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“The only place to stay while visiting Rio Celeste!”
Review of La Carolina Lodge

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La Carolina Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Esterillos Oeste, Costa Rica
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“The only place to stay while visiting Rio Celeste!”
Reviewed May 6, 2013

La Carolina Lodge brings you back to the days when Costa Rica was pura vida! The staff is like family, the food cooked on a wood burning stove and fresh squeezed juices are a party for your taste buds! The gardens overflow with colorful flowers and green pastures keep the horses healthy and strong. Stay overnight and hit the magical rio celeste waterfall at 8AM after a hearty Tico breakfast!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank beaujm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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334 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (62)
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English first
Essex, Connecticut
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed April 24, 2013

We wish that we had more time here! We spent two nights. After coming from the hot Guanacaste coast the shady jungle and lush pastures were delightful. I was a little wary at the drive on the bumpy road and as it was our first experience with Costa Rica rural dirt roads and we went very slowly after the turn off in Bijagua. But on arriving at La Carolina lodge I experienced a kind of peace that I had not experienced in a really long time. I don't know really where to begin, as our stay there was completely wonderful. We had the "honeymoon cabin" with the private hot tub and hammock on the porch looking out over the crystal stream. The bed was very comfortable--we used the mosquito net, though it probably wasn't necessary, it was very romantic. At night the candles are lit on the path ways and on our porch. Gorgeous.
We enjoyed every bit of our meals and the company of the other guests. One of our lunches when we were the only guests seemed a little less than the previous day--which was too bad because we were very hungry after our hike at Rio Celeste. While eating meals we watched pretty little colorful birds eating at fruit that was put out for them. Seemingly on cue, a pair of Toucans appeared. We went horseback riding both days with Alejandro--who was an excellent guide and horseman. The ride was stunning through the pastures among the grazing horses and beautiful cattle and we came across howler monkeys. You could tell that a lot of care had been taken with the ranch animals. We also had Alejandro guide us on the hike to Rio Celeste which was great. We loved the informality, and enjoyed the calm and slow pace. This was certainly a highlight of our trip!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Fidel D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed April 23, 2013

This was our 2nd stay at La Carolina Lodge. We were here 8 years ago and it has grown more beautiful and the meals are more varied. They actually have a pastry chef come in every day to prepare delicious desserts! We rode horses when we felt like it; the horses are wonderfully trained using gentle methods; when they aren't being ridden they get to roam through lots of pasture with plently of grass. This contributes to their being relaxed and reliable. They don't have that pent-up energy you see in a lot of American horses who don't get enough freedom. The pasture land all around is just naturally stuffing. Within the lodge acreage the landscaping is beautifully done. The staff there really have it together and make you feel welcome. We traveled husband, wife (me) and our daughter in her 20's. There is a lot to do in the area. We didn't fish but understand the fishing is exceptional. The LaCarolina website doesn't do it justice. I understand they will post a new website this year.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Lynn H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed April 19, 2013

I really didn't know where to go. My friend suggested La Carolina Lodge, a little bit of magic. Bill and Karien make you feel like your one of the family. The waterfall, the horseback riding, the staff, the hot tub, the food all make this magic. Their two kids are just a treat. If you want to do something they will get it done. I can't imagine going back to Costa Rica without stopping by to say hello.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank Tmac1949
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed April 15, 2013

We stumbled on a preservation at La Carolina Lodge and it was a fantastic experience. We were placed in a small and rustic cabin near the river which lulled us to sleep at night. The cabin was spacious and comfortable but we didn't spend much time in it other than to sleep. Between the swimming hole, the hot tub, the hikes and the horseback riding, we were too busy. All meals are included in your tab and they are prepared fresh and always accompanied by delicious fruit juice mixes. These were are all typical Costa Rican meals and we loved them. Besides the opportunity to see a rural and non-touristy (and perfectly beautiful) area of the country, we were charmed by the kindness and attention of all the staff, and especially the expertise of Alejandro, who took us into the national park and also out riding in the hills surrounding the Lodge. This is a low-key place and a great place to soak up the natural surroundings either by doing nothing or by participating in all that is available. We also met some very interesting other guests whom we will stay in touch with. You can't go wrong with this lodge—stay several days if you can. Bill and Karien are great hosts and know how to make you feel welcome.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank KathyandMarty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michigan
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed April 12, 2013

We just got back from a 2 week vacation exploring Costa Rica, and wish we could have stayed at La Carolina longer! It is absolutely incredible. We had our 15 and 16 year olds with us, and they just loved it. Everything is natural... The grounds, the food, the swimming. Back to nature and the necessities, everything was a perfect 10! The staff was so friendly and made us feel so at home. We rented the private house on the hill, which suited our family to a tee. It was a dream come true. A large hammock, beautiful porch, outdoor space, and really comfortable beds! There were tons of monkeys in the trees overhead and the birds were everywhere! We took a horseback ride through their beautiful property. Thanks to Alejandro and Michael Jackson for trying to find us a sloth! The ride was beautiful. Volcanoes, rainforest, livestock, parrots, the views were like nothing we had ever seen. And the food! Family style, authentic Costa Rican cooking with a self sufficient ranch. Best food we had the entire time in Costa Rica, and we ate some great meals. Don't miss the hot chocolate, it's amazing. Thank you to owners Bill and Karin, you are kind, loving, gracious hosts and we cannot express our gratitude for the awe and wonder we experienced while at La Carolina. This place is a do not miss. Make time to stay, you will not regret it!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank kellyd13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 11, 2013

We just returned Tuesday from a 12 day trip to Costa Rica with our three children (ages 15, 9 and 7). We visited Monteverde, Arenal and Montezuma. Our favorite part of the trip was our stay at La Carolina. What a magical place Bill & Karien have created. With a 4wd it was easy to get to and well worth the trip off the beaten path. We stayed in a two bedroom cabin that was rustic but nice. The lodge is very well managed. The food was local and delicious and the horseback riding and river real highlights. There were lots of birds and our last morning was spent watching a family of howler monkeys playing in the trees by the lodge.

We loved that there was no internet / cell coverage which forced us to completely unplug and relax. It was the perfect way to start our trip and get in vacation mode! The entire family agreed this was the favorite part of the trip and my 15 year old daughter asked if we could stay a month! Wow -- that's really saying something. If you are looking for a plush resort this is not for you -- but if you want an authentic Costa Rican experience, you will not be disappointed.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank 289amyr
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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