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Isla Violin Eco-Lodge
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Reviewed 24 February 2017

Our stay at Isla Violin Eco-Lodge was a fantastic experience. We were picked up by Elizabeth, her husband Andy, brother Giovanni and his little son by boat in Sierpe. The hour and a half trip to the island was wonderful. We arrived in the afternoon and were treated to a glass of star fruit juice from fruit on the property. We stayed in the Cabana Toucan which had plenty of room and the furnishings were made with local woods. Very rustic and cool. The cabana was very private and surrounded by nature not to mention all the beautiful flowering plants put in by the owners. Every time we went out I saw something flowering that I hadn’t noticed before.
We spent 4 days at the Eco-Lodge. Every afternoon we toured the jungle with Carlos. Although he spoke little English and we spoke no Spanish he was a fantastic guide. We learned so much from him and had so much fun. This was a value added part of the trip we never expected. Carlos was so much fun and so filled with life. You need to meet this guy.
Our first morning there we went on the tour of Corcovado National Park. Giovanni took us through the river to the ocean where we transferred to a larger boat. That in itself was an adventure. We hooked up with other travelers at Drake Bay and had a wonderful ride to the park. On the way we saw a humpback whale and her calf. The park is a must see. So many animals!
Our second morning we did a day kayak of the mangrove swamps with Elizabeth. Elizabeth speaks excellent English and is a trained guide. It was a wonderful experience.
The next morning we hiked through the jungle and forest to a secluded beach. It was a beautiful spot where you could walk for hours and explore the caves and beach. That evening we did the night kayak with Elizabeth. We saw Scarlet Macaws, sloths, other birds and a baby crocodile. It was so beautiful and serene being in the mangroves and river in the evening. There was a wonderful surprise on the way back but I will not spoil it for you. Just go to Isla Violin and experience it for yourself.
The food was delicious and varied. We had different fresh juices with every meal. Andy and Rosa did a great job making delicious food that was beautifully presented. The day we kayaked we found Carlos already in the water in his kayak. He was catching crabs from the mangroves which he used as bait to catch the red snapper that Andy prepared for dinner. It doesn’t get better than that.
The entire family was very kind, gracious, and accommodating. The kids were cute and funny. Our time there was an exciting adventure and I would not trade that experience for anything. This place is a must see!
The gardens and farm and all the vegetation were amazing. There are chickens and cattle to enjoy not to mention you never know what you’ll see in the jungle. It was an exciting time and if you want an adventure come here and spend at least 4 days.
We retuned to Sierpe with Elizabeth, her mom, and her son. Another great trip and we even saw capuchin monkeys.

  • Stayed: January 2017, travelled as a couple
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Thank Gloria J. S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 January 2017

The stay at Isla Violin was a wonderful experience. It started with being picked up by Jeannette (spelling?), Elizabeth and her little son by boat in Sierpe - all our luggage was put on the boat and off we went through the canals, the mangroves and the Pacific for about an hour and a half. That alone was an experience worthwhile! We arrived in the dark. What a different and great place! Since I was afraid of mosquitos in standing water, Carlos, who came down and managed to bring all of our luggage all the way up the hill to our cabin, even carried me backpack for a few steps so that I was on solid ground :)
We had the "honeymoon" cabin all the way on top. It was very nice with mosquito nets over the beds, and we had a nice bathroom and shower. We happened to have very hot and humid temperature when we were there, so probably best to take a cold shower here and there. The cabins are surrounded by nature which is wonderful.
The food was wonderful and very tasty with a great variety.
It was a fantastic experience to hike through the forest all the way to a secluded beach which was simply beautiful. It was adventurous to find our way, but orange ribbons and explanations given by the hosts helped us.
The gardens and farm with their wild vegetation was amazing. I must say that the eight roosters woke me up super early every morning, and they just keep on going once they start!
Tours to Corcovado and to a nearby island for snorkeling etc can be arranged - we preferred just enjoying the premises before traveling on...
This is a beautiful place and I would highly recommend the experience to explore the mangroves this closely.

Room Tip: Not a hotel, cabins on property. Would recommend deluxe, if possible honeymoon cabin (one larger and one twin bed with mosquito nets).
  • Stayed: January 2017, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Bettina K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 September 2016

We had a great stay at this eco-farm/lodge. The family that runs the business told us it was their goal to make us feel that we were part of the family - and they succeeded. We were met in Sierpe by one of the family members who took us through magnificent mangroves on the way to the island. We stayed in the Toucan lodge which had a double bed, a single bed, bathroom and shower under a metal roof with wood/bamboo frame and canvas walls. It was the furthest away from the main house and felt wonderfully private. We enjoyed sitting on the hammock swing in front of the house, especially at sun rise. The hummingbirds were so abundant and we had a nest of baby birds in the tree a few feet away. At night we enjoyed watching the fire bugs and the bats. We heard kinkajous each night coming down the mountain to each the ripe fruit off the many fruit trees on the property. We had a sloth visit one day and an agouti one evening. During our kayaking tour of the mangroves we saw many crabs and birds and one baby crocodile. The herons and macaws were our favorites.

