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Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge

3.0 out of 5.0

Recent guest reviews

My family had a fantastic 3 nights at Nicuesa. Our room was surrounded by dense jungle and every evening felt like an adventure as we listened to the noises of the rainforest. The eco lodge made my family really appreciate the natural environment away from the comforts of the city. The communal area is a beautiful building and we spent many happy hours chatting to other families, swinging in hammocks and spotting wildlife. We used the kayaks and snorkels provided and explored the nearby Botanical Gardens. Our whole stay was a unique experience.

This lodge is absolutely lovely! The gorgeous pictures you see on their website is EXACTLY what it looks like in person. The property is very intimate. The guest houses are roomy and spread out, which allows for added privacy. This was my first time staying in an eco lodge, and I didn't know what to expect. Being close to nature, while having very minimal impact to the natural environment is very important to me. The term "sustainability" is very trendy these days, and my guess is that the term is often used loosely. But, after experiencing this lodge, I can tell you that the owners are serious about their commitment to sustainability. They go through great efforts to receive certifications that are reviewed and updated regularly. The owners take great care to have a light footprint on the surrounding environment, including air-drying the sheets, towels, and laundry in the large drying shed, revegetation efforts to replace the diseased cacao trees with native vegetation, providing biodegradable toiletries and sunscreen to guests, and many other efforts that you will learn about on the complimentary sustainability tour. We traveled with another family and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The family adventure package was a great addition. It allowed us to have an activity planned for each day, yet we had the flexibility to pick and choose what activity to do and when. The food was out of this world amazing! My family is vegan, and we were so appreciative of the variety and choice of options available to us. Chef Edison took great care of us, including making some vegan cookies and other yummy desserts. I especially loved the gallo pinto, fried plantains, and amazing fresh fruit for breakfast, and the fruit juices for lunch. My favorite activities were making chocolate (and then eating it! yum!), the waterfall hike, and kayaking through the mangroves. Jose was a fabulous and knowledgeable guide. Everyone was so friendly and accommodating. The only thing I could have done without was the mosquitos. There are lots of them. But, that comes with the "nature" experience. And the lodge provides a biodegradable, DEET-free repellent that was very effective. Thanks so much Playa Nicuesa! I can't wait to return!

My friend and I went for 5 days on the yoga bliss package. We each had a room in the mango guesthouse. From the pickup at the Golfito airport to our drop off on the last day it was perfect in every way. The yoga with Selva was exactly what we were hoping for and focused on asanas and meditation practice. The massage on the yoga deck overlooking the gulf with the sound of the waves and birds was especially relaxing. Selva gave a combination reiki and traditional massage. We went on 2 tours with Jose - kayaking in the mangrove, and a tour of the Gulf. Both were fantastic - wildlife, snacks on the boat, swimming in the Gulf, information and conversation. Jose also took us paddle boarding the Gulf in the morning which was a blast. Days we did not go on a tour we were very happy swimming off the pier and relaxing in the hammocks. Each morning we were woken by howler monkeys and fell asleep to the sounds of the rain or the animals in the rainforest. We were also fortunate to see a slideshow on the restoration of reefs in the Gulf. Playa Nicuesa is a great partner in the area and actively supports the research team. Each meal was delicious, as were the appetizers and the daily drink special in the bar. There were more than enough choices and generally we just asked out waitstaff what they recommended - we were never steered wrong. The coffee was ready before our 6 am yoga class and breakfast was ready when we were done. Every single staff member made us feel welcome and their service was impeccable. We are already planning our return trip and will be staying longer.

My first trip to Playa Nicuesa was such an amazing an experience a return was in order. Playa Nicuesa's remote location requires a boat trip to reach it. Once landed you'll be immersed in Costa Rica's rainforest in its truest sense. Quickly surrounded by the lush dense jungle flora, a cacophony of insects, birds and animals sounds fill the air. Exploration beckons. We stayed in one of the cabins that set in their own secluded location. An amazing benefit of the cabin is its outdoor shower. The bathroom has an uncovered area that allows you to gaze into the forest canopy while showering. On more than one occasion my morning shower piqued the interest of a group of white face monkeys. The food was always excellent healthy fare - utilizing local fruits, fish and herbs. Fresh juices are always on hand. A wonderful bar that has a great happy hour awaits each early evening at the main lodge. Guests gather to share photos and stories from their days adventure. The rainforest rises into the mountains behind Playa Nicuesa. There are miles and miles of trails into the forest. Playa Nicuesa has a number of guides that offer a wealth of information should you wish to have one accompany you on a hike. I also found that I enjoyed hiking alone where I could totally immerse myself in the surroundings. Beyond exploration, there's kayaking, canoeing & fishing. I was fortunate to have combined two of these activities into an unforgettable experience. One early evening I grabbed a fishing pole, a couple of lures and slid into a kayak. I paddled to an enticing looking point about a half mile away from the Playa Nicuesa dock. A few casts no action and then a strike. The rod bent and whatever was on the end was now pulling the kayak and me along with it. After a few adrenalin filled minutes the fish had tired and I was able to see near him as he neared. It was too big to pull onto the kayak. So, I decided to tow the fish back to Playa Nicuesa. Met at the beach by one of Playa Nicuesa's dock hands, I learned that I caught a red snapper that was in the 15 pound range. The fish was cleaned and taken to the kitchen where it would be part of the following evening's dinner. Playa Nicuesa left me with cherished memories - what more can you ask for.

