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Origins Lodge, Luxury Eco-Lodge (Detailed Review)

Origins Lodge, Luxury Eco-Lodge (Detailed Review)

The first time I sat down for lunch, just five minutes after we arrived, a little keel-billed toucan flew to the nearby bush. It comfortably sat there for three solid minutes, looking around and then at me. We made brief eye contact before it flew away. That was the moment I realized I was going to love this place, love my time at Origins Lodge and in Costa Rica.

The last week of February 2024 was my first visit to Costa Rica. Being a planner, I had read about its abundant wildlife, especially its birds. I knew that although Costa Rica accounts for only 0.03 percent of the Earth’s surface, it contains nearly 6 percent of the world’s biodiversity. But even then, I was surprised to see a different animal at almost every step. It was almost surreal how many animals I saw during only four days. More than in any other national park I have been to.

Welcome to my review of Origins Lodge, a luxury, sustainable boutique hotel in Upala, Alajuela, Costa Rica. I spent four days here hosted by them. Nobody told me what to write. These are my honest views and the true reflection of my experience. I did not accept any payment in exchange for favorable coverage.

Introducing Northern Costa Rica

Located between Bijagua and Upala in Alajuela, Origins Lodge claims a unique spot in Costa Rica’s northern reaches, just a stone’s throw from the border with Nicaragua. It sits on a foothill cradled by two giants: the Miravalles and Tenorio volcanoes. The Lodge offers a 180-degree view up to 40-50 miles. You might call its unique location a mere coincidence, but I call it a treasure or a sanctuary unlike any other.

For one, the climate was incredibly comfortable.

While the hot, humid, dry season starts around December in the southern part of Costa Rica, it only begins in February here. Because of its higher elevation, the temperature is always a few degrees cooler than in the valley or in Guanacaste.

Visiting Origins Lodge in February, with an average temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, offered the ideal conditions for outdoor activities. The cooler, temperate weather meant we could walk around and enjoy nature without feeling sweaty or too hot, making the exploration more fun and less tiring.

For two, this region has a rich biodiversity.

Origins Lodge lies in the northern part of the Caribbean lowlands, with diverse scenery waiting to be discovered. The surrounding area promises a mosaic of activities and a tapestry of nature, from volcanoes to wetlands.

Tenorio National Park lies between Tenorio and Montezuma Volcanoes. It is home to the famous Rio Celeste waterfall and hot springs, whose color looks like it jumped out of a painter’s palette. Its turquoise-blue color is surreal and awe-inspiring.

Tapir Valley Nature Reserve is not only a sanctuary for Costa Rica’s largest terrestrial mammal but also the place where conservation efforts help these gentle giants thrive.

Two more volcanoes lie here. Miravalles and Rincón de la Vieja Volcano loom majestically, while the plains of Huella Verde in between offer well-maintained hiking trails.

Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge is nestled right off the border with Nicaragua and is home to the river known as Rio Frío. Local nature guides have counted 384 species of birds; however, caimans, iguanas, monkeys, jaguars, and several other animals also inhabit the wetlands, contributing to its rich biodiversity.

Introducing Origins Lodge

Let’s start with the breathtaking view.

Swimming pool and open-air building overlooking a view.
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

When I stood in its open-air restaurant, I had an undisturbed 180-degree view. I could not do anything else but stop and admire the landscape in front of me. It emptied my mind and averted my focus whenever I caught a glimpse.

The view was like a moving canvas, like those animated or live wallpapers on the desktop where you can clearly see all the small details.

I saw as far as Lake Cocibolca, the largest lake in Nicaragua, with the Solentiname Archipelago, a group of islands on its southern side with elevations up to 820 feet. I could clearly see all these details despite being 40-50 miles away.

I could also see golden trumpet trees (the Cortez Amarillo in Spanish) turning vibrant yellow, a sign that the dry season soon starts. They reminded me of impressionist paintings, like Monet’s Water Lilies. 

