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Reviewed 9 October 2017

As a journalist, I travel the world a lot for business—but this trip with my husband to Osa Peninsula and La Paloma Lodge in late July 2017, was one of the most memorable trips of my life.
It was organized in mere weeks and La Paloma made it easy.
With little-to-no knowledge about Costa Rica (expect it’s location and the expectation of seeing three-toed sloths) we forged ahead, discovered the remote Osa Peninsula and its unbelievable biodiversity, and knew we’d found our destination.
To be clear, while we aren’t hardcore roughing-it folks, we do annual eco-tours, usually traveling with a naturalist on a sailboat and photographing grizzlies, humpback whales, wolves, et cetera. So we love wildlife and photographing nature.
Osa seemed right up our alley.
Searching online we found La Paloma Lodge. And once we started reading reviews on Trip Advisor, we knew that was where we wanted to stay.
Fortunately, they had availability and we had no qualms about being there in the “green season”. As it turns out, I’d go back in July again, it’s quieter than peak season.

We were enchanted as soon as our plane landed at the Drake Bay airstrip.
Via 4x4 through a river, we were driven to the town of Agujitas and waded into the Pacific onto a small boat bound for the dock at La Paloma.
Dinia was there to greet us in the jungle cart and up, up we went to the main lodge where the lodge manager Nicole met us and filled us in on all the details we would need to begin our adventure while Lily brought us lunch.

We chose a superior room (sleeps two) because we were staying for a longer time than most, an honestly we didn’t need the extra room. It was a wonderful room with windows on three sides and the white-faced capuchin monkeys would jump from the trees around us onto our roof almost every (and sometimes twice) day. I did tour a couple of the ranchos (in between guest arrivals and departures), and they do have better views overall, so if you have a family, or want even more amazing views, the ranchos are the way to go.
The veranda on our room, as stunning as that at of main lodge, was wrap-around, and I still miss the hammock.

Half our trip was spent exploring--the other half, just relaxing.
We’d decided early on we didn’t want to feel rushed to experience everything in a few days. Good decision.
We did the Caño Island snorkeling trip first, it was wonderful just being in the boat and racing across the water for a half-hour. If you get Eduardo as a captain, count yourself lucky, he’s a wave surfer.
Led by José, the snorkeling was okay, but unfortunately the turbidity was rather high the day we went. But a white-tipped reef shark swam right below us = highlight!
José is also great at spotting dolphins, brown boobies and humpbacks.
Tip: pack a rash guard. It helps a bit if the baby jellyfish are present.

A couple days later we went on a 13km hike with Carlos in Corcovado National Park. While we saw a number of spider monkeys and howler monkeys, a coati, an alligator and birds, the highlights were the tapir and the troop of peccaries.

Tip: wear a shoe to wade in the water (like Velcro Tevas), then put some ankle socks on to hike in, once you get onto land. It’s very hot/humid and heavy shoes just make you uncomfortable and they’ll get wet and muddy anyway. Besides, with limited weight allowance allowed on flight to and from Osa, you’ll be glad not to bring heavy hikers--we never used ours once.

We did not do the night bug tour, but the families who were staying all seemed to love it, the kids especially.
We preferred to sit and drink margaritas – Roy makes awesome ones!

There is plenty of nearby hiking/beach walks, or if you want to simply go down to the beach to relax, it’s about a five-minute hike (not difficult, but I would not recommend flip-flops) and the beach is a good respite from the humidity of the rainforest. Ask Lily, Dinia or someone at the lodge and they’ll make sure someone will set out a couple beach loungers for you.

You can also walk into Agujitas for a beer or just a visit; along the way there are plenty of things to see. Most of the La Paloma staff lives there (or nearby), so the trail is well trodden. We never made it the entire way, but understand it’s a 20-30 minute walk.

Despite having plenty of time just chill and enjoy the view while playing “spot-the-sloth”, we never once felt bored. It was delightful to simply: sit and watch the rain; to relax by the pool and get visited by a curious basilisk; read in the hammock; enjoy a cervesa in the lodge lounge.

We are vegetarian and understand good food as we dine out a lot; meals were extremely healthy overall. Portions were perfect (for us) and we actually lost weight because we weren’t snacking (and maybe all the sweating).
Eggs are big in the morning, here, but you can choose how you want them. There are oodles of fruit and the juices (a sort of agua fresca) are outstanding and gulp-able, as most other reviewers have pointed out.
The variety of food was great, and although simply prepared, all delicious. The uber-fresh salads were outstanding as well.

