We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Give it some good thought before you shell out.”
Review of La Paloma Lodge

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
La Paloma Lodge
Ranked #3 of 8 Hotels in Drake Bay
Certificate of Excellence
New York, New York
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Give it some good thought before you shell out.”
Reviewed August 23, 2006

So we stayed for 4 nights at the famed La Paloma Lodge in the heart of Osa's beautiful tropical rainforest along the coast of the peninsula. I'll start by saying that it really is a beautiful part of the world, and that monkeys are pretty darn cool - but, at the conclusion of our time there, I couldn't help but wonder if the ABSURD amount of money I'd shelled out was really worth it.

A bit about the lodge itself:

Run by ex-pats, I really do give them respect for what they've managed to do in such a totally remote and inaccessible part of the country. The lodges are very nice, with gorgeous views of the water/sunset/wilderness. Everything is clean, the service is great, etc etc.

BUT, you really need to ask yourself if, for the price you're paying, you truly feel like sleeping under a mosquito net at night and fending off bird-sized bugs throughout your stay. All the buildings are built without screens and with plenty of open windows (to allow for a much-needed cross breeze to keep you cool) - but this indeed means that the bugs can and will have a jolly good time in your room. Anyway, it's just something you should think about - realistically - when planning this very, very expensive vacation.

Second - I'd like to address the piles of rave reviews of the food that everyone seems to be writing on this board. Yes, the food was fine. Very fresh, cleanly prepared. And perhaps if you come from a landlocked state that has no fresh produce or fish, you'll find La Paloma's cuisine to be new and exciting. But trust me - if you come from ANY major city that has a decent restaurant scene, the food here comes up pretty short. I'm sure it is far better than you'd get at any of the other lodges in the area, but it still isn't anything to rave about.

As far as the included activities go, the tour of the national park was pretty great. Our guide was indeed fantastic, and (thankfully) our group was really small. Definitely a highlight of the trip. The boat trip out to Canoe Island, however, was a complete and total waste of a (very expensive) day. We did get to see some dolphins and whales on our trip out there (which was fun, despite the screams and squeals from the family of bratty kids that were on the boat), but then they dropped us off on this rather dirty beach along with about 50 other tourists from all the other lodges. Now, call me crazy, but when I'm given the option of spending the day at La Paloma's own beautiful, secluded, clean, private beach versus this noisy crowded stretch of sand that's covered with empty bottles and candy wrappers, I think I'll opt for the former - and I really can't for the life of me see why the folks at La Paloma would think that we'd prefer to do otherwise. I imagine most people head to Osa specifically because they DON'T want to be surrounded by fat, ugly tourists - so to drop us off on a beach full of them for an afternoon was indeed not very fun.

We opted to do the canopy zip-line tour on our last day, not included in the price (an additional $60 per person). Fun, but not life changing. Again, if you're stuck with a group of small children, I imagine it would be rather tedious.

I realize that I'm coming off here sounding like a hater of kids, but I have to say, I do wish that I knew beforehand that La Paloma attracted so many families. If you're looking for a romantic or peaceful vacation, or even worse, a honeymoon spot, I'd have to suggest you look elsewhere. At dinner, you eat "family style", i.e. are forced to share a table and conversation with the other visitors. Again, fun for families, not so fun for those of us looking for some peace and solitude.

Again, this really is the best and nicest place to stay in the area, but given that, for 2 people, you're looking at spending nearly $500 a night, you really may want to think about whether or not this is how you wish to spend your hard-earned vacation money. In the future, I think I'll opt for some super-luxe hotel in the south of France.....but then again, that's just me.