View of a rainforest from above over a swimming pool in the front.
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

It was a quiet corner of the world where time slows down, allowing me to step out of my everyday life and into this peaceful escape. All I had to do was relax in the spa, swim in our private hot tub, watch wildlife, walk around, or just be.

Two lounge chairs is overlooking a sunset, a rainforest, and a view.
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

Origins Lodge is about little details, like planting ylang-ylang trees in the right spots. It is a plant that releases its fragrance more intensely at night, and the wind carries it toward the cabins. The air would fill with its rich, sweet aroma each evening just after sunset. Its scent then lingered and accompanied me even to the bathroom, where all the bath amenities produced by Origins Lodge carried this essence.

Origins Lodge is where people know what I want before I even think about it. For example, I once ate melons for breakfast, which reminded me of the popular Italian appetizer Prosciutto e Melone. When I came back for lunch, they served a melon proscuitto salad as the first course.

Everyone here greeted me with a warm smile, making me feel welcomed and cared for. The staff understood what I needed without me saying a word. One day, we had just started one of the guided walks, and the next second, another staff member appeared with two umbrellas right when it had started raining.

A person with a green umbrella is walking down a red path.
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

History of Origins Lodge

Origins Lodge is a testament to the vision of a French entrepreneur who stumbled upon this slice of paradise through mere photographs sent by his realtor friend. It looked so compelling that he purchased it unseen, only to have his breath taken away by the stunning vistas upon his first visit three months later.

“This is the place you can go back to the origins, to the roots,” is how he described what he wanted to achieve here. The symbol of the circle is evident throughout the property, from the trails that encircle the cabins to their floorplans, in the shape of the hot tub, the wood rack, the stove, and even the shower, just to name a few.

Golden O on a stone wall. Bamboos above.
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

Designers Patrick Rey and Hugues Blanchère, alongside Gaia Studio, designed Origins Lodge and tried intertwining Costa Rica’s landscape and rich pre-Columbian heritage. Their design is deeply rooted in the country’s ancient circular architecture, combining luxury with sustainability.

From structural bamboo to adobe walls and innovative use of recycled materials like glass bottles hidden below the floors, every choice they made with the environment in mind. They also increased local vegetation by 75% and ensured the cabins meld into their surroundings.

As I was walking around the property, I could only tell there was a cabin nearby by seeing the path leading up to it.

Everything is made from sustainable building materials, and I mean everything. The toilet paper holders were made of branches. The linings of the garbage bins were recycled paper. Not a single piece of plastic on site.

Types of accommodations

Cabins

A paved path surrounded by colorful plants leads up to all cabins. After following the path, I stepped onto the terrace, which offered a stunning view similar to the one from the restaurant. It instantly became my favorite place.

View of a rainforest lowlands.
View from Mariola Cabin, photo credit: Emese Maczko.

When I woke up at 5 am (thank you, jet lag), I enjoyed the views, the birds chirping, and the monkeys howling. Lounging in one of the deck chairs, my organic tea in one hand and my binoculars in the other hand, was the best way to start my day, especially one morning when two yellow-throated toucans also took up residence in one of the nearby trees.

Two toucans on a branch
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

Origins Lodge has six cabins, but the one we stayed in was called Mariola. Mariola is the Spanish name for the smallest stingless bee in the world, also known as the angel bee. Our cabin was named after them because one hive was living inside the wood column of our terrace. They were adorable and so tiny. Apparently, the taste of their honey is unique and thus quite expensive.

Wooden plate with a word mariola
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

When I opened the door to our cabin, a grand king-sized bed welcomed me. The delicate draping of a mosquito net magnified its presence. Above, an oculus punctured the ceiling. It is a window to the sky to illuminate the room with natural light.

All cabins had screen windows and shades, which is necessary due to this region’s pervasive humidity. Despite everything, we noticed the unmistakable feel of moisture on our clothes if we left them out of our luggage.

