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“Amazing”
Review of El Remanso Lodge

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El Remanso Lodge
Ranked #3 of 42 Hotels in Osa Peninsula
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Atlanta, Georgia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Amazing”
Reviewed June 7, 2010

We went here for our honeymoon. We stayed in the La Guinda suite (best for honeymoon couples) and had the active package. The entire stay was amazing.

First of all, as the owner Daniel even mentioned to me, it is important that you realize that this place is not necessarily for everyone:
-The beach is a steep, relatively treacherous half-mile (or so) walk from the lodge
-You are pretty much on your own. It can almost feel eerie how you get to just go walk around these trails with so much freedom.
-At certain times of the year, it can rain A LOT, and you will have to be content in your room or in the lodge reading a book, enjoying the sounds, etc... there are no TVs, nothing like that.
-After four days here, you will be TIRED. It is a workout constantly walking up and down hills from point A to point B. This is not a place to be pampered (though you can be massaged and what not). This is a place to explore.

If those warnings frighten you, you probably should not come here. If they excite you (as they do me), you should definitely come here. Some things that make this place amazing:
-The staff is so cool (I am not usually one to say this). They love what they do, and you really get to know. At one point, there were only two other people staying at El Remanso with us (these numbers will vary depending on the time of year). It is a VERY personal experience.
-The nature is insane. Just go outside your room and look at a tree and you'll see something crazy going on. Every little place is an ecosystem. Monkies wake you up in the morning. They pass through the trees outside your room.
-The food comes in comically huge quantities, and it was probably the best food I have ever had (consistently). Each meal was just ridiculous. I really, really miss it. The beans were amazing.
-The beach is deserted. And it is the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. The waves are the biggest waves I have ever seen (no swimming!). There is a freshwater lagoon for swimming. You get to walk down a creek in the rain forest. There are tidal pools like hot tubs by the ocean you get to sit in (hard to explain). It is an adventure. Everything about it is unforgettable. And it is, unlike some other places we went on our trip, authentic. Even Puerto Jimenez was great.

Advice:
You really need to plan ahead regarding what kind of clothes to bring. My wife and I brought Keen sandals, and once they got wet, they never dried (so humid!). Same went for all of our clothes. Once something got wet, it stayed wet. Be prepared for this. I don't really think that there necessarily is an ideal shoe for this place-- more than anything, you may want to bring a couple of pairs, and a lot of socks.... Our feet got pretty messed up. Particularly going to the beach and getting sand grinding against our feet, then having to walk back uphill with wet and dirty feet... It was pretty bad.
Also, this was apparently unusual, but we had a good bit of rain, which brought out the mosquitos. Even if they are not as bad as they were while we were there, you should bring bug spray. And DEFINITELY, everyone needs to have a very good pair of binoculars.

Have fun.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Phinizy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
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  • Italian first
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English first
Lincoln, Nebraska
Level 6 Contributor
194 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
Reviewed May 28, 2010

El Remanso was great! We stayed in an open-air, two story cabin and it was great. Wildlife all around. Monkeys in the trees right outside the cabin, wonderful view from the cabin to the Pacific. The staff was great, got to know the owners a little and they were very nice. The grounds around the lodge are huge, lots of trails and waterfalls to see. Tough hike down to the beach, but the hike to the tide pools was amazing.

The food was excellent, the pool was nice and did we mention the views? Excellent location, plus the staff was helpful with suggestions on how to spend our time. They helped arrange a tree climbing tour, which was a highlight of the trip.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Jason W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed May 24, 2010

First, I just want to make clear that, although we loved this place, this lodge is NOT for everyone! There are certain people, like us, who will absolutely thrive there, and others who would definitely not. So, it is important to make sure you take into consideration your own tastes and needs (scared of bugs, don't go), as well as your level of fitness (you need to be in relatively good shape to do the walk to the beach and hikes) when considering this lodge.

