So glad we found this place. The drive itself was an adventure as well as unbelievably beautiful. La Carolina Lodge is a little paradise with so much charm. The rustic living quarters will make you feel as if you’re in the forest. In fact: you are in the middle of the forest and nature.
The owners are great people - so nice and easy to talk to, but all the staff is very friendly and helpful too. Their suggestions were spot on. The lodge offers something for everyone. People who just want to chill, will find this a fantastic place to pass time in a hammock or rocking chair, soaking up the hot tub and dipping in the river. The river has a great little swim hole and children love to bounce from the river to the hot tub.
All the accommodations are lovely whether in one of the houses, cabins, or the rooms at the main lodge. Simple, rustic, clean, and charming. We enjoy our cabin with the big porches with rocking chairs and hammocks where we relax while sipping on yummy Costa Rican coffee or fresh tropical fruit juice. And falling asleep to the sound of the river is very soothing just as being awakened by the howler monkeys. Don’t expect a lot of luxury: we use candles after dark which adds to the adventurous feel of it all. And don’t forget to check “what to bring” on their website since you are in the forest.
As for the foodies, the traditional Tico food is fresh, right off the farm, and they have an awesome wood smoker that they grill, making all their super fresh meats special. We absolutely love it, all is so delicious. The abundance, variety and quality were amazing. Three meals a day are put on the table, all great for children as well. To add to the “Pure Costa Rica” experience, all meals are family style, served around large tables at the main lodge. But they can arrange a private table if you prefer so.
We come to peace walking through the property. That isn’t very hard the way with nature all around: we visit the animals, do some birdwatching (which is excellent) and go around the pond on a row boat. Toucans, parrots, parakeets, horses, pigs, cows, sloths, butterflies and the elusive and the mystical appearances of the Morpho butterfly: again it’s paradise especially for nature lovers. And we love the amazing hot tub, catching fish with homemade cheese and bathing in the chilly river. It seems they offer yoga now too, we will surely have to come back to experience that part.
The horseback riding is incredible. We do not have a lot of experience, but the staff always find a horse that fits the needs. The daily horse ride takes us through the ranch, meadows, near the tropical forest, through the farm’s green valleys and hillsides, past fruit groves and beautiful open pastures. Along the way, keep a look out for all the animals. And on a cloudless day you might be able to see the Miravailles and Tenorio Volcanoes.
There’s a range of other things to do in the Guanacaste area as well. Enjoy and hike the nearby Celeste Waterfalls and Park trails. Try Palo Verde National Park with its beautiful Scarlet Macaws. And also really worthwhile in our opinion is the Tenorio Vulcano National Park with its light blue river. The colour appears blue due to the emission of sulphur from the volcano and precipitation of calcium carbonate. Thermal springs and small geysers dot the area as do rivers, waterfalls, lagoons and places providing panoramic views.
River rafting is also within an easy day trip, etc. Less than an hour away the Refuge for “Las Pumas” is stationed: a private rehabilitation sanctuary. It offers an up-close experience with big cats native, including jaguars, pumas, margays and ocelots: great for children in our opinion.
# Horseback riding with stunning views is definitively not to be missed.
# Some might not like it but expect to go at a slower pace in the best way possible, free from your cell phones and email. Nothing seems to be changed the last years and we hope it will stay that way.
# Just explore it: find yourself surrounded by nature, wake up early to milk the cows and go fishing, etc. A truly unforgettable experience for a very reasonable price.