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Pachamama Jungle River Lodge
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Reviewed January 14, 2011

the stay at pachamama in the bungalow was a perfect location for my solo travel. breakfast on the patio was sensational with an awesome view of the monkeys. bill and cathy were fantastic hosts, making me feel comfortable and well taken care of. the bed was very comfortable and the room was clean. the location was fantastic for kayaking (directly from the property), bikes available to get to the beach, and restaurants made all more convenient . the patio dinners were of epicurean taste! over all it was a true experience of Pura Vida.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank shivamargate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2011

My daughter (26) and I (57) stayed at Pachamama for the week after Christmas (last week) and can't wait to return! Bill (Cathy was in the states for Xmas) was an incredibly attentive host and I have no idea how he was constantly available to answer our million questions, to cook us breakfast, launch our kayaks, and look for sloths for us. My daughter and bio teacher husband stayed last spring and Bill personally took them hunting for frogs. This is the perfect place for those who want a real jungle experience as opposed to a resort vacation. Bill and Cathy do not mow their property so the bungalows are really right in the jungle with well maintained gravel paths. Guide books I read said there is no change of seasons on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, but locals admit that Nov thru Feb can be extra rainy. We really did not see the sun for a whole week. With the right attitude and supplies, it can still be a great trip!

Pachamama Bungalows: We had a small one room bungalow with an attached area with 3 walls and folding doors. An added deck had a small roof over a table with 2 chairs which was nice for breakfast. This would have been fine if it had only rained several hours per day, but I recommend getting the larger places with the kitchen in case it rains constantly so you can sit outside under a roof and be outside where it is lighter. Because you are literally in the jungle, the bungalow itself does not get natural light - this is also why they get musty; but this is to be expected. The small refrigerator did leak, but we put one of the rugs under it and it kept our drinks nice and cold. As far as musty goes, you are visiting a rainforest and it rains. The fans help. Our bed was surrounded by a substantial mosquito net without holes and we were not bothered by any bugs in the room. I don't understand the complaint about room for luggage, but in our tiny room there were quite a few shelves to put everything you could possibly bring. Just ask Bill how to get hot water in the shower - it does work!
Cleanliness:
Our bungalow was cleaned daily, waste basket emptied and new towels hung. I didn't expect the sheets to be changed. Expect everything to feel damp because of the location but it is part of the experience. As far as keeping toilet paper out of the toilet, this was also requested of us in San Jose at a more upscale resort we stayed in for the night before our plane left.
Location:
Again, perfect for us; wouldn't be for everyone. We wanted to experience the rainforest for ourselves without guides and tours. Pachamama is 8K from Puerto Viejo and at least half that distance to Manzanillo. Bill has bikes to use which is how everyone gets around. We didn't want to be in a town, we loved the isolation. We walked to dinner at Arrecife and El Refugio for great food. Don't miss El Refugio for an incredible setting and incredible food (takes cash only). The best beach in the area is right across the street (Punta Uva). The road cuts through the rain forest so we saw sloths, monkeys, butterflies, frogs, just walking everywhere. A river runs right along Bill's property and he welcomes guests to use his kayaks which we did in the mornings and saw more monkeys, sloths, birds, turtles, red crabs. Bill will set up any tours you want and they pick you up at the entrance. Pachamama's website is incredibly helpful for planning the trip itself.
Food:
I got the impression that Bill would cook us just about any breakfast we wanted. We loved the omlets we asked for, and the fresh fruit, coffee, tea. It was great to be able to wake up when we wanted to and ask for breakfast; I think it is above and beyond for Bill to be available to everyone whenever they want to eat, but that is what he does! The SHORT walk to his house can include monkey, frog, sloth sightings
What to Bring:
Don't forget a flashlite or headlamp. It gets dark in Dec by 5:30. We felt safe on the roads around Pachamama at night with a headlamp. Teva or Chaco type sandals seem to work best but bring blister care or tape to put under the straps - if it rains all day everyday they stay wet and muddy/sandy. I will try crocs next time because they can't stay wet like shoes! Rubber rainboots might have worked well, too, if comfortable for walking. Nothing really dries but it is warm enough. Bring a breathable raincoat if going in Nov thru Feb. when it might not be as hot. I would leave all cotton clothing home and bring quick dry fabrics, Smartwool, etc. (think backpacking in the rain!). The rainforest is noisy (howler monkeys, roosters, other sounds I couldn't identify)...I used Tylenol PM to sleep just fine.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
1  Thank aquasoul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 18, 2010

Visited Pachamama in October after reading the glowing reviews on this site. Intially booked for 3 nights, but had to negotiate a price to cancel our booking on the third night as this place was wrecking our holiday. Bill was ¨nice¨ enough to offer us a $20 discount for the night we did not stay.

