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“Lots of hype...Look around before you book here”
Review of El Remanso Lodge

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El Remanso Lodge
Ranked #3 of 43 Hotels in Osa Peninsula
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed August 18, 2009

My husband and I took our children (ages 7 and 8) to the Osa this summer to show them the "wild" side of Costa Rica. We had been previously with the kids and wanted to expose them to the jungle atmosphere (we had both been to the Osa previously, my husband has been 5+ times). In the past we relied on Lapa Rios and had every intention of going there. The reviews that we read about El Remanso seemed to make it a no-brainier - could they be any more positive? - and so, we decided to give it a try. When we arrived in Puerto Jimenez we were greeted by the office host and set off in a Land Rover to the lodge, roughly 45 minutes away. The lodge is next door (quite literally) to Bosque del Cabo (another well-received Eco-Lodge). El Remanso has a main lodge for dining with a bar, a very small plunge type pool and then the assorted "casita" style lodgings. Our "hut" as we called it was in no way luxurious. Inside there was a sparse bed (with a not very good mattress), a desk with an ashtray and a pack of matches, a tiny sink, an enclosed shower and a toilet with a door. There was also a hammock inside the room and one on the porch. There was an outlet for small electric appliances (to charge a camera battery, etc.). The doors were folding type on old rusty hinges that did not fully close. Windows had metal louvered shades on them. Luxurious? No. Still, having been to the Eco-Lodge type place before, we smiled and shrugged our shoulders. You need to know that when you go there you are roughing it. We did know that and enjoyed the solitude on the porch and the surroundings. Expect lots of noises (which are pretty cool when you consider they are scarlet macaws in the trees!). Once we settled in we decided to take the hike to the beach. Be warned it is a HIKE to the beach. 15 minutes down...20-25 minutes up, depending on your level of fitness. The beach was nice, deserted...not swimmable. We were told to not swim and you really can't...the waves are a good 10-15 feet high and crash hard. High tide comes in really high and there's not a lot of room to walk on the beach. This was never mentioned at all, nor is it addressed anywhere on the web site (It would have been nice to know) However, about 10 minutes up the beach there is a very cool lagoon where you can swim. The tide pools are about 15 minutes the other way and can be neat, but they can also be slippery and a bit dangerous to climb on. The beach has lots of hermit crabs and there are hikes to waterfalls about 10 minutes in from the beach. Lots to explore. As for other activities, there are hikes around the property, a very good guide on staff and opportunities to go into town to kayak (we did this - lots of fun). You can also make arrangements to visit the animal preserve in Golfo Dulce (from town about 30 minutes by boat) - we saw monkeys up close, sloths, toucans, macaws, etc. The owner of the preserve is knowledgeable and kind to the animals - very cool place. The main lodge serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have read reviews that rave about the food, but I just can't. The first day the food was good, but it got progressively worse. For some reason the chef was attempting to prepare french style fare in the middle of the jungle. The servers couldn't pronounce it even and we often had to read through the description because the preparation was so obscure that honestly we could barely pronounce it either. Luckily, you are so active in the jungle that you are mostly starved, so meals are good regardless. Maybe that's where the good reviews came from? The staff at El Remanso is really it's best feature. Everything I have read is true. They really aim to please. My daughter got sick while were there and everyone was concerned and helpful. The young owners are genuinely concerned that guests get to do what they want to do and see what they came to see. Daniel was a very good host and made sure that things went smoothly most of the time. When we decided to leave 2 days early he was understanding and helped to facilitate our early departure. Yes, we left early. Honestly, we were disappointed by the place. It's not luxurious (can an Eco-lodge in the jungle fit that description?) - so that's a joke. The web-site is slick and really paints a different picture of the place. Some of the things that looked so great on the web-site were a bit of a sham. The zip-line is a joke. It's a short zip up to a platform on the side of the walkway from hut to hut. I can't believe they actually charge people to do it. The beach is beautiful, but you truly cannot swim in it, nor go too near the surf. I can't say that any of the other lodges in the area are better...it had been a while since I had been to the Osa. We had previously stayed at Lapa Rios and Basque del Cabo (my advice is to check around..I honestly wish we would have gone back to Lapa) We were honestly swayed by reviews that we read right here. Everyone has a different idea of what luxury is...of what "wild" is...to me, having been to the Osa before, this is not the top place down there (at least I hope not!).

