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Reviewed 9 January 2021

We stayed at Playa Cativo for 5 nights in December 2020 and what an amazing experience we had there. This place is extraordinary and as a well-travelled person for over 40 years I have to say it has left a marked impression on us and a special memory that will last for a lifetime.

I like to do copious research before booking our holidays and this was the last place we stayed on our 22 day trip around Costa Rica and what a wonderful place to end our holiday at.

The room we were given was on the highest level overlooking the front of the lodge with the beach and also had panoramic window views to the side with all the trees where the birds went and I was able to take photos and videos close up of toucans, birds of prey, parrots and other wildlife which was great.

The room was large and had a full-size sofa, chairs, a writing desk, table and other chairs, a sink and fridge and a large size bed that was very comfortable and 2 ceiling fans (which were ample to keep us cool) and lovely wooden floors and a tiled bathroom with 2 shower head so we could share it together.

What I loved about this room was the aspect, the large windows could be completely opened-up (which gave a magnificent view all around of the grounds and beach and enabled me to take some impressive photos of the wildlife. Late afternoon the windows had fly screens pulled across which didn't limit the view at all but prevented bugs coming in. Fine curtains could also be used in addition but were not necessary as no one could see in. Therefore, at night when we went to bed we could still hear the lapping of the waves and we enjoyed waking up to toucans and birds chirping near to us. It is quite relaxing to hear the waves on the beach as you fall asleep and I miss this now we are back at home.

The staff have lovely manners, are so helpful and polite and everyone we met went out of their way to chat with us and help us if we had questions. A special mention goes to the restaurant staff and manager Cesar Vargas. The staff all wore masks because of covid, as did guests when in the lodge.

The food served was so inviting and tasty. we even complimented the chefs at the end of our stay for the fine delicate flavours they created with the home-made meals (from soups to slow cooked meat, freshly cooked vegetables ad herbs that they grow themselves on their organic farm we visited and home-made ice cream, cheesecake, fruit and many other exceptional cuisine menus. We looked forward to each day at breakfast, lunch and dinner knowing we were having something new every day.

We especially enjoyed the location of the restaurant as it was positioned on the deck area of the main part of the lodge (sheltered from the sun but in the fresh air), with views of the pool area and front of the hotel towards the palm tree-lined beach.

We booked a number of tours in advance of our stay and can really recommend the following that they arranged for us in advance of our stay:

Nocturnal Rainforest hike - the local guide was very informative and the forest comes alive at night with a different feel to the day
- Osa Wildlife Sanctuary - taken by boat just along the coast to this lovely sanctuary where you can see the great work they do to help injured or sick animals for rehabilitation. We loved seeing the animals close-up and being able to feed them.
- Tropical Rainforest Tour - we were taken through the grounds and were able to see wildlife and also the organic farm where vegetables and herbs are grown and learnt about the whole site.
- Mangrove kayak tour from the Lodge - we were taken by boat to a place where we could kayak peacefully through the mangroves and see different wildlife and also have a different aspect from the kayak of the mangrove roots in the water. This was a very enjoyable day.
- Corcovado Tour - this was an early 0515 start to be taken by boat to Puerto Jiminez where we were picked up by boat and driven to the Corcovado jungle where we had a bumpy ride along the way. Once we were there, we walked to the La Leona Ranger Station along the white sandy beach, where we could see huge breaking waves on the Pacific coast. We had a wonderful day seeing several pairs of Scarlett Macaws in the tree, came close to a giant ant eater along the path (where we were able to take superb video and photos of it), coatis, butterflies, birds (including the red-capped manakin, hummingbirds, etc), various monkeys, reptiles and much more.
- Piedras Blancas National Park Tour - unfortunately this didn't take place because of no rangers working there due to covid so that park was closed.

Yoga sessions can be held at Playa Cativo outside on a floating platform and there are spa facilities/massage available. We enjoyed using the pool and it was a pleasure to swim it in and feel refreshed from the intense heat of the day. The loungers around the pool with umbrellas were also in good condition and comfortable.

Since being back at home, friends have been impressed with the photographs we took and we feel very privileged to have taken photos and videos at close proximity of the animals and birds. I bought a new camera for this trip and was delighted with the results.

Playa Cativo Lodge will leave a long-lasting memories with us for many years to come. It is a remarkable place in the Golfo Dulce, surrounded by nature and wildlife that stimulated our senses so much that we would like to return again to this tropical Paradise in the near future. Everyone needs to experience this exceptional place once in their lifetime, they won't regret it!

Room tip: Fantastic views of wildlife from the top level overlooking the beach/trees
Date of stay: December 2020
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Elaine M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2020

We stayed at Play Cativo in February this year, it was the best holiday we have ever had. The photos do not do the lodge justice, it is heaven on earth.

The main area was great, really nice area to sit and look at the ocean and it was all open. From the main area we spotted dolphins in the ocean and you could also spot birds all the time. The pool was so refreshing, and the ocean, just a short walk away, was so warm. The rooms are so beautiful too.

