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Reviewed August 18, 2011

My husband and I had reservations for a trip to El Remanso in February 2012, however, due to unforeseen circumstances, we had to cancel our trip. My extraordinary experience with the management of El Remanso warranted a review even though we did not stay. From the first contact, management was extremely helpful and responsive to my questions and inquiries. Given the remote location, I did not expect to receive email communications so quickly, but was pleasantly surprised from beginning to end. After cancelling, I ran into some issues with my bank providing inaccurate wire information to process my refund. Both Cindy and Danielle were more than helpful in correcting my error. It is one thing to have a great experience when one is a paying customer, but it speaks volumes when treated with so much courtesy and respect after cancelling. I have no question in my mind where I will be spending my time next vacation to Costa Rica.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Service
1  Thank ourfrank
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 16, 2011

I just spent 4 nights/5 days at El Remanso with my husband and 11-year old son. For a genuine remote rainforest lodge experience, this was an amazing place and far exceeded our high expectations. If you are looking for a Four Seasons or Montage in the Osa Peninsula area, that just doesn’t exist. There were many things that made El Remanso wonderful but at the top of my list is the friendliness of the staff, gorgeous setting, delicious food, unique accommodations, exciting adventure tours and price.

The lodge is run by three people: the General Manager, Cindy, and the owners, Adrianna and Daniel. Adrianna and Daniel live on the grounds and Cindy is there (from what I saw) from 6am until around dinner time. These three people were always visible and available on the grounds and constantly asking us if we needed anything. In addition, there were always about a dozen lodge employees working in the main office, tour desk and dining/bar area who constantly looked for ways to make us happy and comfortable. The warmth and attentiveness of the owners and employees at this lodge, especially Adrianna and Cindy, made us feel like we were on vacation visiting family. My son was even invited into the owner’s private residence on several occasions to look for and play with the family dog! One evening when we decided to postpone our scheduled night hike, one of the guides took our son around the property and helped him look for toads and frogs.

Upon our arrival, the manager greeted us warmly and immediately sat us down for a delicious meal before showing us around the property and describing the property and surroundings to us in detail. After we ate, one of the resident guides (I believe there are two on staff), Rinaldo, took us on the “short hike” (about 2 hours) that was one of six tours included in the “Adventure Package” that we booked and highly recommend for a fun-filled stay. Rinaldo took us down the beach trail stopping all along the way to show us the wildlife and nature that surrounded us throughout this trail. Despite being steep and long, the trail was well cleared and included about 262 nicely installed stairs (per my son’s last count) to make the walk easier for guests. During our stay we walked up and down the beach trail several times (in Tevas and open sandals) and we never encountered anything dangerous or felt that it was somehow unsafe for our son. In fact, we always felt safe and protected at all times during our stay. Obviously, by choosing to go to such a remote area with so much wildlife, you are accepting a certain level of calculated risk that you must balance against the incredible and unique experience. The other tours included in our package included a “long hike”, night hike, a canopy tour (given from a canopy observation deck that you get to on a zip line), horseback riding through the rainforest and on the beach and, the most exciting of all—the waterfall repelling tour. Wow, what a thrill it was to repel down four gorgeous waterfalls. The guides were all well trained and had state of the art equipment. We were totally comfortable allowing our son to participate in the thrilling adventure.
This lodge is located in one of the most beautiful and undeveloped parts of Costa Rica that you can visit. We went to see the rainforest and the wildlife close and personal and that is exactly what we got. While we were at the El Remanso, we saw an incredible amount of wildlife in its natural habitat, including sloths, macaws, monkeys, toucans, frogs, agouti, leaf cutter ants, dozens of different varieties of birds and two small non-venomous snakes. Despite our efforts and the purported “infestation” reported by another reviewer, we were unable to find Fer de Lance or any other kind of large or venomous snake anywhere.

The food at El Remanso is beyond excellent. The dinners always included a fresh fish option that always left us in awe. Without exaggeration, the dinners at El Remanso rival meals served in finest restaurants in L.A. and NY. They also have a nice bar with cocktails and pretty good wines from around the world…all at very reasonable prices even compared to hotels in less remote parts of the country.

We booked a beautiful two story cabin called La Vainilla. The top is all open air (no windows or doors) and has a stunning ocean view. The lower floor has screens over the open windows and a front door. Although the upper floor was totally open without windows or a door (imagine Swiss Family Robinson), we were never bothered by any wildlife and the three of us argued over who got to sleep on the open upper floor!

One of the reasons why we chose El Remanso over a couple of neighboring lodges that were also highly recommended was the competitive price. Visiting a remote place like Osa and being housed and feed in this pretty lavish manner (relatively speaking, of course) is not cheap. However, when you consider the level of accommodation that we got (a private two story ocean view cabin) and the number of tours that we got, the El Remanso was about 30% cheaper than its neighboring competitors. Although I have never visited those other lodges, I don’t know what the other lodges could have offered me that would justify us paying 30% more for the stay.