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled with family
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7  Thank Moppy101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 8, 2009

Staying at El Remanso was the best holiday we have ever had, and we've been to some lovely places (Borneo, Australia, NZ...) . Highlights were : The incredible variety of wildlife, beautiful setting and views, peaceful untouched rainforest, super variety of walks, friendly staff who couldn't be more helpful and fun....did I mention the amazing wildlife?! All in all it was PERFECT and we often reminisce and dream of going back sometime!

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank greenmeads
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 2, 2009

We went to El Remanso for our honeymoon. It was everything that we expected and more. It's a place that you always feel like you are doing something, even if you are just lounging around. Located in the rain forest, you really get a first hand look at nature. We saw all kinds of wildlife and enjoyed each day we spent at the lodge. El Remanso offeres many activities on and off the property. There are many trails to hike, waterfalls to see, and a beach to enjoy. We enjoyed each activity we chose to do, such as, horseback riding, waterfall repelling, a dolphin watching tour, and guided hikes. Be sure to visit the tide pools at low tide, they are amazing! Every staff member was excellent and very accommodating. We didn't meet one person we didn't enjoy! Perfect preparation of simple and fresh ingredients always kept us excited to find out what our next meal would be. The cabins were private and cleaned daily. We recommend this lodge to you if you are looking for a place to relax, find adventure, and be surrounded by the beauty of the rain forest. We can't wait to revisit El Remanso...an "Oasis of Peace."

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank BandDfromPA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2009

El Remanso exceeds the finest most luxurious resorts we've stayed out. El Remanso is so very special and wonderful. The food was incredibly good. The staff first-rate. Virgin rain forest right on the beach/ocean- wow!

Plenty to see and do. Its amazing what Captain Joel started and his daughter and son-in-law are now continuing the excellent atmosphere, quality staff, and purity of this lodge.

We will be back.
Mark & Eileen Smith

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank SailingCaptain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2009

I wrote about this part of our trip in depth here and have lots of pictures - http://t3ch99.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/nature-paradise-in-the-osa-peninsula/ - but I will point out a few things...

This was our favorite part of our 10-day trip even though we stayed in what should be considered "nicer" hotels. This one was better though! Beautiful setting, beautiful flowers, spectacular lodge. Even though this one was slightly more rustic, with fewer creature comforts, it just had a magical quality to it that is unmatched.

What we REALLY liked is that it was so remote, deep in the rainforest and that there were animals all around us available for viewing without even hiking, just from the pool or lodge. But, there's plenty MORE to see on the hikes, so don't miss that.

The other thing we LOVED about El Remanso was the staff. EVERY single one of them couldn't have been any nicer! Also, an important distinction is that they are very personal and friendly. We have stayed at places where the staff treats you like royalty and are sort of removed and that bothers me. I don't want a servant, just good service. Here, you get genuinely friendly people that provide great service in a relaxed, casual atmosphere. These are people that you can imagine yourself having a beer with at home. A big thank-you to Adriana, Daniel, Joel, Elyer, Maikol, Sharline and Gerardo! (And everyone else behind the scenes that we didn't meet.) ALSO, you get the feeling that they enjoy doing their jobs and they aren't just being nice to get a good tip.

Which brings me to another point, we stayed at another lodge in Costa Rica where on our final bill there were blanks for EVERY SINGLE staff person's name to leave tips. Somehow they made us feel obligated and it was awkward. Here, not at all, and so I appreciated that and made me want to leave a tip even more! The staff deserves it...it's just nice for it to be because I wanted to instead of feeling obligated. Please DO leave a tip though, they work hard!

