We booked for one night and ended up sleeping 6! Before arriving there we were talking how we would build a Lodge in Costa rica - eco-friendly, just platforms in the trees, no walls - and tataaaa! That's how Lookout Inn is!
Lookout Inn stands now firmly in our Top Two of Best Lodges In The world (ex aequo), the other one being the Ngepi Camp in Namibia.
We were warmly welcomed by the owner, Ter, and his excellent team, all nice people. Coffee, water, tea and juice are free throughout the day. There are several observation terraces, where monkeys and macaws come for food (offered by the owner), so you can see them from close and they don't devastate the hotel kitchen (but beware, these are still wild animals! And do.not.feed.them.never.never.never, even involuntarily, so it is better not to leave open food in the rooms).
Now on to the review. The hotel is built on a steep slope right above the beach, in a beautiful jungle garden that the owner and his crew have created over the years from what was originally pastures.
Ter's hospitality is excellent, he really cares for his guests. Buffet food is excellent and plenty, for all three meals, with vegetarian options (we eat mostly vg but did not ask for them, so please ask, and you can even tell them if you don't like this or that). Fish is excellent and always fresh. Ter will not let you sit alone and place you with people around two large tables: lots of interesting travelers come here and you sure will have something to talk about!
All "luxury" rooms are well-decorated, with hammock and and sea view. Over the whole place, the thundering sound of waves on the closeby beach is pervasive, day and night. And when it rains, you notice it! The rooms are open (no walls), and there are mosquito nets on the beds only, which feature small fans. The detached cabinas run on their own 12Volt solar panel and car battery, which powers lights and fans.
Our first "room" or rather cabina was the blue Butterfly, up on the top, huge area, airy and 2 double beds. While you sit on the toilet, you may see a coati or monkeys roaming around.
We also had the "Penthouse", with a double bed and a sofa, which is in the main house on the upper level, with its private terrace with hammock, sea view of course. And finally the "Honeymoon suite", set a little lower than the main house, but even bigger, 3 hammocks. You could easily set up a party with 20 people, and there is a private "jacuzzi"! It enables an extensive Honeymoon trip, featuring a suspended double bed, a single bed and double bunks, so yes up to 3 people can join in the honeymoon!
There are smaller cabinas with a double bed and shared bathroom, lower in the garden. There is a network of wooden steps between all these cabinas. All cabinas are intimate from each other.
About tours and treks: Ter and Caty can organize treks to Corcovado for you, as they have an office in Puerto Gimenez, they know excellent guides (we had excellent experience with Oscar Cordero, and Erick Villa) and organize all the bureaucracy with the national park. They have also an excellent Frog Tour at nightfall, showing you the the cute frogs in the garden and some other animals. You can also ask him about a turtle tour with the local NGO, to see how they care about turtle nests, their hatchery etc.. With some luck, you may even see turtles hatching on the beach. It helps to have a red lamp, as only red lamps are acceptable on the beach at night. Seeing a bright light, a turtle full of eggs will not nest, but get back to the sea and just dump them in the water. Do you want to be responsible for the death of 100+ small turtles?
And you can rent a canoe on the nearby laguna for watching birds and reptiles, which we regretted not to do.
There is a network of nice forest trails in the steep hills above, which you access through the "stairway to heaven" in the main building.
Enough activities for a few days!
The beach: it is just across the dirt track, beautiful black sand, palm trees, but during our visit in July there was a lot of swell, and the big waves crashing on the beach were jjust too dangerous even to dip our feet. With small kids, beware! But it makes great walks and the pelicans fishing are a beauty.
Access is a bit adventurous, there is 50km of dirt track from Puerto Gimenez, with some steep slopes ending in river crossings (6 in total I think), so drive carefully. A 4x4 is definitely advisable. We had a Suzuki Jimny which literally climbs on trees with its halfgear, a 2-door a small car for not more than 3 adults, or 2 adults and two kids. It handles river crossings well (step in the water before if you're unsure about the depth, don't drive too fast, 8-10km/h max, and don't splash like in the movies!).
There is a nice bar, with happy hour, and excellent cocktails. Curfew is at 8 to 9pm latest, but you won't sleep beyond 5-5:30am anyway!
Internet and technology: You can recharge your devices during the day, and according to our son, they have the best internet in Costa Rica. Wi-fi in the main building only, but there are many places to lounge while messaging to your friends how great this place is!
Lastly, a word of advice: if you need walls, air-con, intimate bathrooms, hot showers,
lifts, a hairdryer, a large pool, and hate critters in your cabina, it's definitely not a place for you. However, if you are adventurous, it will be the experience of your life!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Lookout Inn Lodge is a beach and rainforest ecolodge in Carate on Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula. We are located completely off the beaten path and conveniently located near an entrance to the world-renowned Corcovado National Park. Ideally situated to offer comfortable and affordable eco-friendly accommodations to adventure travelers visiting this remote part of Costa Rica, the Lookout Inn Lodge is sure to impress. Nestled in the hillside right above the road and alongside an isolated black sand beach, Lookout Inn Lodge provides our guests with spectacular views of the surrounding jungle rainforest, the majestic Pacific Ocean and an endless unspoiled Osa Peninsula coastline. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Lookout Hotel Carate