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“Beautiful place”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Heliconias Lodge

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Heliconias Lodge
Takoma Park, Maryland
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Beautiful place”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 14, 2013

We stayed one night at Heliconias Lodge in one of the cottages on April Fools Day 2013. Our main interest in this area was to hike the Rio Celeste. We arrived early one morning and it was no problem for us to check in and bring our luggage to the cottage, even though check-in was later in the afternoon. The unpaved road from Bijagua to the lodge is quite bumpy, but we had a 4x4, which served well. The lodge is located in beautiful mountains with a great view. After our hike we went back to the lodge and took advantage of the hour long hike on their property. The pathway of the hike is nice and soft and it was an AMAZING hike! There are three hanging bridges along the hike that are well over 100 feet in the air, and you’re basically walking through the top parts of all of the forest trees. This lodge is owned by 23 local families co-op style and that was obvious by the way the place was organized. There were few guests at the time and when we were ready for dinner we walked in and there seemed to be no one present, so we went to the back kitchen area to find out if we could order dinner. Someone came out with some menus and served us. It was a causal atmosphere with children running around and playing, it felt quite relaxed and homey. The food was decent, not extravagant or an extensive menu. The cottage was quite nice, but had a few issues. Because they are aiming to conserve energy, all of the lighting was very dim (eco-bulbs). Also, they had a large Jacuzzi bathtub, but the bath-stopper would not go down and the jets didn’t work in the tub. It took quite some time to fill the tub up, and then it didn’t work, which was a little disappointing. Overall, Heliconias Lodge is a very nice place. The weather in that area of Costa Rica is nice, not too hot or too cold, and I would recommend this place to others who are looking for a private, no frills place where you can support the local community.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank croyable33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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88 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Dusseldorf, Germany
Level Contributor
17 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 7, 2013

We had pretty similar experiences as reviewer Lydia B. describes. The lodge's staff was very friendly and helpful but the language barrier does not make us feel 100% welcome. I'd just recommend to provide a short English handout with all the essential information on mealtimes, prices and other essential items, which would make it much easer for guests that do not speak Spanish.

Our Cabana was spacious and cosy overall, but there were some little things missing. We had a whirlpool but no towel rack in the bathroom... there are very nice rockchairs at the terrace but no chairs inside... to close the curtains you have to crawl over the beds... - nothing to seriously complain about, but just some little things that show that owner and staff are dedicated indeed but no hotel business experts.

The sourrounding area and the hangig bridges are fantastic and worth a visit. We made the trail twice during our stay and didn't meet any other people which made it quite unique!

So overall: on the one hand some areas for improvement - but on the other hand a very authentic and lovable Costa-Rican accommodation.

By the way: They didn't charge the hanging bridges trail for us - maybe it depends on the person at the reception?

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank Stitch07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Weaverville, North Carolina
Level Contributor
256 reviews
120 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 133 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 1, 2013

We had planned to stay here two nights, but left after the first due to persistent highwinds (not good for bird watching etc.). The trails appear to be in very good shape and seem to be well maintained. The room we had was large, but rather basic and the walls were thin.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Art H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Spokane, Washington, United States
Level Contributor
49 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 30, 2013

We stayed at the Lodge two nights. We wanted to hike the trails and go see the Rio Celeste. Our room was good. Nice view from the balcony. It felt a little confusing when we first got there. We had booked a reservation in advance, but they didn't seem to have us down. The lady checking us in spoke no English, and we didn't know enough Spanish to explain anything to her. We were still able to get a room, though. We were under the impression from the website that the trails were included when you stayed there. We found out when we paid our bill at checkout that they were not and he wanted to know who told us that. It felt a little uncomfortable, so we just paid. The trails were wonderful and worth the price. We just thought it was included. The breakfast was very good and all the other meals we had while we were there were good. It was nice having coffee available all day. The power was out when we had to check out, so we ended up having to pay cash instead of using our credit card like we were planning. All in all a good stay. The grounds were very pretty. It was green and beautiful up there. The road up to the place we very bumpy. We know it would be, but knowing and experiencing are two different things. The hike to the Rio Celeste was fun and the blue water was amazing. I think a little more information when we first checked in would have been nice. I know it is a Spanish speaking country and I know I should have learned a little more Spanish before we came, but it would have been slightly helpful if someone knew a little English when we checked in. We felt a little like we didn't belong there or something.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Lydia B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Linn, Oregon
Level Contributor
91 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 28, 2013

I stayed one night at the end of a 16 day trip to Costa Rica. The views are exceptional, and the people were marvelous. The cabins are rustic, but very comfortable. I had a little bit of bad luck with the weather, having light rain during my afternoon walk, and woke up to windy conditions the next day. As a result, birding was slow and I didn't see any of the specialties of the area. The food was good, especially breakfast, but the tables in the dining room were not cleaned regularly. Now having said all this, I would still support the cooperative of farmers that runs this lodge and maintains the trails. The trails were in excellent condition and maintenance is regularly done on them.Use of the trails is in fact included in the overnight fees.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Shelmert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
charlestown rhode island
Level Contributor
22 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 18, 2013