  • Liked — The private beach and the tour of the rainforest.
  • Disliked — The throngs of loud children and the NEVERENDING BUGS.
  • Tips/Secrets — Think VERY HARD about this before you spend the money.
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
21 Thank LowerEastSide
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

470 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    410
    43
    9
    6
    2
See reviews for
149
213
18
2
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (123)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Phoenix, AZ
Level Contributor
44 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2006

We really enjoyed our time at La Paloma; it was the highlight of our trip to Costa Rica. We stayed in a “sunset rancho” (#3) which had two floors, each with a double bed, sitting area and a bathroom. The cabin overlooked the ocean and jungle and you could imagine that you were actually alone on the Osa, esp. on the porch which had an additional seating area and a hammock. The cabins are made of beautiful woods and are basically open to the outside (no screens or AC), the bathrooms are open on one side and overlook the ocean. There are mosquito nets to hang over the beds. My son used his, but ours was really too small for two people and we didn’t like the feel of it, so we didn’t use it. The whole time I don’t think we got any bites except a couple of ant bites. The rooms were made up twice a day; the hotel provided purified water in jugs in the rooms and soap (no shampoo).

On arrival (a trip involving a small plane a cool bumpy jeep ride and a quick boat ride), we hiked up the hill to the hotel. There we were greeted at the lodge with fresh fruit, juice and cake while they explained the layout of the lodge and the tours included in our four-night package. After checking out our cabin, we went down to an empty beach (5 min hike down hill). The beach is a bit small, but fine for my 8 year old – the surf can be very rough so we made sure to stay close to shore. That afternoon after lunch we went kayaking up the bay/river from the lodge. Kayaks, snorkeling equipment and boogie boards are provided by the hotel as well as sarongs which substitute for beach towels (they’ll exchange these as needed). Each night, dinner was a group meal, they started serving appetizers around 6 each night (nice view of the sunset from the porch) and many people had wine or cocktails (not included in package price). At dinner we had a soup and salad as well as a choice of two entrees (fish or chicken/beef) and side dishes (rice and beans were also avail), followed by dessert. We thought the food was excellent and they were happy to offer an alternative to our son if he wanted one, although he was happy to eat the regular food the whole time. The service was excellent and organized throughout - everyone we encountered was more than pleased to accommodate our requests or questions. The next day we went on the Cano Island boat trip, starting out at 7:30, with a group of 9 guests, we traveled by boat for about 1 hour then anchored to snorkel. Most of us enjoyed the snorkeling although there was apparently not a lot of fish that day. We then traveled another 30 min to the island where we anchored and had 2-3 hours for beach time and lunch. In the guidebooks it states that there are pre-Columbian artifacts (spheres) on the island but these have been removed, so there was no reason to leave the beach. We then stopped for some more snorkeling on the way home. The next day we left at 6:30 for the Corcovado jungle tour. Our group was split in two so we only had 5 people and a guide on our hike which really allowed us to go at our own pace. Saw monkeys, birds and bugs, and hiked up to a waterfall. This trip was really fun! The final full day, I got a massage while my husband and son hiked a bit and hung out at the pool; then we visited the beach once more and finally did the “Bug Lady” night tour (not included in our package) which was great, but not for the squeamish.

Overall, I can really recommend the hotel for the location, service, tours and food. The one caution – this area is not for the “bug phobic” as there are plenty of lizards and bugs outside and occasionally in the rooms (we had to chase away some big grasshoppers and a huge moth). As far as child friendliness, there are not a lot of areas where your child can run “free”, as you are supposed to stay on the paths to avoid biting ants and snakes. There were no other small children the week we were there, so my son had to make do with grown up company and books/games, but the hotel staff was happy to answer his questions and the tour guides made a point of talking to him and helping him on the hikes and snorkeling. I think 8-year olds or older will enjoy the place, but I wouldn’t bring smaller kids, as the day trips might be too hard for them.

  • Liked — The exotic location, the views and service
  • Disliked — hikes up the hills
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank S_S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed April 24, 2006

Just got back from three weeks in Costa Rica and La Paloma might have been the highlight of the trip. My girlfriend and I spent four nights at the Lodge and were blown away. I'd been to Drake Bay a few years earlier and stayed at a lower budget lodge. That area of the country made such a strong impression on me I knew I wanted to go back, though I also knew I wanted to stay at a more upscale lodge. I was a little worried that at such a high price I might be disappointed, but that wasn't the case at all.