That said, we thoroughly enjoyed it! All the staff was great. Cindy was fantastic and, Gerardo the guide is one of the best, if not the best, guides we've ever had and we have travelled quite a bit around the world. He is enthusiastic, happy, friendly, and very knowledgeable. I normally don't like guided excursions very much, but I loved the excursions with him and we ended up doing them all: bird watching, guided hike, night hike, zipline/canopy tour, and waterfall rappel. The waterfall rappel was great and the staff is very safety conscience. We knew we were in good hands.

We stayed 6 nights and never got bored. We did all the trails that the lodge had to offer and all the tours too. We swam in the lagoon, the waterfall, and the tide pools. Didn't get a massage, so can't comment on that. But, we pretty much experienced everything else.

The rooms are fairly basic... nice, but not super elegant or anything. This is an eco-lodge, so the rooms, in our opinion, are what they should be. Think more nice "log cabin" rather than the Ritz. A big bonus is that the electrical is not done by generator, so no annoying noise from that sort of thing. Electrical is limited, but never failed us. Lights and fans operated just fine even late at night. There is no air conditioning (for us, this is a good thing, because those things are just noisy)... That said, the rooms at night are somewhat hot. The (very quiet) fan helps a little, but don't expect the rooms to be cool. Particularly if you use the bug netting, which tends to make things a little bit more stuffy. Good bug netting here though... some places it's not very good, but these were full coverage... easy to keep the bugs out. The lighting in the rooms is not bright. Generally this is done to help keep the bugs down, but I noticed on some reviews that people are bothered by it. It's generally typical in many Costa Rica lodges, so El Remanso is not unique with this. Also, this is a wilderness resort... so, you don't come thinking to get all dolled up for dinner in heels and dresses with your hair done. You can't use hair appliances and the lighting isn't too great and you need to carry a flashlight at night to walk around on the non-paved paths. It's a place to relax... people will be wearing shorts and t-shirts to dinner, not fancy clothes. Most of the women staying there and working as staff there don't even bother putting on makeup for any meal. So, again, it's not the Ritz.... so, if you want the Ritz, don't go. This is a place to get sweaty and dirty, so be prepared to change shirts often, get wet and muddy shoes, have many daily showers.

The rooms were very clean though and the beds fairly comfortable. Basically, the pictures on the website for the lodge are very accurate. You will likely have a problem with the odd critter in your room. In the one without screens we stayed in, there was a bat in it. In the morning another flew in too, but we managed to get him out pretty quickly. In the other one with screens, there were some moths and large beetles. Again, typical... particularly if you leave your lights on when it's dark. These aren't hermetically sealed rooms or anything. That said, considering they keep the doors and shutters open all day, I was surprised there weren't more bugs in the rooms. No mosquitoes, but there are some other biting insects to be found. Bring some Afterbite for sure. The showers have hot water, but run off propane, so the propane tank may run out on you. If it does, you can always ask for it changed and it's taken care of right away.

The trails are well maintained. We only felt that the Ridge Hike as you got closer to the beach could have been better maintained. This is the long hike and most people don't actually do the whole thing right to the beach, but we are a bit nutty and did. I think it's a bit more poorly maintained because people are unlikely to do the whole thing. It's very well maintained for the first 3/4 of it. You need some good shoes to do all the hikes, as they can be slippery and a bit steep. I had a lot of luck with my water shoes though. These worked great hiking to the beach, hiking the river hike, walking around the tide pools, doing the waterfall rappel, etc. Basically, you need to bring footwear that can get wet/dirty and that have good grips. The beach, once you get there, is fantastic! We visited it everyday for sure. Can't swim in the ocean, but soaking in the tide pools was perfect and you can swim in the lagoon too and this was very nice. The crashing waves on the beach was worth not being able to swim in the water.

In terms of wildlife, couldn't have been better. Three of the days, we saw all four species of monkeys... sometimes on the same hike. We also saw coatis, agoutis, a skunk, macaws, toucans, etc... often right in the hotel grounds. The capuchins, howlers, and spider monkeys were often easy to view on the hotel grounds without going on a hike. The coati and skunk were also seen on the grounds. There was a sloth in a tree by the parking lot. The toucans and macaws landed near the restaurant. Not often, but they would. Many frogs and lizards could be seen on the grounds too, as well as a ton of birds. It's a great place for wildlife lovers.

