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Playa Cativo in Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Occupying a serene spot on America's only tropical fiord along the Golfo Dulce, the boutique hotel of Playa Cativo is enveloped in the snug embrace of the Piedras Blancas National Park and set on 1000 acres of lush private rainforest. A tranquil beach overlooks the crystalline waters off the Southern Costa Rican coast and guests set up lounge chairs on the meticulously groomed lawn to gaze across the expanse. All quarters, designed in contemporary eco-luxe style, are kitted out with polished reclaimed hardwood floors and vaulted ceilings, and large picture windows for stellar ocean views. Accommodations are within steps of the sand and offer all modern comforts such as wireless Internet access, ceiling fans, in-room safes and coffee makers. Bathrooms provide soothing rainfall showers, biodegradable toiletries and plush cotton robes.

Playa Cativo is a prime spot to reconnect with nature by way of moseying around the groomed butterfly and bird-filled gardens. Or opt for a more adventurous manner to get up close and personal with Costa Rica's environment: Partake in a nocturnal rainforest expedition, a wetland bird watching tour or a half-day snorkeling excursion all organized by the hotel concierge. If it is pampering guests are after, they can book a plein air massage treatment or find inner balance during an al fresco Yoga class. More of a bookish type? Hole up at the hotel’s library and pick from a well-rounded selection of riveting reads. There is an outdoor fresh-water pool perfect for lazing in the sun after a day spent exploring – and a great spot to enjoy an ice-cold indigenous craft beer with mesmerizing sunset views. For dinner, turn to El Gavilán Restaurant. Seasonal organic produce harvested from the on-site farm and locally caught seafood is repurposed in traditional and modern Costa Rican and international dishes. Sit back, relax and experience Playa Cativo's striking native beauty and natural treasures for the ultimate peaceful beach escape.

Location of Playa Cativo

Playa Cativo
Playa Cativo, Golfito
Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Nearest Airport: SJO

Amenities for Playa Cativo

  • Dining
  • Outdoor Dining
  • Room Service
  • Organic Cuisine
  • Vegetarian Cuisine
  • Bar & Restaurant
  • On-Site Amenities
  • Hiking Trails
  • Library
  • Fitness Center
  • WiFi
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Gardens
  • Beach Access
  • In-Room Amenities
  • Private Patios or Balconies
  • Bathrobes
  • Ceiling Fans
  • Hair Dryers
  • In-Room Safes
  • Mini Bar
  • Luxury Bath Amenities
  • WiFi
  • Activities
  • Deep Sea Fishing
  • Fishing
  • Kayaking
  • Snorkeling
  • Nature Walks
  • Yoga
  • Whale Watching
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Paddleboarding
  • Hand Line Fishing
  • Nature Hikes
  • Nearby
  • Beach
  • National Park
  • Interests
  • Active & Adventure
  • Eco Friendly Luxury Vacations
  • Honeymoons & Romance

Reviews for Playa Cativo

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TripAdvisor Traveler Review Rating Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I don’t think one hotel has ever captured our hearts like Playa Cativo did. The location is truly stunning, the range of activities is fantastic, the food was delicious, but the people were exceptional. We were met at the airport by Federico for the short drive to the pier and the short but spectacular boat transfer to the lodge. He takes great pride in ensuring you have the best possible experience from start to finish, and by the end of the 4 nights, he felt more like an old friend. We genuinely miss him. We were lucky enough to be allocated the honeymoon suite, which is a spectacular room at one end of the facility, ensuring privacy....apart from the Howler Monkeys, who came to visit a couple of mornings. The bathroom is outdoors, which makes for a truly immersive experience in the canopy, and the balcony has amazing views over the Gulf. There’s no aircon as the lodge is eco friendly, but the fan is sufficient to keep you cool enough to sleep. Be ready to be woken early by the howler monkeys though! The lodge employs many younger people from the local community who work very hard to learn English and give you the best serving experience. It can be a bit sketchy at times, but the sincerity and authenticity of their approach and the genuine warmth of their attention makes you forgiving. The food was excellent, really enjoyed the locally inspired dishes, and the marlin ceviche was out of this world. Chef was always happy to try to accommodate special requests too. The guides are exceptional - Luis took us on a wonderful nature hike for our first encounter with Howler monkeys, and then to the organic garden, which is a lovely experience to taste the fresh herbs and coconut. Jose was our guide for the dolphin and snorkelling trip. We were a bit sceptical about the likelihood of seeing dolphins, but were treated to the most amazing encounter with bottle nose dolphins, up close, for 15-20 minutes. We then saw spotted dolphins from a distance, before we started the snorkelling, near the reef close to the shore. As a bonus, We also saw white faced capuchin monkeys in the trees right on the shoreline. Additional activities included kayaking through the mangroves and a primary rainforest hike again with Jose. He is an exceptional guide, very knowledgeable and very focussed on the guest experience. The spa is under construction, but inroom massages are available, and were excellent. We were genuinely sad to leave. It felt like a real wrench. And that was due to the warmth of our hosts....Federico, Jose, Luis, Ally, Stephen, Manuel and all the girls. We will definitely return. Just a matter of when.