I think the key to La Paloma is the staff. They run the lodge like clockwork and were eager to satisfy any request we had: food, daytrips, room, medical (my girlfriend got stung by a jellyfish), etc. The Lodge itself is incredible. It has a beautiful pool that overlooks the Pacific, and is perfect for cooling off after a long day in the heat. The beach is a short hike down an easy path and is great for boogie boarding or just floating around. One of my favorite aspects of the lodge was that they do a family dining style. Every one eats together at huge tables. After being there several nights, we knew pretty much everyone at the lodge and it was a great opportunity to chat it up with people from around the world.

The daytrips included in the package are the hike through Corcovado National Park and the snorkeling trip to Isla de Cano. The snorkeling was mediocre at best. The only reason I say this is because the water just isn't that clear in Costa Rica compared to some places in the Carribean or elsewhere. However, the marine life inside the water was outstanding (if you could see it): sharks, sea turtles, rays, etc. The day trip to Corcovado was incredible. You have two options: boat ride to the first ranger station (20 minutes) or boat ride to the second ranger station (1hr & 20 minutes). I'd been to the first ranger station before, so we beared the long boat ride to the second ranger station which is much more empty and secluded. Well worth it. We saw pretty much every animal you could see, save for jungle cats which I wasn't necessarily eager to run into. Javier was our guide and he was outstanding. On top of being knowledgeble and affable, what I loved about Javier was that even though he probably led this hike 100 times a year, he was more excited to find animals than any of the guests were.

I'll stop here because I just realized this review is getting ridiculously long which is indicative of how much I loved this place. I really have nothing bad to say about this lodge except for it is not five star four season's style vacationing. It is definitely for the adventure traveler: no air conditioning, lots of bugs, wild animals, HOT. For people who enjoy something off the beaten path than this place is for you.

  • Stayed April 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank chicago6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Devon, UK
Level Contributor
71 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed April 23, 2006

We just came back from a 5 night package at La Paloma. We travelled all the way from the UK but it was worth it. Other reviews mention how great this place is and my wife, daughter and I all agree. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff. Accomodation was great, fantastic views (Sunset on the beach is good but remember to take a torch to find your way back as funnily enough it gets dark after sunset - I forgot and spooked myself!), Food was good (Salad dressing the best I've ever had and how they managed to create the omlettes and pancakes so quickly in a morning will remain a mystery). Bugs? You're going to the rainforest so yes, they are there but not as bad as expected, we've had more problems in Cyprus/Greece. Just get the brave person to walk first, that normally scares the lizards away for the squeamish behind. We had no bugs in the room but we did still use the mosquito nets that they supplied. This was one of those rare holidays that far exceeded my expectations and Yes, I had read all the reviews on this site before I booked. I'd definitely go again but combine it with seeing more of Costa Rica next time.

Hints and tips....

Park Hike was great (Not a trek but an easy stroll so long as you've decent shoes, a hat and plenty of water
Cano Island is a definite not to be missed, try the snorkeling, even if it's not your thing and you'll be converted but take plenty of sunscreen, we pale english folk still managed to burn with factor 25.
Cayak up the river, it's not that long but if you time it just right, you drift back down the river with the tide and can just chill listening to the noises and watching the monkeys.
Don't be afraid to just walk off down to Drake Bay or towards the reserve, there are 10's of secluded, empty beaches.
Careful swimming, either go in the middle of the bay\cove or go where everyone else is, the currents are sometimes quite strong.

  • Stayed April 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank jodola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arlington, VA
Level Contributor
66 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed April 15, 2006

Our group of 6 friends spent wonderful 5 nights at La Paloma. We took two trips to Corcovado, a trip to Cano Island and a several mile hike on the beach topped off by snorkeling.

The staff was super. They were friendly, helpful, making sure we enjoyed ourselves and that everything was done to make our stay perfect. Two things happened that showed what a great staff La Paloma has. My cousin hurt her foot the 2nd day and the staff worked out a schedule so she could continue to enjoy herself and take part in activities as much as possible. In addition, my husband has a special diet and the cooks made wonderful little dishes especially for him.

The guides made a huge difference in our learning so much about the Park and all we were seeing. We especially liked Carlos. I think we added about 40 new birds to our list and saw 3 kinds of monkeys, agouti, anteater, crocodiles,...

Also great: the food, the Bug Lady, our lovely room.