While we were at dinner, the staff discreetly prepared our room for the night by closing the oculus, the shades, and the drapes around the bed. They reopened everything to welcome the morning light as we had breakfast.

Double bed with white mosquito net overlooking an open door and vistas.
Photo credit: Origins Lodge.

The bathroom was beautiful and cozy, offering the option to use either an indoor or outdoor shower. Solar panels at the top of our cabin heated our water.

A grey and wooden bathroom with indoor and outdoor shower.
Photo credit: Origins Lodge.

They provided us with organic bath amenities (shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel) made from ylang-ylang, bamboo toothbrushes, and mosquito repellent oil made by Origins Lodge using citronella grown on its property.

Bath amenities on a wooden counter.
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

Did I mention our private hot tub? When we returned from breakfast, they thoughtfully stocked and ignited the stove. A soothing stream of hot water gently poured into the quaint, circular pool. Sized ideally for two, it offered a serene spot to unwind and soak in the breathtaking views.

Circular swimming pool with a man looking at the vistas.
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

Villa Vertigo

Villa Vertigo was the owner’s original estate before Origins Lodge was born. It is a luxury home on stilts with views you have to see to believe.

This three-bedroom heaven is over 220 square meters, enough for six people to stay comfortably. Each bedroom has its own bathroom, making every space a private escape.

Step outside, and there is a vast terrace with a giant hot tub heated by fire, perfect for soaking in while gazing out to the Northern plains of Costa Rica.

The living room is the heart of the villa, where you can relax and take in the 180° view that wraps around the estate.

Treehouse on stilts illuminated in the night.
Photo credit: Origins Lodge.

The Astral Project

The Astral Project represents the latest expansion directly adjacent to the current site. I talked to the General Manager, Claudia Silva, who shared that the project is to add family-friendly cabins to Origins Lodge. However, it is currently in the planning and permitting phase. The goal is to open this new part before the peak season of 2025.

Facilities

Spa

The spa is a separate cabin named Laka Tii Spa Suite. It has massage tables, a jacuzzi, and a dressing room, offering a quiet place for relaxation. Whether you are in the mood for a Swedish massage, hot stone therapy, Thai massage, or any of their other wellness treatments, you are in for a treat.

For those who might not be keen on massages, there is the option to book the entire spa for a private session. It lets you enjoy lounging on the terrace or unwinding in the jacuzzi.

Wooden hut surrounded by vegetation and a red concrete path towards it
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

Yoga deck

The Koara Yoga Shala is a special spot for yoga and meditation, big and open, sitting right in the middle of nature. It has a huge, old tree that has been there for ages, making it feel peaceful. This place is perfect for anyone looking to stretch, relax, and feel close to the outdoors.

Circular shaped deck with plant-covered roof
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

Jogging trail

We found a map detailing a 1.8-mile loop trail around the grounds in our cabin. However, we opted for a leisurely walk instead of a jog.

We started our journey amidst a towering bamboo forest stretching 20-30 feet into the air. Then, we weaved through a stone-laid path that zigzagged around the fishing lagoons.

From there, we descended to the lake on the other side, the leading destination for night walks. Then, we ascended back towards the cabins. The trail took us through a mesmerizing floral spiral and a beautifully crafted mandala garden.

Our walk concluded at the foot of the Villa Vertigo, where we encountered a crested guan calmly emerging from the bushes.

Food

We had the chance to taste the food of the newly appointed Executive Chef of El Salto Restaurant, Yann Berger.

Open air restaurant with moss covered roofs and green plants surrounding it
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

All his meals were feasts for the eyes and taste buds alike. They were colorful and flavorful, each bite more delicious and creative than the last. He also had no problem accommodating my gluten-free diet and my husband’s dairy-free diet into the dishes.

At every breakfast, one of the staff came by our table to discuss the lunch and dinner menu. With a farm-to-table approach, the kitchen prepared only one menu and asked guests if there was anything they did not like or wished to eat. If there were any issues, they would have adjusted the menu accordingly.

