As the last stop of our itinerary in Costa Rica, we decided to go all the way south of the Osa Peninsula to Carate, to discover the most preserved national park of Costa Rica: Corcovado National Park. From the rainforest to the ocean, it was an amazing end to our trip, and it was definitely because we decided to book our last 3 nights at the Luna Lodge.
Discover Luna Lodge
2 hours from Puerto Jimenez, after a bumpy road and crossing a few rivers, and an even final bumpier road up to the hill, we finally discovered the Luna Lodge. And what a lodge!
I don’t really know why, but I was expecting quite a big hotel with lots of guests around. On the contrary, it was a small one, where the life is mostly arranged around the restaurant main platform with a breathtaking view on the rainforest, the pool, and the yoga platform (where you can have some private or group lessons) – with another astonishing view.
After discussing with some guests, we found out that most of them were returning guests, or future returning guests (as we will be most probably as well). It seems to be more and more a family hotel, where Lana, the owner of the lodge, is meeting you daily and teaching you yoga, helping you planning your activities for the day and hugging you at the end!
Full board at Luna Lodge
This definitely needs to be taken into account upon planning your stay and booking at Luna Lodge. Even if the hotel seems expensive, don’t forget you will have all meals included. Only drinks are to be added on top.
We have noticed on touristic places and when you do not want to always eat the same thing everyday (hello gallo pinto!), the meals are getting quite a budget at the end of the day. At Luna Lodge, you will get tasteful meals everyday. Special mention for the excellent breakfast ! It’s different everyday but you always different options: pancakes, Mexican rice, scrambled eggs, etc.
Tea and coffee are complimentary all day long.
What to do at Luna Lodge
Yoga – You cannot miss it, really! How often in your life will you have the chance to take some yoga classes with a great teacher and finish with some meditation facing the rainforest ? No, really, you cannot miss it. Lana, the teacher, will adjust to all levels and beginners are welcome.
1 to 2 classes everyday (Around 7am and 4pm) Count 25$ per person for 90 min group classes, and 60$ for private lessons.
Massages at the spa – Many options depending on what you need. The massage therapists will take the time to discuss with you to define what you need, what you want and what you do not want. There are many different options depending on your taste and needs.
We have tried the Lana’s special, a little of everything for a peaceful and relaxing moment in duo. As always, with a view.
125$ per person for 60min message, 155 for 90min. Lana’s special costs 175$ per person
Birds and monkeys watching – From the yoga platform, from your tent, from the pool but especially from the main platform, you will see so many animals, so many different birds species. The lodge has a telescope available for you to use. Check it out!
Chill by the pool – The poolside is beautiful and quiet, with a direct view on the rainforest. Order a smoothie at the bar and, lay on a sun bed and enjoy !
Corcovado National Park – What to bring
We had organized our excursion to the Corcovado National Park a week before our arrival to Luna Lodge with the staff through emails, we have seen guides advising to book it more than 2-3 weeks in advance and at the lodge they recommended to do it at least 24 hours before, to be sure to have some spots left and available guides.
What to bring:
- Lots of water, once again. Would will drink around 4 liters per person (but bring only two, as you will have the possibility to refill it at the ranger station).
- A picnic (try not to bring any plastic bags, to avoid any chance for it to end up in the park). Luna Lodge provided us with a very tasty Burrito and dessert.
- A hat: even if you will be most of the time in the rainforest with a lot of shadow around you, you will have to walk on the beach as well to reach the ranger station, and it will be very, very hot. You brought one with you if you read our article on what to put in your bag to visit Costa Rica.
- Some very light clothes. You will probably get wet all the time during your walk in the forest as it’s incredibly hot. Wear clothes as light as possible
- Go for trousers instead of shorts. More confortable to walk around in the forest, and it will protect you from the tics. One tip: spray some mosquitoes repellant all around your shoes to keep them away!
- A camera with a good zoom – You will see lots of animals, birds, insects and even if the most beautiful memories are in your head, you would end up a little frustrated trying to take pictures with your iPhone for the entire day. One tip – you can photograph through the telescope of your guide with your iPhone.
- Mosquito repellant and sunscreen
Corcovado National Park – 1 day excursion
Tourists are not allowed to enter the Corcovado National Park without a guide. That’s one of the reason it’s so well preserved today, and you would not see much without a guide anyway, and the park is not without dangers.
Check with your accommodation to book an excursion. It does not worth to go there by your own means as it would cost you the same price than an excursion including transportation. If you do not enter the park though, you can walk by yourself until the ranger station (about 2km away from the carate airstrip).
During this excursion, you start your day in the park around 6am and finish it around 2:30pm. It may seems a little early in the day, but the heat at this point would be unbearable and you will be exhausted.
The groups (from 2 to 10 people maximum from our experience) are sent one after the other, so you should be alone with your group and your guide most of the time.
You will walk along the beach, and you will start to see many things only few meters after the beginning of the walk! The guides are very good, they can spot many things your eyes would never notice.
You will find some toilet and taps to refill your bottle at the ranger station but nothing more. Don’t forget to bring anything you might need in the park because you will not find anything inside.
A funny thing though – at the ranger station, you will find some big posters explaining what to do in case you meet a jaguar. Quite scary! But note that you should never run and leave the weakest behind, or the jaguar would attack.
Once you leave the ranger station behind, you will keep going into the rainforest, with the beach on your right. Around 11am, you will be at the end of your trail, and to go home, you will need to take the same way back.
Usually, groups stop at the end of the trails to have lunch on the beach, next to a waterfall and then starts to go back. At the end of your excursion, you will have the possibility to buy a coconut or a beer for 1000 colones. Enjoy it, it’s well deserved!
We have loved our day in the Corcovado National Park.
We cannot tell you exactly what animals or birds you will see as it all depends of the weather, of your luck that day, of the time of the day… but we can promise you will not be disappointed.
As for us, we were lucky enough to see a young tapir! It’s apparently very rare to see them during the day, but we did, so keep an eye open! And for next time, as a target, we want to see a jaguar (but not from too close!).
We were only by ourselves most of the time and it was a huge difference with all the other parks we had seen until now in Costa Rica. Discussing with other tourists, we discovered that most of the time, the people who discover Osa peninsula and Corcovado cannot go back to crowded touristic places such as Tortuguero or Manuel Antonio. I can very well understand why. One man told us « Only true nature lovers find their way to Corcovado», and that’s the best way to describe the peninsula, the people around and the best way to discover it.
Sunrise kayaking in Laguna Pere Perrito (Carate)
The Luna Lodge offers lots of activities to do around, we chose the Sunrise Kayaking in the lagune and we did not regret it.
Starting your day at 4:45am, grab a coffee and a banana and head with your guide to the Laguna Pere Perrito. At first, by yourselves, you will see a beautiful sunrise on the lagune, follows by some great bird watching (sometimes from very close) and some alligator watching (this one seems a little scarier, but don’t worry, there is no danger as they stay away as much as possible, they seem to be the scared ones).
Later in the morning, some more kayaks and even some fishermen will start to show up. It will be the time to go back to the lodge to enjoy a succulent breakfast, as it would now be too hot for the birds to be out of the trees.
On the same day, we went to Puerto Jimenez to take our flight back to San Jose, as we were leaving on this evening back to Paris. Our plane was a really small plane, with 8 other passengers.