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“The Trip of a Lifetime”
Review of El Remanso Lodge

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El Remanso Lodge
Ranked #4 of 45 Hotels in Osa Peninsula
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“The Trip of a Lifetime”
Reviewed December 3, 2013

My husband and I stayed at El Remanso during the last week in November and it was one of the most incredible weeks ever.

First off, the service here is above and beyond the best, from the very beginning to the end of your experience. It starts off by communicating with the bubbly and super helpful Gabby, who endured my zillions of questions and helped us book our flight and transfers. Then you have the managers, Silvia and Eli, who greet you and give you an orientation when you arrive. Silvia has a masters and is doing postgrad work on tree genetics, and not only is knowledgeable about wildlife but is also no-nonsense and really helpful with any of your questions. (We had wanted to go to Corcovado National Park, but at $300, she recommended we'd see much of the same stuff just exploring the property). Eli is very sweet and friendly and was also helpful in helping us with any requests or questions. The guides are unbelievable: they know so much about the local flora and fauna. Gerardo, who also has a masters, is running investigations about several species of trees along with doing his incredibly enlightening tours. Then the restaurant/bar staff, grounds staff, and drivers are all absolutely fantastic, be it stopping three times during the night drive up to the hotel to show us incredible creatures, or happening upon a baby boa constrictor or an escaped parrot and sharing them with us, or just making conversation, they were all great. We also met the two owners the last day, who are great people, too.

We stayed in one of the classic cabins for 5 nights and in one of the deluxe cabins for 2 nights. It is worth spending the extra to stay in a cabin because they are incredible, with unbelievable views of the jungle and ocean. Even though La Guinda cabin was bigger with a huge tub and more privacy, I still loved El Lucero, which had comfy lounge chairs and a nice deck. The rooms are clean with beautiful woods and a hammock and big bed with a mosquito net.

We did a number of activities, but none of the excursions, though I heard good things about them. First, we did a guided tour with Gerardo, where we learned so much about the local flora and fauna; he is so knowledgeable. We even got to feel a bat's heartbeat as it slept in a curled palm leaf! The most exciting activity was waterfall rappelling, which was challenging but so much fun and absolutely worth it. I also did the zipline, which was a bit disappointing but getting to watch wildlife from the platform was really cool.

Most of the time, though, we explored the trails and beach on our own. There's an amazing lagoon where you can cool off or observe wildlife, and tidepools where you can do the same. You can walk for miles on the north side of the beach; we walked to the first point a few miles up where there's a marshland and a turtle egg sanctuary. The trails are amazing and you'll always see cool wildlife.

Here's a collection of the wildlife we saw during our time at El Remanso: toucans, scarlet macaws, fer-de-lance snakes (eek!), tons of local birds (including little ones, like hummingbirds, and big ones like hawks), frogs, and toads, agoutis, coatis, a tayra (we think), a king vulture, capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, and spider monkeys, butterflies, a curassow (big black turkey-like bird), jesus lizards, dart frogs, worm salamanders, bats, and iguanas. Two of the coolest things we saw were an olive ridley turtle trying to bury eggs on the beach, which is apparently really rare, as well as a red-footed booby (like the blue ones, but with red feet). We also saw an amazing snake, an anteater, and a sloth on the way to and from the hotel.

The food is ok; the best thing you can get is the fish and fruit. A lot of the food is local, too. It's also good to stick to some of the tico food, like rice and beans. Also, never be afraid to ask for more! Be warned that drinks like soda, lemonade, and alcohol are not included, and there's a 10% gratuity tax on bar expenses.

The humidity can make it really hot, but buildings are designed to catch natural breezes, and I never felt hot at night. During the day, they give you plenty of water, and the beautiful pool (powered by solar power) is a blessing when you come back from a hike.

Getting here is hard, but that's because it's worth it! We took a transfer from San Jose, and though it was more expensive than the flight, it let us see whole parts of the country along the way (and not have to wait until the next day for a flight). The flight back on a small plane was a bit scary but had incredible views.

One of the most incredible things about this place--beyond everything I already mentioned!--is that it is completely sustainable. The electricity, water, sewage, trash--everything is produced or processed on site or recycled. There's some info on their website, but ask about Silvia's presentation, which she gave one night and shows in detail how everything works.

That said, this place is not for:
-people who are squeamish about bugs or lizards. This is the forest: there are many of them and sometimes you may have to escort one out of your room.