75% of all ingredients are grown and produced in the organic garden at Origins Lodge. The other 25% is purchased from nearby sources to support the local economy.

A table and several colorful chairs on a wooden deck
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

Breakfast

Each breakfast comprised a fruit platter, a small cheese and charcuterie board, coconut milk chia pudding with jam, yogurt with granola, freshly baked bread and pastry, juices, tea, and coffee.

In addition, we could choose the traditional Costa Rican breakfast of rice and black beans, fried plantains, and eggs, pancakes with various toppings like fresh fruit, maple syrup, and jam, or any form of egg, poached, scrambled, or fried, with add-ins like sautéed mushrooms, spinach, ham, bacon, and so on.

The breakfast was always hearty, filling, and the perfect way to kick-start our day.

breakfast table with various plates and food.
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

Lunch

We enjoyed a light lunch filled with fresh, nutritious veggies and fruits every day. Each lunch was a light three-course meal with a refreshing salad, main course, and dessert. It was indeed a delight. They were leaving me feeling energized and refreshed. I was not in a food coma but was ready to tackle the next adventure.

All lunches were equally delicious and memorable.

On the first day, we had a refreshing watermelon heart of palm salad, a tender trout with tropical chutney and Indian lentil stew, and soft cornbread with chestnut puree, meringue, and caramel popcorn.

3 photos of 3 dishes for lunch
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

On the second day, we had chilled tomato gazpacho, flavorful chicken fajitas with plantain ketchup, French fries, and decadent chocolate coulant.

3 photos of 3 dishes for lunch
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

On the third day, we had light broccoli, melon prosciutto salad, meaty sailfish with vegetable tian and creamy polenta, and aromatic poached pears in red wine with almond cream.

3 photos of 3 dishes for lunch
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

Dinner

We had a four-course meal for each dinner. It was more hearty and filling than lunch. Still, we felt great and were ready to walk around the property before returning to sleep.

On the first day, we had filling eggplant vegetable salad with plantain chips, creamy pumpkin soup with black sesame crumbles, medium rate beef with basil puree and vegetable medley, and light papaya panna cotta.

4 photos of 4 dishes for dinner
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

On the second day, we had tropical quinoa salad, creamy vegetable soup, tender sea bass with pan-fried rice and pineapple chutney, and sweet pineapple with mint cream.

4 photos of 4 dishes for dinner
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

On the third day, we had a vegan Caprese salad, cauliflower cream soup, sirloin beef in mushroom sauce with mini potatoes, and festive pumpkin pie.

4 photos of 4 dishes for dinner
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

Activities on-site and off-site

A knowledgeable guide accompanies us during all on-site and off-site activities. We received thorough replies to any questions we had about Costa Rica, the region, the wildlife, or the flora. We felt safe, cared for, and enlightened, and we enjoyed learning about everything new.

Birdwatching tour (1,5 hours)

Honestly, we wanted to visit Costa Rica primarily for the birds. The sheer number of birds living or flying around the grounds of Origins Lodge was astonishing. Dear Reader, if you want to see birds everywhere, don’t go to a National Park where they can hide; instead, visit Origins Lodge, where they’re in plain sight.

Our guide, Eduardo, was highly knowledgeable. He explained that Origins Lodge plants at least 500 new trees yearly and carefully selects plants to attract birds. They researched which plants certain birds prefer and planted those right next to the restaurant and cabin terraces, allowing guests to comfortably observe them all day.

Woman and a man walking in a rainforest
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

They have counted more than 250 bird species around Origins Lodge, which accounts for more than 25% of all bird species in Costa Rica.

We saw various types of hummingbirds and honeycreepers, black vultures, turkey vultures, yellow-throated toucans, keel-billed toucans, different types of tanagers, Montezuma oropendolas, red-lored parrots, herons, ducks, black-cheeked woodpeckers, crested guans, flycatchers, thrushes, and yellow-crowned euphonias. At least, those are the names of the ones I can remember.

