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“Pretty nice but expensive room rate”
Review of Hotel Cerro Lodge

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Hotel Cerro Lodge
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Tarcoles
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 22, 2013

Family of 4 traveling with 2 young kids (almost 3yo and 1yo). Stayed 2 nights. Beautiful bungalows and property. Neat outdoor bathroom with shower, except for mosquitoes saying ‘hi’ from time to time. Very good breakfast with continental extras as buffet style, so plentiful breakfast for the whole family. Hotel made dinner (only 4 standard choices: fish dish, pork dish, chicken dish or ‘can’t remember’). Dinner included soup, salad, main dish, and dessert for flat fee of $15. Little pool to get refreshed was nice. Macaws flew over the property a few times. Room was nice, spacious and clean, beds were comfortable and sheets were soft.
Negative points:
- No real reception corner: arrived on Sunday afternoon and only guard (appeared to be) to give us room keys. No words were spoken as he didn’t seem to know much English at all. Corresponded with Federico by email for reservation (who’s English seemed pretty good) but we haven’t met him, at least we were not introduced to him.
- No one (gardener, kitchen ladies, guard or manager/owner) were interested in talking. It was very strange, but maybe there was a language barrier.
- Room rate was quite expensive for minimally-furnished room without air conditioning (only two ceiling fans)
- No real farm (only one cow, one goat, one pig, each in a tiny cage, and chickens).
Would recommend it for 1-2 nights.

Room Tip: Bungalow #3 was nice.
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Florence B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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125 - 131 of 325 reviews

Reviewed May 6, 2013

Our stay at Cerro Lodge was enjoyable. The rooms are large and feature lovely wood furniture. The bathrooms have 3 conventional walls and one wall of greenery and shade cloth. We were awakened in the morning by a group of Scarlet Macaws in the trees just outside our casita. Two of the large birds stayed in the area for a couple of hours and allowed us to watch them while we had breakfast. There were lots of other birds around to see, and lovely territorial views. The food was very good and the staff were uniformly helpful and pleasant. This lodge is close to the Carrara Park where the birding is very good, and local guides will pick you up at your doorstep. There are also river cruises available on the Tarcoles River where you can see lots of birds and crocodiles.

Room Tip: The casitas are cooler than the smaller rooms.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Pat M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 2, 2013

Cerro was our last stop on our most recent trip. The most unique aspect was the open-air (but well-screened) bathroom. It was hot while we were there but the ceiling fans allowed us to get comfortable. Meals were very good, and tailored to our needs. We just wanted a light lunch, salad and soup, which was fine. The staff were all helpful. Being close to Carera NP and the Tarcoles River there are great birding opportunites and the Lodge can recommend good guides. Birding on the grounds, and along the access road, was rewarding. Particulalry impressive are the mornings when the Scarlet Macaws wake you up.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Hal72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

The Cerro Lodge is located on a west facing slope above the forests surrounding the Tarcoles River. It is a series of terracotta colored bungalows artistically dotted across a newly planted landscape. The biggest problem was that the blasting all day sun turned these fan only rooms into excruciatingly hot ovens at night. Some of the bungalows were slightly better situated with cabins 4 and 8, and some of the standard rooms, like 13 in more shade. We moved from room 6 to 4, which had less view, but more cover and being at the top, got more of a breeze. The best parts about this hotel were the fantastic sunset views and the morning visits from a pair of scarlet macaws to the small “almond” trees around the parking area.

Room 6 was large, but with three beds the room felt over-full of beds, and under furnished with practicalities like bedside tables and chairs. The interior décor was uninspired chunks of wood. Bathrooms are open-air, which was a nice experience, if a bit buggy in the mornings, but unique and clean. I rather enjoyed the effect of the semi-outdoor shower with iguanas nodding in attendance.

Room 4 only had 2 beds, and felt much better proportioned, with a usable bed side table and space to walk around. The lighting in both rooms was from overhead bare bulbs. This may have been a décor detail that the guest could overlook, except that the fan blades were below the lights giving an annoying strobe effect while on. My impression was that they hired a talented but not local architect, and forgot to hire an interior designer.

Management was okay, with staff willing to have us change rooms, but not offering to help move our bags. Food was average (frozen breaded fish, vegetables and ham) and served buffet style. The pool looked clean, but lacked any shade around it and had only one cement table and bench for guests to use. It had an unfinished feel to it.

I’m not sure if this place considers itself an “ecolodge”, but perhaps that explains the lack of air conditioning in this part of Costa Rica. If so, it does fall short on some basic “eco” things. One example is that though they serve beer, it is available only in cans and not in the more environmentally friendly reusable bottles common in CR. Another is that they have fruit tables set up for birds, but also have at least 2 cats hanging around (under the dining tables) a few meters away. Bird and cat feeders?