In short -

1. The bungalow was dark, dirty and musty that it was impossible to sleep. The sheets on the bed were damp and the mattress smelt like cheese. This was beyond what I have experienced in any other accomodation. The place was not cleaned during our stay.

This was not a small amount of must, the bed was so wet and moldy that it made you itch all over and the mosquito net had several holes in it which needed to be repaired with tape before we went to sleep. On the second night it was so difficult to sleep that I ended up sleeping on the floor (and ended up with mosquito bites all over my neck, face and arms despite heavy mosquito repellent).

2. Bill and his wife were rude and innatentive, as another reviewer has said on this site perhaps there are personal issues at play at the moment - but every request made by either myself or my girlfriend was either ignored or was treated as a major imposition. When we went to have a chat about hiring kayaks, Bill´s wife refused to help us out and we were forced to stand on their porch for 10 minutes until Bill showed up.

3. The fabled breakfasts turned out to be stale bread and a quickly dashed off omelet (with some spam-like meat tossed through). Absolutely bemused that anyone would think this worthy of praise. I have eaten better breakfasts at Bolivian hostels which cost a tenth of the price.

4. No hot water, not a big deal, but important for some.


We have since travelled through Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Argentina, staying at many budget spots, without issue. We both thought it important to put a review on here, given the amount of praise this place seems to get.

The only thing we could guess is that some of the bungalows are better maintained than others, or that there is some issue going on behind the scenes that has caused a serious drop off in quality at this place. This is NOT a good place to stay, if you experience the same service that we received you will NOT stay there for more than a night or two.

Do not stay here.

Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
5  Thank cdtravels2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PachamamaCaribe, Propriétaire at Pachamama Jungle River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 26, 2014

Since February 2013, we are the new owners of Pachamama.
Did you like the environment Pachamama, much less services.
We invite you to discover the new Pachamama. Accommodations fully renovated (bedroom, kitchen, bathroom), full breakfast served on your terrace, daily housekeeping, bicycles available (free) and a fully landscaped garden.
We will be delighted to welcome you and show you the best of Pachamama
Regards,
Estelle and Florian

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 14, 2010

We are in our early to late 30s and wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. We visited Punta Uva and stayed at Pachamama over Thanksgiving break and rented the one bedroom, while our friends rented the Casita. After 7 days / nights of beach, bike riding, exploring, nature, and peace and quiet, I can definitely recommend Pachamama.

SERVICE
Breakfast was free which included fresh pot of coffee, juice, fresh fruits, yogurt, and French toasts, omelets, or banana pancakes (our favorite). It was more than enough to get our day going. As far as having to walk to the main house to put in the request, yes that was the case, but that’s better than having the owners wake you up in the morning asking if you wanted breakfast. Besides the main house was a few yards away, not that far, for us to place our breakfast orders and get a fresh pot of coffee and juice to bring back and enjoy while Bill made breakfast. If you want dinner, then let Bill know by noon, so he can buy the ingredients that day.

Maid service didn't come everyday, but we were pretty low maintenance, so it was not a problem. When we needed more / new towels, we just needed to ask Bill to give us new towels. Bill was super nice and really accommodating to any of our requests; he was a very cool and knowledgeable person to have a conversation with.

Bike rentals were $5 for the entire stay which we used religiously to go to Manzanillo and Puerto Viejo and also to our favorite restaurants Pita Bonita, Selvins, and Jungle Love. Definitely recommend a flash light if you’re planning to ride at night.

Kayaks were free which we used to go down towards the beach; saw a sleeping Sloth and Howler monkeys.

ROOMS / BATHROOM
We had the one bedroom house and Casita and were more than happy. Both had kitchens, but we did our cooking (one night during our stay) in the one bedroom house. Keep in mind that we're practically in a rain forest next to a small jungle river, so it will feel a little musty, but that’s the trade off of being with nature.