Although my husband and I live nearby , we occasionally treat ourselves to an overnight at this lodge. We have also done many day trips here (for the last 8 years) to enjoy some different birds that we do not have around Lake Arenal.
Yesterday we decided to do an overnight. Unfortunately a bad storm came through during the night making morning birding on the trails impossible. Since we were not able to enjoy the trails during our stay, we decided to ask for a rain check to use another day. We were told "no". We explained that we had stayed overnight. Still the answer was "no". We explained that we had sent them much business over the years and that we even had plans to return with some friends in March. It did not matter to them.Further we said because of the power outage we had not able to take showers. Nope, no free hiking allowed! Under the new administration, overnight guests are NOT allowed to walk the trails! You must pay. Period. BTW you will not see this extra charge on their website or posted anywhere at the lodge.
While we were having this conversation, another group was planning on using the some of the rubber boots that were lined up by the door. Free for hotel guests? Nope. Again, you must pay.
I cannot believe how unreasonable these people were.It costs them nothing to let guests walk the trail, but in lost business from me it is going to cost them future revenue.

Room Tip: Room #8 ( a duplex) smelled musty but was large. Had a king, a twin and a bunk bed. The patio was ti...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank keenbirder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Bijagua de Upala hotels

upstate NY
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 11, 2013

Our family of five was staying in a cabin near Heliconias Lodge and decided to try their restaurant for dinner one night. It was by far the worst restaurant experience ever for each of us ... and between the five adults we have eaten in restaurants all over the world. We should have left when we were seated at a table with a filthy tablecloth ... not just stained, filthy with the food from the last diners. Our drinks took forever to arrive, but that's OK ... it's vacation after all and we were on tico time.
We held onto a hope that the food would be OK. "OK" is all we expected and wanted for this place. It is such a beautiful location and we would like to see them succeed. If the food was just "OK", we would have been satisfied. After all, people come for the location. They come to see the birds and wildlife, not for the food.
But it was not OK. It was incredibly bad. The order of nachos was burned chips covered with a black bean sauce (reconstituted dried beans?) and ketchup (no kidding) and what looked like cheeze whiz. The vegetable plate was frozen vegetables and instant mashed potatoes (barely warm). The chicken fajitas had no tortilla and was just a few pieces of chicken with rice.
In fairness, the person who ordered the white fish said that the fish was "edible" as long as he wiped away the sauce it was in. We left with most of our food untouched. The management should be embarrassed.
We are not fussy eaters. We had wonderful, simple and inexpensive meals throughout Costa Rica. Everyone makes super rice and beans and there is fresh fruit everywhere. Bijagua has tilapia farms and fresh meat is plentiful. There is simply no excuse for serving such awful food.

Room Tip: Do not eat here. If you stay here make sure you have a way to get into town, where there are a coup...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank aroest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Heliconias Lodge

Property: Heliconias Lodge
Address: | 3 km southeast of the Bijagua Highschool, Bijagua de Upala 21304, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Bijagua de Upala
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Bijagua de Upala
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Heliconias Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Heliconias Lodge and Rainforest a magnificent unspoilt tropical destination set in the foothills of Tenorio Volcano close to Rio Celeste in Northern Costa Rica. Located between Miravalles Volcano and Tenorio Volcano, our eco-lodge offers spectacular views over the town of Bijagua and Lake Nicaragua offering you the opportunity to experience eco-tourism and nature at its finest. Here you will find a quiet and peaceful atmosphere that provides an opportunity to explore the incredible biodiversity in over 73 hectares of rainforest in our protected private reserve which adjoins Tenorio Volcano National Park. Completely owned and managed by Costa Ricans we are proud to be pioneers of tourism in the Tenorio and Upala region, engaging in eco-tourism for over fifteen years. We are committed to sustainable development and provide opportunities of employment and development for members of our community whilst sharing our knowledge and traditions with visitors from all over the world. Today, the most important activities of the lodge are the ones that help visitors understand the incredible natural beauty found here.More than 300 species of birds have been identified in the immediate area of Heliconias Lodge and Rainforest including five species of toucans and eighteen species of hummingbirds. The Ornate Hawk Eagle, Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo and Tody Motmot can also be found in our private reserve as well as an enormous variety of insects, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. Naturally an incredible diversity of flora is found here. We are your gateway for exploring the local region including the spectacular Rio Celeste in Tenorio Volcano National Park. Heliconias Lodge and Rainforest offers you the opportunity to:Discover the incredible beauty of lush primary tropical rainforest and transition forest with more than 5km of trails extending though our 73 hectares of protected rainforest.Observe birds, butterflies and bromeliads of the forest canopy from our spectacular suspension bridges with our specialized bilingual guides during the day or night! Explore the mesmerizing beauty of Rio Celeste in the Tenorio Volcano National Park on horseback, with its breathtaking celestial waterfall, lagoon and natural hot springs. Take a tour of the local area including an organic farm, butterfly garden, Bijagua waterfall and the tallest tree in the region.Plant trees with our local youth cooperative (see community page) in order to offset your carbon emissions and engage in carbon neutral tourism. Do a day tour to Cano Negro, Palo Verde or Rincon de la Vieja National Park. Discover the thermal springs of Volcano Miravalles or go rafting in the Corobici River.Or simply relax and enjoy the breathtaking view from Heliconias Lodge and Rainforest from your balcony or the restaurant. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Heliconias Hotel Bijagua De Upala
Heliconias Lodge Costa Rica/Bijagua De Upala

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