by Courtney Elko
Located literally on a mountaintop about an hour outside the town of Quepos and three hours from San Jose, Costa Rica, this rural lodge is naturally magnificent. After a long and very bumpy ride through a palm tree farm, across streams, around windy, rocky roads and up hills, you will arrive at a breathtaking scene of green and blue that will have your family feeling as though you’re looking at a painting on the wall. But the view is even better than any painting!
The rural atmosphere of this hotel may leave some apprehensive about having no Wi-Fi, no swimming pool and no beach. But the horseback riding, waterfalls, fishing pond and being surrounded by wildlife will soon have families reconnecting and soaking in the Costa Rica pura vida (pure life) ways.
The onsite restaurant provides authentic local cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner (included in your rate) and the mountainside or village cabins make you feel as though you are sleeping in the clouds. Santa Juana Lodge, which opened in 2014, is run entirely by the people of the tiny Pueblo of Santa Juana. The community welcomes its visitors and takes pride in their hospitality and local food. The Santa Juana community will welcome your family to their home, and soon, you will a part of their family.
Santa Juana Lodge is part of the Greentique Hotel Group which also includes Si Como No.
Our Editor Loves
- Mountainside cabins
- Horseback riding, waterfalls and zip-lining
- Community-run lodge
- Horse Back Riding
- Free Breakfast
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Families will love the mountain or village cabins where you can turn off devices and reconnect. Each of the six cabins makes you feel as though you are sleeping high in the sky, and you won't be abe to stop staring out at the vistas in awe. All rates include all meals at the onsite restaurant (excluding alcohol) and there are extra persons fees. There is no Wi-Fi at this resort, but the cabins do have televisions and DVD players.
These split-level, 650-square-foot mountainside cabins feature high ceilings and breathtaking panaromic mountain views. The greens and blues that will shine through the open-air cabins are amazing. A king bed and two sleeper sofas are in the cabins, along with a kitchenette and bathroom with stand-up shower. Ceiling fans, a refrigerator, stove, range and microwave can also be found inside. Plus, there is a full DVD library available.
This two-bedroom house is located in the village, but still offers amazing panoramic views. The mountain casa features two king beds, a sleeper sofa and kitchenette. The bathroom features a stand-up shower and there is a BBQ area, as well as a DVD library.
This tiny "mother-in-law's" cabin features a double bed, small porch, bathroom and a mini-fridge. This cabin is ideal for a driver, guide or the in-laws. A maxium of two people can accommodate this small cabin.
by Mari B
This is the place to stay to savor authentic Costa Rica and the opportunity to speak and interact with the Santa Juana team members enhanced our visit. The stories and insight they shared from their local perspective about their beautiful community enriched our Costa Rica trip immensely. We are grateful.
Santa Juana is our most favorite place in Costa Rica! We spent two days here and were completely enchanted by the stunning mountain views and the warm hospitality that was generously extended to us. Every person was genuinely friendly, kind, and professional. This was our first visit to Costa Rica and we were fortunate to have explored many beautiful places and stayed at 5 different spots, including San Jose, Manuel Antonio/Quepos, Arenal, Escazu, Alajuela, and Arenal, Santa Juana is what we most fondly remember when we think of Costa Rica.
To get to Santa Juana, visitors must transverse off the beaten path through a palm tree plantation, mountain rainforest, and several low-river crossings to reach this lovely picturesque mountain village. The roads are unpaved and the trip was about an hour and required a 4X4 vehicle. The rural and mountain views along the way were stunning and the journey to reach this rural mountain village is part of the charm. Thanks to Greentique's team member Irenia, who I communicated online when planning our trip, we opted for a driver to take us to/from Santa Juana instead of driving ourselves.
This turned out to be the best solution for us to ensure worry-free transportation with a trustworthy driver. Irenia with Greentique Hotel was appreciatively helpful and patient with the many questions I had when planning our trip. She helped set and meet expectations and customized our travel arrangements so that our transportation was worry-free.
Our interactions with the entire Santa Juana team were amazing. The lodge/nature reserve is run by local residents, many of whom who were born and raised in the mountains of Santa Juana. The outdoor, covered restaurant area offers wifi and the cooks prepare delicious Costa Rican meals. Cabins are perfectly situated on the mountainside to enjoy magnificent panoramic views, with the Pacific coast on the horizon. The accommodations are spacious and well maintained. The grounds are beautifully maintained in a natural landscape.
While there we walked to a beautiful waterfall, it was a great hike. If we had spent more time, we would have loved to take the trip to the coffee plantation; but, we'll make sure to do that when we visit again : )!
