“The perfect rainforest experience in Osa Peninsula: gorgeous cabins with spectacular ocean views, fine food and wonderful guides”
The 16 thatched cabins are spread down a steep path leading from the main restaurant building, with secluded balconies looking out over the forest and gulf so that each feels utterly private.
There are 14 identical cabins - with either 1 kingsize or 2 queensize beds. There are also 2 smaller cabins, one with a wider deck (perfect for honeymooners) and the other with a wraparound deck and 2 sofabeds in addition to the kingsize bed.
All the cabins are spacious, with high pitched ceilings of palm thatch, giving a beautiful romantic feel. Two fans keep the place cool, and walls are open on 3 sides, screened with mosquito netting to keep bugs out. Floors are varnished wood, walls and bespoke furniture are made of (sustainable) bamboo, and the lighting is excellent. There’s a desk right by the window inspiring you to write, and 2 armchairs with a small table create the full effect of being explorers in the jungle.
Beds are romantically draped in white mosquito nets and are extremely comfortable, with white cotton sheets. There are 2 sinks behind the half wall which acts as a headboard for the bed, and a further shower room with 2 showers - one hot and one rainhead shower of cold water. Water comes from Lapa Rios’ own spring and is regularly tested for purity. There are bamboo slatted blinds on all windows which you can lower at night (it gets light before 6am) and during rain to keep the interior dry. There’s also a small hanging space and shelves (you’re encouraged to keep bags off the floor and keep suitcases zipped up so that creatures don’t get in), plus a safe for valuables.
Each room has a spacious terrace with jungle and ocean views, with an outdoor shower, as well as 2 stylish recliners (which look like bamboo but are made of recycled plastic!), a hammock, bamboo chairs and a table. Creature comforts come in the form of white fluffy towels and plentiful toiletries - organic and biodegradable, which you’re encouraged to use rather than your own, as these are guaranteed not to harm the fragile ecosystem of the surroundings. Water is heated in solar panels and thoughtful touches include water bottles you can refill from the tap, wind-up torches and chocolates on the bed - organic, locally made and absolutely delicious.
All meals are included in your tariff, and are eaten in the spacious main palenque - a traditional building with a soaring thatched ceiling and wide veranda overlooking the valley below.
Breakfast is served from 7-9am (with an earlier little breakfast prepared for early birders) and includes freshly squeezed juice, a generous platter of fresh fruit, homemade granola and yoghurt, and a selection of homemade pastries with guava jam. Hot dishes are either international - pancakes, French toast, eggs and bacon - or Costa Rican favourites like corn cakes and papusas. These were wonderful: rice, beans, plantain and fresh corn tortillas with locally made cheese.
Lunch might be a packed lunch eaten on a hike - and the sandwiches really are out of this world, with piles of fruit to follow. Alternatively, you can have a light lunch in the restaurant.
Dinner starts with drinks in the bar; try one of the special cocktails as you sit and watch a slide show about the local wildlife. Dinner always has 3 courses - you will have selected from a choice earlier that day: part of the kitchen’s commitment to saving waste is to prepare exactly the right amount of each dish. We started with black bean shrimp and calamari fritters (delicious) and a salad of macadamia nuts with feta in a zingy dressing. Then we moved on to fillets of tilapia (fish) with a sensational sauce of limes, chilli and coriander. The melting organic chocolate hot cakes which followed were amazing.
Food is organic, and most of it is sourced locally to support farmers and growers in the region, though sadly some has to be brought from San José. This is the only negative you could find in an otherwise impressive kitchen. The waiting staff are all exceptionally friendly and kind, and bring considerable ceremony to an otherwise informal dinner, by producing courses at the same time on massive trays.
You’ll be invited to sign up for a whole variety of walks and hikes: 2 are free, plus you can do the sustainability tour. Some excursions are off the premises, but once here you won’t want to venture far; there’s so much in Lapa Rios’ own 1,000 acres.
Only children aged 6 years and upwards are accepted at Lapa Rios due to the lodge being situated on a steep ridge in the rainforest, and there are hazards such as steep drops and high decks attached to the cabins. Children, especially young ones, must be supervised at all times.
That said, children over 6 will love Lapa Rios and are made very welcome here. There are plenty of things to amuse them, from scarlet macaws and spider monkeys in the rainforest to sustainability walks, family-friendly activities (many included in the rates), and kind and knowledgeable guides. Note there are no electronic amusements provided, but who needs them when you're surrounded by jungle?
Check the rates page for 4 night/5 day family packages, which include some activities.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
An extra bed can be added to most rooms and families will be accommodated in rooms nearest to the main building, so they don’t have so far to walk. Cabins sleep up to 4.
Children are well catered for in the dining room, where staff are especially attentive. There’s a children’s menu of international and Mexican favourites.
There are steep drops along the pathways and a 40 foot circular stairway in the main lodge. Cabins have high decks. You'll need mosquito repellent. Light sleepers might be kept awake by the sounds of the jungle. Bring everything with you - the nearest shop is a drive away. The pool is designed for adults, although children are allowed to swim in it.