Embark on a journey with me to the heart of the Costa Rican tropics, where paradise unfolds at Playa Cativo Lodge.

By Joseph Cordero, Luxury Head Concierge

Nestled on the Osa Peninsula, this haven beckons with crystal-clear waters painted in serene turquoise and emerald hues, surrounded by lush, biodiverse rainforests. Join me as I explore the wonders of this unique destination after a seven month remodeling of the pool, rooms, lobby and restaurant.

My adventure began as I board the Sansa flight to Puerto Jimenez, a 50 minute flight on a Cesna Caravan over the Pacific, with amazing views of the shore line. 

After a short boat ride to reach the lodge, I find myself at the main building.

A three-story structure that houses the restaurant, reception, and a cozy lobby adorned with comfortable sofas—perfect for lazy afternoons lost in a good book.

The second floor has the Deluxe Ocean View rooms, each featuring a king bed and a captivating sink bathroom. 

The second floor has the Deluxe Ocean View rooms, each featuring a king bed and a captivating sink bathroom. 

These rooms, adorned with sustainable hardwoods, hand-crafted tiles, and vibrant colors, transport guests to a realm of rugged allure. While I find these rooms to be more basic, they exude beauty and comfort, making them ideal for couples.

The third floor has two Deluxe Panoramic Ocean View rooms, similar to their ocean-view counterparts, but enhanced by a better beach view and a sofa bed, accommodating up to three people. The panoramic view and dual bathroom add an extra layer of luxury to these accommodations, surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of nature all around.

For those seeking the pinnacle of luxury I recommend the Luxury Casita Plunge Pool. Eight casitas, surrounded by nature, boast private terraces, plunge pools, and breathtaking views of tropical landscapes.

Each has a king bed, sofa bed, and a complimentary minibar stocked daily with refreshing delights, these rooms offer privacy and tranquility nestled within the embrace of nature.

As I keep exploring the lodge, I walk to the Two Bedroom Ocean View Villa, accommodating up to six guests.

Two stories of comfort feature a king bed, two queen beds, and two sofa beds, complemented by expansive panoramic terraces and a shared plunge pool. 

The view from the second floor is powerful, a sensory mixture that might even include the distant sounds of a puma.

Finally, i find The Ocean Front Casita, perfect for honeymooners, which offers unparalleled privacy and dreamlike experiences.

Situated in a secluded area with the closest proximity to the gentle tides, this standalone option provides the perfect setting for an intimate getaway, ensuring a luxurious and unforgettable stay.

By then I was hungry and there was no better place to savor the culinary delights than El Galiván Restaurant and Boruca’s Pub. Breakfast (6.00h – 9.00h), lunch (12.00h – 15.00h), and dinner (18.00h – 21.00h) showcase farm-to-table cuisine, with locally-sourced ingredients enhancing the flavor and contributing to the sustainability of the Osa Peninsula region.

Not all is work and there I was waiting for my massage, this is definitely not to be missed, the spa opens from 11 am to 7 pm (recommended to book in advance), offering rejuvenation amidst the natural splendor, I am not sure if I snored in the most relaxing massage but for sure I was new after one hour. 

While I was in the spa my peers enjoyed a special treat, a Castaway Beach Picnic, a serene setting with sun loungers, hammocks, and homemade tapas on the beach. Life is full of hard choices.

I am so happy to learn Swiss Travel sustainability philosophy meets Playa Cativo’s as a core value. Committed to being 100% sustainable, the lodge generates clean energy through hydropower and solar panels, supporting the local economy and protecting the rainforest and ocean.

Getting up early the following morning to dive into the pool’s refreshing waters – open from 6 am to 10 pm – was the fuel I needed for a second day in this amazing piece of Costa Rica. 

The pool between the main building and the bar, offering stunning views of the ocean and unforgettable sunsets is the place to breathe deeply and feel the energy of a new day.

Getting there

Getting there may sound more difficult than it actually is.

Fly from San Jose on a 50-minute schedule or charter flight to Golfito or Puerto Jimenez, and a short 30 minute boat ride will take you to the lodge. Keep an eye open for dolphins, and even whales!, as you navigate Golfo Dulce, a tropical fjord rich in biodiversity.


Before I bid adieu, let me share some tips. 

Do take in as many experiences as possible, from mangrove kayaking to nocturnal rainforest hikes. Don’t swim in front of the hotel—it’s rocky. Enjoy the happy hour (guaro sour my favorite cocktail), don’t touch or feed any animals. 

Walk to the right on the beach for a sandier spot, perfect for swimming. Don’t leave the doors open; you want the wild visitors outside your room. Take necessary medicines, repellent, and organic sunscreen. Don’t book the Bioluminescence tour in advance; weather conditions may vary, do it on site. 

Other activities available

• Rio Esquinas Mangrove Kayaking

• Cativo’s Natural Reserve Hike

• Golfo Dulce Snorkeling

• Dolphin watching

• Piedras Blancas National Park

• Nocturnal Rainforest Hike

• Bird Watching

• Valle de los Sainos Journey


• Star gazing & Rainforest Melodies

• La Perica Sloth Garden

• Horseback riding San Juan

• Rancho Quemado Cultural Tour

• Dolphin & Whale Watching Quest

• Fishing

• Kayaks and SUP in Cativo Bay

• Bioluminescence

• Scuba Diving

Recomended Stay Lenght

Indulge in a plethora of activities during your three-night escape to Playa Cativo. With two full days dedicated entirely to exploration, you’ll find yourself deeply immersed in the enchanting realm of the rainforest, surrounded by its mesmerizing biodiversity. Your stay promises not just relaxation, but an adventure-filled experience, inviting you to discover the magic of Playa Cativo and its lush rainforest surroundings.

As I conclude my last site inspection of 2023, I am grateful to see Playa Cativo, a haven for nature lovers and wildlife. And look forward to new discoveries in the new year. 

Do's and Don´ts


  • Take as much experiences as you can, it is not necessary to go so far, our recommended tours:

    • Rio Esquinas Mangrove Kayaking

    • Cativo’s Natural Reserve Hike

    • Golfo Dulce Snorkeling

    • Dolphin watching

    • Piedras Blancas National Park

    • Nocturnal Rainforest Hike

    • Yoga Class, a relaxing experience

  • Enjoy the happy hour, cocktails are really good

  • Go to the beach but walk to the right where it is sandier, perfect to swim.

  • Bring the necessary medications with you, asyou will be away from the city, bring repellent and organic sunscreen so as not to harm the species.

  • Bring your reusable water bottle


  • Do not waste time going to Corcovado National Park or Caño Island. These places are amazing and great destinations,  but they are far from the hotel. There are many things to do close to the property.

  • Do not swim in front of the hotel, it is rocky

  • Do not touch or feed any animal

  • Do not leave the doors opened, an animal could enter to your room.

  • Do not book the bioluminescence tour in advance, it depends on weather conditions. Better to book on site.

  • Do not walk alone at night, wild cats and other wildlife roam the area.


Room TypeInventory
Deluxe Ocean View rooms2
Deluxe Panoramic Ocean View rooms2
Luxury Casita Plunge Pool8
Two Bedroom Ocean View Villa2
The Ocean Front Casita1
Total of Rooms15
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