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“Location, location, location!”
Review of Lookout Inn Lodge

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Lookout Inn Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 19, 2007

The Lookout Inn is in a wonderful spot between jungle and ocean, at what feels like the end of the world - especially after traveling all day to get there and arriving after dark! We've travelled extensively in the Carribean, so were prepared for the climate and the laid-back atmosphere. What distinguishes the Lookout Inn is its remoteness. When guidebooks and other reviewers recommended bringing everything you need with you, we're glad we paid attention. It's a 2 + hour drive over rutted dirt roads with river crossings to the nearest town. There is a little cafe/shop at the end of the road near the Inn, but it's basically for walkers and hikers needing quick sustenance (M&Ms and water!) We followed others' advice and flew from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez and were met by a driver in a pickup truck for the trip to Carate, rather than renting a car and driving the entire 8-10 hours. Even the 2+ hour drive wasn't fun after traveling all day. On the return, we flew from the small airstrip near the Lookout to Puerto Jimenez (8 minutes - pricey but worth it!

When we arrived at the Inn, tired and rumpled, we were met by Terry, Katya and staff. When Terry told us we needed to go to dinner right away, I asked if we were dressed okay. He said "just take off your shoes - this is a barefoot inn" and we knew we'd be comfortable there. Although casual, dinner was served in the open air dining room at the top of the inn. Breakfast is on the deck overlooking the lush gardens and the ocean. Food is served buffet style. Most unusual for us - the owner and family ate all meals with the guests. If you are alone, or not sitting with a group, Terry, Katya, her son or Miguel, the chef, joins you. The food was good, prepared fresh on the premises, and there was plenty of it. Miguel was always ready to explain the menu to us and gave us samples if we were sitting at the bar while he was cooking. Unfortunately, Miguel was in the hospital our last evening there, but Terry is his backup and is a good cook as well!

Which brings me to the staff. We're in agreement with other reviewers here. The staff is friendly and helpful and all speak enough English that those of us not fluent in Spanish are able to communicate. Johnson does win for smiling the most! One caveat - it you leave clothes to be laundered, make sure you ask for them. We left some clothes to be washed our first day there and did not get them back until the day before we left 5 days later (although we could see them hanging on the line drying! The housekeeper/laundress was so sweet - she apologized profusely when she finally gave them to us.

Our accomodations were basic/rustic but perfectly acceptable particularly given the remote location. Our cabin was screened, which wasn't true of all of them. We had a little balcony where we could sit and look out over the lush vegetation and ocean, and watch the always entertaining scarlet macaws squabbling in the almond trees. While the lighting was very dim (solar powered), it was sufficient and the best part was there were little bedside lights and fans attached to the headboard for those of us that like to read at night. Of course, after hiking all morning, swimming in the afternoon and having a glass of wine with dinner, not a lot of reading got done! Falling asleep to the noises of the jungle and the surf was wonderful, although some nights the surf was so loud it was a roar!

The beach was wonderful. Hammocks strung under the palms had our names on them every afternoon. The only people on the beach were those staying at the inn - at the most 6 humans
and the inn's puppy, Marguerita. While we were warned about the water, it was not as rough as we expected and we swam every day, although I did get knocked off my feet and thrown under on one occasion. Walking on the beach after dark looking for turtles nesting was an experience not to be missed (the Halloween crabs really look spooky at night!)

As for the wildlife, it was everywhere. We did not go into the park, but hiked on the trails above the inn, up to the waterfall and down to the lagoon and were not disappointed. Check out the photo gallery on the inn's website - you really can see all of it!

We have mixed feelings about Terry - have to agree somewhat with other reviewers about the way he treats his wife and staff. On the other hand, you're part of the family when you're there so you get to see the good and bad. We have to hand it to him, he has built something out of the wilderness that allows adventurous travelers a place to observe and participate in nature at it's best. And we were there to celebrate with him as he got his freedom papers from the bank - he's now officially the owner! We have no mixed feelings about Katya, however. She is a wonderfully warm and gracious host and she's gorgeous as well.

Our only regret was that we spent too long in one spot. After to talking to other travelers, we wish we had split our time between other areas of Costa Rica and the Lookout. However, people who had come from the more touristy areas were amazed at the peaceful isolation of the inn and wished they had spent more time there. Since this trip was mostly to relax and recoup from a rough winter, it lived up to our expectations and more.

  • Stayed: March 2007, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Greylady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 10, 2007

The Lookout Inn is a great place if you want to combine both the ocean and the jungle in a remote, tranquil setting. This isn't a Holiday Inn or even a roadside motel, it's a home, and the hosts and staff want to make it as such.

