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“Best Place To Stay Near Corcovado National Park”

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Campanario Biological Station
Reviewed January 3, 2012

This is my wife and I second visit to Proyecto Campanario, however this time we had brought more family members with us. Nancy the owner continues to make this place truly amazing. If you are looking for a place to stay that is off the beaten path where you really can experience nature and stay in one of the most sustainable lodges (I am developer that develops sustainable buildings) this is place to stay. The one thing this place allows you to appreciate is how lucky you are to have modern amenities. The rooms do not have electricity or warm water (its a very basic cabin with the bathroom outside the room), however we absolutely loved that about this property. It was nice to go to bed to the sunset and wake up to the sunrise without hearing the ring of a clock alarm. What wakes you up are the sounds of the macaques or the monkeys jumping around in the trees. In addition, we really enjoyed the cool fresh water that comes from a natural spring that you shower in. Actually the water that comes from the spring is cleaner that the water that comes out of our faucet at home.

Beyond the room, the property sits on its own private black sand beach with a small river running through it. It is one of the most beautiful properties I have ever come across. After hiking all day in the rain forest, it was so wonderful to take a dip in the ocean or sit and read a book at the lodge while watching the sun set in the background.

However the best part about staying at this biological reserve was the amazing guides and its proximity to the national park. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about the rain forest and could spot every kind of animal you could ever dream of in the rain forest (the only thing we couldn't find was a jaguar or puma). In addition, the owner Nancy had made sure that my 13-year-old brother in law learned everything he can about the rain forest. She created a workbook for him to read about the rain forest and every night at our candle light dinner my brother in law had to talk about all the animals and plants he saw that day and Nancy would then go into a lesson about the rain forest.

Overall, if you are looking for a hotel where you get to appreciate your surroundings and really enjoy nature, do not mind living in basic conditions for a few days, have access some of the best guides and most knowledgeable people about the rain forest, a property that is on its own biological preserve with its own trails and want a place off the beaten path where the only way in or out of the property is either by boat or hiking through the rain forest, this is the place to stay. We cannot wait to return. Thanks for the amazing experience.

Room Tip: Make sure you stay in the rooms up on the hill. You will need to hike up a hill to get your room, bu...
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  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank jlichtman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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20 - 26 of 29 reviews

Reviewed May 30, 2011

Campanario's outstanding service began when Leslie in their San Jose office did the booking for transportation for our entire trip before we arrived. Loved the walk through the mangrove 'jungle gym' on our boat ride to Campanario. The entire 5 days were a sensory delight. Camaraderie, guides, food, and educational program all first rate. Our hike into Corcovado National Park and the bat cave were highlights. Great value.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Stepher99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2011

We were so fortunate to be able to experience the wonder of the rainforest, ocean, rivers and mangroves at Proyecto Camapanario. From the moment we boarded the boat, we were on the adventure of a lifetime. With the knowledge and experience of our hosts and guides, we were able to safely explore and see all the natural beauty of Corcovado, monkeys, sloths, whales, dolphins, crocodiles, birds and so many beautiful plants. We were well fed with delicious home cooked meals. We rested well at the end of our full days in cosy cabins with beautiful ocean views and the sound of waves. We are a family of five, our three children are 17, 15 and 14, we stayed for six nights, and hope to return again.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank The_Schaible_Family
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2008

I just spent 4 night/5 days at Proyecto Campanario with my Wife and our five children ages 15 to 23. It was the highlight of our 11 day vacation in Costa Rica! Not many people know about this Eco-lodge. This lodge is one of the closest lodges boarding Corcovado National Park. This lodge has both private cabins bathrooms and dorm rooms that are attached to the dining hall and the field lab. We stayed in three of the cabins. Accommodations are very basic and clean. Cabins are a short hike up a steep hill side of dirt stairs and cement blocks. All of the building has been done environmental friendly from the water treatment to solar powered energy. The property sits on 170 acres of pristine beauty that contains multiple trials to hike, waterfalls, a cave that has bats that fly out every evening (an amazing experience)a private beach and access to other beautiful beaches. The staff made this place amazing. Nancy, the director of this lodge, has extensive knowledge about the rainforest ecosystem and ecology in general and is great about sharing that knowledge. She was also great at making us feel welcome and comfortable. Arnulfo, our guide during hikes, was exceptional. His keen spotting skills ensured that we saw all there was to see our exploration. Kitchen staff were friendly and meals were tasty, hearty Costa Rican food. Leslie, our reservation staff person was is very helpful and friendly, answering many questions via e-mail. I booked our stay via their website. http://www.campanario.org. We also had the opportunity to met Jeanette, a film maker working to develop a video about Campanario. Jeanette’s enthusiasm and friendliness added to a great experience.