I can still recall the sounds of the howler monkeys and the scarlet macaws in the trees surrounding our beautiful room in the Mango Guesthouse at Playa Nicuesa Lodge. We couldn't have imagined a more perfect eco adventure than the week we spent there hiking to waterfalls, snorkelling, kayaking and fishing. The staff was welcoming and attentive; no detail was overlooked -from the hibiscus flowers crowning the fresh towel sculptures left by the housekeeping staff each morning to the well mapped and maintained trails that offered intimate encounters with the amazing wildlife that surrounds the lodge. The food was fresh, local and delicious and they went above and beyond to accommodate my dairy & gluten free diet. We loved the open air living which allowed us to stay in contact with the beautiful surroundings while enjoying the comforts of luxurious accommodations --especially the open air showers. My 10 year old son, who is slightly squeamish, was so excited to share the bathroom with a little bat which helped to keep mosquitoes and bugs at bay while we slept! We were most impressed at how hard Nicuesa works to achieve sustainability -providing its guests with an educational experience of harmonious coexistence within the rainforest environment.

We just got back from Playa Nicuesa Lodge two weeks ago and I’m still dreaming about it! It was an incredible experience, well off the beaten path, yet so welcoming. There were six of us in our party – my husband and I with our 14 year old daughter, and our good friends with their 15 year old daughter. We stayed in the Jaguar House, and opted for the Family Adventure package. Each day we did different activities – kayaking down the river, hiking deep into the rainforest and swimming in a gorgeous waterfall, paddle boarding, snorkeling, making chocolate out of cacao, night and early morning hikes…. Everyone was wonderful to us, especially Jose and the other guides, who were friendly and knowledgeable about the flora, fauna, and animals of the rainforest. We saw white faced monkeys, howler monkeys, lizards of all shapes and sizes, morpho butterflies, coatis and so much more. The lodge is sustainable – the cabins and eating areas are beautifully designed to be both protective and open to the outdoors, without disrupting the nature around them. We loved falling asleep to the sounds of the jungle. Yes, there were mosquitoes, but that is to be expected in the jungle. The beds have mosquito nets and the lodge provides a natural bug repellant which worked well. We also had a “pet” bat that sometimes hung out in our shower, but we didn’t mind this at all. Despite being in the midst of the jungle, we came home each afternoon to a beautifully cleaned house with fresh made beds. The food was fresh and delicious, served family style, which really helped us get to know some of the other guests. They easily accommodated my gluten free diet, and we especially loved the happy hour with home made fresh drinks and appetizers each night. If you’re looking for an air conditioned resort with white sand beaches, this is probably not for you. If you’re instead looking for beautiful accommodations amidst the magic that is the rainforest, then you will love it here. We sure did.

We stayed at Nicuesa lodge for 3 nights. The rooms are very dark and one can't close the doors properly so that bugs, spiders, scorpions, etc. can easily get in. Also we had bats sleeping in our open bathroom which we personally didn't mind but still weren't expecting due to the price pp/night. The food was so lala, nothing special and far away from what is written on the homepage (e.g. Sushi,..). The beach consists out of rocks, so does the so called reef where one can go snorkelling. Further the water visibility isn't great. Nevertheless we saw plenty of dolphins which was great. One also needs to know that some of the activities can not be done directly at Nicuesa, why one needs to take the boat. The boat ride costs around usd 150 extra. Therefore some of the activities are very expensive. Compared to the other lodges we have been in Costa Rica the lodge misses a lot of these little somethings (e.g. Candles for dinner, one need to chose whilst breakfast what one would like to eat for lunch (same happens at lunchtime for dinner), the laundry only came back on request, the reception was not sure about our departure time...even we were the only two guests that day, the shower sometimes only has cold water,...). We were thinking of leaving (mainly because of the bugs and the room) but as we "only" stayed for 3 nights we arranged ourselves with the situation. The staff is very friendly and helpful (offers to inspect the rooms for bugs each night, answers all the questions about nature) but can not really make up for the other things which are not as good. All in all we expected much more from Nicuesa lodge and cannot recommend it. The lodge is overpriced and far away from a truly recreative stay.

People and the place were fabulous. Wildlife and seclusion in the jungle. Excellent food and beverages. Great honeymoon trip and need to go every year to escape. Not the Hilton in Chicago but if you want to birds, bats, and sharing your private deck with a rare frog then i will see you there.

Tucked away on the edge of a calm bay, this property was a slice of heaven. Snorkling, swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding in the calm waters right from shore. Guided fishing tours, chocolate making, hiking and birdwatching. Best vacation dining experience ever. Family style, simple menu (2-3 choices per meal), always fresh, delicious, authentic AND accomodated gluten free/vegetarian diet!! Stayed in Jaguar house and it's just as magical as the photos on the website. Rustic for sure... really felt like we were in the jungle (we were!), but clean, comfortable and beautiful. Loved the outdoor shower and the citronella lotion in the room. Staff were sooooo gracious, friendly and knowlegable. We will be back!!

Nicuesa lodge is a piece of paradise. It is not for the faint of heart who would not want to be among the sights and sounds of the jungle. The location is just beautiful and far away from the hustle and business of large vacation resorts. But what makes this place superior is the people who work and live there everyday. From the moment you step into the boat that takes you to the lodge, until the moment you enter the boat to get to your flight to San Jose, the staff treat you like family. They are extremely knowledgeable, warm, friendly and want nothing but to make you feel at home. All the staff were great , however a real shout out to Jose who was our guide the entire time for whatever activity we did. For Jose it wasn't a job it was his sincere interest in sharing his insights with us. He always went above and beyond. We highly recommend Nicuesa Lodge for that very special vacation. Muchas Gracious to all of the staff! Laura and Steve Robbins

Room options

Standard Room (Mango)

Queen 1 | Twin 2 | Sleeps 3

Reviews from Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor aggregated rating

95% of guests recommend this hotel

Total of 263 reviews