This lodge is so wonderfully remote and beautiful. The views were literally breathtaking and the cabin is modern, spacious, and extremely clean. Everything, of course, made from beautiful high quality wood, and there was a fully equipped kitchen.
It is a long drive to get here but is totally worth it.
There are many surrounding trails to explore; including one that leads directly to an amazing waterfall.
The people who live and work near the lodge were extremely kind and accommodating and the food was phenomenal.
It was a very peaceful and relaxing end to our stay in Costa Rica.
You won't find a giant pool, waterslide or even a beach at Santa Juana Lodge, but you will have impeccable, one-of-a-kind experiences. As part of the Greentique Hotel group, Santa Juana Lodge offers guests numerous tour opportunities both on the hotel property as well as at other Greentique Hotel properties. The tours can be an additional purchase or you can book a package when you book your reservation.
Certified guides accompany groups on all tours and most of the tours take a full day. Lunch, snacks and transportation are included and costs vary based on the activity.
Tree Reforestation Program
Visitors are asked to choose a tree, which will then be planted in your name back into the rainforest. By adopting the tree, you help to conserve the mountain and you receive a tree adoption certificate.
Santa Juana Rural Mountain Adventure Tour
Hike or horseback ride through a jungle trail to an authentic sugar mill where oxen will churn sugar cane. Continue through the jungle and see beautiful waterfalls. Those who dare to can jump from a cliff into the waterfall. And for those who are more cautious, there is a steady staircase down to the bottom of the waterfall pool. Swim in the natural and refreshing waters before taking some time to fish (catch and release) in a small pond filled with tilapia.
Santa Juana Rural Mountain Adventure and Zipline Tour
Add zip-lining to the above tour. With multiple zip-lines, a Tarzan swing and rappeling, adventurous families will surely love this tour.
Rio Rodeo Gardens and Waterfalls Guided Horseback Tour
Explore the Cloudmaker Reserve on horseback. Arrive at the Rio Rodeo Gardens for some relaxtion, then hike to the waterfall to swim and fish in the tilapia pond.
Cloudmaker/Santa Juana Birding Tour
With more than 900 species of birds in all of Costa Rica, bird lovers will love this tour led by certified guides through the Cloudmaker Reserve.
Guided Horesback Rentals
An experienced guide and horse wrangler will take you through trails as you ride horseback and look out over the gorgeous mountain vistas. The two-hour tour (based on horse rental time) may also stop at the waterfalls and fishing pond.
Los Santos Coffee Tour
Discover the secrets of Costa Rican coffee at the Los Santos coffee plantation. Families will travel by 4x4 and receive a guided tour of the entire coffee making process from plant to cup.
This hilltop, open-air, casual restaurant overlooks the village of Santa Juana, mountain vistas and the Pacific coastline of Manual Antonio National Park below. The restaurant is also only a short walk from the guestroom cabins. Traditional Costa Rican meals (recipes handed down from generation to generation) are served here for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Vegetarian meals are available by request and the true Costa Rican coffee will have you constantly wanting a cup. The open kitchen and dining area are small, but it makes you and your family feel as though you are part of the Santa Juana community. All meals at El Mirador are included with your room rate. The restaurant is open from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Take a break from your devices because there is no Wi-Fi atop this mountain lodge.
For a fee, the hotel staff would be happy to stock your kitchenette with groceries. You supply the list and they will climb down the mountain and do the shopping.
Transportation to and from the hotel can be provided by the staff and is highly recommended. A 4x4 vehicle is needed to reach the top of the mountain.
The Art of Smart Timing
December is high tourist season in Costa Rica. Rainy or green season runs from about April to mid-November in the Santa Juana area. Rainy season does not mean it will constantly rain, but do expect the possibility of heavy downpours in the afternoons for an hour or so. Dry season runs from December to March.
San Jose International Airport is about three hours away from Santa Juana Lodge and Daniel Oduber International Airport in the Guanacaste region is about four and half hours away from the hotel. A 4x4 vehicle is needed to reach the hotel from either of the international airports.
Once you turn off the main paved roadways, the drive up the mountain to the hotel is not easy and takes about an hour. It is extremely bumpy on a rocky and dirt road as you wind around the mountain while crossing over streams to reach the top. Make sure to hit the bathroom before you begin this journey. The hotel does provided transportation to and from both airports for a significant fee, but it is highly recommended to let them do the driving.
The rural mountain atmosphere of this hotel does not leave many options to venture far outside of the community. Remember it's almost an hour back down the mountain. Transportation can be provided, but really you won't want to leave anyway.