It was indeed the perfect location to see many of them in one place all day. It was much better than hiking around the rainforest for 2-3 hours to catch a handful.

We also received a pamflet with the most common animals to see around the lodge to make identifying them easier.

A pamflet with lots of bird drawings
Copyright: Rainforest Publications.

Sustainability tour (1 hour)

During our sustainability tour, we explored the property’s organic garden and fishing lagoons. Our guide explained the purpose behind each plant. I highly recommend this tour to anyone interested in discovering Origins Lodge’s extensive efforts to use the environment sustainably.

Witnessing the thoughtful research and meticulous care that supports their farm-to-table philosophy was genuinely inspiring.

Garden with neat vegetable beds
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

We encountered a variety of plants:

  • Cacao, coffee, and cinnamon trees.
  • Medicinal plants like aloe vera.
  • Neatly organized vegetable beds.
  • An array of fruit trees, including banana, plantain, papaya, and mango.
  • Air potatoes, turmeric, ginger, and more.

We even came across a lulo, a unique Costa Rican fruit that is outwardly tomato-like, inside guava-like, but taste like an orange.

Our guide also shared some ingenious, natural methods they employ to maintain their organic garden, such as homemade onion, garlic, and pepper spray for pests, charcoal for cockroaches, and small sunflower beds designed to distract caterpillars from other garden areas.

Origins Lodge also produces both liquid and solid compost to enrich the vegetable beds.

In the lagoons, we learned about the various fish species they keep here, including crawfish, Gaspar fish, tilapia, spotted bass, rainbow bass, and yellow bass.

A lagoon with bamboos
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

We also explored the carpentry workshop at Origins Lodge, where a dedicated trio of local craftsmen meticulously handcrafts every wooden item you see around the lodge, from chairs to decks.

Night walk (1 hour)

Embarking on a nocturnal tour filled me with excitement and trepidation. The thought of coming face-to-face with snakes, spiders, and other night creatures had me questioning my courage. Admittedly, I’m not exactly a brave person when it comes to wildlife, especially knowing that wild cats are more active at night.

However, Eduardo, our guide, came to the rescue once again. With his detailed explanations and calming presence, he quickly dispelled my fears.

My sense of safety grew, mainly when I realized that the animals were just as keen on avoiding me as I was them. The fear that a snake might launch an attack upon seeing me was a figment of my imagination. In reality, all the creatures we saw remained calm, undisturbed by our flashlights piercing the darkness.

Toad in green grass in the night. Flashlight is pointing at it.
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

In the end, we saw quite a number of animals, including Pacific frogs, marine toads, a black-and-white warbler dozing on a branch, dung beetles, bullet ants, leaf-carrying ants, grasshoppers, and a tiny frog with a red membrane between its toes.

I hoped to spot a red-eyed leaf frog from the iconic cover photo of David Attenborough’s book Life on Earth. Alas, we only heard one. This elusive little creature proved to be a master of hide-and-seek.

Hiking to Oro Waterfall with horseback riding (1,5 hours)

During a research hike, two guides discovered a beautiful waterfall one day. They named it Oro Waterfall after the gold-speckled soil found in the area. However, it is not the kind of gold used in jewelry.

The trail was a breeze. It took us approx. 45 minutes, including a quick stop to watch howler monkeys. We spotted a female with her baby and listened to the deep calls of the alpha male. Witnessing this was genuinely awe-inspiring. Notice in the photo below how the baby monkey clings tightly to its mom?

Black monkey sitting on a tree.
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

Our hike took us through the primary rainforest, following a creek. Our guide was keen to highlight the fascinating flora and fauna around us. Among them, a rubber tree caught my attention. I had never seen one before. He demonstrated how its sap becomes elastic once it dries, a simple yet remarkable natural wonder.