Lodge Amenities
Here’s a rundown what’s what. Yes, there is electricity, but it’s used sparingly as they generate their own. Therefore, there’s no air conditioning. Who wants to hear air running when you can hear the sounds of the forest anyway? Also, no hairdryers. I’m a girly-girl, so I was worried about that one, but I got my hair permed with a light body wave before we left and adopted the “Pura Vida” attitude and it was all good. There is hot water, though ours sort of came and went. I just waited a few minutes and it would come back. And, the water tastes great, is safe and drinkable right from the tap.

I could go on and on, the food was the best we had in Costa Rica. 3 wonderful meals per day! They have 2 options for both lunch and dinner and they take your order in the morning. It was like being invited to your friend's house every day to eat. (A friend that's an amazing cook.) We even had a cheeseburger for lunch one day that was to die for. Everything they made was delicious! The chicken empanada was absolutely wonderful! And the chicken enchiladas too! Yum!

If you want to stay in the rainforest, this is an amazing, incredible place. However, make sure you know what staying in the rainforest might entail to make sure this is the kind of experience you want. For us, it was heaven, but I don't think my parents would have liked it. You have to be in reasonable shape to go to the beach and do other activities, accept the fact that you might have uninvited visitors in your room, and understand that there's limited electricity. If you're up for it, I promise you will have an amazing experience.

I just can't say enough good things about this place and desperately want to go back as soon as possible!

Pura Vida!

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank parisbound
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 15, 2009

Oh My what can I say that has not been said already. This is an eco lodge in the middle of the beautiful Costa Rican Rain Forest. Wild animals, the best scenery ever. Pay the extra and get one of their better rooms, not that the others suck but having screens on all the windows is a plus. We heard other vacationers complaining about having to keep their shutters closed at night because of little flyers. I can't find one little thing to complain about. The food was the best I have EVER had. Nice choices and excellently prepared. I asked the managment if they ever put out a cookbook to notify me. It was that good. Loved our nature guide Geraldo. Probably a good idea to plan paying for a guided hike the first full day you are here so you can get the lay of the land and what to watch out for but after that there are numerous trails to explore. The waterfall repel was worth every penny we paid. What an awesome experience. We even loved the drive from town and our driver was very informative, showing us all the sights and animals to see, stopping for us to take pictures. The beach was a deserted paradise, all ours. (although the hike back to our room was a [--]!) Can't wait for a return trip. Exactly what their web sites says.

Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
1  Thank d1m1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 4, 2009

I have never been to a place so beautiful that is also managed by the kindest people. The managers, Adriana and Daniel, are friendly, relaxed and very easy going. They have made a beautiful place to visit. Their dedication to the environment is very noble. The fact that they produce, using hydroelectric power I believe, all the energy that they use still has me in awe. There is not one bad thing to say about El Remanso. Everything was amazing! Even the other guest staying there were fantastic. The staff, especially Michael and Elyer, were so friendly and helpful. Great to talk to. Our guide, Geraldo, was bubbling over with information on every topic in nature. Birds, monkeys, snakes, trees, you name it, he knows it. He was also the one who took us waterfall rappelling. I had never done anything like that but could not have felt more safe or secure. Our suite had the most fantastic view of ocean and forest. We didn't stay in the cabins but in the suites and they were perfect. They offered total privacy while allowing us to leave almost all the windows and the doors open. It was so lovely to be able to feel the breeze at night while sleeping. The grounds are also very pretty. The whole place is just so aesthetically pleasing. Also, the food is incredible!!! I truly enjoyed and savored every single meal. The meals were very diverse. You could go your entire stay without having the same thing twice. When you visit at El Remanso it is the best present you could be giving yourself. It is relaxing and very active at the same time. We did the kayaking and surfing, both are done outside of the lodge, and they were awesome. The place really offers very unique and interesting experiences. I have never been to another lodge in the Osa Peninsula and feel like there would be no reason. They simply can not compete. It really was one of the most blissful and peaceful trips of my life.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank KAlFed
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

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: $331 - $609 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — El Remanso Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 9
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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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