We stayed at Lapa Rios in late February. It is a truly magical experience. If you're a bit nervous about sleeping virtually outdoors, think again. You are woken at dawn by the huge chorus of howler monkeys and exotic birdsong. Meanwhile you sit in bed and watch the sun come up over the sea, possibly with monkeys playing g on the decking and mackaws and toucans sitting in the trees. There's nothing like it.
We joined all the in house walking trails except the waterfall one which were excellent. You really don't need to go off site. The guides were all brilliant and , best of all, they take you to the top of the hill so there isn't much climbing to do!,
As everything is included except alcohol, it is easy to relax with food and drink when you come back from a walk. We spent spare time on our huge decking in the shade just watching the wildlife. We also spent time by the pool which has fabulous views but really needs more shade..Look out for the iguana as you sit there.
Lapa Rios is possibly the loveliest place I have ever been. However, I am not quite sure that it is as green as it once was. We were told of the lack of power sockets and the hair dryer ban but there were more than enough sockets and a hairdryer was provided. Also, ignore the advice about wearing long trousers - shorts are fine in the dry season.
The food , room, guides, wildlife and views were all amazing.
It’s hard to describe how fantastic Lapa Rios is. We stayed in one of the new Villas with our own pool (room 12) which was fabulous. Extremely luxurious with amazing views. The food and guiding are also excellent. Altogether our favourite lodge in Costa Rica.
Lapa Rios is one of National Geographic's Unique Lodges of the world and fully lives up to its reputation. Our bungalow had an uninterrupted view of the Pacific Ocean from every angle. Whether you were sitting in one of the two queen beds, on the terrace or in the indoor shower, you could look out onto the sea. An outdoor shower and a white lacey hammock completed the picture perfectly. The room is completely open (with mosquito nets fitted all around) allowing you to feel the sea breeze as you lie in bed - no need for air con here! Mosquitos were not a problem at all during our stay - and if there was one, it would definitely have found me! The bungalows allow you to completely immerse yourself in the rainforest - a truly memorable experience.
There is a wide range of complimentary activities available and a customised itinerary is carefully prepared with you at the start of your stay so you can make the absolute most of your time here. The restaurant is first class - it offers a wide selection of fresh local food immaculately prepared and presented - true perfection. Coffee/tea is brought to your bungalow at 6am (or whatever time you choose) and sundowners can be requested at 4.30. Drinks are very reasonably priced for a hotel of this quality too. Only alcoholic drinks are chargeable - everything else is complimentary.
Checkout my travel blog (no ads. - just an honest view from someone who has actually been there!) for our full itinerary and practical insider tips. View my trip report for my top ten "must dos" for a luxury trip to Costa Rica.
We stayed in Room 10 at Lapa in early Feb for 3 nights and had a great time birding with Jose on 3 private guiding trips.
We had gone to the Osa Peninsula for birding and had stayed at Playa Cativo before here. It was a tough call for Jose to trump the bird count we had clocked up at Playa but Jose did brilliantly with 31 extra (ie we hadn’t seen before in our 10 day CR trip - in total over 3 days at Lapa we saw 68). If you are going for birds I would strongly recommend a private guiding trip - the standard trips (we did 2 - the Night Walk and the StarFish walk) are great for generalists/ interested in everything but if you are interested in something specific the mixed groups can be too slow and too general - although they are much more social. Around the lodge we saw lots of Yellow Throated Toucans, Scarlet Macaws and Fiery-Billed Aracari along with the more elusive White Breasted Coquette visible from the breakfast balcony (along with a stunning sunrise over the Pacific) - if you are early, concentrate and are very patient.
The room and view from number 10 looks great (see photos) but we didn’t think that it was that great in that although there were 4 areas (2 in/2 out plus a hammock) for a couple to sit and relax, strangely we found it rather uninviting and choose not to spend that much time in our room - I think rooms 3, 4, 5 and 6 have a better (and more audible) view of the nearer beach and that might make a difference but maybe a few more comforts? e.g. more cushions - sounds ridiculous I know but on the trip it mattered!! That said, the whole place is being refurbished by the new owners and I have high hopes that they will address these points although I didn’t get to see any of the newly redone rooms. Meanwhile our room had a great shower, comfy bed and mosi net and, if you re-arrange the furniture, for us plenty of space for luggage to be off the floor - a feature which many earlier reviewers appear to criticise. And rather strangely given its jungle setting and eco credentials: a hairdryer!
Similarly - the main lodge is like a somewhat empty aircraft hanger and not that inviting - even the steps up to the rooftop view … I felt we were the only ones who went up in the 3 days. However, the pool area, bar and new bar deck are fabulous with incredible views and we spent several happy hours here with binoculars, cocktails and choose to have all our meals on this deck. It didn’t rain whilst we were there so this deck was perfecter us.
The staff at Lapa are great: given the volume and pace of tourists travelling through they do a great job of making you feel welcome and certainly try and accommodate any request you have. Also good is the food and wine list - every meal was enjoyable.
In anticipation I had been worried about heat and bugs and whilst there were more bugs than our stay at Playa Cativo across the Gulf, we were much more IN the jungle here and the bites and bugs were manageable ( with lots of protection …. I am normally the no.1 bug target but only had 4 bites here: incredible!). Nothing that scary in the rooms / showers - dying cicadas over dinner for sure and the odd snake and toad on the walkways back to the room … but you are in the jungle and should expect and hope for such.
Wildlife - Around the pool we saw the famous and magnificent gecko: George (the resident large green iguana) and were very excited to see a nine-Banded armadillo one night. Also on the way out of the lodge one day we saw a lovely ant-eater and around the lodge on different days were howler, spider and squirrel monkeys (and yes - the howler monkey noise is prehistoric and surreal - especially at 4-5am!).
And finally the heat and ‘those’ steps …. there were 104 steps from Room 10 to the Bar deck but even though I am over 50 with only moderate fitness …and usually pretty useless in heat / high humidity … it was bearable and manageable….you just have to be prepared and expect it. Aloe Vera gel and / or lotion were a fantastic travel tip I picked up some-where and yes, just lounging around on the deck and in the shade I had some sun burn and heat rashes (as I said : I’m a heat / humidity wimp!).
All in all we enjoyed our stay and this is a great lodge in the Osa Peninsula.
Lapa Rios is quite magical. The location in the Osa Peninsular rainforest and the whole ethos of the lodge make this a unique experience. The main downside is the hot and humid weather. The other is the distance from , even the nearest bungalows, to reception. We were in room 4 and had to climb around 70 steps to the bar/reception area so this may not be for the faint-hearted. The staff are great and take pride in working at Lapa Rios. Nothing is too much trouble.
AND if you don’t mind steps and some moderately challenging activities put on by the lodge, the stay is fantastic. The rooms don’t have windows, only mosquito style protection so that you are sleeping virtually outside. They are very comfortable with large outside veranda and outstanding views. There are both inside and outside showers.
All meals and non alcoholic drinks as well as a wide range of activities are included and the staff couldn’t be more helpful. The ambiance is such that you get to talk to your fellow guests quite easily.
There is morning coffee delivery to each lodge. Oh, and of course there is the wonderful range of animals to be seen. You don’t have to go very far to find them, anything from 3 types of monkey to the odd iguana and a wide range of birds such as macaws and toucans. It is a magical experience but do be ready to have your hearing assailed by hundreds of crickets (cicadas) and loud howler monkeys.
There are new owners with great ambitions to improve the property even further. They want to remove some of the steps and make golf carts available for the further flung bungalows. This will really help.