-people with small children. There were some people with small children staying there, but I think it's inappropriate (and definitely disturbs the other families and couples staying there). If you bring kids, they should be 9 or 10 and up. This place is 40 minutes from the closest city, and therefore doctor, and has really steep trails and snakes. The kind of people who bring small children here are either adventurers or, I suspect, just don't really know what they're getting into.

-those on a budget. It can be expensive to get here (about $500 roundtrip from San Jose, unless you're coming from somewhere closer or renting your own car). The garden rooms are cheapest but unless you are traveling around and just stay here for one or two nights, it can get a little pricey. One or two nights is ok, but you should spend as much time as you can here to take full advantage!

This was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and well worth every penny.

Room Tip: Book a cabin!
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank Beach_Seeking
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (173)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Seattle, Washington
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed November 30, 2013

It was truly life-changing to experience El Remanso Lodge! My husband and I explored the tropical jungle, lagoon, and sandy beach watching incredible birds, frogs, monkeys and so many other amazing creatures. We even went on a guided night hike to get a sense of the nocturnal wonders living out in the darkest forest I've ever been in since the city lights are miles away. We hiked, swam, did yoga, got a massage in a candle lit hut surrounded by rainfall, walked in the river, and dipped in one of the most gorgeous pools you can imagine with delicious cocktails for the asking. Every day we could just show up at the open air restaurant to dine on local delicacies or refresh with some watermelon juice as there's no need to carry wallets, telephones or keys. The hosts are attentive and sweet and I learned so much from the nature guides. Often I find myself remembering an animal I saw or a smell, or a taste. My perspective has been widened and deepened after traveling to El Remanso.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Shoshana M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
53 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed September 30, 2013

I will probably just be reiterating everyone else's review because I just can't say enough about the wonderful experience we had here. As with any wonderful place, it is the people, the staff, who make the experience even better. El Remanso's customer service starts before you even arrive. Gabby assists you in choosing the right package that will meet your needs and she is always available to answer any questions. When you do arrive on the lodge, you are addressed by name and it's like they've known you all your life. Gerardo is a great guide, full of information. I swear, he can spot things miles away and without a telescope. It was just a wonderful experience for me and my family.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank bubbie9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed September 4, 2013

I can't even begin to describe what El Remanso is. From the beginning to the end, my husband and I enjoyed every minute. We stayed 8/24/13 to 8/28/13 and were so impressed that we already want to go back. First, I have to start from just the reservation process with Gabby, she made it so easy and was more than accommodating to my multitude of questions leading up to the trip. We flew in to San Jose and Gabby sat up our small flight to Puerto Jiminez through Sansa (a local airline in CR). She greeted us at the airport where our driver, Jose was already waiting for us. On the drive there, although Jose didn't understand all of my gibberish he stopped a multitude of times pointing out the Spider monkeys, and beautiful wildlife. We drove up to the resort and it felt like the garden of Eden. It was so lush and green with wildlife humming all around you. We were greeted by the owners, Adriana and Daniel. Adriana took us on a small tour and offered us a greeting drink as she thoroughly went over everything with us. We stayed in one of the deluxe suites that overlooked the gorgeous pool that offered views of the rainforest and Pacific ocean. But honestly, after roaming the property I think any room you book would be well worth it. All of the rooms had its own unique character and qualities. Although my husband and I were not honeymooners, we still booked the honeymoon package and it was well worth it. The first day we did the canopy breakfast where you zipline to a tree on the property and watch the rainforest come to life as you sip on coffee and juices and a light breakfast. Our guide, Rinaldo was very knowledgable and pointed out all the birds to take pictures of. We also went on the short and long hike, bird watching, and waterfall rappelling with Gerardo. I can't begin to tell you how smart this guy is and how passionate he is about nature and the rainforest. I felt like I was in a college class learning about wildlife and I was so interested in everything he had to say. We went to Arenal after El Remanso and stayed at the Springs and I can tell you our guide there had nothing on Gerardo and the rainforest near Arenal could not rival the Osa. I was teaching the guide things I had learned from Gerardo and could even point out bird calls to others in my group all from learning from Gerardo! He is the best of the best! We even saw the very rare two toed sloth while we were there. I don't know how he finds things in the trees, but everytime he did and by then I had forgiven him for making us get up at 5:30 am. I couldn't say which experience of all the tours were the best because they all each held something so unique that each were very special in their own way. My husband and I each got 2 massages in 4 days!! Why?? Because Laura is amazing and you are in a little hut in the middle of the rainforest which is so magical. Seriously, I have had tons of massages and got one at the Springs (hey, it was vacation..don't judge) and Laura was still better! The wait staff were truly a joy and they decorated our table so beautifully for our romantic dinner. Each staff member knew our names and were always willing to go the extra step. Daniel gave a powerpoint lecture over El Remanso and how they are an ecolodge which was equally interesting on our last night there. I believe he does them once a week and it is well worth going to.
I know this is a long review but I wanted all of you to know this place is simply amazing not just because of the surroundings but because of the staff in front and behind the scenes. Without them, it would not be possible. I was one of those people who had never stayed any where without AC and this is my first! I live in Texas, so you know it gets hot. We didn't even notice.

