1. Is Cielo Lodge right for me?
We recommend that you read through these FAQs before you book, in order to make sure your visit meets your expectations. We are located in the rainforest which means that it is hot and humid here, the rain comes almost everyday, and the plant and animal species that live here have natural defense mechanisms, including some that are not so kind to humans. We don’t have Golf or Tennis, we don’t use insecticides (we rely on a balanced ecosystem to keep the bugs in check), and our off-grid energy system cannot accommodate air-conditioners, hair-dryers or hair-straighteners.
With that said, if your sense of adventure is stronger than your trepidation, then a visit to Cielo Lodge can be transformative, enabling you to experience an untamed place where humans are merely the audience to nature’s show.
2. How do we get to Cielo Lodge?
Cielo Lodge is located on the green mountain behind Golfito, in the Southern Zone of Costa Rica. Here we are on Google Maps. You can get to us by air, car and boat. Please visit our Getting Here page for details.
3. Is Cielo Lodge on the beach? Can we walk to the beach?
Cielo Lodge is not directly on the beach. However, we can take you there anytime during the day. It’s a short drive down the mountain and then a 10 or 20 minute boat ride to a multitude of secluded beaches. Plus, our all-inclusive activities include time at the beach.
4. What special things shall we bring if we visit?
Bring binoculars, cameras, insect repellent, a sun hat, a bathing suit, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Closed-toe walking shoes (sneakers or light boots), a light pair of water shoes for waterfall swimming, and t-shirts & shorts round out your packing list.
5. Is it true that the small plane we will use to get to you has a weight limit on luggage?
Yes. Both Sansa and Aerobell use 12 seater planes, and they generally ask you to keep your luggage to 25-30 pounds per person. If you are planning a long trip to Costa Rica, you can often store your large suitcase at your hotel in San Jose and then pack a light bag for your stay at Cielo Lodge. As noted above, you really don’t need a lot of clothing, and if necessary we can do a laundry for you.
6. Are there mosquitos? And what about other insects?
Yes and yes—we have mosquitos and other bugs. But we are in a well-balanced eco-system, so we have a lot of animals eating the insects—geckos, dragonflies, frogs and bats all abound, so the mosquitos are well-controlled. The worst time will be at dusk so we recommend you place your mosquito netting around your bed, put on some repellent, and join us for happy hour to watch the sunset.
7. What is an eco-lodge and how does Cielo Lodge qualify?
Eco-lodges are built with sustainability in mind and their main focus is to bring guests close to nature. Cielo Lodge does both. We rely on renewable energy to power the lodge, and we minimize our landfill garbage by composting and recycling. Our architecture was designed specifically to minimize our impact on the land. We are also re-foresting and restoring our jungle to bring us closer to carbon neutrality. We’ve planted thousands of native hardwood and fruit trees for the animals! Finally, all of our all-inclusive activities are focused on bringing guests close to nature: Hiking tours, the mangrove tour, and other boat tours are all designed to highlight the best of Golfito and our jungle’s natural wonders.
8. Please describe a typical day at the lodge.
Picture this: You wake up at dawn, just as the jungle is waking up. At 6 AM you meet our biologist at the lodge for some coffee and fresh baked pastries and then you head out for a 45 minute stroll/hike to take in the early morning dawn chorus. You hear the toucans, and catch the monkeys and the coatis as they are waking up; perhaps you hike by one of our rivers, looking for poison dart frogs. Come back to the lodge and meet your family for a full breakfast—more coffee and pastries, but also fresh fruit, eggs or pancakes, bacon, fresh fruit juices. At around 8 or 8:30 AM you’ll head out with your family to the mangroves. For 4 or 5 hours you’ll take in the sights and sounds of the quiet rivers that surround Golfito. Herons, crocodiles, monkeys, egrets, ospreys….a photographer’s delight and a nature-lover’s paradise. Return to the lodge for lunch (though we will ply you with snacks while you are on the boat), and then it’s down-time for the rest of the day: swim in the infinity-edge pool, take a self-guided hike to one of our many waterfalls, play games with your family on your private terrace, get lost in a book while sitting in a hammock. Or enjoy a restful nap as the afternoon rain lulls you to sleep. At 5 PM, come to the lodge for happy hour and the sunset where we’ll once again ply you with food—appetizers, bocas and tapas. Dinner is at 6:30 or 7:00 PM, after which we’ll invite you for a guided nighttime stroll, where you’ll see our nocturnal neighbors—bats, frogs, maybe even a mammal or two. Finally, you’ll retire to your suite for a delicious, restorative sleep, ready to take on the next day’s excellent adventure.
9. Can four people sleep in a one-bedroom suite?
We can put a roll-away bed in any of our suites. It will be a tighter fit, so your rate for the fourth person will be a bit lower.
10. We have dietary restrictions. Can you accommodate us?
Yes! Our expert kitchen crew can prepare vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free meals. We can also accommodate allergies. Just let us know about your needs when you make your reservation.
11. Can you accommodate young children?
Yes! Some of our activities—like the boat tours and beach days—are fine for young children. Kids who are water safe will love the pool and our short waterfall hikes. Other activities, like the zipline and rigorous waterfall hike, may not be appropriate. But we can help you arrange for babysitting.
12. What is the weather like? And how often does it rain?
Generally, in the green season (May-November), the rain will come everyday in the afternoon. It can start at around noon or 2:00 PM and then rain for 4 or 5 hours. That is why we start our days early—so you will rarely miss a day to rain—even in the green season. And that is why we schedule down-time/naptime in the afternoon—there’s nothing like a good rain to lull you into restful sleep. In the dry season (November-April), if the rain comes, it will start in the late afternoon and rain for 2 or 3 hours.
The weather is hot and humid all year round. Average temps are 80’s to 90’s Fahrenheit. Our green mountain is a bit cooler and offers refreshing breezes, as compared to the heat and the sand-fleas at the beach.
13. Is there a hospital nearby?
Yes. Golfito has a well-equipped hospital. It is about 20 minutes from Cielo Lodge.
14. Is the Zika virus there? What about Dengue and other diseases?
Yes. Costa Rica has mosquitos which transmit tropical diseases. We use insect repellent and mosquito netting to keep them away. As noted above, we are also in a well-balanced eco-system. This means that a lot of animals are eating the mosquitos. We have planted for these mosquito-eaters so mosquitos are kept under control.
15. Can you accommodate people with disabilities and mobility issues?
Generally, yes. One of our one bedroom suites has universal access and is wheelchair accessible. However, our terrain is rugged and our internal walkways are gravel. So though they are wheel-chair accessible, the ride is bumpy. And many of the activities (such as waterfall hikes) will not be suitable for the physically disabled. But we have golf carts that can drive you on the lodge grounds, and if you can get into and out of a boat, then the boat tours themselves will be comfortable.
The bar is upstairs, but we are happy to serve you and your family drinks by the pool if stairs are a challenge.
16. What’s Golfito like? Is there nightlife?
If you are looking for nightlife, then Cielo Lodge is probably not the place for you. Golfito is a port-town that caters to its residents. It is not a tourist town (at least not yet) and so there are not really attractions designed for tourists in town. There are some nice restaurants and bars on the water, and lots of stores for necessities. We can drop you in town if you want to take a walk and get a feel for it. There are a couple of shops that cater to tourists near the large dock as well as a couple on the main strip. The nightlife centers around the bars in the area.