STAFF: Miguel, the cook, enjoys his bread and swimming in the ocean. The guy can cook up some food, I mean it's gourmet type. As I think of it, it's cool that we had such great food being in the middle of nowhere. Marvin and Johnson are all over the place and are willing to do anything to help you such as opening coconuts on the beach. I thought I smiled alot but, Johnson's is permanent. Terry and Katya are wonderful hosts who go out of their way to make your stay a memorable one. Terry does seem to brag alot about things as posted in other reviews but, hey he's
living his dream, I would be bragging alot if I were too.

AREA: It takes just a few minutes to walk from the inn to the beach. The beach is gorgeous with palm trees jutting out. The water can be rough, so ask Terry when it's safe to swim. There is a trail that starts from the back of the inn, that circles through
the jungle. It's a nice easy hike that can be done at a 3 hour leisurely pace. In just one hike I saw a poison dart frog, monkeys, toucans, macaws (which you see everywhere) and some skunk like critter I can't remember the name of. Take Terry's advice, you can hike a trail one time and see some wildlife and walk it again a few hours later and see totally different creatures. The park is close to an hour walk and
mostly on the beach, so bringing some Tevas would be good. In fact, you could wear Tevas all over the place and not have a fear of anything.

CONS: Not as many trails around the inn as I would like. The prices for drinks are a little steep. I can see a transportation fee for being so far from town but, not that high.

ADVICE: Take your time on the trails and walk carefully as to not scare anything away. Sit down on the trails and wait awhile, something is bound to come by. Ask Terry about using Marvin or Johnson to help you search for frogs and snakes at night, and to take you to the lagoon in search of crocs. See about
getting a flight to Sirena Station, we didn't go because the pilot couldn't make it but, we really wanted to. We went at the beginning of May and it only rained one time and that was at night. Insects weren't much of a problem except for a couple of times at dinner but, I attract them because everyone else was okay.

We were happy to go and would recommend it to others. We were also fortunate enough to have such great guests staying there at the same time. It makes conversations over meals and drinks so much more enjoyable.

Thanks Terry, Katya, Miguel, Marvin and Johnson for a memorable honeymoon.

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank offbeatenpath
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 22, 2007

Lookout Inn is probably an undiscovered jewel of Costa Rica. It's a paradise for those who are looking for a combination of remoteness, feeling of overwhelming and most colorful nature while enjoying super-homey hospitality of Terry and Katya Conroy and their staff, beautiful accommodations made of wood and stone with decks and hummocks, excellent (!) food made by their cook Miguel; all is less than 50 meters from the unspoiled ocean beach with nobody on it except yourselves for kilometers around, plus abundance of wild life all around you. We (two couples from Chicago) stayed at the Lookout Inn for 4 nights, but you can easily spend there a week if you have time and aptitude for relaxation. We flew to Puerto Jiminez on Nature Air and then had 2+ hrs on a very bumpy road to the Inn. That is good that the road is bumpy; otherwise the place was crowded. The average number of guests is from 6 to 12 daily; we all mixed together at the dining tables, at the pool or beach. This is another reason to go to the Lookout Inn, as both Terry and Katya create an atmosphere of a welcoming home; you always can have what you ask for, plus their free advises, show and tell for visiting mankeys and other animals. You can use their wireless internet if you really want to know what's going on outside your paradise. Even the dogs are friendly there! We stayed at the cabins. They are all spacious and sparkling clean kept, have drinkable tap water, sun-powered electricity, showers, balconies, etc. The views are amazing! In March we have not seen a single mosquito. Food is simple, but very creative and tasty. Ask for tuna stakes, they are delicious. The highlight of the stay are the trips with the local tour guide Elias, who speaks great English and knows amazingly much about nature. Terry can point you to a self guided ½ day trip; we went and saw monkeys and myriads of birds. Bring with you your best binoculars. All in all, the Lookout Inn is the great place to stay in Costa Rica – safe, luxurious, remote, yummy, exciting and homey.

Michael, Naperville, IL

Thank Travelgde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2007

Quite simply the most stunning place in every way. We enjoyed five nights here and every moment was perfect. The property itself is in the most fantastic location - about 50 metres from the beach nestled in the edge of the forest. You have the best of both worlds with wildlife wandering by but also with the beach and its hammocks also on hand. At the Lookout you can do as you please. Although there is an abundance of wildlife, trails, waterfalls to swim in etc. it is also the perfect place to just go to relax and lie in a hammock by the beach all day - we went a whole afternoon and saw no one else!

Meal times are communal and you serve yourself from around the edge of the room. This works really well as you can choose to talk with the (maximum 15 or so) other guests and share experiences as we did, or choose a corner if you would rather not.

The food itself is excellent, and would be excellent even without the fact that you are a bumpy 40 or 50 kilometres from the nearest 'town'. The chef Miguel is relatively new to the Lookout and Terry the owner is rightly very pleased to have found him and proud of his work, which I understand continues a tradition of good food here.