There is so much wildlife, we saw so many birds, such as toucans, every single day, plus agoutis and many other animals. The property is huge with lots of walks, we got up every morning to walk in the bush and saw howler monkeys and peccarys on our walks. We also did several tours with Alejandra as our guide, who was amazing! Alejandra was so knowledgable and passionate about the wildlife. The dolphin watching was a highlight.

Another thing that made our holiday fantastic was the staff, such as Danny, Alberto, Kenny, Alejandra, Paola and so many more! everyone was so kind and went out of their way. They really made such an effort and it was great to get to know them.

The food was delicious too, I loved the daily specials. It was exciting every day seeing what would be the new special.

Overall I couldn't recommend playa cativo enough, this was part of a 5-week trip for us and was the absolute highlight. We are just waiting until we can get back over there. Yes it is expensive, but it is worth every single penny!

Date of stay: February 2020
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank johannatravellernz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2020

Playa Cativo is an idyllic eco Lodge on the coast at the edge of the rainforest on the Osa Peninsula.
The 30 minute journey by boat from Golfito port is a delightful experience .We were given a warm welcome on arrival at the lodge followed by a very good lunch before being shown our very well appointed free standing room between the sea and the main building which was close by .
The Staff were all very friendly and the food and wine were delicious with a choice of two dining areas and a separate seating area on the verandah .The verandah was particularly good for bird watching with an abundance of humming birds and some colourful butterflies .We were lucky to catch a glimpse of a Scarlet Macaw and a Toucan .
During our stay we went on three very good private tours which had been pre-booked for us by Costarican Trails who were the Ground Agents for our Excellent On line Travel agents in the Uk Black Tomato . It was a good idea to pre-book as the tours were in great demand and there was a limited number of available guides . We were lucky to have Gerardo ( Gera ) as our guide on all our tours .
The First tour we went on was a Dolphin watching expedition in a fast boat .We saw two species of dolphin including one large school with the occasional dolphin jumping clear of the water ( almost impossible to photograph ! )
The next day we went on an early morning bird walk which was a great success and afterwards Gera gave us a list of 50 species we had seen .
Our bird watching tour was followed by Ocean Kyaking to the Rio Esquinas Mangrove .We went by fast boat skilfully driven by Moses who avoided the shallow spots on account of the tide going out . At the Mangrove we transferred to our two many Kyak accompanied by Gera in a separate Kyak .
As well as interesting birds we saw a Crocodile from a safe distance across the river !
All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our stay .
There is a good choice of activities including walking trails and a very nice swimming pool next to the Lodge . There is also a very good reference library in the Lodge which guests are free to visit .
We stayed in a Free Standing Double Premium room with easy access to the main Lodge and the Sea

Date of stay: February 2020
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Richard V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 April 2020

Set in a private rainforest site it's certainly not a budget option but it is fantastic value for money for a really special stay. As you arrive by boat the lodge appears tucked behind a palm fringed beach dwarfed by the jungle towering around it. Rooms in the main lodge are luxurious with wrap around screens - not glass - which means you feel connected to the jungle, while keeping insects out. The dawn chorus of howler monkeys, toucans and macaws was mind-blowing! The tap water was safe to drink and the inclusive meals were delicious with fresh ingredients produced on the lodge's organic farm - seared tuna caught that day was a highlight. Our included bird watching tour, nocturnal hike and dolphin spotting were amazing, thanks to expert naturalist guide Gerado. The pool and bar were delightful. Staff (including Moses, Kendall, Danny and Julie) were friendly and attentive without being intrusive. Manager, David, even treated us to an impromptu music concert one night during his own off-duty time! It was very humid so take light cotton clothes and rain coat for the evening showers - it is a tropical rainforest. If you want to experience immersion in a jungle wildlife paradise and being looked after like the 'super-rich' - without the formality - then this is the place and well worth saving up for. It would be a perfect honeymoon/anniversary stay. Our room, with the toucan door, was spectacular - I still get goosebumps thinking of being there with nature all around us...

Date of stay: March 2020
Thank myladder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 April 2020

Playa Cativo was a beautiful accommodation, with so much to do, see and experience.
Staff and guides were very attentive and knowledgeable, and food was excellent!
We would recommend to anyone interested in an eco-adventure.

Date of stay: February 2020
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank jeffmarine51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Allen Mairena, Director General at Playa Cativo Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 16 June 2020

Hello jeffmarine51,

Playa Cativo wishes you and your family members to be well and safe. We are always looking for you to have the best experience, the most fun, relaxing vacation and life time memories.

Thank you so much for your recommendations we value your kind words and your experiences while staying with us. It is a very unique and special place to discover as it feels that you are on a deserted island. Yet with many trails to go through, enjoy the organic farm, visit the National Park Piedras Blancas and enjoy the gulf while taking a swim on our calm and warm water. Also if you feel like getting a very relaxing massage why not at our magical Lotus Wellness Spa or just sitting on the shore enjoying the sun, drafts and warm Costa Rican lifestyle and culture.
The wild life will also welcome you, even from your room as you will hear the howler monkeys and birds singing waking you every morning.

We hope to have you sometime soon once again!

Lots of love from your Playa Cativo Family,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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