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“Rustic Perfection!”
Review of La Carolina Lodge

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La Carolina Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 7, 2014 via mobile

The location is fantastic. Beautiful, functional cabins where we were lulled to sleep by the river, cicadas, and howler monkeys. The birds, lizards, monkeys, butterflies, and fish at the lodge are fascinating. The food was delicious at every meal. Alejandro is a great horseman and guide. We had fun watching him patiently deal with an uncooperative young horse one morning, as well as rescuing a newborn calf that fell down a ravine. The whole staff was gracious and patient with our bad Spanish. Rio Celeste is a beautiful sight. We were a little concerned, as it was billed as a four-hour hike, but that includes the drive to the park and back as well as plenty of photo stops. The hike itself is about 4 miles, round trip. A little steep and slippery in a few places, but not challenging to anyone in moderately decent condition. The horse back ride and trip to the little lake provide beautiful views of the volcanos and mountain pastures. Other guests who get out that far tend to be the open and adventurous type, because dinner conversation with travelers from around the world was great.

I'm so jealous of Alejandro's BJ40 Land Cruiser! Sweet ride!

Stayed: April 2014
Thank costaricadreamin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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120 - 126 of 342 reviews

Reviewed April 5, 2014

Food? Home-grown, healthy, delicious. Lodging? Comfortable, all-you-need with no frills, perfect for a true getaway. Staff? Friendly, accommodating, incredibly knowledgable (ask Alejandro anything - the language barrier may stump him but he'll figure it out). Surroundings? Surreal. Photo op's? Don't blink or you'll miss one. Activities? What about milking cows isn't FUN?! Of course, there's also the hiking, horseback riding, whitewater rafting..... And then there's just relaxing. Oh, and Mother Nature's "fitness center" rocks.... Bring your jump rope and a TRX. Price? You can't get an experience like this for less. I did give it less than "excellent" in the following areas only because 1) sleep quality .....my sleep quality was affected by the howler monkeys waking me up the first morning 2) cleanliness ...... although every effort was made to keep the place clean, you can't have too much fun without bringing in some dirt! 3) fitness center .... If only they offered a fitness and/or yoga retreat!!! Oh wait ..... Is it coming?

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank MeredithN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2014

If you're looking for a beautiful, peaceful, and relaxing "off the beaten path" vacation spot: This is it! We stayed 2 nights at the cabin by the river. Although there is limited electricity and it was 97 degrees out, it was cool enough at night, that we didn't need air conditioning.

Due to my misunderstanding, we almost didn't stay after finding out there was no internet (I had to be able to check in with my teen-age daughter at home) but did find out they did have very limited internet access in one area of the ranch. It was better reception "early" in the morning, but it was enough to put my worries at ease.

I'm so glad we stayed. Of all the places we stayed at in CR, this was by far my favorite. We seen a sloth, many birds, river Celeste, relaxed in the natural hot tub and hiked to the lake where a little boat was available to paddle around in.

Bill and Karien were so nice and made us feel right at home. The food was all prepared from fresh produce, meat and fruits from the ranch and I have to say, it was the best authentic food that I've ever had. I didn't want to leave.

Tips: #1) The road there is "extremely" rough, so if you need to use the restroom, do so "before" you begin the journey. I was glad to hear I was not the only one who had to make a pit stop along the road- lol.
#2) Make sure Karien or Bill is there during your stay if you do not speak Spanish, as all the locals on the ranch speak no/very little English.

This was an experience of a life time and I will surely return. By then, I hope to speak more Spanish and be able to experience more attractions nearby. I had hurt my ankle on a previous hike and was limited on the activities I could do. The thing is, it was just what I needed because it gave me more of a reason to relax in the hammock and listen to the sounds of nature.

STUNNING place!!!! Thanks to all there who work so hard to make La Carolina Lodge what it is today. Keep it up.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank DD1745
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 24, 2014

This is a rustic experience, off the grid in Costa Rica, with log cabins and real beds and hot showers and personal hot tubs. It was absolutely delightful.

It is so cheap for what you get...guided hikes, horseback riding, swimming in thermal pools, incredible meals served family style, great conversation with travellers from around the world,a nd utter relaxation. Hosts are a delightful couple from Charleston, SC too, though we did not know them before our trip.

Our room had a queen and a single. Our adult son stayed in another room nearby.

Service was awesome.

No reliable wifi, which was FINE. We wanted to be off the grid.

Our hot tub, out on our deck overlooking the river, was heated by a woodburning stove.

We saw tons of wildlife and interesting plants.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
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Thank Etta0717
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 20, 2014

This place was insane. My buddy and I were referred to LCL and had a blast. Very little electricity and wifi - we were close to being completely off the grid. We were informed that you need to bring own beer and booze, but there were a couple of people who didn't and were frustrated. Beautiful property with lots of great views and an insane river running through.

Stayed: March 2014, traveled with friends
Thank Mgboone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 12, 2014

Our family missed La Carolina desperately before we were even at the end of the driveway on our way out. I agree with another review here. Just go. We stayed in El Tucan (the cabin with it's own hot tub and deck) for 3 nights. This would absolutely be my first choice if we stay again. We had originally booked 2 nights, but at the last minute made some itinerary changes and stayed for 3. I'm so glad we did as 2 nights wouldn't have felt like enough. We hiked their trails, rode horses, paddled the boat around the beautiful private lake, hiked Rio Celeste, the kids milked the cows, and we all enjoyed the amazing swimming hole and wonderful food. To top it off, the staff are warm and friendly and make everyone feel right at home. But wait... there's more- hammocks, gardens, birds, great coffee. This was the favorite part of our trip to CR. It's worth the drive out there.

Room Tip: Definitely pick El Tucan! They list it as only have a king and a single, but Karien was so helpful...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank Corey H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2014

Stayed just one night, day trip from dry CR pacific coast. Fantastic scenery and natural surroundings. A wonderful variety of tropical birds, plants and animals. Meals were simple but wonderful. Very tasty with great presentation for a family style serving. The accommodations are very rustic but absolutely comfortable, Wish we could have stayed much longer! The road up is not for the faint of heart. It can be done in a two wheel drive sedan, but I would not do that again.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank OddlyEnough
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

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: $110 - $130 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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