Very disappointing stay.
My room (Loft #2) was above where they were running a loud generator from 6 am to 8 pm (even though I was told the property was all solar powered) and exhaust fumes filled my room and made me really sick. There were also no towels in the room. And no fan.
They only have electricity from 6 am to 8 pm, which isn’t a big deal but would have been nice to know beforehand.
The nearest bathroom to my room was broken and I had to share a bathroom with employees and other guests and it was very dirty (toilet and shower hadn’t been cleaned in what appeared to be some time, soiled toilet paper on the ground, etc.) and I wasn’t offered any compensation for this, not even an apology for the inconvenience.
After accepting my payment and confirming my reservation for a Corcovado overnight, I arrived three weeks later to find out my trip had never actually been reserved! The owner, Leo, avoided talking to me and when I finally tracked him down and confronted him (I had checked in around noon and finally spoke with him around 5 pm) he kept trying to talk me into doing a different trip entirely and then told me some far fetched story as to why my trip wasn’t booked that I later figured out was a lie. When I asked for a refund he then encouraged me to go without a guide into the national park which is illegal and dangerous! Finally around 8 pm the night before my trip was supposed to start he had managed to find me a guide. However, the next morning came and the guide wasn’t even on the boat that picked me up and after waiting on the beach in Corcovado my guide finally showed up about 30 minutes later. Then, when lunch time came, the guide told me that Leo still hadn’t reserved meals or bunks. I sat around for an hour as I watched my guide scramble to find me meals for the next day and a half and a bunk. He also confirmed that the far fetched story I had heard from Leo was in fact untrue and that he’d sent out a mass text trying to find a last minute guide and reservation.
What was supposed to be the highlight of my trip (staying at Jungle Del Jaguar & overnighting in Corcovado) ended up being some kind of nightmare.
Overall I would describe this hostel as being very disorganized, having poor communication, behaving unprofessionally, and stretching the truth a bit on what they advertise on their website and social media. Just an honest heads up for future travelers thinking this is some kind of paradise. If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is!
Shoutout to Brian who was the only semi-helpful and professional employee I encountered that seemed to keep getting handed all of the tough situations to fix.
We spent a few days at this lodge/hostel. It is an incredible location, very remote and so beautiful. The staff were lovely, but it was low season, so not many people around. Kimberley was very friendly and helpful.
We did a day walk to Corcovado park, excellent.
We also walked one of the trails, helpful map.
One of the highlights was the amazing food, Fernando was such a great cook. Although we did feel pressured to eat early. The solar system was broken so they only ran the generator for a couple of hours a day. This generally wasn’t a problem, but we didn’t have any power in our room at any time, so had to use torches. Water was cold, and some bugs etc in bathroom. We were in Cueva de Leon room.
Because there was no power in the room, we spent the evenings in the bar, but again they clearly didn’t want to run the generator too long. We were asked to go to our room at 20.30 one evening, but that meant we couldn’t read or play cards as no power in the room. Bit disappointing.
The other thing to be aware of was the arrangements for catching the boat from Sierpe. We were ready about three hours before the boat left, but there were numerous boats going to different lodges and no information, we nearly missed our boat! It was very rough and about an hour to 90 minutes. quite an exhilarating ride! Not for the faint hearted or those who get sea sickness or if you have back problems..
We were lucky to learn about this hotel/hostel on a blog that I read. As other reviews have mentioned, the Jaguar Jungle is way off the beaten track. Don't come here unless you are prepared to really be present here for a while. It is quite difficult to imagine a more stunning location, with the beach immediately in front of the hotel and jungle on all sides. This morning we were woken up early by a troupe of capuchin monkeys feasting on the mango tree right outside our window. All the staff at the hotel were very friendly and conversation. They breakfasts and dinners we enjoyed were exceptional, especially considering the hotel's quite tenuous and infrequent link to civilization. Other reviews noted that the bathroom could be cleaned more off and that is true. Our bedroom was missing a few details like a doorknob on the inside of the door (oops!). And yet am sure that of all the hotels we experienced during our 3 weeks in Costa Rica, this is the one I will rave about to my friends back home. By the way, we chose to arrive and leave at Jaguar Jungle by means of the 4.5 hour hike south from Drake Bay. It is a stunningly beautiful hike.
