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“A week in the Jungle...”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of La Kukula Lodge

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La Kukula Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Hawaii
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“A week in the Jungle...”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 1, 2013

This is a wonderful property about 1/4 mile off the main (only) road. We stayed in the 3 bedroom house. It was just me and my wife but wanted privacy and our own personal pool.

* Owners: Pepo and Sonny were very nice and helpful. Pepo helped us out a great bit with recommendations on dining and local activities. The only negative is they like to charge $15 USD for one load of laundry, I felt like I was being gouged.

* Breakfast: Breakfast was nice. Always had a fruit bowl, delicious coffee, and a different main course each day.

* Property: The property is well maintained with some landscaping mixed in well with the natural forest. You truly felt like you were a guest to the jungle. We saw sloths, frogs, a toucan, hundreds of humming birds and thousands of butterflies. We had a troop of Howler Monkeys move in and stay in the huge tree right next to our house, that was cool. They did try and poop on us as we walked to our car one evening, they hit my wife a little bit, no worries. The house had a full kitchen upstairs along with the master bedroom. Outside of these rooms was a huge outdoor living space made all of teak wood or something similar. The bathrooms were nice and modern and we always had hot water. A 5 gallon jug of water was provided in the kitchen. The kitchen had all the gadgets you would ever need to cook with. Downstairs were 2 more bedrooms and another bathroom. The downstairs was enclosed and lead to the pool through a large room with a single table and two chairs. The pool was small but adequate and had direct sun from about 1100 to 1330 due to the massive trees all around. The gardener/landscaper guy cleaned it every morning. There are also two outside, cold water showers. Right next to the pool was a large covered deck, with 4 hammocks. We had a private entrance/gate which locked, to bring our car into and park securely. There was a security guy on premises all night.

* The area: From the lodge, you are within walking distance to many restaurants/bars. There is even a good little shopping mart 5 mins walk, we used this a lot. Don't miss dinner at Jungle Love! We ate there twice. Its about a five minute walk to a fairly remote beach. I didn't ever feel like we weren't safe. It was a beautiful beach and a must see. To get to town it was about 5 minutes by car. The town is a nice little town, Id say for fairly young crowd. It has a Rasta flavor and has basically bands on most nights with a few good restaurants. Shopping...forget it. Nothing worth buying AT ALL in this town. I couldn't even get a decent T-shirt. No matter though, we went to relax and enjoy the Caribbean and jungle, not shop. Best place we ate was Koki Beach. Have breakfast at Bread and Chocolate; best egg sandwich I've ever had! Close by and a must do's are: Caribe Horse Riding, Jaguar rescue center, chocolate farm tour, Jungle Massage, and hang at Punta Uva Beach park. We really were impressed with the jungle, beaches, and wonderful people who make up this community. We will be back!

Notes: The drive from San Jose took us 6 hours due to road construction on the way to Puerto Veijo. We landed at 1300 and it was 1500 by the time we got through the rental car process. This put us at about 2+ hours of driving at night. I will say if you are not a very confident driver with good night vision and a GPS, do not drive at night. It wasn't really that bad, just a lot of paying close attention to the roads and all the people along the roads. I purchased a CR GPS map online for $29, it worked great. We rented from dollar they were fine, get the extra insurance, its worth the piece of mind, trust me. It will cost you though. There is some building going on near the La Kukula which included heavy equipment and saws. It only lasted 2 days, but I don't think they're done yet. I would e-mail Pepo and ask about this before you book. They were done before dark, so if you'll be gone most of the day, it is a non-issue. There is a 24 hour stomach bug "going around". Everyone knows about it and no one knows what it is. I got it and it truly lasted only 24 hours, my wife didn't get it. Z-Pack are available by prescription there, not like Mexico where you don't need one. The pharmacia had another item I purchased (red pills) and it worked great, they knew exactly what I needed. I would rent a car, just me, but it helped quite a bit. If you are and XL and do find T-shirts, even at the airport, buy a XXL. Crazy bugs all over the place, but we hardly ever saw mosquito's. I would bring DEET and sunblock from home, it is expensive there. Go and have fun it is a wonderful place which has not been over run yet and is still a bit raw, but worth it! Research before you go, I found this site, you tube, and Pepo to be great sources of information. WiFi is good for what you need. It can be reached from the house on the very edge of the railing. Thanks Sonny and Pepo, we will see you again in a year or two!! Finally, a shout out to Tuni, she does breakfast and cleans rooms too. She is very nice and helpful. She also works at Koki Beach as a server and hooked us up there! Thanks Tuni! Get the Lobster!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank aerowise
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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384 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (34)
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English first
Texas
Level Contributor
33 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 22, 2013

