Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge

Puerto Jimenez, Osa Peninsula & South, Costa Rica
Book from GBP Book from £622 per night

Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge

Puerto Jimenez, Osa Peninsula & South, Costa Rica

A wonderfully rustic lodge in the unspoilt Osa Peninsula, with spectacular villas (for 4-8) and simpler thatched cabins (for 2-3)

A wonderfully rustic lodge in the unspoilt Osa Peninsula, with spectacular villas (for 4-8) and simpler thatched cabins (for 2-3)

Owner Phil Spier arrived from Florida at this beautiful spot on the unspoiled Osa Peninsula back in 1987, attracted by the amazing rainforest backing the ocean. His dream was to establish a sustainable organic black pepper farm and rehabilitate the land, but realised such a small scale business needed to diversify. So he built 3 simple guest cabinas - which became so popular that, over the years, he added 8 more, then a pool, then 3 gorgeous villas for families and groups.

Perched in beautiful gardens above the ocean, they're surrounded by rainforest and wildlife; some cabins are even more secluded, reached by a footpath over a suspension bridge. Expect open-sided sitting areas and wooden terraces where you can laze on a hammock or rocking chair, keeping an eye - and an ear - open for magnificent tropical birds (including toucans and cotingas), monkeys or even distant whales. National Geographic called Osa “the most biologically intense place on earth,” and they're not wrong. Trails lead through the lodge’s own reserve into lush primary and secondary rainforest, where the resident biologist gives a fascinating '4-hour crash course in tropical ecology’. We were genuinely mesmerised! Other trails lead to the ocean where you can surf the Pacific breakers. And the lodge has its own zipline, which is a big hit with younger guests. We loved it here. Don’t expect luxury. Do expect a fantastic laid-back adventure.

Highs

  • There's a huge range of accommodations, from rustic open-sided cabins to sprawling 2- and 3-bedroom villas with plunge pools
  • You feel totally immersed in nature: fringed by tropical foliage, with ocean views from most balconies, plus outside showers
  • They offer daily activities such as early morning birdwatching and a sunset reptile tour - older kids will love it here
  • It's a short drive to Corcovado National Park, where you can spot howler and spider monkeys, agoutis, sloths, macaws, even pumas
  • This is sustainable tourism at its best, and a rare opportunity to shut off from the outside world: no TV, patchy WiFi, so switch off your phone and unwind

Lows

  • It's a slow and bumpy 45-minute drive from Puerto Jimenez airport (4WD only; transfers are not included)
  • Sheets can get damp in the green season
  • Some cabin balconies don’t have railings - not suitable for small children
  • If you book a villa, bear in mind that rates exclude all food (but you can add a 'food package' if you want)

Best time to go

The busiest time is Christmas - if you want to come then you'll need to book a year in advance. The best time is from January to April when the weather is drier. There are fewer people from May to September, but the rainy season starts in May. However, since this is rainforest, it rains 400mm per year, and you’re almost bound to get rained on at some point. October is especially rainy, though you can still do some walks.

Our top tips

Check out Bosque del Cabo's own tree platform: get suited up in a harness and gloves, and connected to a pulley to zoom through the rainforest on a 250-foot steel cable zip line onto the tree platform, 110+ feet up in an enormous Manu tree next to the creek behind the lodge.

Great for...

Eco
Family
Great Outdoors
  • Jungle Beach Lodge
  • 12 cabins + 4 houses for 4-8
  • Houses: self-catering. Cabins: all meals included
  • Best for 8+ years (& babies)
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car not necessary
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

The 3 larger villas (sleeping 4-8) are the standouts here: Casas Blanca, Coco and Miramar. Dotted around the gardens, all have airy living areas (including a kitchen), 2 or 3 bedrooms (including one which can sleep up to 4), and a stunning wraparound porch, fringed by flowering foliage, with Pacific views and sundeck. Expect comfy beds, ceiling fans, louvred windows and semi-outdoor bathrooms; power is solar or hydro or both (you can charge devices).

Casa Blanca has the biggest deck (groups of 20+ have done yoga here), and the best ocean views. It has 2 bedrooms: one kingsize, one with 2 queens. Newer Casa Coco boasts its own plunge pool, flat lawns to side and rear, and lofty indoor spaces including 2 kingsize double bedrooms (plus extra beds on request). It is perhaps the most private, with its own trail to the beach. Casa Miramar is the largest and quirkiest, with organically curved walls, wonky glassless windows and open lava-stone bathrooms - something of the caveman-chic. It's spread over 3 small houses, linked by heliconia-lined pathways and comes with an observation deck and a small private pool, as well as wonderful panoramic ocean and sunset views.

At the centre of the property, by the main lodge and restaurant, are 8 Deluxe Cabinas and the Aracari & Orquidea Suites. The cabinas are simple standalone huts with thatched roofs and fold-back doors onto a terrace with rocking chairs or sofas, hammocks aand ocean views. There's a kingsize double bed, and a bathroom with garden shower. Four of them also have a loft bedroom reached by ladder, with a double and a single bed - perfect for families. Aracari is a first-floor suite with two bedrooms (1 double, 1 twin) to suit a family; while Orquidea is a standalone raised casita with a large bedroom for 2-4, so suits eeither a couple or a family.

The 2 Garden Cabinas and Casa Teka (sleeps 4) are in a separate part of the property, reached via a 300ft long suspension bridge (75ft above a creek) and spaced out generously, surrounded by rainforest in beautiful gardens. The cabinas have a bedroom that is open on 3 sides to jungle views; in heavy rains, roll-down canvases will protect you. Casa Teka is a simple, open-plan, ranch-style house, with two queensize bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom (indoor shower) and a covered porch for a living area. These rooms are best for more adventurous guests; you get great wildlife sightings here. Bring a torch (or ask reception for one), as the paths are not lit.

