Arriving in San José and Zancudo Lodge

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I arrived in San José, Costa Rica without a problem. The plane was on time, there were no weather delays, and the transfer driver was exactly where I was told he would be — a perfect start to my week. After an overnight stay the Wyndham in San José, I was ready for a scenic flight along the Pacific coast to Golfito to visit the renovated Zancudo Lodge.

As I looked down at this mountainous country, I understood why the domestic flights are so plentiful here. Some of the roads that run along the ridge tops have steep drop offs on each side, and I was told it was a six-hour bus ride from San José to Golfito. No thanks. A 45-minute flight suits me much better!  The planes are Cessnas (C208B) with 25- to 30-pound baggage weight limits, but they are so convenient. I packed light knowing the lodge has laundry service and casual clothes are really all that’s needed.

I was met at the airport and transferred to the boat dock for my ride to the lodge. I enjoyed the water transfer with the warm wind in my face and the jungle-lined banks. I was excited to get there. Gregg and Goldine, owners of Zancudo Lodge, welcomed me at the dock and were eager to show me all the wonderful changes they had made. Gregg was right. It felt like a new lodge. Although I liked the “old” place just fine, Zancudo has been transformed into a five-star facility.

Where do I start? The landscaping is beautiful with mango, avocado, pineapple and almond trees. There’s a vegetable garden with micro greens and plenty of palm trees and bromeliads. Two inviting pavilions have been added where cocktails can be enjoyed as the sun sets over the Pacific. Imagine yourself there with the waves as your music, the pink sky your canvas, and a chilled Sauvignon blanc or cerveza to round it out, and all you can do is smile.

It’s a lush green paradise and not at all what you would expect in this small Costa Rican town. The rooms have all been renovated with new bathrooms, new beds and fresh colors. The lodge has two junior suites (I stayed in one). They are perfect for a couple, quite spacious and refreshingly decorated. If you really want to treat yourself, Zancudo has a spacious master suite with a separate bedroom along with a living room that faces the ocean.

Zancudo has an outstanding chef who enjoys bringing the garden alive on your plate, and he excels at preparing fresh local fish. There is a baker on the kitchen staff so forget it, you won’t lose a pound. Gregg, being a bit of a foodie himself, has a smoker to prepare his tuna and he also ages his own beef. Enough said.

Next on the Zancudo renovation list is fiber-optic cable which was being installed it while I was there. Yes, in this remote part of Costa Rica. Whoa!

By: Line A. Bouthillette, Senior Program Manager – Central America and Venezuela