The food was very good... much better than we expected for sure! The filet mignon we had one night was to die for. The restaurant staff is also very friendly. Snacks were often provided for free before dinner (chips and salsa, etc). There were also packages of cookies always available in the restaurant as well as water, coffee, and tea. The meals were very filling and there was always a choice of two options for dinner and lunch. There were even more choices for breakfast. There was dessert with every lunch and dinner and fresh fruit juice with breakfast that changed every day.

It's again, remote, so no TVs or phones in the rooms. They had a computer where you can check email. There is no real human night life here. Generally it's eat dinner at 7:00 and then off to bed and up at dawn because the howlers will wake you anyway. Bring books and maybe even cards/board games for things to do at night if you want. It's also nice just sitting on your deck and looking at the stars/listening to the night noises. But, going to bed early and rising early allows you to take full advantage of the daylight hours. El Remanso starts breakfast early too, so that is a plus. The whole time we were there, it rained twice. Once in the afternoon for a couple of hours and then one night all night starting around dinner.

A lot of people seem to find the road to the resort to be a bit dicey, but for us it was a fine road... we've been on MUCH more interesting roads in Costa Rica... This road seemed fairly drivable in most conditions, but could possibly close for a while if it rained really hard. Difficult to say, as it was raining pretty hard when we left and one of the stream crossings was fairly deep and the El Remanso truck managed it no problem. The El Remanso driver (they call him Burrito) is great too. He has a good eye and will find all sorts of animals for you on your way in to the lodge. He'll stop and let you take pictures too, so make sure to do that, as the road is a great place for seeing the animals a little lower down and more out in the open.

Also, it should be mentioned that if you fly to Puerto Jimenez, you'll be on a small 12 seater plane. This plane is small! Some people would not like this. You can drive to Puerto Jimenez as well though and others mentioned that the road now takes about 8 hours from San Jose area.

This resort does require a decent level of fitness. If you don't like walking or have mobility issues at all, I don't recommend you go. There is no pavement here and the hikes have a fair amount of uphill and downhill... some of it fairly steep and slippery. The hike up from the beach is uphill... fairly steep and will take you 20-25 minutes if you go fairly quickly and it's hot too, so that makes the hike that much harder. That said, it was a great place to get back into shape after the winter. I feel like we got a really nice workout everyday.

Some activities require a bit less in terms of fitness. The bird watching was quite easy for example and the guided hike with Gerardo goes quite slow and he doesn't take you too far, so I think most everybody can do it. There is also a public beach that the staff mentioned they could arrange transportation to if we wanted to go. Apparently you can swim in the ocean there. We ran out of time to check it out though. We also saw a lot of people do the hike to the beach and they seemed to be of a variety of ages and fitness levels. So, it's certainly not something to hinder people.

Go:
1. If you love wildlife
2. If you aren't terrified of bugs and don't mind the odd critter in your room
3. You would prefer a more rustic lodge to a highly manicured place
4. You like hiking and walking and are in reasonably ok shape
5. Want a friendly environment
6. Have an adventurous spirit and can take things as they come

Don't Go.
1. If you want air conditioning or luxury accommodations
2. You want or expect a bug free room
3. You have mobility issues
4. If you want any sort of nightlife or party atmosphere
5. If you want to use a hair dryer or are concerned about poor lighting
6. If it bothers you to be woken up VERY early in the morning (4:30am by howler monkeys)

The above list really goes for most of the lodges in this area. It would be difficult for any of them to have air conditioning or bug free rooms. It's more the nature of their location, rather than the lodge itself.

All that said, we'll be heading back soon! We'll even spend longer the next time I expect. We really loved it! It was a great way to disconnect, relax, and get a workout too.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank shannonleasmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Irvine, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 27, 2010

The personal touch is so evident at El Remanso and is what sets it apart from other lodges. It began with our personal greeting upon arrival and continued throughout our stay. We were well taken care of by every member of the staff from the waiters to adventure guides. I can't think of one thing that would have made our stay more enjoyable or memorable. I would recommend El Remanso to singles, couples, and families of all sizes and ages. El Remanso has something for everyone in one of the most scenic locations imaginable!

