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Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge

3.0 out of 5.0

Recent guest reviews

Our stay was unforgettable and we didn't want to leave. Imagine lying in bed listening to the sounds of animals and a tropical rain gently falling throughout the night. Then imagine waking up to howlers and birds at dawn. We loved having our early morning coffee on the veranda watching the endless parade of hummingbirds and butterflies. The staff and guides were exceptional. So much nature, so little time.

This was the last stop on a three week holiday and we had been led to believe by the organizing agent that it would be to best. Sadly, it did not live up to expectations. We felt that we were treated more like high school pupils than adults who had paid quite a lot of money. We were greeted with the "rules" of what we were expected to follow which was a bit of a surprise. The presumption that we would "join in" was also somewhat unexpected when we were travelling solo and not part of an organised tour. The chalet we stayed in (crocodile) was fine but without the airline slippers which we had kept, the bathroom floor was very rough and uncomfortable and because of the materials used, far from clean. Shoes are not allowed past the entrance because of the wood floors and the same applies at the main lodge. The limitations on the use of electricity are laudable although hardly necessary as Costa Rica generates all its electricity through sustainables - wind and hydro. The problem here is presumably that they are off the National Grid and have to use a diesel generator to supplement solar powered batteries. You can only charge your mobile phone but despite that, we had 14 separate power outlets in our accommodation! My wife likes to use a small hairdryer but this was banned. The lighting in the bungalow was pretty dismal despite some of the web site photographs. The cuisine was pretty much like other establishments in Costa Rica and choices for lunch and dinner were pretty limited and had to be made at the previous meal. There was no particular effort to introduce the DIY activities like fishing, kayaking and snorkelling and the map of the trails on site was very poor and not to scale. The inference that the beach is an attractive place to relax is distinctly misleading - I would describe it as a rather grotty gravelly edge to the sea which you wouldn't want to walk on barefoot or sunbathe. The aspect which annoyed us the most was the fact that the resident guides who may be on commission kept pestering us to sign up for boat trips etc despite us making it clear that we wanted peace and quiet to relax. While the eco aims of the lodge are laudable and the jaguar project they are involved in quite exciting, they should market themselves as an ecological project and not try to be a luxury hotel as well. The two objectives are not really compatible. It is certainly a project to be supported but a bit more honesty on the web site and perhaps more realistic pricing would be a good idea.

From the first moment - the boat ride to the lodge - to the end of our stay, everything was done by the staff to make these days unforgettable. The location, the rooms, the quality of the meals - special thank for the good idea of the appetizers and the unique table that give the opportunity to share with people -, and the environment, everything leads to a very successful stay. Kayak, fishing, the mangrove, night walk, swimming quasi alone in a clear water.... The number of guests in the lodge is an antidote against tourist crowds. A high quality resort, higly recommended. Just one remark: the menu and the informations in the room should be in spanish language.

Rare gems are expensive, and so is Playa Nicuesa, but it's definitely worth it if what you're looking for is an escape from tourist crowds and gaudy night life and want to really escape into a simpler, quieter, and more natural place. Playa Nicuesa is isolated from towns, roads and people, but not from amenities like good food, drink, accommodations and service. Everything is brought in in small boats from distant ports, but you're never lacking what you really need. The food and service are surprisingly wonderful, as are the guides. There are at least as many staff as guests, and the number of guests averages only about 15 in the high season. This is the place for you if you are the kind of person who likes rise and sleep with the sun -- who gets up at dawn to go bird watching or do yoga at the ocean's edge, and likes to explore the rain forest where the only sounds are those of the birds and monkeys. Or kayak and for a couple hours and not see another boat or human. I truly felt like I was back in the era of the Spanish explorers.

Loved the boat ride to the place....increases your anticipation and separation from civilization. This is a place to chill, relax, and absorb all the sites, sounds, smells around you. Beautiful lodge, professional and friendly staff, good food and service, lovely common areas to enjoy the outdoors. Stayed in the Jaguar House for 4 nights, wish we had stayed longer, agree it's like a summer camp for adults - plenty of guided things to do or you can just hike, kayak, fish on your own. Meals are communal, so you meet people from around the world who share stories of their travels and interests. We highly recommend for those who want to get off the beaten path but have every comfort of a high quality resort.

