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Reviewed 9 April 2014

Came here with a group of five friends, rooms were simple, clean and had everything we needed. Bert made us good food. We didn't eat there all the time, ventured into town quite a bit, but Bert provided us with lots of entertainment, including a spontaneous concert with his local friends. The ocean views are breathtaking. Early morning wake ups with the beautiful birds and monkeys is something I still think about a year later.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Liza R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 July 2013

We just returned from an unbelievable 10-day stay at Bella Vista Lodge and loved every minute of it! This was the perfect place to get away from it all and just chill. You will need to rent a small 4x4 to ford a small river and negotiate the unpaved road up to the property as well as explore this southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica - most side roads are unpaved. Vamos car rental (vamos4x4.com) has the best prices and took great care of us.

The lodge itself is a rustic 80-year old farmhouse sitting in what is really just a clearing in the jungle that has been lovingly restored by operator Bert Woodson to provide a fabulous back-to-basics vacation experience. If you are a metrosexual from South Beach, this is not the spot for you. But if you want to experience the serenity of nature while enjoying incredible panoramic views over the Pacific and sunsets over Manuel Antonio Park like you've never seen before, this is the spot.

Rooms in the lodge and in the cabin below are basic and comfortable, each with its own bath and on-demand hot shower. We were perfectly comfortable and happy without air conditioning or TV - that's not what Bella Vista Lodge is about. There is free WiFi though, so we didn't have to be completely disconnected unless we chose to be.

But the real secret ingredient in making our stay so enjoyable was Bert Woodson, an experienced restaurant chef and hospitality professional who moved to Dominical 2 1/2 years ago and lovingly restored the lodge.

Bert (the unofficial mayor of Dominical) knows everybody in town and can connect you with all kinds of day-trip activities - we went horseback riding on the beach with a lunch break at a restaurant on the beach (La Parcela) with great ocean views. Another day we took another horseback ride to Nuayaca Falls that included breakfast and lunch Tico-style with the friendly family that conducted the ride.

Bert can also hook you up with fishing trips, zip line tours, surf lessons, etc. There is also limited shopping in Dominical and other towns nearby. Great Friday night fun and entertainment at a club called Roca Verde, too.

Dominical is a surfing hotspot - three of our fellow guests at the Lodge (Mark, Dave and Brian) had come down to spend a week just for the surfing. The two friendly, helpful guys working with Bert (Shayne and Jed) are also surfers and all five of them had a great time during a week of exceptionally big surf.

Jed and Shayne made breakfast for us before we started our day - we loved Jed's spicy Yuca cakes! Bert asked the group what we wanted for dinner each day and then went out (sometimes on horseback) to secure fresh fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, etc. that we all ate family-style on the porch watching the sun go down over the Pacific and the stars then fill the sky.

With the low ambient light high on the mountainside, we could see the stars like never before and used an iPad app to figure out the constellations - different this close to the equator.

If you want a place where you can kick back, do anything you want or nothing at all and make lifetime friends in the process, you can't beat Bella Vista Lodge and Bert Woodson.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank JJacobsFlorida
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 April 2013 via mobile

Only stayed for 1 night but we were impressed with how nice Bert & his staff were, how gorgeous the view was & how delicious dinner was, especially the strawberry pie for dessert! Unfortunately one of the poor dogs was agitated, itchy & stinky from a fight wound on her back & kept darting in & out from under the table during dinner...would've lost my appetite if the food didn't taste so good!

  • Stayed: April 2013
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Thank amaanda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 April 2013

I had such a great time in Bella Vista Lodge that i'm counting the days when i will go back there!
Bert is such a nice, helpful and with a great sense of humor person. On the top of that he is a great cook as well. It was such a pleasure staying in his lodge and enjoying the breathtaking ocean view, tasty food and nice company. I will strong recommend to all adventurous,easy going people who love the nature in it's pure state. PURA VIDA!

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Kristi3000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 April 2013

What a cool spot! We were a group of 4 friends who visited over Semana Santa and Bert let us make a last minute reservation over the phone - we even brought our dogs!

The property was beautiful and Bert and the other staff were the best (according to him, "The only rule is, there are no rules!"). Our house was awesome, had a very large bathroom with a great shower. Although the house was rustic, it was very airy with screens over all the windows and could easily sleep 5 or 6. The beds were super comfy and there was a great hammock on the porch. Kitchen was pretty sparse, but you don't need to cook when Bert has dinner planned!

Definitely sign up to eat family-style with the rest of the guests. Our food was delicious and the 3-course menu was perfectly representative of fine Costa Rican dining. Bert had great recommendations for things to do around Dominical and we really enjoyed exploring the area.

Although our stay was brief we were so glad to have made a new friend in Bert and hope to come back and visit again soon!

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank HPotterCR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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