RosieandTheBeagle - London, United Kingdom

TripAdvisor Traveler Review Rating Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Paradise does exist in the form of a spectacular eco-lodge called Playa Cativo, which is located across the Golfo Dulce from Puerto Jimenez and north along the coast from Golfito. Upon an impressive arrival by boat, my friend and I were greeted by the warm and welcoming staff with a delicious chilled beverage and scented towels. We were escorted to our private casitas which were luxurious and perfectly appointed for this tropical setting. The private plunge pool was an added afternoon delight. The grounds were lush with beautifully maintained tropical plants that were nothing less than spectacular in beauty. While waking each morning to the sound of howler monkeys, there is no escaping the excitement of knowing where you are and how you are about to experience your day. Our day began with the Introduction to the Tropical Rainforest Guided Tour. On our first stop we visited the organic farm where we viewed the gardens and tasted fresh coconut. Such mouthwatering produce is incorporated in each artistically crafted meal prepared by the chef. As we continued on, we encountered formidable wild peccaries, which are native pigs to Costa Rica. We ended our tour with a leisurely walk on the beach. Later that evening we wrapped up our day with the Nocturnal Rainforest Guided Expedition. We marveled at the many Red-eyed Tree Frogs intermingled with other species. Our second day began with kayaking through the Rio Esquinas Mangrove where we learned about the ecological importance of the mangroves. We came upon a baby crocodile and many native species of birds. As the tide receded, we boarded the “picnic barge”. The picnic barge is a pontoon style boat where we were offered a light lunch. While boating back to the lodge we were greeted by a mother dolphin and her calf, a sea turtle, an Eagle Ray and Stingray, which was definitely a highlight! On our final day we visited the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary where we were introduced to an ocelot, a sloth and a spider monkey named Rosie and her 5 month old baby. Wellness is integrated into the Playa Cativo culture. I enjoyed a relaxing facial and a rejuvenating yoga session. The view from the yoga platform looked out over the water with Blue Morpho butterflies and hummingbirds fluttering in the forefront. The food was fresh and healthy, beautifully plated and delicious. I could not get enough of the Ceviche and the fresh fruit. The highlight of our culinary experience was the table side service of red snapper paired with a crisp white. Hats off to the chef and service staff. All was well executed, flavorful and extraordinarily outstanding. Thank you to all of my new friends for your outstanding service and making my visit a trip of a lifetime! Playa Cativo is superb. I have been home over a week now and I am still dreaming about Costa Rica. Pura Vida!