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank richnrett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hampshire, England
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 19, 2010

We spent 9 days at El Remanso in March as part of our honeymoon and we were completely blown away by the location, wildlife, facilities and service.

During our stay we spotted countless birds and insects as well as Agouti, Coati, snakes, frogs, crabs and a caiman. It's a great experience to be so surrounded by nature, we were woken up at dawn each morning by the howler monkeys and every day we saw spider monkeys feeding in the trees just 50m from our cabin!

We took full advantage of the trips and experiences on offer and found that the guided hikes were a particular highlight. Gerardo (the guide and biologist) is a fountain of knowledge on the rainforest and creatures and we'd certainly recommend doing a guided hike early in the trip as we found that we were able to spot more things on our own after an hour or two under his guidance. We'd also recommend the surfing, waterfall rapelling and horse riding.

Both the day and night are hot and sticky and we got a couple of insect bites though far fewer than we expected (and we didn't wear repellant) but these things aren't downsides, they're part of the real jungle experience.

The jungle timetable of rising at dawn and going to bed quite early is really relaxing and it was nice to exist for a while without our electrical appliances, A/C and so on. The food was excellent, (I am veggie and there was always a tasty option) and above all the staff were outstanding. Cindy organised all our trips and nothing was too much trouble (including picking up sun tan lotion in town for us when we ran out!) Dan and Adrianna were great hosts and Javier & Co, in the bar/restaurant were always cheerful and friendly.

We had a perfect honeymoon and we can't recommend El Remanso highly enough.

You'll love it!!!

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Gayleyg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
harrisburg, pa
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 13, 2010

My husband and I went to El Remanso for our honeymoon and stayed for four nights with their honeymoon package. We traveled to other areas of Costa Rica as well, but no doubt, El Remanso was the highlight of our time, and the place we would love to return. It is a glorious and beautiful place, both in the splendor of the rain forest and the pacific ocean, but also in the kindest most wonderful people you will ever meet. As much as we miss the place, we also miss the people (And the food! Amazing!).
Included in the package were our choice of several of the activities provided by the lodge. The morning birding trip was entirely delightful, and we saw probably nearly 100 types of birds, as well as coatis, spider monkeys, and a huge iguana. A big highlight of our trip was the waterfall repelling activity. I am not a big outdoor-sports kind of person, but I highly recommend it. So much fun! The guided hike was difficult sometimes, as it is several hours long and some of it is on steep terrain, but it is an essential introduction to the rain forest. We attempted to take the night hike, but got caught in the pouring rain, and learned that the rain forest is called so for a reason! Still a delightful memory. Gerardo was our guide for all activities, ad we are so thankful for his leading and teaching. He was always as excited to discover and share something in the rain forest as we were to see it!
We also did some self led hikes on the trails that El Remanso maintains, where we enjoyed making our own discoveries.
We stayed in La Vainilla, one of the stand-alone cabins. It is a completely open air cabin, but is very private, and one of our favorite observations right from the room was a toucan calling in the trees. It is a lovely room.
As far as service, it was excellent. The owners, Daniel and Adrianna were always hospitable and generous. Since we were traveling on to other locations, we were very thankful for the laundry service (I believe the cost was $10...well worth!.)
The walk to the beach is long and steep (you climb up to get back to the lodge), but you may spy monkeys on the walk. The weather was hot and very humid, but we enjoyed the small swimming pool to cool off. (All fresh water, by the way. No chlorine! Wonderful!) And yes, it is rustic, but in a way that combines all the beauty of nature, kindness, and life.
I just recommend that you go... you won't regret it.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank woodroadPA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rogers, Arkansas
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed April 3, 2010

We wen't with my husband to El Remanso. Excellent experience!!!! This place is like heaven!!! Perfect spot to relax , get lots of rest!! A lot of things to do!! They have THE best view of Osa Peninsula!!

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank GeralG
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
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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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