loss of property or issue related to her integrity, contrary to what the guide allegedly told this guest.

The maid entered the room after knocking, not realizing the guest was in the bathroom. As part of her duties, the maid was moving the bed to make room for another piece of furniture that maintenance was bringing, and moved the guest’s handbag onto the bed. At this time, the guest came out of the bathroom, and was understandably upset at having her handbag handled. Unfortunately the maid does not speak English and was unable to explain her actions to this guest, so she left the room and promptly returned with the Head of Housekeeping, who does speak some English. The guest preferred not to speak to either of these women, opting to speak with management staff instead.

Management apologized and were able to determine that nothing was missing from the guest’s handbag. Discussions about a way to rectify the problem did not progress well, and staff sincerely regret that they were not able rectify the situation in a way that pleased this guest.

Since this incident, we have implemented new protocol for customer relations and housekeeping practices. We are very committed to our guests and appreciate any feedback we get, as it can only help us to improve!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chattanooga
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed January 26, 2009

In all our travels around the world, this was the Worst Hotel Ever. Obviously the usually peak time of Christmas was not being enjoyed as we surveyed the beautiful river-front rooms that were all empty and quiet. Instead the owner decided in her infinite wisdom to "corrall" the few guests over the holidays into a very small group of rooms to save a few colones. Up on these platforms reached only by noisy stairs, it it extremely noisy, no privacy, kids running up and down constantly with no windows, only screens. And with lights on, the heavy drapes have to be drawn, therefore it is very hot and noisy. The showers were a mere dribble-horrible after a 7 hour hike, with merely a sprinkle of hot water here and there, mostly cold.

The food was equally abysmal. Meatballs and rice and beans for dinner. Breakfast was cardboard-tasting scrambed eggs with-you guessed it! -rice and beans.

Sorry Selva Verde is in hard times, but had it been nice, you could have read a fabulous review of what could be a really nice place. The wrong move in bad times.

We left as soon as we were able and asked for our money back from our travel agent and would NEVER recommend this place to anyone. There are too many other lovely places that we stayed that were really faboulous in our travels through Costa Rica.

  • Liked — Leaving
  • Disliked — Noise, lack of privacy, terrible food
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank FearLessChattanooga
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

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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