Location is incredible - very secluded, in the heart of the jungle, own private beach, excellent for access to trails behind property. However some parts of the hostel could definitely do with some work. The dorm does not have screens over the windows, we were told they took them down (no idea why??), and was looking incredibly run down/dirty - so much so that we decided to take a private room instead. To be fair the private room was much nicer and definitely cleaner! The kitchen for guest use was very poorly equipped, but staff were helpful and provided more pans/plates/cutlery when we asked. Although they offer meals there we were very glad we took our own food, as they looked (and apparently tasted) quite disappointing, only one option per meal and fairly pricey. Asides from this the nature and range of animals to be seen around the property was fantastic - humpback whales, tapir, scarlet macaws, monkeys, toucans, frogs, snakes (the list goes on). Would recommend staying, however definitely take (at least some of) your own food, and be prepared if staying in the dorm as it's very very basic (there are bats... just a warning).
I'm very mixed about reviewing this place. When I checked their website, it was full due to a school group (it seems school groups provide much of their income). But when I emailed them, he (Leo) said he had room for 1-2 people. When I arrived, his gf informed me straight off that they had no room for me. But apparently she and Leo don't talk because he confirmed a stay for me. However, he didn't indicate that it would be a thin mattress on the floor of the volunteers room over the kitchen However, considering the remoteness and my lack of other plans, I was grateful to have that. I lucked out that before the day was out, a couple decided to leave a day early and I got their private room. I was also given a discounted price since I was a single traveler, which was really appreciated. Understand that there are no private bathrooms and each of the three private rooms have different features. The best private room is probably the one farthest from the kitchen which has a view and a hammock. My room next to the kitchen was huge, but only had a bed and table in it and, other than a swept floor, the rest of it (shelves, window sills, etc) clearly had not been cleaned in ages. I had to brush away spider webs and clean off termites, etc. to find a clean surface to put things. I'm guessing this is due to the fact that they only have 'volunteers' doing the work, most of whom seem pretty unhappy about the situation. In addition, the 2nd generator was broken so the one remaining one served the school group's dorm (half of which didn't even have screens) and kitchen so no electricity in the private rooms. No discount was offered for this inconvenience.
Leo is a nice guy, but he doesn't really see his place through the eyes of a guest. He explained to me that when he sees bad reviews, he feels people should be understanding and grateful for $15 a night hostel/$50 private room on the edge of a rainforest He also felt that $100 for a boat trip to Cano (even though that's more expensive than from Drake Bay despite being twice as close) was fine. He said the extra $20 was for fishing, but the only people who actually fished were Leo and the boat captain. He wasn't being a jerk about it, it's just he really didn't see the problem. Same goes for the snorkel gear... it was covered with mildew and they wanted $20 a day for rental? That's insane. The mildew was brushed off as no big deal because "it's the jungle," but at Life for Life hostel, also in the jungle, they had snorkel equipment that was totally clean and totally free of charge. At both Life for Life and Jaguar, food is mostly beans and rice and plantains, but one lunch was only that and coleslaw. Even with additional cost of getting food shipped in, that's not much food for $8. It's like Leo's a guy who owns a hotel; he's not a hotelier. There's a big difference.
On the flip side, my experiences with nature were amazing. You don't even have to hike Corcovado to see macaws, monkeys, wild pigs, etc. We even had a tapir on the grounds one night. And on that overpriced Cano trip, we saw a bunch of humpback whales, so none of us cared about the extra charges (though if that hadn't been the case, we all would have been a bit more disgruntled - and you can't guarantee whale sighting all the time). And when the tide's out, you can see the most amazing beach with a waterfall and sea caves. The grass on the grounds was also nice to walk on with bare feet.
Overall, I'd return, but 1) I'd bring some food with me and 2) my expectations would be mostly about location. Oh, and forget the internet... the only place to have that is in the town of Drake Bay. This isn't a slam on Jaguar... just a fact of Costa Rica. NOTE: They were building a couple more private rooms when I was there, so there might be more options in the future.