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“Best place I stayed at in Costa Rica”
Review of La Kukula Lodge

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La Kukula Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed July 28, 2013

I am a single mom and was traveling through Costa Rica with my 5 year old in May this year. This place is a wonderful eco-lodge for singles, families and couples in the middle of a jungle. It is quiet and away in the jungle, and yet within the walking distance from the beach and a convenience store and several cafes and little restaurants. I was pleasantly surprised by the modern and sustainable design of the lodges. (The showers have big windows, you can see the trees, they have huge shower heads and real HOT WATER!) These bungalows have screened walls so you hear all the animals and frogs who are right there, around the house. This was the end of our 2 week trip, but I had not heard so many jungle creatures while staying anywhere else in Costa Rica. I had gotten used to howler monkeys by then, but there were a couple of other animals that were making scary sounds during the night. Pepo had explained it to me and my 5 year old that these were frogs and brought us to a night walk with flash-lights looking for different frogs by the swimming -pool. very sweet of him! Pepo, the owner, is a wonderfully cordial, sociable and polite gentleman from Europe. He would come out every morning for breakfast to greet us and introduce the menu. This was very sweet. Breakfasts were delicious, with lots of fruit and fresh juices but always with some variety of other foods. (We stayed for 4 nights and breakfasts were always different).

Back to the lodges. We stayed in a suit, where there were 3 adjacent suits. Each of them goes out to a terrace, where there is a little table and chairs and a hammock (your own for every suit). We had our meals out on a terrace and my son loved the hammock. It was nice to be there with a book during the tropical rain. The rooms were impeccably clean.

In short, if you want to be close to nature, to enjoy some quiet time with the sounds and colors of the jungle- this is the place! La Kukula has a family feel to it. The ocean is withing 10 minutes walking distance. There is a path through the forest, where you can see termites and lots of crabs and even snakes! The ocean shore is secluded, there aren't many people there, it's not a beach per se. But you can stroll there enjoying the views and there are some natural little bays and basins where you can let your kids swim safely and not worry about the current. Thank you, La Kukula!

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Nina K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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104 - 110 of 400 reviews

Reviewed May 20, 2013

A peaceful lodge tucked away in the jungle. Wonderful owners: Pepo and Sonia went out of their way to know each guests name, pointing out the abundant wildlife around the property. Sonia's homemade breads and fruit preserves for breakfast were amazing.
10minute walk to the beach, 5 minute walk to the grocery store and restaurants.
Hidden gem, for sure.
Be prepared for a 5am wake-up every morning by the howler monkeys. All part of the experience.

Room Tip: Rent a bicycle for $5/day.
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Mary S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 17, 2013

We stayed at La Kukula for 4 days/nights. We loved how lush and tropical this place was and how secluded it felt. We had the beach just down the street and a quiet, lush get-a-way in the forest, we felt like we had the best of both worlds.
The rooms were extremely clean and comfortable with hammocks outside each room. The entire lodge is, like Kristy A said, modern and rustic. The breakfast was always fresh and delightful. Whether you're a big family and need a whole house or a solo traveler who needs just a room they have what you need. All you hear at night is the sound of nature, truly an incredible experience.
The owners played a big part in why we loved the place so much. They gave us great advice on the area and the best places to eat. We had a lot of great conversations, they treated us like friends. They were the friendliest hotel owners we've ever met. We'll be back.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank littlefrangipane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 3, 2013

We have been in CR in spring 2012 and passed by Lakukula Lodge. We stayed there during 4 nights and had one of our best time in CR thanks to the amazing place and very nice couple holding the Lodge. The lodge is in the middle of the jungle but very close from the beach (beautiful beach). Very good place to see animals, monkeys are sleeping just around you and you feel/hear them. Last but not least detail we loved : the breakfast -> delicious and so special, everyday new tastes especially home made!
Just go there!!! You'll love it :-D Absolutely nothing bad to review ;)

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Rebecca F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 3, 2013

La Kukula is a little outside Puerto Viejo, so seemingly remote we were convinced we were the only guests at first. Love the design of this place - eclectic without being kitschy, rustic with modern touches. And the shower is amazing - second only to the outdoor shower at Bann Makok in Thailand. There isn't any sound proofing, so I think it would've been easy to hear our neighbors next door, if we had any. The location is great if you want to be a little removed from the hustle and bustle of PV, but not as convenient if you don't want to drive anywhere. And while sleeping in the jungle is a very romantic idea, it also means that you might be waking up at 4 am because the howler monkeys are going nuts. Still, because it was such a unique place, I think it ended up being our favorite hotel during our trip.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Kristy A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kukula_lodgeCR, Guest Relations Manager at La Kukula Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded May 6, 2013

May 6, 2013

We appreciate Ms Kristy's comments and would like to inform TA community that the group of howler monkeys mentioned in this review are not "permanent" residents on our property.
Howler monkeys inhabit in all the area from Puerto Viejo to Manzanillo (8 miles distance more or less). There are about 7 different groups of monkeys nearby the main road from Puerto Viejo to Manzanillo and every group has its own area or "district" where they live.
The group that lives in our neighbourhood is about 20 members and we spot them quite often in our property. Some nights they stay overnight (in the trees, not in the rooms!) and it is common that they howl to mark their territory very early in the morning, between 4 and 5 am. This is an amazing moment for those who have never experienced a natural sound as loud. And yes, most of our guests wake up and some of them even get frighten or excited on it. A common question at breakfast time is "how big is this animal?".
We hope that howler monkeys will be around forever in this jungle and that they will keep on visiting us often, we love them!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2013

We stayed at La Kukula in February 2013. The highlights of staying at La Kukula:
1. Owners. The passionate and dedicated owners Pepo and Sonia.
2. Design elements. Beautiful architectural design for an eco-lodge. The main lobby is also decorated with some creative and cool upcycled trinkets. These details really added to the pleasure of staying here.
3. Location. You are near some of the best restaurants. Though the lodge is not directly accessible to the beaches, a 10-minute walk will take you to a beautiful beach. The lodge is also nestled in nature. If you love sleeping/waking up to the sounds of nature this is the place.
4.Breakfast. As many reviewers have already indicated, this is a not to miss.

Though this place was close to perfection. Some food for thought:
1. Towels/Linens. As an eco-lodge, the policy of washing towels (not sure about linens) is every 3 days. If you would like to have them washed more frequently, you can request it. The policy needs to be reversed (even though it might not be so eco-friendly to do so). Being nestled in nature/the tropics, the towels and linens remain wet, making it feel unhygienic when using them
2.Water conservation. During our stay here water ran out twice. This was NOT the fault of the owners but rather the city. If we had some signage in our hotel room that reminded us about the importance of conserving water when possible, we would have kept our shower/toilet-use to a very minimum rather than have to deal with the frustrations associated with having water shut off in the middle of a shower.
3. Wi-fi. You cannot access this in your rooms. You will need to go to the lobby which was a small inconvenience.
4. Noise. The open concept of the lodge means that you will hear other noises than nature. Fortunately we were not in the middle cabinas, but we still heard the conversations of our neighbors late at night, the slamming of doors, the walking around the main/shared deck. If you're a light sleeper, might be a small annoyance

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank wildfl0wer22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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1  Thank aerowise
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

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 53 B&Bs / Inns in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Price Range: $110 - $242 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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