Founded in the early 1990s by two former Peace Corps volunteers & avid birders, Lapa Rios broke the ground and then set the bar for ecolodges and eco tourism in Costa Rica. The lodge is perched on a ridge within a 1,000 acre private rainforest reserve on the wild Osa Peninsula, one of the areas least impacted by humans in Costa Rica. Accompanied by expert naturalist guides, guests discover the magic of the Pacific Coastal tropical rainforest and Golfo Dulce, one of just four tropical fjords in the world and a favorite habitat of sea turtles, dolphins and whales. Corcovado National Park is nearby, but wildlife viewing within the preserve, particularly for birds, is nearly as prolific.
17 spacious stand-alone bungalows are positioned along the ridge and offer views of the shimmering blue gulf and rainforest canopy. Interior spaces are completely screened and beds have mosquito netting though it is rarely needed. Large open-air decks wrap around each bungalow and are an excellent spot for birdwatching, relaxing in the hammock or enjoying a refreshing outdoor shower. Lodge staff thoughtfully deliver coffee, hot chocolate or tea directly to the rooms in early morning so guests can relax and experience the morning sounds of birdcalls and howler monkeys. Lapa Rios Lodge is the founding member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection. In 2019, Lapa Rios was purchased by the owners of Pacuare Lodge, a fellow National Geographic Unique Lodges property. Under their leadership, Lapa Rios continues to set a leading example of how to blend luxury with sustainable environmental practices, community involvement and impactful guest experiences.
Bungalows - Identical except for bed configuration. 1 King or 2 Queen beds.
WiFi Available in the Lounge Only
Open Year Round
National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, Traveller Made, Andrew Harper
Pool, Beach Shuttle
Number of Rooms:
Dates of Operation:
From $780 per night, double occupancy
From $1,100 per night, double occupancy
From $1,900 per night, double occupancy
Special rates for children ages 6-11 are available as well as rates for additional adults sharing a bungalow. Please see the link to the rate sheet for seasonal pricing and details. Rates listed do not include government taxes (13%).
LOCATION: OSA PENINSULA, COSTA RICA
Closet Domestic Airport:
Puerto Jimenez (PJM) receives frequent daily direct flights of 50 minutes in duration from San Jose (SJO), which provides connections throughout Costa Rica and Internationally.
Both Liberia and San Jose offer international connections but San Jose is the closest, accessed via a 50 minute direct flight. Flights from Puerto Jimenez to Liberia usually require several stops.
Lapa Rios rates includes roundtrip transfers between the lodge and Puerto Jimenez, a 45 minute drive along the water, pastures and plantations that gradually give way to dense rainforest. This road includes two stream crossings and guests are encouraged to take advantage of the included transportation.
Closest International Airport:
Unique Arrival & Departure Options:
WHEN TO VISIT
Lapa Rios is located on the lush Osa Peninsula that is situated in southwestern Costa Rica next to the Pacific Ocean (near the Panamanian border) and is considered a rainforest or a very humid tropical forest. It has two well-defined seasons: a “dry” season from December to April and a rainy season from May to November. The months of July and August are typically wet throughout Costa Rica, but on the Pacific coast, the rain generally occurs during the afternoon or evening. Warm temperatures with highs in the 80s Fahrenheit (30 Celsius) and lows in the 70s Fahrenheit (22 Celsius) are characteristic year-round. The rainiest months are September and October.
The “green season” (from May to November) is probably the best time to experience a true rainforest. All outdoor activities are still offered as the rain is very warm and actually quite pleasant. It generally will rain three to four times per week, usually in the late afternoon and evening. Many trees flower and fruit during this time of year and wildlife is particularly active.
The Osa Peninsula also provides critical nesting habitat for four species of sea turtles - olive ridleys, green turtles, hawskbills and leatherbacks. Visiting during nesting season gives guests a good chance to witness a hatching or participate in sea turtle research and protection with Osa Conservation, a partner of Lapa Rios.
Olive Ridleys - Nest from June-December
Green Turtles - Nest from July-October
Hawksbills - Nest from July-October
Leatherbacks - Nest from March-September
For families with children 6 and older, Lapa Rios is a wondrous world of rainforest discovery, where sloths are spotted at eye level from bungalow balconies, vivid macaws perch overhead and pristine sandy beaches are a haven for nesting sea turtles, tide pooling, swimming and surfing. Friendly guides bring the rainforest and marine world to life and sharing stories about animals and plants but also what life is like for local children who grow up in the rainforest. Children are invited to make their own ceviche on the weekly Dock to Dish night, interact with local fishermen, practice their Spanish, learn to use a spotting scope and enjoy down time in the pool. The Twigs and Pigs tour, which takes visitors behind the scenes to learn about sustainability at Lapa Rios, is always a hit with kids and teenagers.