We spent 5 wonderful nights/days at La Kukula. The only disappointment was being told they were sold-out when we tried to extend our stay. Had we known how amazing and charming this boutique ecolodge in the jungle was, we'd have booked more time. Photos do not do it justice. From the warm hospitality, beautiful breakfasts, services, and knowledge shared by the Hosts (Sonia and Pepo) to the unique and very clean accommodations - all I can say is Don't Miss This Place !! I've never experienced anything like it. They have designed a guest-friendly jungle atmosphere in the Rain Forest, within a 5 minute walk to the beach. Sloths (Kukulas) in the trees, more types of trees, leaves and colorful flowers than one can count. Next time, we'd like to bring family and rent one of their larger single dwellings for a couple of weeks. Best rooms are on the sides of the buildings, with open shower.
Be ready for early morning howler monkeys jumping through the trees... Just adds to the experience. Sleep late when you get back home.

Room Tip: Rooms on sides better than in the middle.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank lindalador
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia
Level Contributor
33 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 10, 2013 via mobile

My husband and I stayed at Kukula for 4 nights in February. I picked the area soley based on the Jaguar Rescue and Sloth Sanctuary. From pictures on tripadvisor this hotel looked remote and off beaten path which I love. To my surprise a 5 minute bicycle ride brings you to multiple restaurants and supermarket and 10 minutes brings you into this cool little surfer town! Some hotels are on main road but this gem on a side road set back from cars and noise. We love it! Owners Pepo and Sonya wonderful hosts and Pepo loves showing you flora and fauna and sloths if interested- saw 2 sloths in trees on arrival- perfect!! Small pool with pretty views. Rooms clean and spacious. No AC or tvs so if into that not place for you. If love nature check this place out! Bathroom not in room but next to bedroom but really clean inside with cool shower- all the sounds of the jungle while you are showering! Also gave it fun sense of adventure when had to use bathroom at night- although never scary with deck light on. Nice porch with hammock. Breakfast great- homemade marmalade still dreaming about!
We drove from San Jose and used wild rider car rental- if do this use them and get GPS- thus thing was spot on!! Around 4 to 4 1/2 hour drive- my husband hates long drives and didn't bother him because such a pretty drive. Roads in good condition once out of San Jose. Limon was not scary at all- we are from Philly so just seemed like driving through 10 minutes of north Philly. Would NOT be on road past five as gets dark very quickly. Have heard some people say Carribean side safe and had some now locals from US say they wouldn't dare go to Carribean side do to crime- we had no problem but do your research on current news before going to be on safe side.
In case your going to area for sloth sanctuary 30 minutes from hotel- easy drive. Punta Uva very pretty beach. 10 minute bike ride from hotel. Bike rental 5 minute walk from Kukula. We ate at Jungle Love- good food and ambiance. Also Tasty Waves fun hangout with pool table.
So if coming to this area I would definitely recommend Kukula! My husband got stomach bug going around and sonya and Pepo offered meds and toast and extra water. Very hospitable. Our only bad experience was loud music playing from house behind ours - told pepo the next day and he handled it no problem. Also security guard on property at night. Thanks for wonderful stay!

  • Stayed February 2013
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Helpful?
1 Thank papale10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lincoln, UK
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 6, 2013

We stayed for four nights and loved it. Pepo was a very charming and enthusiatic host who clearly loved the place and was delighted to find frogs and bugs around the garden, show us the sloths and name a few birds. When he was not around then Carlos was equally amenable and helpful. All the breakfast staff were polite and friendly although I would suggest that if you are on a mission, or have a schedule to stick to, tell someone the night before to ensure they are prepared - everyone did everything possible to make our stay go smoothly but it is a small place and if everyone suddenly wants everything at once, it simply cannot happen.

La Kukula is up a track away from the road (which can get quite busy), and the rooms blocks spaced out through the lush gardens behind, so the sound track is pure jungle and very lovely - crickets and frogs etc all night, toucans and (distant) howlers in the mornings. We loved the gardens as much as the wildlife did, chocca with colourful underplanting but keeping the tall trees and unspoilt forest feel. The rooms are spotless and boutiquey and the the plumbing all worked perfectly - my husband remarking that he could see hummingbirds and even an agouti from the shower one day! Samples of lovely locally made toiletries were complimentary with bigger bottles on sale..The bed was comfortable, netted and the fan was silent . There was simply a lovely sense of space with plenty of room to unpack and a small safe box.