We were taken on a tour of the farm and shown all of the fruit trees, corn plants (all planted by hand), cows and chickens. Did you know that chickens love fresh coconut? Ask Carlos about it when you are there.

During our stay we went on two excursions – hiking in Corcovado National Park and snorkeling at Cano Island. Transportation from the island started early in the morning as we were transported by boat through the mangroves to the Sierpe river. There we transferred to another boat that took us to Drake Bay. In Drake Bay we joined other vacationers for our tours. At Corcovado National Park we saw spider monkeys, howler monkeys and squirrel monkeys – three of the four types of monkeys that you can find in the park. We also were able to see a tapir that decided to go to sleep near the beach. The snorkeling at Cano Island was amazing. Sharks, turtles, rays and so many different kinds of fish were easy to spot in the clear waters. The most memorable experience was hearing the songs of the humpback whales that were feeding and playing just a few miles from where we snorkeled.

Overall, this was a great place to stay and refresh the soul. No noise other than the sounds of nature, beautiful evenings lit by the moon, and amazing home cooked meals. There were just two very small items that I would change – we had one hammock chair and it would have been nice to have two and the shower was a little on the cool side.

  • Stayed: August 2016, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Toadie_of_the_North
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2015

We spent a wonderful time in at Isla Violin Eco-Lodge. I'll always remember it fondly, because we could really relax here, enjoy nature and the amazing hospitality of the family running the lodge.

The lodge is situated on an island in the mangrove river delta in the Humedal Nacional Térraba Sierpe. This mangrove region offers many canals, birdlife, waterlife, as well as various species of mangrove trees. We saw various crocodiles, monkeys, iguanas, lots of birds and more on our way over to the lodge, because you can only reach it by boat.
Arranging a boat pickup was easily done by e-mail, communications were clear and prompt.

The lodge itself is situated at the end of a creek and lies on a hill, offering some views of the surrounding region, though the views are mainly jungle.

The accommodation we had was a hut/bungalow. The walls were green mesh, which offered a view to outside. The hut did have lights and some outlets to charge devices. The bathroom was outside in the back, surrounded by none see-through mesh. . Taking a shower outside, in the middle of jungle was definitely amazing. At night you would sometimes hear animals scurrying around. I ended up seeing an Armadillo at night once.

On the property we saw many many animals, sloths, birds (toucans). One morning we were awoken by a Laughing Falcon, or as we and the locals dubbed it: "the alarm-clock bird". Fun experience :)

At Isla Violin they offer many tours. I feel that some of them might be a bit overpriced. We did the snorkeling tour which involved them bringing us out to the main river, where we changed into a different boat that brought us out to Cano Island for snorkeling. On the way back we were picked up again, this time by kayaks as the tide was to low to pick us by boat. This tour was definitely a great value.
We spent three nights here, and on our second day, we decided to hike to the beach on the other side of the island. This was a pristine and almost deserted beach, though it was an our hike over a fairly steep hill. There is no other beach close to the property.

As for the food offered, it was nothing short of amazing. Everything was very fresh and expertly prepared. We for example had an amazing orange chicken. You have dinner at a communal table near the main house and outdoor kitchen. The family, including some children lives around there as well and it was fun to interact with them. They are a lovely bunch and maybe a bit too modest! Also we were there at New Years, and we did some BBQíng that night for dinner, which was fun as well.

  • Stayed: December 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Steven H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 July 2014

There are a lot of eco-retreats in Costa Rica, but Isla Violin really is an eco-retreat. This little island paradise is entirely family-run and is ideal for people looking to escape into nature and learn about the environment and sustainable living.

We enjoyed the motor boat ride to and from the island, which is about an hour long, but the views are amazing, especially if you travel during sunrise like we did.

We absolutely loved our tour of the farm - as Alberto and his family grow all of the food they eat on their farm! - and even had a chance to milk the cow! We learned a lot about growing food and even about some fruit and veggies we hadn't known existed. The family cook up some great meals with their own produce, and we loved trying the red bananas that we've never seen anywhere else before!

During our stay, we had great fun kayaking through the mangroves and out to the Sierpe river. Alberto was an excellent guide, charming and with incredible English - we loved speaking with him about his home, about Costa Rica, and just about life and living. He really made our stay amazing.

The cabins are great. They are spaced out from each other, meaning you have your own little piece of the jungle. The walls are made from a green mesh, which you can partially see through, so you can see all of the animals outside during the day and at night! It's a fabulous idea. Whilst we were staying, we saw an armadillo up close!! We were really lucky!

Thank you to Alberto and his family for welcoming us into their eco-lodge and teaching us about your farm, nature and Costa Rica.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank CharlieonTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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