by Candyce H. Stapen
Situated on nearly a 1,000-acre private nature reserve that sweeps down the mountain to the Pacific, Lapa Rios, one of Costa Rica’s most notable eco-lodges, made Conde Nast Traveler’s 2009 Gold List. The main lodge and its 16 bungalows sit on ridgetops, 350 feet above the sea. Needless to say, there are many steps. The lodge welcomes families, but children should be at least 5 years old for safety.
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- Private nature reserve
- Families welcome
- Conde Nast Traveler's 2009 Gold List
You never know what awaits you here! On the first night, I was reviewing my pics at 11pm and heard material landing on our roof. I went outside with a flashlight and managed to capture pictures of a Tamadua ripping open a termite nest above our villa. WOW! This was one of the coolest experiences of the trip. After the first night, we asked to be moved to a more remote location (we did not like the noise in rooms 1 and 2). We were kindly relocated to the most remote rooms, 16 and 17. These are about 258 steps (as in steps not paces) from the lodge pool. Traversing this distance by foot takes quite some time, but fortunately, if you call the lodge with the walkie-talkie phone located in the room, you can arrange for a vehicle pick-up. This was perfect for us! The remote location meant even more wildlife and except for a howler monkey moaning at 3:00am, it was peaceful. The remoteness may not suit everyone’s taste. Rooms 16 and 17 are closer to the ocean and down the hillside. The greater the room number, the lower down the hillside you are and the more humid the air. Though more humid, the lower rooms have better views and put you in the thick of the jungle. If you review my pics, you will see that you have the option of an indoor shower and an outdoor one as well. Take the outdoor shower! It is pure bliss to be showering in such a luxuriant environment. The bathroom products are outstanding! We used ex-Officio clothes and when hung outdoors, they dried in hours. As for bug spray, we brought plenty, but in the dry season while we were there, we got few if any bites. The wet season may be a much different story. The food here is sensational and definitely enjoy the incredible, freshly squeezed juices all over Costa Rica; they trounce anything in the US! I would highly recommend the nature walks and the 3:30am departing daytrip to Corcovado Park is well worth the early rise. We awoke that morning to the Howler Monkey at 3:00am. The most spectacular alarm clock ever and it was the only morning he was near our room. Nature is amazing!
The Lodge enjoys a wonderful location, perched on a hill side above the Golfo Dulce. The main building houses the reception area, the restaurant and bar, with the pool located just below. The rooms are spread over the hillside beneath. Some (rooms 12-17) are accessed via a great many steep steps. In the heat and humidity, this can be a challenge. Rooms 3-11 are more accessible, although steps are still involved! We did a number of 'tours', booked at reception. The 'Twigs and Pigs' is especially recommended as it gives an insight into how this remarkable Lodge is run. It should be a blue-print for all aspiring 'eco-lodges' - so many of which just pay lip-service to the idea.