Waterfall with large rocks and rainforest around it
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

Upon reaching the waterfall, a stable hand greeted us with four horses. My experience with horseback riding was limited to one occasion, so to say I lacked confidence would be putting it mildly.

However, Pinto and Gato, our assigned horses, remained calm for the most part, save for their occasional squabbles, much like real siblings. When we returned to the Lodge, and I dismounted, I was relieved and grateful for the experience.

A man and a woman is on horseback.
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

Hiking to Rio Celeste waterfall (3-4 hours)

The Rio Celeste waterfall trail entrance in Tenorio National Park is about a 45-minute drive from Origins Lodge. Following the advice we received, we started bright and early, right after breakfast. A decision that proved later to be invaluable.

Rio Celeste is one of the more popular waterfalls in Costa Rica. The trail imposes a maximum visitor limit of 500. Once reached, newcomers must wait their turn outside (even in scorching hot weather). Our early start meant we shared the path with just a few others. By the time we returned to the entrance around 11:30 am, a significant queue had formed, affirming that the decision to come early was indeed correct.

The Rio Celeste waterfall trail has five points of interest:

  1. Catarata (the waterfall)
  2. Mirador (viewpoint)
  3. Borbollones (hot springs)
  4. Laguna Azul (blue lagoon)
  5. The meeting of two rivers

The area’s volcanic activity lent a faint sulfur scent to the air, accompanying us from the hot springs.

The hues of Rio Celeste were simply surreal. Its stunning turquoise blue reminded me of the waters around coral reefs and white sandy beaches. At first, it seemed almost out of place.

A man and a woman in front of a turquoise lake and waterfall.
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

After seeing the waterfall, we traced the trail to the source, where two rivers of seemingly ordinary color converge, magically transforming into this vivid blue. If you want to know whether it is just an illusion or natural, you must go there to see it yourself. It is a trip worth taking.

Boat ride in Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge (5 hours)

The journey to Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, in Los Chilles near the Nicaragua border, takes us about 1.5 hours to reach. Despite being just 25 miles away, the drive involved dirt roads, which meant a slower pace.

Yet, don’t let the drive deter you. Skipping this adventure means taking advantage of spectacular wildlife encounters that are hard to find elsewhere in Costa Rica.

This refuge is a thriving wetland, a haven for water-loving plants, and a mosaic of clear, slowly flowing rivers like Rio Frío and tranquil ponds. It is a sanctuary of 384 bird species, caimans, iguanas, monkeys, and more.

View of green pastures.
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

February proved to be the best time for our visit. The shallow waters meant seeing the wildlife out in the open. It is also when both migratory and native Costa Rican birds live beside each other.

The wildlife was abundant: jacanas, anhingas, egrets, kingfishers, herons, stilts, lapwings, ducks, and vultures were everywhere. It was as if they were placed there just for us. There was no need to search; they were simply there in plain sight. The refuge was alive with their presence, offering an unforgettable two-hour boat ride.

A man and a woman in front of a blue white boat on the side of a brown colored river.
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

Apart from the birds, I counted 36 caimans, eerily still like logs, occasionally opening and closing their mouths to cool off. Additionally, I spotted 16 iguanas sunbathing atop thick branches of barren trees. Among them was a stunningly sizeable green iguana, distinguished by its long tail decorated with orange and black stripes. See the photo below that we took through our binoculars. It was truly magical to be there.

Iguana on a branch
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

Best time to visit

Choosing the best time to visit Costa Rica may be tricky as the country has four distinct climates. In the northern part, where Origins Lodge is located, the tropical monsoon climate prevails.

In this area, the dry season stretches from mid-February to mid-May, contrasting with other regions, where dryness may come as early as mid-December but end sooner.

Our journey at the end of February took us through the province of Guanacaste, where the landscape had already shifted to dry and brown. However, when we arrived at the corridor of the volcanoes, everything turned green again.

