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…
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- Also Known As:
- El Remanso Hotel Osa Peninsula
- El Remanso Osa
- El Remanso Lodge Costa Rica/Osa Peninsula