Finally, when I booked the El Remanso, I didn’t realize that it was an “eco-lodge” and, frankly, I might have thought twice about going if I had realized it because I would have been worried that in its effort to be eco-friendly it would perhaps deprive me of some basic comfort. …which it did not. The electricity at the lodge is produced by hydro electric generators and the only impact on the guests is that the lodge uses minimal lighting in the rooms and public areas. However, rather than be a problem, this created a relaxing and comfortable feeling in the evenings. When we needed extra lights, we used our flashlights. We had an incredible time at this beautiful and friendly place….while minimizing our impact on the environment…win-win!!

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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2  Thank JackieK66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 15, 2011

My 8-yr son and I visited Caraibbean side of Costarica last year, we were enchanted from the wildlife and this year we decided heading to the Pacific side looking for a more intense experience in the nature. We headed to El Remanso and we had one of the best experience we have ever had!!
The location is amazingly beautiful, nestled in the rainforest, facing the Ocean, surrounded by an incredible natural environment. You don't have to go to Corcovado to spot the incredible biodiversity that Osa Peninsula offers, you live literally side by side with monkeys, sloths, frogs, reptiles, unique mammals, wonderful birds, rare plants and flowers.
The accommodations overlook the ocean and enjoys its breeze, are spacious, aesthetically pleasant and perfectly set in the environment. The restaurant area, bar, and pool are a wonderful gathering point where share daily experiences and adventures with the other guests and all the guys of the staff. Intelligent use of renewable energy makes us conscious that is really possible live great with just a fraction of the electricity we use every day on our Towns. Food is great, gourmet, refined as the lodge is.
But are the people that make El Remanso so outstanding. Starting from the moment when you land in Puerto Jimenez, Daniel, the owner, welcomes you and during the 20km of a road where you feel the adventure is starting...., he start to instill a contagious enthusiasm talking about the lodge and Osa wildlife. Adriana his wife welcomes you in the lodge and escorts in the property and orients you about the lodge, the trails, the beach emphasizing safety aspects that people not used to that environment has to be aware. Their presence is constant but discreet, never intrusive.
Cindy the manager of the staff is wonderful; she makes everything possible to let the guests comfortable. During our stay, for a couple of day the rain season did his job (sic.) and the rain was so strong that was almost impossible do anything. Cindy was struggling to make all of us happy, organizing presentations on the Osa wildlife, organizing activities, even giving a ride to my son and me with the ATV to Matapalo under a tropical shower !!! The daily organization of the activities and the suggestion to the guests were flawless, she's really professional and custom oriented and every time with a smile.
Gerardo the biologist is amazingly knowledgeable and enthusiast, he made our hikes memorable and safe and trying to help us find birds and animals to view. He educated us about the rain forest, wildlife, plants and how to be cautious and aware and how to look for things we would never have been able to see without this knowledge. He became soon the idol of my son that was so fascinated from all the wildlife and weird plants that Gerardo showed us that still now after a month he continues to talk every day about howler monkeys, fer de lance, frogs, tucans..... Rinaldo, Alvaro and the other guys was so nice with my son allowing him to help them plant some tree in the property.
All the staff make you part of their family and 'protect' you remembering with discretion and tact that you are in a real environment not in a zoo or in a playground and so you should be aware and cautious.
Activities? Enough to remain there weeks, we loved waterfall repelling, hiking at night to see nocturnal animals, bird watching, visiting the beaches, horseback riding, hiking on the numerous trails in the property (that the staff keep clean daily) and also spend a day on a boat in PJim to watch dolphins and go up the river watching iguanas, boas, crocodiles.
Suggestions? My son while I'm writing this notes has tears, exactly when he said goodbay to the guys at El Remanso and to Chonta and Paco (the dogs). He wants to come back next year!! So if you like the real nature, if you are an adventurous spirit, if you are ready to get used to the rain forest surroundings, to all the wildlife and animals that come with it, to the rain that can be really strong and to the pristine pacific beaches with break point and tides that you don't want to challenge, El Remanso is the right place to head!!!

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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1  Thank cheetah_jaguar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 14, 2011

I can't say enough about El Remanso! From the accommodations, to the staff, to the food, to the spectacular beauty - everything was perfect! Even before setting foot on the property, I felt welcomed and well cared-for. All of the arrangements - accommodations, flight from San Jose, and transfers - were handled without missing a beat. During the ride from the Puerto Jimenez airport, our driver, Jose, even took the time to stop and give us our first glimpses of the spectacular Osa wildlife, whenever he saw something.

