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“Not just another 5 star review...”
Review of El Remanso Lodge

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El Remanso Lodge
Ranked #4 of 40 Hotels in Osa Peninsula
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Colorado
Level Contributor
42 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Not just another 5 star review...”
Reviewed March 10, 2009

It seems redundant to write another 5 star review for El Remanso, so I’m going to focus on the not so obviously amazing things about El Remanso. I believe that as a traveler you really need to understand where you are going so that you can make good choices for successful trips and expect what you get. When traveling to Costa Rica and the Osa Peninsula it must be understood that this is a mostly undeveloped country full of biodiversity. Specifically, the Osa is the rain forest which literally means a wet ecosystem and it is a privilege to spend time in this rare environment. To get to this remote place it requires some extra travel on both a small plane and in a 4-wheel drive vehicle on unpaved roads - but to me this is part of the adventure. If you don't want to forge rivers in a Land Rover and drive 45 minutes to a remote rainforest location then you shouldn’t go. I loved that El Remanso had everything I needed to spend my precious 4 days on the property without leaving - I didn't want to travel back on the road to the town of Puerto Jimenez for anything. El Remanso's property was large enough to provide the opportunity to go on a different hike everyday to waterfalls and through river walks and to beach tide pools and lagoons. There is so much wildlife and adventure on the property that it felt unnecessary to make a trip to the national park, Corcovado. Included with the cost of the room are three well portioned, gourmet crafted meals per day with two choices for lunches and dinners and a full menu for breakfast. They will also make great pack lunches for your day trips. They offer numerous professionally guided activities that are reasonably priced. They provide clean, well appointed accommodations and service with a smile. This is not the Four Seasons - this is a chance to stay at an upscale eco-lodge run by a family (who are Not Americans - which in my opinion is good because I don’t like traveling to experience different cultures only to find myself surrounded by Americans) with professional people who make it their priority to accommodate the curious travelers in harmony with the delicate environment.

This was our first stop on a two week Costa Rica and Panama vacation and it was a hard act to follow. Even though the other places where we stayed were of the same caliber, it was the people that made El Remanso so outstanding. When we arrived, Daniel, (one of the owners with his wife Adriana) greeted us with a big smile as we got out of the car – he was so welcoming and escorted us through the property to our cabin and talked with us for a long time answering all of our questions. I later saw a wonderful in-room binder telling all about the property and answering every question we had talked to Daniel about, but he was nice enough to take the time to orient us and answer the “same-old” questions that I realize now everyone asks! Gerardo, the nature guide, (who also must get asked these “same-old” questions) was only concerned with making our hikes memorable and safe and trying to help us find birds and animals to view. This is a great place to get acclimated to the Osa and to be introduced to the environment. I found it invaluable that on our first day Gerardo educated us about the rain forest – how to be cautious and how to look for things I would never have been able to see without this knowledge. This was priceless. Laura, the massage therapist was so nurturing - I get a lot of massage and know talent when I feel it! Elyer and the rest of the staff that runs the dining room is always there to serve with a smile. There was never a feeling that anyone was just doing their jobs, it truly seemed that they loved being there as much as the guests. Who wouldn’t! The main reason I chose El Remanso over the other lodges in this part of the Osa was because I knew I wanted this level accommodation in an eco-lodge but not with a lot of people. I think their maximum capacity is 24 people which is enough to be able to make some friends without feeling like all of the Osa travelers are staying their too. Let’s hope it stays this way.


The experience of staying in “La Vainilla” - El Remanso’s open air 2-story cabin - was one we will never forget. The cabin is very secluded and more beautiful than we imagined. The downstairs has a closed-in room with a bed, shower, bathroom and its own private patio and view of the forest canopy and distant ocean. However, we chose to sleep in the upstairs room of La Vainilla where there are no walls, or doors, just an open air deck surrounding your living area, mosquito netted bed and half-walled “shower-with-a-view”. This kept us very much in touch with the nature around us and it was pure luxury camping in the rain forest. It was luxury because of the beautifully appointed bed; bathroom with an amazing shower which looked out to the ocean and had tons of hot water; and a living area with table and chairs and a hammock for lounging. It was camping because it was completely open to the forest. Getting in the mosquito netted bed at night felt like being into a tent - you felt protected from the elements, but still right out there with the surroundings. It feels like camping because you can hear the ocean crashing below in the distance, you can hear the animals calling and going about there business, you are living amongst the unusual bugs - like giant blue lightning bugs! And you can't help but be conscience of the environment - conserving the use of water and light, using flashlights and candles after dark. In La Vainilla you are right in the midst of it all....from the room we observed Parrots and Toucans and a family of White Faced Monkeys who interacted with us from the trees. Perhaps the most memorable wildlife viewing was during our private couple’s massage we were having from “magic-hands Laura” (not to be skipped). Being accommodating as usual, they brought the massage table to our cabin and we had massages on our deck, during which we saw 5 spider monkeys swing right by in the trees! It was these “little” things that impressed me at El Remanso – everyone tried to make sure that our experience was not only comfortable, but memorable. They also graciously accommodated us on our last day as we wanted to spend a half day at the lodge after checking out but before going on to our next destination. We were able to hang out by the pool and even have lunch - which I thought was generous.


