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“Rustic Heaven”
Review of La Carolina Lodge

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La Carolina Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Rustic Heaven”
Reviewed December 21, 2011

We spent US Thanksgiving there last year. The food and service we amazing. Rustic for sure, but totally relaxing, which is what we were looking for. Kids had a blast and the horseback ride was increadible!! For rustic, 5 stars. For a resort, 3, due to typical comforts.

  • Stayed November 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank DennisonINC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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329 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (60)
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English first
Playa Grande, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed December 6, 2011

From the exceptionally prompt, and friendly response to our last-minute reservation, to the warm reception upon arrival, and throughout our stay, we felt right at home with La Carolina Lodge.
The accommodations are rustic, but clean, the beds comfortable. Each bed had a nice, functioning mosquito net, there was ample hot water in the sunken stone shower too. Heavenly.
The horses were healthy, happy and responsive, not just following the leader. Alejandro is an excellent horseman and guide.
The ladies sure can cook a great meal, with ingredients from the farm. Fresh home-cooked bread, free range chicken and eggs, fresh cow's milk which our son loved... wow, it is so great to get away from 'civilization' and get back to nature!
Our son, who is 3, enjoyed the setting... the jacuzzi was a big hit (like a big bathtub according to him) and just the right temperature... not too hot. The sound of the river gushing by while you sit in the jacuzzi after a horseback ride was amazing.
To awake with the sound of the birds, in a big comfy bed... we felt so rested and will definitely return.
Thank you to all the staff at La Carolina Lodge, and to the owner who was so professional yet welcoming and truly cared as to whether we were comfortable.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
6 Thank FrijolesLocos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milwaukee, WI
Level Contributor
106 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed November 25, 2011

This place is amazing! We went horseback ridding, milked the cow, and ate great food. Everyone is friendly, rooms were great, saw tons of birds, great coffee grown onsite, close hiking trails, wonderful hosts, this place has a great vibe, authentic.

  • Stayed April 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Tabitha77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SF
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 21, 2011

Great location. The staff feels like family. Great food. Favorite part of all costa rica. Amazing bargain. I will return some day. Best lodge!!!

Room Tip: The one with the private natural hot tub!
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Stina B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florida
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed September 9, 2011

This is a MUST SEE for anyone coming to Costa Rica. I have stayed at Carolina Lodge many times over the past few years, and I never get tired of going. The rustic feel of the lodge really accentuates the beauty of the nature around you. The landscaping is so lush and vibrant!!! The staff is always more than welcoming, and treat you like family. This time, my girlfriend and I stayed in the newest addition to the lodge, in a new, honeymoon cabin. We were blown away. The cabin is similar to the rest, including the screens, the mosquito nets and the feeling of total privacy, however this new cabin has TWO big decks, and private hammock, AND A PRIVATE HOT TUB!!! There is no better way to relax after the hike to Rio Celeste, or horseback riding, other than grabbing a book, soaking in the hot natural water, surrounded by nature. I can't recommend La Carolina Lodge enough!!!

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Pan-0-ram-ic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liskeard, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed August 30, 2011

We stayed at La Carolina Lodge in 2007 and it was one of the highlights of our trip, so it was lovely to have the chance to return there this summer. Again, we weren't disappointed.

Last time we stayed in the main house, this time we stayed in "The House on the Hill", a large timber cabin set apart from the main house, above the corral, etc. The accommodation is simple and rustic, but that's part of the place's charm. There is limited electricity, and the few light bulbs provided are discrete. Candles are provided by the zillion, and you really want to keep the lights off, and enjoy the candles. One of the staff lights the candles each evening, including those along the path to our lodge. A nice touch. Beds are made from wooden frames of unconverted timber (probably made on site?) and have mosquito nets - though we didn't find a lot of mozzies there anyway. The accommodation is clean, tidy and well maintained.