Features include:

  • Fan
  • In room treatments available
  • Safe box

Eating

If you're staying in a cabin or suite, all meals are included in the rates. If you're staying in a casa you can self-cater - they come with their own kitchen (hob, fridge, a decent range of implements) - or you can add a meal package to your stay.

All meals are served in the restaurant. Breakfast includes juice and fruit followed by a choice of hot breakfasts, including their famous banana pancakes (which we loved), or spicy Mexican scrambled eggs. A simpler early breakfast is available for those going off on early morning activities.

Lunch includes a spread of Costa Rican and international dishes: perhaps corn tortillas with grilled local fish, a rice- and bean casado with salads, or curried chicken and papaya sandwich. If you plan a longer excursion, you can request a packed lunch in advance. Or fill up from the all-day menu of snacks, dips and chips, plus tea and coffee (and maybe banana cake) in the afternoons.

Dinner is at 7pm, a generous and sociable buffet with a choice of meat and fish dishes, together with salads and potatoes. We loved the tenderloin of beef, and the grilled red snapper. There is also locally grown veg - maybe coconut black beans, grilled chayote with lime, or oven-roasted ayote squash - so vegetarians need not panic (but be sure to let staff know in advance as they can't just pop out to the shops!).

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Kids' meals
  • Restaurant
  • Vegetarian options
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Trails criss-cross the lodge's 750-acre reserve, and the best way to start is to join the morning primary forest tour with their resident biologist: a fascinating insight (you need to be reasonably fit though)
  • Go early morning bird-watching with Carlos (the hotel’s receptionist and bird guide). Keep your eyes peeled and you could spot scarlet rumped tanager, kiskadee, toucan, parakeets and macaws
  • Take a sunset tour with Philip: see bats, kinkajou, possum, reptiles, up to 8 species of frog, insects and snakes around the hotel’s grounds
  • There's a boat tour to see dolphins (all year). Most people do this on the same day as the Rio Esquinas mangrove swamp tour and the animal sanctuary visit
  • Visit Corcovado National Park, one of the most diverse in Costa Rica, with ocelots, tapirs, jagarundis, and peccaries: it's an hour's drive to Carate and then a hike along the beach, or a light aircraft to Sirena airstrip
  • Wander down to the beach for some surfing; or snorkelling on reefs in the Golfo Dulce region
  • Go horse-riding through magnificent primary rainforest, ending with a fabulous 270-degree view of the Pacific and Corcovado
  • Fishing can be arranged - inshore and offshore, billfish, rooster, snapper, jackfish
  • Open-air massages are available in the lodge's gardens, near 2 immense trees; or in your casa; yoga classes can be booked nearby

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Whale watching
  • Wildlife
  • Windsurfing
  • Yoga

Kids

This is paradise for adventurous kids. Families will find the villas or the larger cabins with lofts ideal. There are lots of kid-friendly activities (horse-riding, zip wire, the pool) and they'll like the buffet-style meals. Pleasingly, due to limited power supply, there are no televisions and limited internet.

All ages are accepted, but toddlers are not encouraged, as some cabinas don't have railings on their decks. Babies are welcome; cots and high chairs are available. Overall we think it's best suited for adventurous kids aged 8 and over, largely because of the activities.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Families with 2 adults and 2 children can book one of the deluxe cabinas with a loft, so long as the kids are happy climbing a ladder to reach their loft bedroom. Alternatively, Aracari aand Orquidea Suites sleep 4 in comfort - on one level. For larger families, or two families travelling together, the villas are perfect: most can sleep up to 8, though in some cases 2 children might need to share a double bed.

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available, Family Rooms

Babysitting:

Available from the local Spanish-speaking ladies who love children

Baby equipment:

  • 8 cots
  • Baby bedding
  • High chair
  • Baby bath

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

There's a child-friendly restaurant in walking distance; cabina guests won't have as much mealtime flexibility as those in the houses, who can self-cater. Afternoon snacks are served for all

Kids Activities on site:

  • Library of natural history books, some suitable for children
  • Wildlife-related activities like sunset wildlife spotting tours and early morning birdwatching

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Surf lessons
  • Horse riding
  • Boat and kayak trips
  • Zipline for ages 6+
  • Animal sanctuary for ages 6+
  • Beaches

Families Should Know:

There are unprotected drops on the property, cliffs and unfenced balconies. There are strong currents and waves at the beach. The rainforest has plants with thorns and which are not for human consumption

Distances:

  • Airport: 45 minutes
  • Market: 45 minutes
  • Medical facilities: 45 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Location

Bosque del Cabo is on the beautiful Osa Peninsula, 25km (or 45 mins' bumpy drive) from the town and domestic airport of Puerto Jiménez.

By Air:
Puerto Jiménez (25km) has domestic flights only. From abroad, fly into San José or Liberia and then take an onwward flight (the former has a wider choice). Or you could drive, but it's the best part of a day. From Puerto Jiménez Airport, the lodge can pick you up at the tiny airstrip; it's a 45+ minute drive on dirt roads, crossing multiple streams (4WD required).

By Car:
You could drive here from San José, but it would take around 8 hours, and the last stretch requires a 4WD. See our car rental recommendations.

By Bus:
There is a daily bus service from San José (Barrio Mexico) to Puerto Jiménez but it is 9 hours long and pretty tiring.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Puerto Jiménez 25.0 km PJM
  • San José Juan Santamaria International 350.0 km SJO

Other:

  • Beach 0.1 km
  • Shops 22.0 km
  • Restaurant 22.0 km

Rates for Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge

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