I truly can’t say anything bad about El Remanso. It’s not all perfect: you have to get used to the rain forest surroundings and all the wildlife noises and animals and bugs that come with it. Although it can be exceptionally hot during the mid afternoon, the humidity was not as bad as we found it to be at the next place we traveled to - a beach-side resort in Puerto Jimenez where the ocean mist constantly made all our clothes and even the bedding damp and nothing ever dried. El Remanso’s cabins sit on the cliffs high above the ocean where the mist has evaporated - so it’s hard to judge until you have something else to compare it to. The hike down to the beach is fine, but back up requires extreme effort – which in the end we decided was great for us lazy bums. And the lounging comfort of the sofa and hammocks in the room could be debated, but we spent our time when in our room lying around naked on the bed where vacations are meant to be spent when not doing other activities!

If you’ve ever been blessed to go to summer sleep-over camp then you’ll be ecstatic to know that you can go back again as an adult - At El Remanso! Coming into the beautiful open-air deck dining room in the mornings reminded me of camp - the way that we would all congregate and the activities directors were there to help you decide what you would like to do for the day. With all the wonderful activity choices don’t forget the pool – we were so busy running around trying to experience the forest treks and the beach hikes that their amazing fresh water pool seems to get overlooked. This is a great place to just “be”. Sometimes you feel like you need a vacation from a vacation, and that is what this experience was like for us. We were very busy with exploring these exciting foreign surroundings (and I wouldn’t change that for anything) but my advise in looking back would be - try not to forget to slow down every once in a while. Enjoy your books that you bring and don’t read. Get the massage – or two! Lounge by the pool. These times when you are still are usually the time you can appreciate the surroundings and see the wildlife – and breathe away the stresses that you carry with you. …Go…

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank flavorQ
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)
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English first
San Francisco
Level Contributor
1 review
Reviewed March 7, 2009

* The El Remanso jeep and staff greeted me at the Puerto Jimenez airport with a smile and great service. The 40 minute ride to the gorgeous El Remanso property included stops to see owls, monkeys, and other animals. The Osa Peninsula is pristine and gorgeous. You can't find a better location.

* The staff at El Remanso is highly knowledgeable about the history, current activities, and zeitgeist of their region. They are beyond helpful and do everything they can to make your stay wonderful. When I arrived around 1pm, they assured me that they had multiple food options ready for me and that I could nap in my suite before I ate. I took a wonderful nap listening to the ocean from my huge suite that overlooked their land and ocean. I then had lunch near their pool and watched birds feed on their lush trees. I could not have been happier or more relaxed. Their restaurant area, bar, and pool are wonderful.

* My activities there for 5 days were incredible! The guides were A+ in execution, knowledge, planning, and spirit. They are passionate about what they do. I loved waterfall repelling, hiking at night to see nocturnal animals, bird watching at 5am, visiting the pristine beaches, getting a great massage, and meeting wonderful guests. I loved the staff ... did I mention that?

* During my 19 days in Costa Rica, I also went to the Arenal region and the Nicoya Peninsula. The OSA peninsula and specifically El Remanso were my favorites. I highly encourage you to visit there. Just fly to San Jose, hop on a Sansa or Nature Air flight to Peurto Jimenez and get El Remanso to pick you up. The jeep ride is not free, but it’s worth every penny. The drivers avoid all bumps in the road and show you animals you would never notice.

* The energy at El Remanso is perfect for relaxation and health. Of course you can have any as many zesty beverages as you’d like, but you feel wonderful there just resting in your hammock, dipping in the pool, reading a book in the shade of their great decks, lounging on their sofas, talking with the fascinating owners from Spain, Germany, and the US. Their staff is all local and super friendly.

* You can see their land and hotel on their website, ElRemanso.com, so I’m only adding my photos that show what isn’t on their site.

* Happy Travels!