I'd recommend La Paloma if you want to see Corcavado Park and take advantage of all there is to see and do at the Lodge.

  • Stayed March 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Beth_Joe_VA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level Contributor
31 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
Reviewed April 3, 2006

We just came back from a 4 day stay at La Paloma with our 2 children (14 and 9). We all loved it. We loved the social aspect of every night where people discussed what they had done all day and exchanged stories and we loved the trips that were organized for us. The hotel staff are great and they really go out of their way for you. the accomodation is really really nice. We loved it. There are a couple of caveats though. Bugs! they come in and they are part of life there. Also, I wanted to tell everyone that there is hot water there. We never thought to complain about our lack of it and found out on the last night that there actually was hot water. Also, the beach is a long walk so wear shoes. And it can be dangerous for small children as it is very rocky. My son
kept getting washed into rocks and didn't like that. The
pool was wonderful and cold and shady so no sunburns while swimming there.
Also wanted to warn anyone with fair skin. the sun is brutal even with block. We were all badly sunburnt on the snorkeling trip.

  • Stayed March 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mining
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wellington Florida
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed February 13, 2006

We spent 5 nights at the lodge with our two boys (9 and 4) back in July 2005. They still talk about it!
We had a sunset rancho (#2). What a nice clean/simple and spacious room. The balcony and view was amazing.
Althought the room was simply but tastefull furnished the real art and design was nature. Other reviewers speak about the monkeys, butterflies, birds etc. All true!
The trip to Cano island was excellent. Tons of dolphin swimming along side the boat.
Our guide Javier took us snorkeling in several different spots. He was great. He could identify the fish and point out the sharks and stingrays (no danger).
They packed us a nice lunch and it was an enjoyable day.
The trip into Corcorvado was fun. From the wet landing, to crossing rivers, to amazing trees and animal to the spectacular and refreshing swim at the falls (hike after lunch).
The lodge has a rugged secion of beach which is down a challenging path but it is right out of "Jurrasic Park."
Ther kids loved the waves and huge stretch of sandy beach.
The staff and guides were very friendly and hospitable.
Family style meals in the lodge made you appreciate how exclusive the lodge is when there are only 25 people dining. Food was generally good and portions sizes just right.
Try their fruit smoothies. The fruit is fresh and excellent.
If you would like a vacation with a little more adventure and you don't mind water, hills and hiking this is the place for you. Forget about the 2000 passenger cruise ships!
The resort has "hands on owners" and Sue is a wonderfull hostess.

  • Stayed July 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank MarkS25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Drake Bay
0.9 mi away
Copa de Arbol Beach and Rainforest Resort
0.3 mi away
Aguila de Osa Inn
Aguila de Osa Inn
#4 of 8 in Drake Bay
4.5 of 5 bubbles 471 reviews
0.2 mi away
Drake Bay Wilderness Resort
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
0.4 mi away
Jinetes de Osa Hotel
Jinetes de Osa Hotel
#8 of 8 in Drake Bay
4.5 of 5 bubbles 343 reviews
21.9 mi away
Luna Lodge
Luna Lodge
#1 of 1 in Carate
5.0 of 5 bubbles 306 reviews
0.6 mi away
Drake Bay Getaway Resort
Drake Bay Getaway Resort
#1 of 8 in Drake Bay
5.0 of 5 bubbles 170 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to La Paloma Lodge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about La Paloma Lodge

Property: La Paloma Lodge
Address: Drake Bay, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Osa Peninsula > Drake Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Romantic Hotel in Drake Bay
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Drake Bay
#3 Family Hotel in Drake Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — La Paloma Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We have outstanding views of Drake Bay and the Pacific Ocean from our Lodge. Our standard rooms are large and include a private bath and an ocean view balcony. Our ranchos are one and two-story private cabins that also offer balconies with stunning ocean views. They hold up to 6 people and are very spacious. Some are equipped with a bathroom on both the upper and lower level, and are suitable for families or two couples traveling together. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Evoline ltd so you can book your La Paloma Lodge reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
La Paloma Hotel Drake Bay
La Paloma Drake Bay
La Paloma Lodge Costa Rica/Drake Bay

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing