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“Hotel Rio Perdido – The Lost River”- Costa Rica’s Hidden Treasure

Updated: Jul 10, 2021

Costa Rica is a beautiful and welcoming country for anyone seeking to experience nature, open plains, mountains, volcanoes and lovely coastal views. That is the main reason my wife and I chose to visit Costa Rica for a second time to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary.


Exterior sign and wilderness of Costa Rica at the entry to Hotel Rio Perdido in Guanacaste
“Hotel Rio Perdido – The Lost River”- Entrance

Thanks to my wife, she found a true hidden treasure called “Hotel Rio Perdido- Lost River”. The resort is nestled in the San Bernardo Lowlands of Costa Rica atop a peninsula between two converging canyons. So hidden that even most locals of Bagaces County have not ever visited because they didn’t know it existed. According to the resorts homepage it’s because a fallen bridge that was used as a federal roadway system was never replaced.

Rivers and canyons of the property near Hotel Rio Perdido in Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Rio Perdido's river and canyons

What’s even more interesting and fascinating is that they found small pieces of authentic ceramic artifacts believed to belong to Chorotega inhabitants. They were an indigenous group who gathered there since Europeans arrived 500 years ago to that site.


During the raining season, the forest becomes so dense and green with foliage that the view of the snaking river of “Rio Perdido” is lost from above. Making it practically almost impossible to spot- thus the name “Lost River”.


“Hotel Rio Perdido” is welcoming visitors from town and afar to enjoy this practically forgotten but now accessible treasure in Costa Rica although it actually opened in 2015.


As you may imagine, the unique forest environment is home to lush tropical landscapes, many birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. This gem of a resort is surely to please and satisfy the needs of Eco-adventure seekers. To include anyone who simply wants to get away to connect with nature and be free of today’s life stressors.


When you arrive at “Hotel Rio Perdido”, there is one main building complex which houses the reception area, a small souvenir shop, an open air restaurant- bar, spa and 3 pools beautifully landscaped that also blends seamlessly into the surrounding forest. Two of the pools are thermal pools and one has a swim up bar. One of the pools is a for cooling off.


Hotel Rio Perdido's main dining area and entry
Main halls and dining area of Hotel Rio Perdido

In the main building, there is an open air setting with solid wood furniture. The seating area of the restaurant offers an unobstructed and wide vista of the foliage overlooking the thermal pools below out into the vast forest and fauna.


To get around on the property you can take a short and leisurely stroll on the premises and even back to your Bungalow. Alternatively go to the restaurant back at the main building by being whisked away in an open golf cart by simply calling the front desk to send someone to pick you up.


As for the accommodations at the resort – they really met their goal of fully immersing you in nature without disturbing it. They bring practically every element of the forest and surroundings flawlessly into your Bungalow. The Bungalows are placed right into the surrounding landscape between trees without disturbing the environment.

An American couple enjoying their anniversary vacation in Costa Rica
Hidden Bungalows throughout the resort

We stayed in the East Bungalow #8 which was just off the road – we highly recommend it. Don’t worry because it’s not a busy road with cars.


Remember it’s a private property and you won’t be disturbed with noisy vehicular traffic. The staff are aware of this as well and do their best not to disturb you with unneeded artificial noise or even their voices.


The best thing about Bungalow # 8 is that it rests on top of the hillside with the others dotting the hillside practically spaced evenly below one another until it ends at the lower end of the same winding road.


Before we entered the Bungalow, we were greeted with a simple, yet pleasing and welcoming setting. It had two sitting hammocks and a solid wood bench out in front on a balcony that overlooks the lush green terrain. It’s so peaceful you can hear the birds singing and chirping in the day and crickets at night.

Private balcony with hammocks in luxury hotel Rio Perdido Costa Rica
Welcoming sitting-hammocks in East Bungalows

Upon entering the room there is plenty of space displaying a king size bed made of 2 twin beds adjoined that were extremely comfortable. The colors were bright, soft and well balanced with earth tone colors throughout being aesthetically pleasing to the eye.


The lighting was perfect because they use big picture windows to allow natural light to enter the Bungalow. A black-out shade and transparent shade allow you to easily control the natural light entering the Bungalow. Hung throughout are soft lighting bulbs attached to mounted fixtures of what seems to be copper pipes and the floor is made of cool feeling polished concrete.


We found the roof to be special. It has the appearance of a tin roof but is actually much thicker and painted in white. When it rains – and it did; you hear the soft patter of the rain dancing above while you easily fall asleep listening to the relaxing sound.


The bathroom is equally prepared to give you the feeling of the properties desire to bring in the surroundings from outside to your inner, intimate space. The shower has a shower head that provides the effect as if you were bathing under the rain. The border of the shower floor is rimmed with river rock – again giving you the feeling as if you were outside.

A cappucin monkey visiting our bungalow balcony during our anniversary trip to Costa Rica
White Faced Monkey visiting our Bungalow

One afternoon out of nowhere, we were visited by White Faced Monkeys swinging, jumping and sitting in the trees and on our roof while I was sitting outside. They are known to be quite mischievous per the stories we heard from the staff.