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ISherbin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed February 25, 2009

My boyfriend and I visited Costa Rica for the first time at the end of January. After some extensive research, we decided to head to the Osa Peninsula after a few days in the La Fortuna area. We were hoping to have a few "touristy" days and then 4 days of relaxing in a remote, unspoiled location that was away from it all. El Remanso delivered. The resort was a peaceful oasis - a world away from it all. As an experienced traveler and someone that likes a little luxury, I was initially a bit worried about staying at an ecolodge with limited electricity. I am happy to say, not only was there no reason to worry, but the experience was one of the best of my travels.

A segmented list/review:

1. Food/Drinks - Food was great - A perfect amount to satisfy. The bar menu included just enough spirit. Waiters were attentive, friendly and prompt.

2. Pool - The pool was perched on the edge of the rainforest cliff and provided a breathtaking place to soak up some rays - full ocean and sunset views. While the pool is small, the size of the resort eliminates this as a problem. The 2 days I spent time at the pool, I was the only one there.

3. Accomodations - We stayed in the new villa in a deluxe room. Our balcony provided a full view of the ocean and tree canopy. The room was extremely spacious - literally enough room to do cartwheels. The bathroom provided a open shower and a platform tub that would be perfect for a romantic soak - the bathtub is surrounded by candles for a relaxing or romantic experience. Water pressure is very, very low and electrical power is limited, so if you are a hair dryer/blow out gal, this may not be the place for you. That said, I usually don't travel without a lint brush, iron, straightener, blow dryer, etc., etc. and somehow in the Osa none of this feels necessary!

4. Bugs - If you are concerned about bugs, don't be. I didn't see or feel a mosquito the entire time. The Cicadas really come out to sing every night and a few interesting beetles were hanging around, but as a person that hates, hates, hates bugs, I wasn't bothered by the few that we saw. While there is no air conditioning, you can open the double doors and wooden window shutters to let the air in with no worries about annoying insects.

5. Massage - Lara, the massage therapist, provided the best massage I have ever had. She is a gem. The massage hut sits in the rainforest - so you get to experience the soundtrack of the jungle in real life, not via CD!!

6. Guided Hikes - Gerardo, the nature guide, is well worth the money for guided tours. We saw 3 species of monkeys (including howler adults with their babies) and a bunch of other animals and bird species. Without Gerardo, I have no doubt we wouldn't have recognized or noticed half the amount of activity we did (and not because we wouldn't have been looking). Gerardo's vast plant and animal knowledge brings the Costa Rica landscape and rainforest to life - the nature walks we took with him were a highlight of the trip. My boyfriend was not exactly excited when we signed up for bird-watching, but we both agree it was one of the best decisions we made!

7. Road Conditions - In terms of the road to get to this remote location - it is a bit rough, but based on the reviews, I expected it to be worse. We were there during dry season and still had to cross a few streams, so I can't vouch for what it would be like in times of rain, but in dry season it is definitely driveable (particularly if you have an adventurous soul and an experienced offroad driving partner!).

8. Puerto Jimenez - The town of Puerto Jimenez is quite small. We had a car, so we took a day trip to town. This can definitely be skipped.

9. Sunsets - I highly recommend a hike down to watch the sunset on the beach. Incredible. Make sure you are aware of high tide - no beach exists at high tide!

10. Owner/Hosts - The owners/hosts are fabulous - friendly and accomodating without being intrusive. They strike the perfect tone for the hotel.

11. Unguided Hikes - The resort provides a map and quick directions to access an on-property waterfall (you can actually wade beneath it!) and a series of tide pools. The tidepools are full of sea urchins and colorful fish - definitely worth the walk down the beach.

12. Guests - During our stay, we were 2 of only 12 total guests. The size of the resort really adds to the experience. If you are looking for a party place or somewhere to stay up until the wee hours, this isn't likely to be the right place for you. However, if you are looking to meet other fabulous people, see nature at its finest and truly get away from it all to relax, this is the perfect place. In terms of the guests, I would be remiss to not point out that the fellow travelers at El Remanso during the time my boyfriend and I stayed there are now our facebook friends - we have shared pics and videos and will remain in contact as new friends.

13. Chunta - Chunta, the resident dog is a real sweetie. For any traveler that is a dog owner, this resort resident will make you a little less homesick for your animal family at home.

14. Stars - The entire sky lights up with stars - the sky is so vast on this edge of the world. Sitting on the balcony watching countless shooting stars, I had to pinch myself to believe it was real.

I cannot say enough wonderful things about this lovely place. The only thing that upset me was leaving...