All rooms are very clean and well appointed. We stayed in a Tiki hut, the most open to the environment, and didn't have bug problems but it was the dry season so we can't comment on the wet season. There are mosquito nets though, so wouldn't expect much difference. A new cabin has just been built slightly higher up that looked awesome too.

On the subject of the staff they are all fantastic and add to the overall experience. Katya is Terry's wife and as noted in previous reviews the pair work well together. While Terry is the exuberant front man Katya runs most things behind the scenes. While we can understand that Terry might rub a small minority of people up the wrong way (a long time expat American all about having a good time, best taken with a pinch of salt and a Jack Daniels!), for us it is Terry and Katya that make the Lookout what it is - relaxed and welcoming.

In our view the Lookout is the perfect choice for the vast majority of people. If you are the type that takes everything in life very seriously, or who's idea of luxury is 24 hour butler service then there are other good choices on the Osa peninsula for you. However for the majority of others who want to wake up with a fleet of scarlet macaws flying by, the sound of the sea and a monkey eating a banana in a tree then this is the place to be.

In our eyes the Lookout is the ultimate in luxury as it is peaceful and secluded, has a stunning beach, fantastic wildlife and activities on hand, wonderfully relaxing. It says a lot that over 30% of the Lookout's trade is repeat business, even more impressive considering the remoteness of the location. We will certainly be back as soon as possible, probably in the rainy season as this brings a different array of wildlife.

Stayed: March 2007
4  Thank Hibit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2007

After an incredible tour down the Nicoya Pennisula we flew to Puerto Jimenez to be picked up by a Tico couple who drove us 2.5 hours into the jungle. The road as described in Lonely Planet as The Punisher, wasn't quite that... it was all apart of the experience, and as you get deeper into the rainforest you see it all come to life. The Lookout is prime real estate that really is untouched and absolutely stunning. Stay a minimum of four days to really take it all in. Terry and Katya are the owners and yes they are polar opposites. Terry is extremely high energy but makes for countless interesting stories (just take him with a grain of salt). Katya is a very calm and beautiful lady that will take care of all your needs. And lets not forget the best puppy ever - Margarita (she takes long walks on the beach and never tires). Falling asleep to the lulling pitch of the rainforest, the loud crashing of the waves and the abundance of smells made every sleep that amazing. The forest is teaming with life so yes if you can't handle a few bugs... well it might not be for you. Definitely do a hike with Elias - he is a great guide.
This was an unforgettable decision coming to the Osa. You are at the edge of the land away from everything, only to be surrounded by all things natural. You never know who will be the next person having dinner beside you... As there business card says, "Come as guests, leave as family."
We will be back. It's just one of those places...

  • Stayed: February 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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4  Thank 3<>Sunna<>3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2007

Rainbow birds soaring above, blue skies, secluded beach that runs for miles, studded with bright green palm trees...what can I say? Terry adds to the flavor of the striking environment with his eccentric personality. He can make you laugh for hours. The culture he creates at his Inn is special...communal and full of life. Terry and Katya strive for excellence and take a tremendous amount of pride in their environment. This place is wild. The ocean is wild--you hear it all night long, the wind is wild, there is lightning & thunderstorms sometimes at night. Everything is so colorful and bright. It really brings meaning to the word TROPICS. If you are going to be offended by Terry's honesty and free, untamed spirit (like some others who have posted here) you don't belong here. If you want nature as wild and as rugged as it gets, you do.

  • Stayed: December 2006, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank tropicaexotica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 24, 2006

This is a fanatastic property, if you can stand to be around Terry, the host and owner of the Lookout. He has been in the jungle too long and has forgotten what's appropriate, how to treat his staff and even how to respect his Tica wife. Katia, Terry's wife, is fantastic, very gracious hostess, but its hard to enjoy with Terry barking at her, her son or his staff with such venom. Too bad, the Lookout has one of the best views in all of Osa. Terry, get over yourself and get a grip.

Stayed: November 2006
4  Thank Shanni1luv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lookout Inn Lodge

Address: Carate, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Osa Peninsula > Corcovado National Park > Carate
Amenities:
Beach Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Carate
Price Range: $91 - $183 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Lookout Inn Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Lookout Inn Lodge is a beach and rainforest ecolodge in Carate on Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula. We are located completely off the beaten path and conveniently located near an entrance to the world-renowned Corcovado National Park. Ideally situated to offer comfortable and affordable eco-friendly accommodations to adventure travelers visiting this remote part of Costa Rica, the Lookout Inn Lodge is sure to impress. Nestled in the hillside right above the road and alongside an isolated black sand beach, Lookout Inn Lodge provides our guests with spectacular views of the surrounding jungle rainforest, the majestic Pacific Ocean and an endless unspoiled Osa Peninsula coastline. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lookout Hotel Carate
Lookout Inn Lodge Costa Rica/Carate

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