From May through October, Lapa Rios offers a special 4 Night/5 Day Family Package which in addition to the extensive selection of on-site guided hikes and excursions, also includes a visit to the local Carbonera School where the local children will readily take a study break to play soccer, and surfing lessons on beginner friendly waves.
Lapa Rios encourages guests to disconnect with their devices and connect with each other and the natural world. There are no televisions or phones in the rooms and wifi is limited to one public area. While being away from computers, television and the internet can seem like a challenge, past guests who have experienced Lapa Rios with their families have shared their surprise at how little their children missed these distractions with so much else to explore and interact with.
RECOMMENDED LENGTH OF STAY
The minimum suggested stay is three nights. Four or five nights are ideal to allow guests to explore much of the surrounding rainforest & beaches on excursions but still provide for some down time at the property. Relaxing in your hammock and gazing out over the turquoise waters of Golfo Dulce while also being completely surrounded by the sounds and colors of the rainforest canopy is one of the pleasures of a stay here.
UNIQUE SELLING POINTS
Lapa Rios has a fascinating story; John and Karen Lewis, former Peace Corps volunteers from Minnesota, left their home and their careers in the U.S., liquidated their assets, and set out to establish a private reserve & protect the rainforest in one of Costa Rica’s most unspoiled wildernesses in the 1990s. In 2019 Karen and John sold Lapa Rios to Luz & Roberto, owners of Pacuare Lodge, and the story continues.
Being the first or the oldest doesn't always translate into being the best, but it does in the case of Lapa Rios. Since opening in 1993, Lapa Rios has cultivated the finest accommodations, service, food and the best trained naturalist guides to give guests the best and most authentic rainforest lodge experience on the Osa Peninsula. The proof is in the nearly three decades of guest feedback that one can read at the lodge.
Spacious yet private open air bungalows immerse guests in the sights and sounds of this incredible rainforest wilderness. Wake to a chorus of howler monkeys and enjoy coffee, delivered to your room how you like it, while you watch the rainforest wake up from your bed or hammock.
The Osa Peninsula contains 2.5% of the world's biodiversity, making this a bucket list destination for every birder and wildlife lover.
Adventure seekers can opt to trek through Corcovado National Park first, staying overnight at a remote ranger station, and then indulge themselves with a less rustic stay at Lapa Rios.
Visit Lapa Rios during sea turtle nesting season and help biologists monitor nesting sites or shepherd newly hatched baby turtles to the safety of the sea.
Though rainforest wildlife draws most folks to the Osa, Lapa Rios has access to four pristine beaches. Golfo Dulce offers protection from powerful direct Pacific waves. Many of the beaches great for swimming and several offer world class surf. Local guide Pollo is one of the best for getting first timers up on their board.
The guide training program is highly lauded; a Lapa Rios guide can easily move to a senior naturalist position anywhere in the country, which is saying a lot in Costa Rica. To help spread the benefits of this demand, Lapa Rios senior guide Danilo Alvarez recently started a guide school at the lodge to train new guides, raise the standards of tourism in the area, and offer locals from the Osa Peninsula better economic opportunities through ecotourism.
BEST COMBINED WITH
Lapa Rios combines well with several other destinations in Costa Rica. Though the Osa Peninsula is remote, SANSA connections and charter flights make travel to the Osa quite easy.
For an adventurous honeymoon with contrast, 4 nights of rainforest and wildlife immersion is best followed by a few nights of lounging and leisure at the spectacular Kurà Design Villas in Uvita, approximately three hours away by car. Families seeking a beach adventure may enjoy combining Lapa Rios with Arenas del Mar in Manuel Antonio.
Lapa Rios also combines well with fellow Nat Geo Unique Lodges properties - a week at Lapa Rios and Pacuare Lodge make for an epic trip, immersing guests in awe inspiring nature and connecting them with the ‘real” Costa Rica. For travelers craving beach time, consider a trip across the border to Panama where you can soak in the sunshine on Isla Palenque and reflect on your recent rainforest adventures.