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
6 Thank JulieSD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burlington, Vermont
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed February 16, 2009

My wife and I have traveled extensively, including two prior trips to Costa Rica. El Remanso was the best experience we have ever had. The owners, Daniel and Adrienne, are exceptionally helpful and their staff is warm and welcoming. The property is amazingly beautiful. The neighboring property, Bosque de Cabo, is more groomed and refined and acccomodates more guests, but El Remanso offers a more "natural" setting, where the rain forest and the ocean are the center of attention. We saw all of the accomodation at El Remanso and would stay in any - all very beautiful in a natura , understated way. The natural environment on the Osa is incredible. The people at El Remanso are dedicated to protecting it and to sharing it with guests through environmentally sensitive practices, through an amazing network of trails featuring spectatular waterfalls and endless untouching beach, and through the nicest and most informed nature guide we have ever met. (The message therapists were also as good as we have experienced.) We will return with friends next year!

  • Liked — The natural environment
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Robert53403
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed January 25, 2009

This was our second stop on a 3 week holiday to Costa Rica. We stayed at El Remanso for 3 nights and would have enjoyed staying longer. I am a critical traveler who works in the hospitality industry so I am used to visiting properties that don't quite make the grade. This was by far the best place we stayed in Costa Rica. It is not cheap but it was worth every penny. The design aesthetic of El Remanso is sophisticated eco-chic. I loved it. The owners are from Spain and I saw a lot of that country in their property. The +/-s....

+ upsides
-Really attentive to service - top marks *****
-Owners and managers and staff always around (the owners' daughter and her husband manage the property and are fabulous)
-Foliage is amazing - I never thought of myself as a plant person but when I was here I saw some plants and flowers that took my breath away.
-The grounds were beautiful
-The pool was lovely and well designed
-AMAZING rooms (we stayed in a standard room and then moved to one of the bungalows both were aesthetically pleasing)
-outdoor yoga platform. I used this everyday and it was a central part of my stay.
-amazing tide pools
-we both ran and walked around the surrounding property which was nice.
-Lovely dog
-Free internet
-Laura - what a gem!! She does it all - not only did she check us in but she is the resident massage therapist. She has a degree in physical therapy from San Jose University and she gave both me and my fiance an amazing massage. For $60 we got our money's worth, highly recommended. Better than a lot of US therapists I have had massages from.
-I forgot my journal at reception on the day we checked out and when I arrived at the airport in Jimenez I was upset about it...a few minutes later in walks a staff person from El Remanso with my journal. The trip to the airport is about 1 hour by car on terrible rounds - I cannot say how much it meant to me that they sent someone to bring me my book. Top service!!!
-we are vegan and the chef was able to accomodate our diet quite well.

-Downsides
-When we stayed in the standard room we had noisy neighbors - teenagers i think. It was much more private when we moved to the bungalow.
-It was a very busy time of year for them and even though we had the same 2 waiters for all our meals they couldnt remember that we were vegan and kept bringing us butter and dessert or asking if we wanted fish or beef for lunch...minor annoyance.
-another minor point - the double bed in the standard room was really two twins pushed together...in the bungalow we had a real double mattress.

Overall this is one of the best eco-lodges I have ever experienced. It is worth the money!

  • Liked — The design aesthetic and service approach
  • Disliked — Getting there - the road sucks
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank usgringa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sudbury
1 review
Reviewed January 3, 2009

An incredibly beautiful place. The cabin we were in was rustic but comfortable. The staff were about the nicest I have ever experienced. The food excellent and the surroundings paradise. My daughter had to be forced to leave. I went with 3 adult children and there was lots to do. The walk up from the beach was the hardest but the beach well worth it. Even if you could only enter at low tide it is well worth it. I would return anytime. This is not a touristy , luxurious resort but an ecolodge that feels intimate . our needs were anticipated and catered to. Bring bug spay and a flashlight. Diane Leblanc Canada

  • Liked — the staff
  • Disliked — having to leave
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank diml54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
2 reviews
Reviewed November 24, 2008

This was my girlfriend and I's second visit to El Remanso. It feels strange even typing the word 'second' as I have never before been on holiday to the same location twice, let alone the same hotel. I think that alone speaks volumes about the place, but I will write just a few more lines. I do so at the risk of attracting too many others to El Remanso (I don't necessarily want to share it, selfish I know!), but can do so assured that this is one place that will never turn into some overgrown resort, with such dedicated owners and staff at the helm.
Obviously it's location is fairly remote and there are certain things that come with this, but surely you would not even be reading this review if you were not interested in getting back to nature, and this is exactly what El Remanso allows you to do in style. Trust me, it's well worth the journey. I for one am extremely pleased to be 'off the grid', away from phones, blackberrys and tv's, and instead lap up the sights and sounds of the stunning forest that surrounds El Remanso. The sheer beauty of the place astounded me just as much on my second visit as it did on the first: that's exactly why we returned, and why I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who's interested in going to the Osa.

  • Liked — comfort in surroundings of natural beauty
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank LondonJungletrekker
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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