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The Bar At Finca Exotica In Carate, Osa Penninsula, Costa Rica

Costa Rica: Carate – Finca Exotica Eco Lodge (Review)

Finca Exotica Eco Lodge is located in Carate, a small beach community which is a 2-hour drive along some very rough roads from Puerto Jimanez on the Osa Pennisula

Lying in the gorgeous Osa Peninsula in the southern region of Puntarenas province, Carate is located right next to the amazingly beautiful Corcovado National Park on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Carate is situated near the La Leona Ranger Station on the eastern end of Corcovado National Park, around 50 km south of Drake Bay. Surrounded by lush green tropical primary rainforests, Carate is often referred to as one of Costa Rica’s best-kept secrets. This is because not many people come here on vacation. This is what attracted me to make the journey to Carate.

As with getting to most places in the Osa Penninsula the journey to Carate is part of the adventure. We decided to drive to Puerto Jimenez and leave our rental car there. The road from the coastal highway to Puerto Jimenez is paved and in good condition. The same cannot be said of the road from there to Carate – which we had read several accounts of as being sketchy. Having already braved, and survived the roads in Monteverde we did not want to chance our luck further. In recent years the Costa Rican government has invested in improving the roads, especially putting in bridges to reduce the number of river crossings. At the time of writing, there is just one crossing left. The terms of our rental agreement specifically called out river crossings, so I decided not to take any chances and hired a taxi to take us on the ride from Puerto Jimenez to Carate. The cost was $60 each way – but peace of mind made it worth it for us.

There were not a lot of options for secure parking in Puerto Jimenez, but our taxi driver suggested we ask the owners at Cabina Jimenez if we could park there and they kindly agreed and I paid them $20 for the three nights we would be in Carate (they did not ask for this I just volunteered to pay them).

The road to Carate, as predicted was rough. It is not paved (must be horrible in the green season) and it is full of deep and gnarly potholes. Some were so large they would have swallowed our Kia saloon whole. The road conditions mean that you can’t get any speed up along the route, so despite only being about 60km from Puerto Jimenez to Carate the journey took us about 1 hour and 45-minutes to complete. We arrived James Bond-style – shaken but not stirred.

Finca Exotica Eco Resort

We were booked in for 3-nights at the Finca Exotica Eco Resort, one of a handful of hotels and resorts that lay along this remote stretch of coast on the Osa Penninsula. There are not many options for places to eat in the area, so I had booked us in for full board.

The accommodation at Finca Exotica is made up of tents. We stayed in one of the rustic tents, which had a single small space with a queen-sized bed, which was comfortable and that was about it – very little space around. It was very private though. We felt incredibly close to nature and the sounds of the rainforest were all around us. It was amazing to be woken in the morning by the calls of toucans and macaws. We didn’t have a private toilet – the bush served us at night – but we did have our own little outdoor shower. Of course, there was no air conditioning so it was somewhat uncomfortable at night.

None of this mattered because we were in paradise. The grounds of Finca Exotica were amazing. The thick rainforest was our backyard. We loved it here!

Our jungle tent at Finca Exotica Eco Resort
One of the paths leading through the ground of Finca Exotica Eco Lodge

Our favourite part of Finca Exotica was the Casa Grande Rainforest Restaurant, where all the meals were served. Set on a hill it provided a panoramic view across the resort and out the Pacific. In the mornings we would arrive early before breakfast to sip on delicious Costa Rican coffee and watch the macaws, toucans and parrots flying among the trees. In the evenings we would enjoy the sunsets and share meals and drinks with new friends. It was probably one of our favourite places we have been on any of our travels. And that is saying something. Finca Exotica Eco Lodge is a truly special place.

The bar at Finca Exotica in Carate
The deck of the Casa Grande Rainforest Restaurant at the Finca Exotica Eco Lodge
Morning view from the Casa Grande Restaurant
Sunset from the Casa Grande Restaurant

Take a one-minute walk from Finca Exotica and you will be on the near-deserted beach of Playa Carate. This beach does not have golden sands, but its palm-lined shores are nonetheless beautiful.

We loved going here to relax and spend time in the water. The sea is not ideal for young children as the rip currents can be very strong. The safest time to enjoy the water is a couple of hours around low tide.

In Carate, you will have the opportunity to watch Pacific Ridley sea turtles, Leatherback sea turtles, Green sea turtles, and Hawksbill sea turtles, come ashore to nest and lay their eggs on the beach. Olive Ridley turtles have a year-round primary nesting site at Playa Carate on the southern Osa Peninsula, peaking in June–December.

Finca Exotica is a relaxing getaway but you would be missing an opportunity if during your stay you did not visit the adjacent and amazing Corcovado National Park. The resort offers tours into the Park, which in our opinion is the best park for wildlife in Costa Rica. For more information about Corcovado National Park check out our blog post about our visit there.

In Summary …

We loved our stay at the Finca Exotica Eco Lodge. Carate is a beautiful and remote place and is wonderful if you love to be immersed in nature and escape the crowds. Carate is extremely secluded. You won’t find a Walmart or McDonald’s and you might have a hard time finding a gas station. So if you decide to drive make sure you fill up a rental car whenever you get the chance and come prepared with lots of food and water. 

Here are some closing thoughts:

  • The accommodation is rustic – don’t come expecting luxury. If you don’t like the thought of outdoor showers then this may not be the place for you!
  • There is no air-conditioning so the nights can be a bit uncomfortable. You will also likely be woken up early by the sounds of the jungle.
  • There are not many, if any, places to eat outside the resort, apart from possibly other resorts. This is not a party place!

Getting to Finca Exotica Eco Lodge

The road to Carate’s is intended for 4×4 vehicles. If you plan on driving, prepare for a long, bumpy drive. On your way there you can stop to enjoy lonely beautiful beaches and giant trees.

You can also charter a domestic flight. Carate has a small landing strip for those who wish to avoid the long drive and see the rich Costa Rica rainforest from above! When we stayed in Carate some people arrived by autogyro – which I learned are more like an aeroplane than a helicopter! I hear they are quite safe, but not sure I fancy proving that out. Apparently, Costa Rica is one of the few countries in the world where you can legally take an autogyro tour.

 

Location:CGRW+G7H, Playa Carate a lado del parque nacional Corcovado Peninsula de Osa, Carate,
Telephone:+506 8828 0817
Website:https://www.fincaexotica.com/
Type:Tented Eco Camp
Pricing:$$

Best time to visit Carate

Carate is a jungle beach area that is usually hot and humid. Daytime highs are typically in mid-80s to low 90s and overnights lows are normally in the low to mid-70s. As it is a rainforest area, you can expect at least some rain.

The dry season in the Osa Peninsula is mainly between January and April. The roads are not as safe during the rainy season (May-November) and camping is not as enjoyable.

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