Emily T - Middleburg, Virginia

TripAdvisor Traveler Review Rating Reviewed 2 weeks ago

From my arrival to Playa Cativo Lodge, being greeted by a genuinely warm and welcoming I immediately felt the day-to-day tensions of life ease away. The lodge offers a beautiful open vista of the water and grounds, allowing for the exquisite sounds of the birds and wildlife in their natural environment. My hacienda, tastefully done, was not lacking in any detail, the design and décor blending in with the surrounding nature. Clearly dedicated to conserving their natural ecosystem, the Playa Cativo team did an exceptional job in educating and sharing with us the opportunity to see some of the amazing wildlife that surrounds the lodge. Our first day allowed for a leisurely walk, catching sight of Blue Morpho’s as well as other butterflies in a newly created open butterfly habitat, later in our walk we observed several peccaries grazing on grass, oblivious to us tourists and allowing for some great up-close photos, then we took a break to eat fresh coconut --- a wonderful start to an amazing week! During an evening walk we were up close and personal to a red-eyed tree frog as well as an opportunity to observe other nightlife species. My personal favorite was the kayak tour, learning about the different mangrove species and how vital they are to the ecosystem, observing many amazing bird species as well as a friendly baby crocodile! After the kayak tour we were taken to a pontoon to relax and enjoy some refreshments and were immediately greeted by dolphins, schools of beautifully colored fish, a spotted eagle ray and even a sea turtle swimming languidly around the boat! With the many adventures I had, I was able to set aside time to relax at the pool, a yoga session, which took a few more years off of me, then a little more time relaxing at the pool! The meals at Playa Cativo were exceptional, the flavors and presentation of the dishes were outstanding, with my personal favorite being red snapper served table side, creating an exceptional experience! Throughout my stay, I was continuously impressed with the staff, each and every one clearly passionate for excellence in service. There was not one person I met that did not have a warm smile and greeting and always available to answer questions and provide thoughtful service. Without a doubt, Playa Cativo Lodge is where memories are made!

Deborah H

TripAdvisor Traveler Review Rating Reviewed 1 month ago

This is not a review, but a report of our booking experience. In early July 2017 we contacted the Lodge and booked the Wildlife and Birding Lovers package for five nights in January 2018. We paid a 25% deposit (over 1,000 dollars). Unfortunately in mid October we were informed that they 'must rearrange our reservation' due to problems with the construction work being done to expand the property. We were unable to alter our itinerary, so they helped us to book another lodge in the Piedras Blancas National Park. After several emails, our deposit was finally refunded towards the end of November. In January 2018, on a boat trip in the Golfo Dulce, we saw builders working atop another multi storey building being constructed at the Lodge. Importantly, these booking problems were the only ones we experienced during our five week stay in Costa Rica. But beware ... we were disappointed with the cancellation and concerned about the seven week delay in returning our deposit.

Worksop - UK

TripAdvisor Traveler Review Rating Reviewed 1 month ago

Wow what an amazing place. We were so lucky that they kept the place open for our stay in December. The hotel is undergoing construction/expansion, which was meant to have finished in Oct but overran, hence it closing from Jan-April i believe. Like the review below we were informed in late October, and the hotel even generously offered us 50% back as compensation against the works. No problems with this refund, and i'm so glad we didn't look elsewhere. The works did not bother us one bit, most of the work was done to the buildings and it looked like just some landscaping to be finished when we arrived just before Christmas. The place is simply amazing, love the feel of the old big house with a few areas to chill in, read, play games, have a drink... We stayed in Cativo lodge, so a bit away from the main building. Perfect with its glassless windows opening into the bay. A couple of loungers in the garden area, and loved how they have a minibar in the porch/veranda area, peferct to enjoy a evening beer in. Oh and the open bathroom, AMAZING. From the toilet you can see the sea, and the shower you can see the hills and the jungle. Also love how they kept to an eco friendly philosophy whilst still providing luxury. Really an example for all hotels. No needless daily washing of towels and bedsheets. Bath products are all natural and eco friendly. And the hotel is powered by Solar and Water power only! Wifi was everywhere, not that you need it with such nature. No need for alarms as the howler monkeys start before sunrise. So much nature around. Also when we were relaxing by the pool one morning the howlers were relaxing on the trees up the hills, so one of the guides set up a telescope so we could spy on them. Just one of the little things the staff kept on doing to make it such an amazing stay. All the staff were wonderful, unfortunately i can only remember a few names now, but what an awesome job they did every day to make our stay and trips perfect. For us at the end of an adventurous 10 days travelling, this was the perfect place to relax and not do a lot, still we explored the grounds, made a couple of trips to the pier, saw the farm, hiked to the waterfall, saw lots of dolphins and did some snorkeling. And all with exquisite service. The Chef was amazing. For three nights we had different veggie meals, and he even let us in to his kitchen to see some of his trade secrets. Delicious and healthy food! Really do wish i was still there more than a month later. I guess my only concern would be how they maintain the level of service when they have more guests. I hope i get to go back one day and find out for myself.

Chi0Nine - London, United Kingdom

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