During our sojourn watched plenty of guests come and go. All were sad to leave; many had visited other spots in Costa Rica or were going on to other places. My understanding from many was that La Paloma was a real treasure and they were jealous we were staying on.

Our last excursion was the Mangrove tour with Vincent. This was by far our favourite trip. We saw sloths, so much birdlife, baby alligators, a massive crocodile, a tree boa constrictor, squirrel monkeys and more. It’s a long trip, but it’s all by boat, which is a blast. That was also the only trip we got rained on, right at the very end, as we headed back to La Paloma. And boy did it rain – torrential downfall. I loved it.
As a couple, we were initially a bit concerned that almost all other guests were families. Children don’t thrill us, but all the kids were so well behaved and obviously had some experience with more remote eco-type vacations, with no TV and minimal wifi. Their parents were able to keep them busy over the 3-5 days they stayed.

If you are a good spotter, you’ll be delighted with the wildlife around La Paloma. Howler and capuchin monkeys, sloths (they move more frequently than you’ve come to expect), a boa constrictor, a coati, toucans and scarlett macaws, lizards and bats and loads of hummingbirds are just some of the wonderful creatures, which call La Paloma home.
The place is a gift.

Additional Tips:
Bring a good camera, you’ll regret it if you don’t.
Bring dry bags for all electronics. We also packed silica for our camera gear.
Pack a waterproof poncho. They are best to quickly throw over yourself and your gear.
Purchase a flashlight headband. It is darker than you can imagine at night. Even getting up to use the toilet at night, the low setting red light is a blessing.
Pack very lightweight, quick-dry clothing. You’ll find you are constantly wet in the humidity and will often change several times per day and shower frequently too.
Cotton isn’t best for this environment. Rayon is great.
I brought a pair of lightweight pants for hiking and never used them. Shorts were all we wore. I brought my Patagonia Torrentshell jacket for rain and it was too hot to wear, so I never did.
Bug wipes are best to have, you can carry them and not be spraying bug spray all over people and your/their gear; it is horrid stuff and will eat plastic. We only used them once. The bugs weren’t bad at all -- although we did get a few mosquito bites at night while sleeping.
Meds, just in case: bring electrolytes and over-the counter meds for tummy troubles; non-drowsy gravol or a seasickness wristband for the boat trips, if you’re prone; something for bug bites.

Other than that, come with an open mind and you’ll fall in love, we did and will return.
I wrote about this experience for Montecristo Magazine online, under travel, called “The Wild”.

  • Stayed: July 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
9  Thank daenna2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
La_Paloma_Lodge, Guest Relations Manager at La Paloma Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 23 March 2018

Dear Daenna,

Our apologies for the late reply. Thanks again for your amazing review and article. Those pictures were amazing !
We had so much fun hosting Barry and yourself for your 10 day stay! Isn´t it wonderful to be able to really explore the area, no rush, no times to follow, just the true PURA VIDA style.

We thank you for mentioning some of our staff by name, they were thrilled to hear the positive feedback from your vacation. They work hard to ensure that all our guests leave happy and will go above and beyond to show you the beauty and abundance the area provides. They are proud, and for good reason!

We hope to see you again soon, there is a new sloth this year. And he´s interested in a photo shoot.

All the best,
Jamaica

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Reviewed 25 September 2017

While Corcovado is widely regarded as one of the top wildlife locations in the world and I could go on and on about what we saw there, the staff at Corcovado are what will make us want to stay at La Paloma again. From the minute we stepped off the boat (in the pouring rain, mind you), we were treated so graciously, and with a general feel that was just right; everyone talked to us, made us feel like family, made every attempt to satisfy our wishes, and were just a pleasure. Other places may match the beauty of La Paloma, but it would be hard to match the perfect vibe.

Room Tip: Go for a sunset or deluxe rancho- worth it.
  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank karlinerk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
La_Paloma_Lodge, Guest Relations Manager at La Paloma Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 23 March 2018

Dear Valued Guest,

Apologies for the late reply but we would like to thank you for leaving this wonderful review of your stay with us. It can be adventurous and scary arriving during our rain season and we try our best to make our guests feel safe and welcome. Thank you for the gratitude for our staff. They work hard to ensure each guest receives a once in a lifetime experience.

We hope to welcome you again soon!

Best regards,
Jamaica

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Reviewed 9 September 2017

We had a wonderful trip and our hosts did their best to ensure that our stay was relaxing but eventful. The rooms, fitted out with shining teak, were immaculate and had great views out over the jungle and the sea (we did some whale watching from our balcony). The food was excellent and the staff very attentive. Swimming in the jungle waterfall was a highlight.