To the El Remanso Staff, thank you for a great stay and we hope to see you all again soon!

Angie and Scot

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank angie613
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Round Rock, Texas
Level Contributor
39 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed September 3, 2013

El Remanso is by far the best vacation my wife and I have ever taken. To start, the setting is breathtaking. This genuine eco lodge is sited within primary and secondary rainforest overlooking the pacific ocean. If we had chosen to never leave our cabin, we still would've seen Capuchin Monkeys, Toucans, Scarlet Macaws, Coatimundis, Hummingbirds, Butterflies, and Trogans up close from our deck. The property's trails, beach, lagoon, waterfalls, tide pools, and viewing platforms are amazing. You couldn't ask for a more picturesque setting. Soak it in and bring an extra large memory card!
The activities, such as guided hikes, waterfall rappelling, canopy observation, horseback riding (off-site), bird watching, all exceeded expectations. I recommend all of the onsite activities and the horseback, or as many as you can do with the time you have. You will be glad you did.
The staff, and hosts Danny & Adrianna, are just wonderful folks. Its really like your staying with friends. I truly believe it is not possible to run/manage a place better than El Remanso. They truly care about sustainability, limiting their impact on the forest, and attending to every need and desire of their guests without being overwhelming or going through the motions. All of the staff are exceptional and just a joy to be around. The hikes with Gerardo are better than anyones we've been on anywhere. It's obvious he loves his job and does it better than anyone could ever ask. His knowledge, passion, and friendliness are unmatched. The restaurant staff are also great, and my wife and I enjoyed interacting with them on a daily basis. Sergio is a great bar tender!
The food was amazing. Not only was it fresh and homemade, but many of the dishes were very unique. It was always a treat to head to the restaurant after an exciting morning or afternoon of hiking for a fantastic meal.
The property and rooms are well-maintained. We stayed in a classic cabin and it was very comfortable. Don't worry about not having AC. You don't need it. We got excellent sleep with the sounds of the rainforest, tranquility of the rain, and the breezes from the Pacific Ocean and a fan.
We love Costa Rica and plan to travel to different areas/regions of the country in the coming years. However, and now that we've had such a wonderful time here, we will always leave at least a few days to head down to the Osa and stay at El Remanso. It is really that special.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank Straightup123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dorking, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed August 22, 2013

We spent three weeks in Costa Rica staying at some of the top lodges/hotels. El Remanso was by far our favorite. Everything is pitched just right, beautiful location, attentive but not overly fussy service, great activities and comfortable accommodation. I can honestly not think of one thing I would change.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Jem C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksonville, Florida
Level Contributor
46 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed August 20, 2013

Go here if u want a non tourist Atmosphere . The staff all speak English so I had no need for my translation book . The food was the freshest food I've ever had . I went solo and never felt alone . I did the adventure package . And the staff was always very helpful and kind. They even surprised me on my bday with flowers on my bed and room and bday cake at dinner while the staff and other guest were singing happy bday to me. Im planning a return trip back next year.... All smiles here ;)..I stayed in the cabin and suite ! Clean and very cozy !

Room Tip: Suite overlooking the pool...2nd floor was amazing ....lots of room...very private .
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank EatPrayTravel2426
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Remanso Lodge

Property: El Remanso Lodge
Address: Near Corcovado National Park, 8203, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Osa Peninsula
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Green Hotel in Osa Peninsula
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — El Remanso Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 9
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
El Remanso Hotel Osa Peninsula
El Remanso Osa
El Remanso Lodge Costa Rica/Osa Peninsula

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