The lodge is remote, and all meals are provided. All food is cooked on an old stove (using wood) by the friendly, mumsy, kitchen staff or cooked over a wood fire. You either eat at a long table with other guests, or at small tables in a covered area adjoining the main house. Either way, it's very pleasant and can be a lot of fun with the right crowd round your table.

The food is excellent - and there's tons of it. Breakfast is either gallo pinto (rice'n' beans, eggs, cheese) or continental, plus fruit. Lunch is meat or fish, rice, beans and salad or vegetables, and the evening meal is pretty similar. I understand that the meat is generally the farm's own. You'll never go hungry here!

La Carolina Lodge is well placed for a visit to the Vulcan Tenorio national park, and really you can't stay at the lodge without a visit. Alejandro, one of the staff, is an excellent guide. It's a bumpy ride away by 4x4, or in the back of a pick-up. We travelled in the back of Alejandro's pick-up, which was fun in itself.

In terms of other 'things to do', the lodge offers horse riding every day - again guided by Alejandro. (Get him to show you his horse tricks: amazing!) You can ride around a mixture of pasture, lemon groves or rain forest. (We actually saw more wildlife on our horse rides than we did at Vulcan Tenorio - tons of howler monkeys and capuchins, and a sloth really close up. Plus the fab blue-jeans tree frog and countless other creepy crawlies). There's a good trail (marked with yellow arrows) through the farm, which takes you through pasture and rain forest. Again, recommended. You can also take walks out of the farm, perhaps up to the adjoining hamlet of San Miguel which has a quaint little cantina (bar).

We paid $650 for a family four to stay at La Carolina Lodge for 3 nights. Not cheap, but an incomparable family experience we'll remember for all our days, and that's worth more than money.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Peter W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed August 23, 2011

We were a little surprised when we arrived. We had booked a room with shared bathroom and I have to say it was very basic (there were some small holes in the floor for example...). But as soon as we got to swim in the river and relax in the heated pool, we fell in love with the place! We could also hear the river from our room so we slept like babies at night! The meals were amazing! Everything is home made! Home made cheese, like I used to eat when my family owned a farm! So good! Fresh eggs, fresh milk, fresh juice! Very tasty grilled meat! And you learn to love the rice and beans, at least we did! It is also fun to eat with all the guest and learn to know them. Like one said when we were there : you just know that people who chose to stay in a place like that are good people! ;) So we did not feel like we would rather eat alone at all, even if we were on a honeymoon!
What is also incredible about this place is the activities!
We only stayed a day and two nights and feel like we had the most wonderful activites of our two weeks in Costa Rica! The walk to Rio Celeste is definitely worth it! We were with Alejandro, the lodge's guide, who was very kind and passionate about is job. We really had a good time with him. In the afternoon, he guided us for the horseback riding. He was more discrete then, but it was ok! The horses were very calm and I did not feel scared at all, even if it was my first time at that! We went walking in the trail behind the lodge and saw howler monkeys and blue jeans dart frogs! We also saw a sloth in a tree beside the parking lot!
Some people mention that the staff does not speak english, it is true, but I do not think it is a downside. We do not speak spanish and with an open mind, we communicated with them and even learned some words and expressions in spanish! Maybe it is just an impression, but we felt like the staff was really happy there, wich made us happy too! It is the place where we felt the most authentic Costa Rican experience! We could have stayed there a lot longer! I already miss coming home and smelling the diner cooking on the woodstove!
If you have an open mind, do not expect something like a 4 seasons hotel, and want the best experience of la pura vida, do not hesitate, this place will stay in our memories!

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank SnorkelGirl_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about La Carolina Lodge

Property: La Carolina Lodge
Address: San Miguel | Bijagua, Bijagua de Upala 21301, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Bijagua de Upala
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Bijagua de Upala
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 4
Also Known As:
La Carolina Hotel Province Of Guanacaste
Hotel La Carolina
La Carolina Lodge Costa Rica/Bijagua De Upala

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