  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank zimbo20172017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
La_Paloma_Lodge, Guest Relations Manager at La Paloma Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 15 September 2017

Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for sharing you experience here on TripAdvisor. We are very lucky to be located on the beautiful Osa Peninsula with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, not to mention the amazing sunsets. Also surrounding the lodge is luscious rain forests filled with exotic flora and fauna, from monkeys to sloths, toucans, macaws by the dozen, coati-mundis and so much more.

It sounds like you were at the San Pedrillo Station in the Corcovado National Park, one of our top excursions and a birders paradise. The afternoon hike takes you deeper into the primary forest to a breathtaking waterfall where you can refresh with a dip in the crisp pools below. A memorable experience for sure.

Thank you from all of us, we hope to see you again soon.
Best regards,


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Reviewed 1 September 2017

We had such a terrific time at La paloma lodge. It was the last place on our three week holiday and was the perfect place to unwind before heading back home. Our room (room D) was stunning with a beautiful view of both beach and forest with scarlet macaws flying over. The staff were very accomodating and went out of their way to ensure you were well looked after and had everything organised for you. We booked the Sirenia station tour which was great - saw so much wildlife including lots of scarlet macaws, toucans and lots of spider and squirrel monkeys. The boat ride is definitely not for the faint hearted though as the sea was quite rough the day we travelled and was definitely an experience we won't forget, but well worth it in the end. The mangrove tour was great - saw six sloths in one tree. We had Randall as our guide for both trips. He was very easy to get along with and was very knowledgable. There was also quite a lot of wildlife in the gardens surrounding the lodge. Overall a great experience at La Paloma - really couldn't fault it. Would highly recommend to anyone.

  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank tarashiba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
La_Paloma_Lodge, Guest Relations Manager at La Paloma Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 14 September 2017

Dear Tarashiba,

Thank your kindly for taking the time to review your stay at La Paloma Lodge. We are so happy to hear that your final destination gave you a great finish to your trip.

Cabin D is one of our guest favorites, the wrap-around balcony gives you so much wildlife viewing that some days you don't even need to leave the room to see an array of bird species, troops of monkeys passing through in search of food and smaller mammals all going about their business.

Our staff work hard to ensure that each of our guests feel relaxed and well taken care of. We want you to take in the sheer wonders that surround the hotel that we, the staff, have the privilege of seeing everyday.

I am very glad you enjoyed your excursions with the knowledgeable naturalist guide Randall, he has been working for La Paloma over a decade and always returns with happy clients!

Thank you again for your feedback and your business. We hope to welcome you back in the future!

Best regards,

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Reviewed 1 September 2017

Paloma Lodge is the perfect place to combine hiking, wildlife, and adventure with relaxation, beachlife and luxury. The arrival by boat from Sierpe makes you feel that you are going to the end of the world. The hotel is beautiful, from the main building to the rooms, from which the view is breathtaking. The hamacs on the balcony are perfect! We went to Cano Island for snorkeling and saw whales, turtles, flyfish, and monkeys on the way. The tour in the national park was great and the guide Randall extremely knowledgeable.
The beach is so nice, we spent hours bodyboarding and playing in the waves. The hotel organized a picnic for us at the beach after the snorkeling excursion, it was perfect.
Walking down to the village is a good hike not to be missed.
The staff is helpful and friendly, especially Jamaica made our stay special. The food is very good. Dinner is served at big tables, encouraging socializing with other guests.
We really felt privileged to stay at the Paloma Lodge and we warmly recommend it.

  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank superanneli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
La_Paloma_Lodge, Guest Relations Manager at La Paloma Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 10 September 2017

Dear Anneli and Family!

HEJ from La Paloma! We had a blast hosting your family and are delighted to hear that you enjoyed yourselves as well.

The end of the world is a good way to describe Drake Bay, just getting here is the start of the adventure. Not for the faint of heart however, those looking for the real rain forest experience the Drake Bay area offers unspoiled jungle, spectacular views of the pacific ocean, scarlet macaws fill the skies, monkeys shake the trees in search of food and the microscopic critters all go about their business in this tropical paradise where La Paloma sits perched on a bluff overlooking Caño Island biological reserve (one of our top tour destinations).

I particularly enjoyed meeting your family and brushing up on my Swedish. You are all most welcome back to La Paloma Lodge, you were a perfect fit for rustic elegance in the jungle!

Best regards,
Jamaica Peacock

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