LOCATION
This is the selling point of Pachamama - Beach, wildlife, and peace and quiet. Not an overwhelming wave of other tourists, which was definitely a plus.
The beach is about 200 meters away and amongst the calmest beach (along w/ Manzanillo) because of its reef, which made it very friendly to novice swimmers in our group. Some days we were the only ones on the beach.

Wildlife? Definitely! We saw Sloths and Howler monkeys (definitely can’t miss the Howlers in the morning) just outside Pachamama on our way to the beach. What was even more memorable were the White-faced Monkeys stopping by the property; luckily Bill had bananas for us to feed them.

SUMMARY
I would recommend Pachamama, especially the one bedroom house, if you’re looking for a place to kickback, get away from the crowd and nightlife, and be close to Punta Uva beach and nature.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank P200e
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2010

We stayed here for a week and would like to strongly advise folks NOT to stay here. If you decide to stay here despite reading the review, at the very least, get a room with a kitchen. Our vacation was ruined. Details below.

SERVICE
Daily breakfast of pancakes, french toast, or eggs along with fruit/granola and coffee is included. One has to go to the house, grab a tray of coffee and put in the breakfast request. Allow plenty of time as the breakfast service is fairly slow. We had the eggs and french toast for one day each (didn't like them) and had pancakes the rest of the time. Initially the pancakes were very good but progressively got worse.

The rooms were cleaned for a total of 2 out of 6 nights we were there (sheets never changed during our stay). The rest of the days the towels were not changed, and the trash was not taken out. You are not allowed to flush the toilet paper in the toilet so it is very disgusting to not have trash taken out. We ended up going and asking for towels on a few occasions as used towels don't easily dry in the weather and add to the musty smell in the room.

Both Bill and Cathy are nice people when talking to them but I think they have done a poor job of keeping up the place. Most of the reviews on Trip Advisor are fairly old, recommend reading some of the newer ones prior to deciding.

ROOM
We had the small bungalow room without a kitchen. It had a decent sized deck with a table and chair outside, queen size bed inside, a fridge that would leak water and very little room for any luggage. There was a musty smell on the very first day that we arrived, put us off since then. No matter how long we left the door open and with the fan running 24/7 the smell did not go away. After a shower the smell would get worse as there was hardly any air circulation. Upon arrival the sheets on the bed were damp and we had to have the fan running and door open for a while to get them to dry.

Last but not least, strongly recommend applying insect repellent and sleeping (depending on the season), even with the mosquito net we were the best Christmas present for the bugs.

BATHROOM
Tiny bathroom, musty smell again. Shower was not great. Keep in mind that this place is very remote, hence there is no running hot water, the water is heated in the shower head, if you like hot water you will need to have the shower running slowly.

LOCATION
Overall, Punta Uva is very beautiful and the house/bungalows are in a nice location in the forest and about 100 yards from the beach. However please note that it takes 30-45 min (depending on rain) to get to Puerto Viejo. If you need a cab or bus it will cost quite a bit of money just on transportation. Additionally, there are some good places to eat around here - Arriceffe, Pita Bonita, however after a few nights everything would get quite boring and repetitive.

If we had a room with a kitchen it would have helped to allow us to make something quick
for either lunch or dinner.

Last but not least account for at least $10 per person per meal ($20 per day per person for food) around Puerto Viejo/Punta Uva. It was far expensive than we had thought as we were paying around $5 per meal at Arenal and Monteverde.

SUMMARY
Do not recommend staying here. Arriceffe seemed much nicer as it was right on the beach. If we had not pre-paid we would have left this place in a heartbeat. If you do make a reservation, do not prepay, wait to check out the place and bail if you don't like it. Worst place to stay on our entire 2 week vacation in Costa Rica. Ruined our anniversary vacation.

We ended leaving one day early, could not stand this place. Lost $38 per night we paid but was well worth it. Recommend paying a bit more and staying elsewhere.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank travelfann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PachamamaCaribe, Propriétaire at Pachamama Jungle River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 26, 2014

Since February 2013, we are the new owners of Pachamama.
Did you like the environment Pachamama, much less services.
We invite you to discover the new Pachamama. Accommodations fully renovated (bedroom, kitchen, bathroom), full breakfast served on your terrace, daily housekeeping, bicycles available (free) and a fully landscaped garden.
We will be delighted to welcome you and show you the best of Pachamama
Regards,
Estelle and Florian

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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