There is also a Center Bungalow that has a more sophisticated and discerning feel that keeps in touch once again with the natural elements outside of it. Go to their website to learn about the space that boosts an outside shower. My wife and I said we will return to the resort and rent a Center Bungalow to experience it as well firsthand. But if you do rent one before us, let us know how you like it. White Faced monkey visiting our Bungalow


Breakfast was included every day during our stay and was made from local produce, fruits and farm raised animals. The lunch and dinners were tasty and creatively served. They too were freshly prepared and served with locally sourced products but it was pay as you consume to include alcohol drinks and beverages. That was expected because the resort is not an All-Inclusive establishment which is a good thing in our opinion because my wife does not drink beverages with alcohol.


Complimentary breakfast included with the stay at Hotel Rio Perdido in Costa Rica
"Hotel Rio Perdido's" complimentary breakfast

From the main building you can walk down into the surrounding area to visit the thermal river where there are 3 locations to enter to bathe – it’s totally natural and not manmade other than a path to get down to the river. Be sure to smother yourself with the mineral rich mud at the 1st bathing hole before entering the warm water flowing down the picturesque enclave. I did it before getting my massage and made it more relaxing.


One of Costa Rica's Howler monkeys sheltering from the rain near our hotel
Howler monkey sheltering from the rain by the bridge

Nearby before you turn onto the path to the thermal river you can cross a bridge to venture further into the forest. On a light rainy day, we were crossing the bridge and saw several Congo Monkeys up close sitting in the trees sheltering themselves from the rain.


During your hike on the property, you will immediately feel and notice that you’re in an area which has a rare and beautiful ecosystem known as a “Dwarf Forest – tropical dry forest” found on higher rocky areas. It’s found on sun-drenched mesas with topography that is rugged yet covered with low growing vegetation.


As you traverse back down into the narrowly, intertwined canyons you encounter greener foliage and varying species of flora that resembles a rain forest.


For anyone in search of an adrenaline rush you will also find a zip-lining course steps away from the resorts main entrance. There’s also river rafting adventure opportunity just a few minutes’ drive down into the canyon on the resorts property.

A man falling out of a raft during a white water rafting adventure in Costa Rica
A thrilling water rafting adventure on resort property

My wife and I did the river rafting and zip-lining - wow was it a rush. The river rafting rapids are highly dependent on how much rain has fallen. We were fortunate that the level was just right and the rapids were not too challenging. Regardless, I was the only one who flipped over – no need to worry because you will be watched and assisted if needed.


Not to mention they take great care assuring your safety and that you have an awesome experience. While you are braving the rapids along the river, a photographer walks above along the canyon ridge line taking photos of you below. Capturing HD pictures of you that you never capture using a camera on your own.


At “Hotel Rio Perdido” the zip-line experience consists of 15 platforms – 9 suspended and 6 rock based platforms. On your adventure, you get to zip over and between canyons, climb up rock faces, cross a suspended bridge and do a “Tarzan” swing across the canyon in front of a waterfall.


The zip-lining adventure is one of the best we’ve participated in Costa Rica. The 1st time we went to Costa Rica, we celebrated my birthday doing a zip-line course that had a unique challenge – repelling down the face of an active 150 foot waterfall! My wife told the belay down below to make sure they stopped me right in the middle of my repel jump. They were eager to please, stopped my line and I dangled in the middle of the cascading waterfall. Loved it!


On the day we went zip-lining, I was able to get the chance to get even with my wife for what she did to me on our 1st zip-lining adventure in Costa Rica-Yay! After conquering several platforms with our small group, she was the 1st one to swing across but when she thought she would be caught and stopped, they briefly held her and sent her right back swinging to where she began; only to get sent back to the intended landing platform. The screaming and laughter was contagious among us.


"Tarzan" swing: part of zip-line challenge on "Hotel Rio Perdido's" property


One of the amenities we enjoyed was the spa where we had a couple’s message on our anniversary. It overlooks one of the thermal pools and outdoors capturing the sounds of the recirculating thermal pool water that exits spouts purposely designed to serve as an ideal way to provide you with a water massage.

The open air spa overlooking a thermal pool at our hotel in Costa Rica
Open-air spa overlooking thermal pool

If you are planning to go for a special occasion such as we did, then I highly recommend to do the private dinner which comes with a Pre-Fix menu. We had dinner in the welcoming area of the spa which was closed. It overlooks the lighted thermal pool below and you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the night. As an option, you’re bound to have an enchanting evening if you reserve a dinner out on a platform over the river under the stars.

A couple celebrating their anniversary dinner in Costa Rica
Private dinner over looking thermal pool from spa area

It goes without saying that we had a great time at the resort and plan to visit again in the future. At that time we will venture out because on our 1st stay we had the opportunity to really relax and enjoy everything it had to offer with the exception of sites to visit outside the property. Our reason to return. We hope you will visit as well.


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