We spent 3 nights at Playa Nicuesa earlier this month, as the final part of our 9 nights in Costa Rica, and so wished we had had longer to soak up the experience at this lodge - 4 or 5 nights would have been ideal. There was so much to see and do. On arrival, the place is a bit of a shock to the system - we arrived here after spending 4 nights further up the Pacific coast near Uvita, rather than direct from the UK, but still found the 35C temperature and humidity in the rainforest here hard to handle, as the lodge doesn't have any aircon in either the cabins or the communal areas, just ceiling fans. You will also find that all of your clothing in your room feels damp and swimming kit just doesn't dry. However they do offer a free drying service if required, and we loved the ethos of the place and being so close to nature. A few other guests we chatted to also found the proximity of the wildlife hard to handle and seemed surprised at what they had booked, so please do your research! A few couldn't cope with bats in the open air bathroom, a spider in the bedroom, and the odd crab on the floor of the shower. For us, it was all part of the experience, and we grew to love our "pet" bat who called out his/her homecoming each morning at 5.15am, especially as we were told that a bat would eat 16,000 insects a night - the perfect mossie guard!! But if you're worried about mosquitos, the lodge provides a lovely lemongrass insect repellent lotion in the cabin which seemed to be effective and far more pleasant than Deet! We got a few bites but nothing extreme considering the location. We had El Perezoso (Sloth) Cabin which was very secluded and surrounded by jungle - they provide you with a rechargeable torch to enable you to find your way back after dinner! One of the first things you notice is there is no lock or key - this is all part of the ethos of the lodge, and seemed fitting with the location. There is a box safe with padlock in the room if concerned about valuables. The cabin has louvered shuttered doors on 3 sides with seating on the outside deck area. There's a 4 poster bed with mosquito net. Through a door there is a bathroom which is largely open air and a separate shower off the bathroom the same. We tended to keep the bathroom door shut and our shutters closed from mid afternoon to stop bugs entering at night. It typified the jungle feel when we spotted white faced capuchin monkeys swinging through the trees whilst we were showering! The howler monkeys are less visible but you will hear them around dawn! We also loved the scarlet macaws which tended to visit the tall trees by the beach. The Mrs was less keen on the boa constrictor which was residing in a tree stump behind the beach! The team of staff were fantastic - so willing to share their knowledge of the wildlife and genuinely enthusiastic about being there. They worked long hours, from very early bird watching walks to running the bar in the evening but always had a welcoming smile. They have a list of hikes and boat trip options and each evening the guides will chat to you in the bar to see what guests would like to do the next day, and organise accordingly. We took the following: 1. Intro hike the first afternoon. This was 1.5 hours, seeing a sloth, frogs and learning about the rainforest itself; 2. A half day boat trip to go kayaking in a local river amongst mangroves where we saw plenty of birdlife plus a couple of crocodiles; 3. A half day dolphin watching and snorkelling trip. We saw bottlenose dolphins and a pod of 30+ spotted dolphins around the boat - fantastic. The snorkelling on the trip was good for colourful fish and the odd ray and turtle, noting there isn't much to see underwater from the lodge's jetty. Another afternoon we took kayaks from the lodge around the coast to the botanical gardens in the next bay, which was hard work paddling as the sea gets a bit choppy after 3pm, though the Golfo Dulce is like a millpond in the mornings. The lodge will ring ahead to advise the gardens you are coming. It took about 30 mins paddling to get there. The entry fee is 8 dollars per person and you are provided with a guide leaflet. The gardens were nice to wander around. The lodge meals were good quality home cooking, with 2 choices for a hot breakfast dish, 3 choices for lunch (to be chosen at breakfast) and 3 choices for dinner main course (to be chosen at lunch) and the pre-dinner appetisers and cocktails were excellent! Snacks were also provided on the boat trips.Beforehand we had some reservations about the communal dining in the evening but this proved unfounded - the other guests are a cosmopolitan mix but generally like minded in enjoying the natural environment which the lodge offers and it was fun to exchange stories and handover tips to the latest new arrivals. Overall an unforgettable experience and just what we were hoping for in looking to get up close to Costa Rican wildlife. Also, for those who love dolphins, you won't be disappointed - you should see them on every boat trip including transfers!