The verandah made a great place to sit and read or write and to drink. It is five minutes walk to a supermarket selling cold beer, limes, coke and rum (amongst other things). they will even sell you ice and a cheap polystyrene ice bucket for the ultimate civilised socialising. We had very nice neighbours and fuelled by cuba libres, it was good not to feel any guilt about undercutting a hotel bar.

The breakfasts were different every day with fresh juice, fruits and homemade bread and jam and eggs of some kind (scrambled. pancakes etc). We took an early morning tour at Manzanillo organised from the lodge with a fab guide called Raymond. He was not the best birder but had a sharp eye and found us frogs and snakes, a caiman and the most fantastic wax-tailed bugs even on a rainy morning. The lodge provided a pack-up breakfast and also has a number for a local taxi which works out much cheaper than getting one from Puerto Viejo. We saw lots of butterflies, birds, sloths and monkeys in the area - waders and pelicans at the beach, howlers in the trees behind, even a sloth with baby right above the path to the beach.

Eating out is easy. besides the supermarket, there are several restaurants and bars in 10 minutes walking distance. There is no real Tico or 'street food' but we had some of the best food we have ever had anywhere at Jungle Love.Certainly the best in Cost Rica.

Room Tip: I suspect that having an end room feels better than being the middle of three.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank HWinLincoln
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 14, 2013 via mobile

La Kukula boasts a great location within walking and a short driving distance to several restaurants and beaches nearby. Enjoy the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica. The staff was friendly and personal. The rooms were unique, fun, clean and reasonably priced. They were able to answer our questions and provide suggestions. We saw a sloth in the tree and breakfast was delicious!

  • Stayed January 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank iceberge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
31 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 4, 2013

Stayed here four nights and found it to be just OK. I was in a room in the middle of a three unit building and it was VERY stuffy. The plumbing is made up of galvanized pipe and cheap shut off valves that you would find in your basement, they did not work very well. The room was nice but very barren. The bathroom was open air and nice. The front deck was nice. The grounds where very unkempt and need to be trimmed back this over growth blocked a lot of the breeze and fresh air. The beach was a 10 minute walk away and was not considered safe by the locals we spoke too due to its secluded nature . Punta Uva 15 minutes by bike was a much better beach. Free breakfast was included and was good but it was very metered out. Some days where better than others. When I asked for ice for my room I was told no. There was not a bar or a restaurant on site so you needed to walk or bike to get anything bring a flash light for the night time. Compared to other places that i stayed in for price range you did not receive a lot for your money. Clean and safe but just OK. The Staff was very nice

Room Tip: Do not take a middle room!!!
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Robert Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Roma
Level Contributor
28 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 29, 2013

Me, my girlfriend and other 3 friends went to La Kukula in 2011. We rented the villa, next to the resort. 3 rooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, pool, swimmingpool, amacas and a deck where you perfectly feel IN the nature! The real feeling you have there is that Nature is the host, and you are nothing more than a guest!
If you're impressionable, you can feel uncomfortable with small animals, like spiders, you can meet in and outside the house. You can also hear screaming monkeys from far, and the first time it's impressive!! But when you're on the deck you'll probably see slots sleeping on the trees...It's the appeal of this place, no doubt! But I can't forget Sonia and Pepo, the owners, always nice and friendly. Good breakfast, even if we normally had it in the house. Low price. Only good memories at La Kukula

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank AndyRoma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about La Kukula Lodge

Property: La Kukula Lodge
Address: Playa Chiquita, Puerto Viejo 73000, Costa Rica | Carretera a Manzanillo, km 6, Puerto Viejo 73000, Costa Rica, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca 7300, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Limon > Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 52 B&Bs / Inns in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — La Kukula Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
La Kukula Lodge is situated in Playa Chiquita/ Puerto Viejo, next to Refugio de Vida Silvestre de Gandoca-Manzanillo and Cahuita N.P.Built in 2008, La Kukula Lodge follows the principles of sustainable architecture and only plantation wood (teak) has been used in its construction. With its tropical-contemporary style, the bungalows blend naturally with the wooded surroundings: an ideal location to enjoy the flora and fauna the region has to offer. A simple path system running through the garden links each bungalow, the “rancho-bar” and the swimming pool. There are only 8 rooms available, all are very spacious and airy, with their own deck, fans, bathrooms and hot water from a hybrid solar/electric system. All rooms have fantastic views from private terraces onto the sylvan garden. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
La Kukula Hotel Puerto Viejo
La Kukula Lodge Costa Rica/Limon

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