Down sides??? Bugs, Humidity and Mud all of which are manageable (and actually add to the experience) if you follow Campanario’s packing instructions that Leslie will provide you with. Insect really weren’t that bad and there were hardly any mosquitoes, ants were a little pesky, bring natural and DEET repellants and you should be fine. Bring clothing that dries quickly, performance nylon. Bring rain ponchos!!!(especially if you are traveling in the rainy season – which we were). Bring hiking shoes/boots and extra shoes, your boots will get muddy and stay wet and you have to walk around with shoes on most of the time because it is a biological reserve all animals can room freely including snakes. Pack in zip lock baggies and bring extra plastic bags. Ask Lesley lots of question.

The price is extremely affordable and your stay here will be extremely memorable and very educational. Overall, I will return to the place in a heart beat.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with family
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4  Thank OregonTom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 21, 2008

I spent 6 nights at Campanario during the off season. It was my favorite place in Costa Rica! All man-made structures have been put in place with environmental friendliness in mind....from the water treatment to the solar powered energy. The property sits on 170 acres of spell-binding pristine beauty. The opportunities for learning and wildlife viewing are endless, and they have a library of resource books to read over when your legs are tired from hiking. While I was there, the weather was cooperative and allowed for daily hikes in the surrounding area. My guide, Arnulfo, was beyond exceptional. His keen spotting skills ensured that I saw all of the flora and fauna that the area has to offer, plus he gave interpretive explanations of everything.
Breaching humpbacks could be seen every morning from the deck. Delicious meals and natural drinks were served by the delightful kitchen ladies. The sleeping accommodations were clean and comfortable, and bathrooms were kept spotless. The beach is picturesque and the swimming is great. The reservation staff is very helpful and friendly also. Everything about Campanario exceeded my expectations! I booked my stay via their website. http://www.campanario.org

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled solo
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3  Thank TayDa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2006

Not many people know about this Ecolodge. This lodge is one of the closest lodges boarding Corcovado National Park. This lodge has both private tents with its own bathrooms and dorm rooms that are attached to the dining hall and the field lab. All I have to say about this place is that this lodge was highlight of my trip. The lodge is very basic, for what you pay you will leave this place extremely satisfying. The lodge has its own beach (an awesome beach where you go snorkeling and lay out in the sun), its own biological reserve that contains multiple trials to hike, waterfalls that you can swim under, a cave that has bats that fly out every evening which was an amazing experience and list goes on.... Even though the lodge’s surroundings were great, that guides are what made this place amazing. Nancy, the director/owner of this lodge is US born school teacher that has extensive knowledge about the rainforest ecosystem and ecology in general and with here local guide who lives on the property you end up leaving this place with so much knowledge about the rainforest ecosystem and ecology in general that you can now walk through other national parks in Costa Rica and understand why certain things grow in certain areas and know the names of common species of plants, animals and insects that inhabitant Costa Rica's ecosystem. Also, when we stayed at this lodge, there was another family staying there too. They had 3 keys and Nancy had created hands on learning experience for the kids. She had assigned each kids an assignment to do while they stayed at the lodge and have to report there findings to us at dinner. So for families with lots of kids that eager to learn about the rainforest this is place to go. Last but not least, the food is amazing here. The chef cooks up 3 hearty Costa Rican meals a day that you end up leaving the dining table completely satisfied.

There are a few down sides to this place. One there is no electricity, but that is a great thing because you can see the stars at night. Yet no electricity means no warm shower, but that is okay because it is hot outside and nice cool shower makes you very relaxed. Second, you only can arrive at this place during high tide on a boat. You have to jump out of the boat into the waves and make your way to the lodge. Your legs will get wet, but your bags won't. There is no dock that is why you have to do this. Third, you have to walk around with shoes all the time because it is a biological reserve all animals can room freely including snakes, so to prevent a snake from biting you, you need to wear shoes including going to the bathroom.

Overall, I will return to the place in a heart beat. The price is extremely affordable and your stay here will be extremely memorable and very educational.

11  Thank jlichtman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2017
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  • Stayed: July 2017, traveled with family
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1  Thank sntmrd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Campanario Biological Station

Address: Osa Peninsula, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica (Formerly Proyecto Campanario)
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Osa Peninsula > Corcovado National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 9 Specialty Lodging in Corcovado National Park
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Campanario Biological Station is a remote environmental education center for students, families, and those adventurous individuals who would like to disconnect from "civilization". We offer the simple comforts of life - plenty of good food, clean facilities, and comfortable sleeping arrangements. Jungle living generally requires a change of habits. The sun rises early, and most everyone is up with the sun, be this for bird watching, for taking a swim at dawn, or for just having coffee on the front porch to watch the splendid colors over the ocean. Campanario is off-the-grid in most every way: no roads, no national system of electricity or water service, no mail delivery or trash pick-up, no internet service, no washing machines, TVs or air conditioners, etc. Etc., Living at Campanario is generally a life style change for most. We generally adapt to the environment rather than adapting the environment to suit us. We are doing everything possible to keep our ecological footprint small. ... more   less 

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