They really take care of everything. We snorkeled, hiked, saw dolphins, a sloth, hundreds of birds, and the other guests were a lot of fun. The guides were knowledgeable, the food was great. I can't say enough good things about our trip.

We enjoyed five nights at this very special place which is at one with nature, situated between the Golfo Dulce and Piedras Blancas National Park. All the services and facilities were excellent. It started with a serene transfer across the tropical fjord, warm welcome and informative briefing from Cesar (about safety and the Lodge's sustainability initiatives). The ecological practices and credentials are impressive. During our stay, the Lodge was supporting vital research about how to regenerate coral reefs. Our one bedroom cabin was characterful, spacious and comfortable. It had an outdoor shower and sheltered porch with a hammock: a great place for watching the wildlife and listening to the torrential downpours. We loved how the dark, beautiful local timber was used to construct and furnish the cabin and public areas. The bathroom was very well equipped with two wash hand basins, a strong, hot shower; plumbing so toilet paper could be disposed of in the toilet; and locally made organic biodegradable soap and insect repellent. The Lodge is small and personal, encouraging interaction (with a communal dining table) between the international guests. Remarkably, all the guests are known by name. The food was delicious, varied, locally grown and so plentiful, we asked for small portions. There were so many stand-out dishes: mine was the organic chocolate dip with coconut slices. We were on the multi-sport rainforest package which meant we could choose a range of wildlife, nature activities. The tours (kayak mangrove, Golfo Dulce snorkelling, botanical garden, night time) were lovely, with knowledgeable, safety conscious guides. Every day we enjoyed watching sunrise and sunset (and the scarlet macaws) from the dock. The garden is designed to support and nurture wildlife - we saw kinkaju, racoons, agouti, Capuchin and Howler monkeys and many beautiful birds and butterflies. Thank-you for such an inspiring and excellent experience.

We stayed here in January for a week in one of the one bedroomed cabins. We had such a lovely time. From the moment you arrive by boat, you are made to feel welcome. We tried quite a few of the activities on offer; kyaking, hiking, yoga etc all very well organised. The knowledge the guides have is excellent, the wildlife fantastic. We were so sad to leave. Thank you to all the staff for such a memorable stay.

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is a beautiful, relaxing, comfortable place to just unwind or be as active as you’d like. This small, ten room eco-lodge resort is nestled in the rainforest along the water. Built with recovered wood from the forest, the nice-sized rooms are pleasantly rustic and private. The open air shower is beautiful. The staff is incredibly pleasant, ready to take you out fishing, hiking, snorkeling, etc. They offer, but are not at all pushy. We highly recommend the waterfall hike which we saw lots of wildlife and natural beauty. Cesar, the hotel manager, is actively involved in the daily guest experience. Dinners are served family style with all guests together every night (you also have option to dine separately if you so choose). During our stay there were guests from all corners of the world which made for fascinating conversations. Breakfasts and lunches at the property were very good. The dinners were decent, but uninspiring. Less expensive Mango rooms are two story. Upgrade to second floor room to avoid hearing the upstairs guest’s movements. Or, if the budget allows, upgrade to the single floor cabins.

Piedras Blancas National Park Golfito Puntarenas

Hotel highlights

  • Free breakfast
  • Onsite dining
  • Rooftop terrace
  • Spa services

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge is within the area of Playa Cacao and Golfito Marina. This 3-star lodge has 10 guestrooms and offers conveniences like free breakfast, a private beach, and a rooftop terrace. Fortunato Atencio Stadium and Casa Orquideas Botanical Garden are also within the area of the lodge, which is in a national park.


Free breakfast is offered each morning from 6:30 AM to 9 AM. Sit down for a leisurely bite to eat at the onsite family restaurant, or enjoy a drink at the bar/lounge.


The 10 rooms have an array of amenities, including furnished balconies, private yards, and ceiling fans. Laptop-compatible safes and free toiletries are other standard amenities.

Property features

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge features a rooftop terrace, spa services, and coffee in a common area. Transportation is made easy with an area shuttle for a fee. The front desk has multilingual staff that can help with tours/tickets and securing valuables. Additional amenities include a garden and a gift shop.

Reviews from Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor aggregated rating

95.0% of guests recommend this hotel

Total of 290 reviews