This corner of Costa Rica remains green year-round, making a visit to Origins Lodge during its dry season an ideal choice for those seeking pleasant weather.

How to get there

The closest international (as well as regional) airport is Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia, Guanacaste. It is approximately 70 miles away from the Lodge. Several major airlines fly here, including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Air Canada, Delta, JetBlue, KLM, Southwest, and United Airlines.

Arriving at Juan Santamaría International Airport near San José, as we did, Origins Lodge will arrange for a pick-up. The journey is longer, covering 140 miles, which took us about 4.5 hours. Truthfully, it was quite the journey, but talking to our driver about various topics and aazing out of the car window at the passing scenery made the time pass surprisingly quickly.

Alternatively, you can book a flight from San José to Liberia with Sansa Air. This regional airline operates between most Costa Rica airports. Book your regional flight well in advance, as their small airplanes fill up quickly.

In this map, I highlighted the location of Origins Lodge, the two international airports as well as the location of our off-site activities: Rio Celeste waterfall and Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge. Click on it to browse.

Costa Rica map with airports, sights, and Origins Lodge

Practical information

Are you sleeping with wildlife at Origins Lodge?

If it is your first time visiting Costa Rica, Origins Lodge offers the ideal setting to experience wildlife in a secure and comfortable environment. While many travelers seek closeness to nature, being too close for comfort – like sharing your sleeping quarters with wildlife – might be daunting. However, rest assured, the moment you enter the gates here, any unease dissipates.

Admittedly, I was anxious about encountering insects or, even more unnerving, snakes in my cabin. So I asked around.

To specifically ward off snakes, the cabins are encircled by citronella bushes and other plants repugnant to snakes, effectively forming a natural barrier.

Our guide, with over five years of service here, also mentioned only three occasions he saw poisonous snakes. All of which were deep in the forest and well away from the cabin areas.

At most, you might notice a small lizard darting beneath the door or spot some ants in the bathroom, but that is about the extent of it.

You will be “safely” tucked away inside the mosquito net the staff prepares for you every night. After spending four days in Origins Lodge, we did not even endured a mosquito bite.

What to bring with you

Even if you travel during the dry season, you should expect temperatures a few degrees lower than those at the beach or in lower areas. We recommend bringing lightweight, breathable, long pants, shorts, T-shirts, light jumper, hat, sunglasses, and waterproof hiking boots.

They will give one complimentary binoculars for each cabin (so two people). If you are not keen on sharing, I recommend you bring at least one extra.

Capturing photos of birds was a real challenge. Hummingbirds, especially, are incredibly fast. Although they are easy to spot with the naked eye, the moment you aim your phone or camera at them, they vanish. While many birds venture close enough for observation, photographing them with standard equipment will be difficult. You have two options: equip yourself with semi-professional photography gear or simply lean back, relax, and savor the view through your own eyes (or binoculars I mean).

Summary – Final Thoughts

I hope my review does justice to the incredible experience we had at Origins Lodge. Reading this, you might sense I could very well call it “A Love Letter to Origins Lodge.” It was exactly what I hoped for and more for my first visit to Costa Rica.

If I were to emphasize one aspect above all, it would be this. If your visit to Costa Rica is motivated by a desire to see LOTS of birds, do not think of doing only day trips to national parks. There, birds often remain hidden or too distant to observe. Also, you only get a couple of hours to look for them.

At Origins Lodge, birds are practically omnipresent 24/7. We are immensely grateful to Origins Lodge for their meticulous effort in cultivating the gardens into a paradise not just for guests but for birds as well.

A woman sitting on a mountain. Behind her is a lake.
Travel Writer | Website

Emese Maczko is a travel blogger behind Eco Lodges Anywhere. Having explored several destinations around Europe, the US, Indonesia, and Australia, and resided in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Luxembourg, Emese possesses a keen understanding of diverse cultures and an appreciation for the beauty of each destination she visits. She advocates for sustainable travel and ecotourism.