This lodge definitely has some bumps to work out and perhaps with time, and as the trees grow, it will be a pleasant place to stay. In the meantime, for less money, you can get an air conditioned room in a more standard hotel on Tarcoles beach (Carara Hotel and Restaurant) at the same distance from Carara NP. It probably won’t have scarlet macaws in the trees, and the beach is a bit dirty, but it will be authentic and the food great.

Room Tip: Bungalows 8 and 4, and perhaps the rooms in the common building (9-13) look like they may be cooler...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank ktp2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 6, 2013

Cerro Lodge was our last stop on a three week birding tour of Costa Rica. It was well recommended. Birding at the lodge is excellent. It is located just 15 minutes’ drive from the entrance to Carara NP. and 25 minutes to the Tarcoles river boat ramp. Set 3 km off the main road on a rural hillside this private, secure and quite location offers a distant view of the Nycoa peninsula and ocean. There is a small pool and open air restaurant. The view is pleasant and there is often a breeze at the restaurant. We had our best sighting of Scarlet Macaws, Fiery billed Aracari’s and several other species right from the restaurant. Many birding tours stop here for lunch and some spend one night only. We stayed for four nights. Our cabana was spacious, comfortable and quiet. The beds were firm and the very cool outdoor baño was fun yet private. So why the 3 stars?
In late March it was very HOT – one afternoon it was 101.5F degrees in our room. We had two fans on high. There is no AC and the room was an unbearable sauna. It didn't cool down until well after sunset. We spent the heat of the day at the restaurant where they get a bit of a breeze, if we were not off exploring or at the beach, a 25 minute drive to Punta Leona. Great beach! The staff is friendly and helpful however, most of the time Antonio, the only English speaker, was not there and the owner, Fernando lives in San Jose and was never seen. The Internet was not working for two days so we couldn't look for another hotel with AC on-line – and during Samana Santa (Easter week) most places were booked but we would have moved had we been able to find an alternative. The food was below average and twice the price of any roadside Soda restaurant (where no alcohol served). Breakfast is included and was set out by 5:30 to accommodate early birds but by 7:00 it was stale and cold, the milk was hot, the toast hard and they served the worst bitter coffee in all Costa Rica where coffee is generally excellent. We bought our own granola. The door knob to our baño was broken and nearly falling off - we reported it immediately, twice – and it remained broken when we left. In the dead of night I had to remove the door by the hinges just to use the toilet! I watched the maids soak our room (floors, bed posts, etc.) with insecticide – perhaps this is necessary in the tropic but it really smelled so we had to leave for a while and it gave us concern about sleeping in a cloud of pesticide. This could easily be a FIVE STAR birding lodge and has a lot going for it IF they had AC and better management. One night is enough.

Room Tip: # 8 is very private
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank peterylinda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2013

We had a great visit, one night on our way south to Playa Uvita and two nights on our way back to San Jose. Federico is so patient and helpful -- he arranged transport and guides to Carrara and the Tarcoles River. The cabins and private and surround an open space filled in the morning and evening with so many birds. The warm days heat up the rooms, but fans keep a breeze flowing and cool showers refresh. (If you want heat you can have it). Thanks for a great visit -- we hope to return some day.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Elizabeth B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 24, 2013

We spent three nights here and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The grounds are excellent for bird watching especially at breakfast time when fruit is put out for them. We had many sightings of scarlet macaws including 2 in a tree right outside the dining room. The manager is very friendly and could not have been more accommodating and helpful. The food was quite good and varied although on occasions there were long queues to access the buffet. Hot drinks are available all day from the dining room which was a much appreciated facility. The rooms are of 2 sorts – smaller rooms with an 'indoor garden' and larger rooms which have an indoor bathroom. All the rooms are comfortable, well maintained and very clean, it is shame there is a lack of storage facilities.
The hotel is well placed for visiting Carara National Park and viewing the crocodiles at Tarcoles Bridge. An evening walk from the hotel along the gravel road [away from the main road] provided many interesting bird sightings.

Room Tip: Rooms 9,10,11 and 12 have outdoor bathrooms and are smaller then 13,14,15,and 16 which have indoor f...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank RedTeds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Cerro Lodge

Address: Intermedios Tarcoles, Tarcoles, Garabito Municipality 4023, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Garabito Municipality > Tarcoles District > Tarcoles
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Tarcoles
Price Range: $76 - $139 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Cerro Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Strongly recommended for Birdwatchers and Photographers. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cerro Hotel Tarcoles
Hotel Cerro Lodge Costa Rica/Tarcoles

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