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“Most beautiful spot to stay”
Review of La Carolina Lodge

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La Carolina Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Salt Lake City, UT
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Most beautiful spot to stay”
Reviewed April 7, 2013

Our family loved La Carolina. We stayed for 2 days, and we had all kinds of fun. We love the horseback rides (Alejandro was an excellent guide, and he trained all of the horses at the site). The horses were just great, and the countryside was gorgeous. We hiked with Alejandro to Rio Celeste, which was beautiful but very muddy. We hiked and saw tiny tree frogs, monkeys, sloths, butterflies, and a snake. We swam in the river, and hot tubbed. It was all very magical and peaceful. The meals were fantastic. All of our children were very satisfied and everything was delicious. We enjoyed watching the beautiful birds--including toucans--from our table. From the website, we had wondered if there would be a lack of power (as in lighting, etc.), but we had plenty of light to play games at night. We recommend spoons. And we loved the fireflies at night. We can't say enough good things about this place, and I will be so sad if I never get to return. Fabulous time.

Room Tip: I am sure all of the cabins are terrific. Pretty minimalist and rustic.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank mikawils
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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338 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (62)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
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  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Bensheim, Hessen, Germany
Level 4 Contributor
48 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed March 31, 2013

A perfect location to enjoy a couple of days in real nature with hiking, horse riding, and great local food. The lodge is the heart of a farm, owned by Bill and Karien Harwell, a passioned and very professional host couple who is perfectly taking care for the guests. The lodge is situated in a little rainforest where the colorful birds like tucans are continuous visitors delighting the guests all day long. The service couldn't be better and making the stay at the lodge a perfect one. We definitely coming back! Thanks Bill and Karien!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Andreas D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
newport, ri
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 31, 2013

New friends invited us so we said "Let's Go"! If you want to feel the real Costa Rica, La Carolina Lodge is the real deal! Rustic, yet comfortable and well manged. We found this place to be a great deal for the money, rate per night includes three square meals and oh what scrumptious meals they were. I miss the coffee (made traditionally with a chorreador) The owners and staff make you feel like you are one of their own. Along with the other guests, it's one big love fest. No really, people were happy, calm and complete in their stay at this ranch. The amenities: well let's see, hiking, horseback riding (included in your stay) a river to swim in after a long day of participating in the latter. The hot tub, well, you just need to see for yourself how they heat the hot tub, interesting! At night, the place is illuminated with candles, it makes for such a romantic setting. The sounds of the surrounding forest and the rushing river complete this most unique and incredible place. This experience will change you . . . is this not what we want from our travels?

Room Tip: The cabins are wonderful, especially close to the river.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Ivykeeper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, NC
Level 5 Contributor
49 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed March 28, 2013

You can get away from it all and immerse yourself in the simple beauty found here. Just finding this secluded place is a fun adventure by itself...be sure to follow the directions! We loved watching the preparation of and enjoyed eating the authentic Costa Rican food in a candlelit outdoor setting. Watching the birds at breakfast was phenomenal. Alejandro was very knowledgeable and accomodating. He took our family hiking to the Blue Lagoon and accompanied us riding the horses. Don't miss the hot tub by the river at night. It is awesome. Wish we had stayed longer.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank eleviv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Caldwell, NJ
Level 6 Contributor
65 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed March 22, 2013

Our stay at La Carolina was magical. It started with much helpful advice from Karen even before we left home. She was unable to get us a cabin for all of our dates needed, so we opted for a separate house just outside of the property.

Lovely Karien greeted us and showed us the property (we had full use of everything, all meals and could shower in the lodge if we wished.) On the tour we saw an elusive sloth up a tree!

Our 2 bedroom 2 bath cottage was a tranquil retreat with a rushing river out back and monkeys and birds easily visible in nearby trees.

We were made to feel like family right away. Over the course of our 3 night stay we met lot of nice folks from all over the world. We shared meals and evenings by the fire or in the relaxing riverside hot tub.

Bill was the perfect host, as well. He kept our 12 year old son entertained, having him help on the ranch with Bill and Karen's adorable and well behaved little boys (ages 2 & 4). We kept busy hiking, touring the property and lake with Juan Carlos, horseback riding with Alejandro, visiting Rio Celeste and eating huge awesome meals from locally grown and mostly organic ingredients. We also did a lot of relaxing. Our son stacked wood, milked a cow and watched as a pig was prepared for dinner. It was a wonderful experience that none of us will ever forget!

Room Tip: Consider staying in the house outside of the property if you want a quiet retreat or even more birds...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank LifesGood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed March 17, 2013

We stayed at the La Carolina Lodge for only one night with our two young children (5 and 7) and my only regret is that we did not stay longer! The place is rustic but very comfortable, and a delight for both young travelers and adults. My girls rode horses, milked a cow, swam in the river, saw the large organic garden, and explored the grounds. The staff was kind and helpful, and the food delicious! We loved the candlelight-only evenings, and seeing exotic birds right outside the porch was a real treat. Highly recommend this lodge for those seeking a unique experience far away from the touristy path. We will definitely be back!!

Room Tip: All of the rooms are a little different, so be sure to have a discussion with Karien or Bill about y...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank LauraMAustin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 3, 2013

This place is amazing! Being Canadian, when I heard this was a working ranch, I wasn't over-excited. We have a few of those in this country! But other that the fairly rough road to get in, what a marvellous stay we had. We had crappy weather - rain, rain, rain but oh whatever - such a warm atmosphere. Amazing real food. Meals served to the group where it was easy to visit with people from everywhere! Great, great, great.

Room Tip: The cabins may cost a little more but they are divine!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank LARocchs
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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