There is so much to say about El Remanso -- the beautiful room was clean and well-attended; the hikes were amazing; and the food! It's going to be a long time before everything else doesn't seem "second best"!! Everything was done to perfection, and there was always ample choice.

At the bottom line, though, the staff is what really makes El Remanso outstanding. Cindy Camara, the manager, went consistently above-and-beyond to make sure that all of our questions were answered, activities were well-organized, we were always informed of important details, and that anything extra we might need was made available. She even left the office one day to drive me to a spot with a cell signal, so I could check on my elderly father. Where else would you find that?

El Remanso offers a terrific array of activities, too. Not only hiking, but horseback riding, a canopy breakfast reached by zipline, and waterfall rappelling were also part of our week. I've never felt safer or more confident in trying something new. El Remanso's guides are patient instructors with excellent communication skills. I couldn't have been more impressed by the grace and care that the staff demonstrated in dealing with each and every guest - regardless of language, age, experience, ability, etc..

There may be many places to stay and things to see in Costa Rica, but my advice is to let El Remanso be your guide to the Osa!

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank flappergal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 14, 2011

My 8-year old daughter and I stayed at El Remanso for 7 fabulous nights in July. I did a lot of research about lodges in the Osa Peninsula before deciding on El Remanso and we certainly made the right choice. As a single mom traveling with my young daughter I felt very safe and taken care of by the staff. We had an unforgettable experience and we will certainly be returning to this gem in the Costa Rican rainforest.

Food: My daughter has severe food allergies so travelling in general can be very challenging. The staff completely understood the severity of food allergies and went out of their way to plan and prepare safe and delicious meals for my daughter every single day. I am a vegetarian and I enjoyed the most delicious meals prepared with local and organic ingredients.

Setting: El Remanso is set in a beautiful 200-acre private reserve with primary and secondary forest, many hiking trails and beautiful waterfalls. Even though swimming in the ocean is not recommended because of the surf, it is absolutely beautiful. My daughter enjoyed discovering different types of crabs, and we both had fun exploring the lagoon and the tidal pools. The rainforest is teeming with wildlife. We saw monkeys every day, including spider, white face Capuchin, howler and squirrel monkeys. We enjoyed seeing beautiful birds, including scarlet macaws and toucans, as well as various types of frogs and reptiles. We even enjoyed discovering and admiring all the incredible insects found in the rainforest. But note, we didn’t see one single mosquito.

Activities: There is so much to do and see at El Remanso. Waterfall rappelling was certainly a highlight. The staff made sure my 8-year old felt comfortable and was safe and she absolutely loved it. Guests from nearby lodges come to El Remanso for waterfall rappelling since it’s a unique experience not available anywhere else in the area. We also really enjoyed the canopy breakfast. Hanging out on a platform on top of a tree 125 feet above the forest floor observing birds is an unforgettable experience. I’d suggest having a full breakfast at the restaurant after the canopy tour and just enjoy your time on the platform. I highly recommend the guided hikes, because the staff will point out wildlife and explain what you’re seeing. However, we took nature hikes on our own every day and truly enjoyed exploring and discovering. We went on the horseback riding tour led by locals who live about 20 minutes away from El Remanso. My daughter absolutely loved riding her tame horse on the river trail, through the rainforest and on the beach. Staff can arrange other tours not operated by El Remanso (dolphin watching, etc.) but we had more than enough to do on site. My daughter enjoyed taking a dip in the non-chlorinated pool every day. This is an active vacation, so be ready to walk and explore a lot.

Accommodations: We stayed in La Caramba, a beautiful cabin close to the restaurant. It was private and perfect for two people. We enjoyed lounging on the hammocks and taking in the beautiful view. Because there is no glass in the windows and you can open the entire front of the cabin, you can truly enjoy the sights and sounds of the rainforest.

A true ecolodge: The owners, Adriana and Daniel, have truly gone out of their way to have a minimal impact on the natural environment. All of the energy for the lodge is generated by hydroelectric and solar power on site. When we were there, El Remanso hosted a talk by the Wildcats Conservation Program (www.osaconservation.org) so guests could learn about wild cats in the area and the amazing work that this small organization is doing in the region with very limited funds. All the staff members of El Remanso are locals who are very knowledgeable about the area and truly seem to enjoy their jobs. At a time when “green” is a term used loosely by many lodges and hotels, it’s refreshing to find a lodge that lives by its conservation and sustainable philosophy every day. El Remanso is currently in the process of getting its certification for Sustainable Tourism by the Costa Rican Tourism Board and I personally think they should receive the highest level that is awarded due to their efforts and integrity.

If you will miss having a TV, AC and access to the Internet and your Smartphone, this rainforest experience is probably not for you. But if you are looking to disconnect from your regular routine and get very close to nature, you will truly enjoy El Remanso.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank TravelWFoodAllergies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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