Wondering where to stay in Costa Rica? Here I share my experience of staying at Drift Away Eco Lodge in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is well known as one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world. Nearly 30% of the country is protected as national park or reserve, and almost 95% of the nation’s energy comes from local renewable resources.
So on our recent family trip to Costa Rica, I was eager to see and experience their conservation efforts. I started searching for an eco lodge that was both family AND environmental friendly, somewhere quiet and remote where we could be surrounded by nature.
When Drift Away Eco Lodge sent me an invite a few months before our trip, it felt like the stars were aligned. The eco lodge was exactly what I was looking for: a lush green escape for families who were seeking some peace in nature.
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Drift Away Eco Lodge Review
An Eco-Friendly Hotel
During our stay, we were thrilled to find that Drift Away showed a true commitment to the eco-principles it touts. Firstly, the eco lodge is free of single-use plastic. In each room, they provide water in glass bottles as well as stainless steel bottles that we were encouraged to use and carry anywhere during our stay.
They also provide toiletries made from natural locally sourced products. Beds feature organic cotton sheets and plush hypoallergenic feather pillows produced by fair-trade companies. They really paid attention to every single detail.
All rooms at the Drift Away Eco Lodge are also outfitted with locally made wooden furniture, and accented with touches of driftwood decor again sourced from the area. The bathrooms feature hand-carved wooden sinks made by a local carpenter and duo-flush eco-toilets.
Location of Drift Away Eco Lodge
Besides their eco-friendly ethos, what I also love about Drift Away is their “off the beaten path” location. Located in the Guanacaste region on the northern Pacific coast, Drift Away Eco Lodge is surrounded by some of Costa Rica’s best swimming and surfing beaches.
Just 200m from the hotel gate is Playa Lagartillo, a wild and rugged beach that is almost always empty. Playa Avellanas, a great swimming and surfing beach is just 1km away and Playa Negra, an excellent surfing beach is just 2km away. While the waves weren’t exactly safe for our 4-year-old daughter, the beach was an excellent natural playground for kids.
Even though the touristy town of Tamarindo is just a 20-minute drive away, Drift Away is surrounded by wild forests inhabited by howler monkeys and anteaters (We saw one crossing the road at night!). The road that leads to Drift Away is an unpaved, rocky road and the whole area is rugged and free from development. There is no real center in the area, and that is exactly the appeal for us.
Things to Do in Playa Avellana
Those traveling Costa Rica with kids will be happy to know there’s no shortage of fun things to do in Tamarindo and the Playa Avellanas area. You can go surfing or SUP right on the beach of the lodge. Drift Away also offers free rentals of bicycles, surf boards, boogie boards, and beach umbrellas. We rented their boogie board and went body surfing a few times. It was the first time our 4-year-old daughter Kaleya tried surfing and she had a blast!
The lodge also organises yoga retreats and it’s possible to go kayaking or on a boat trip in the estuary nearby. Other activities include horseback riding, zip lining, and mountain biking all within the area surrounding Drift Away.
But I didn’t want to make the mistake of packing too many activities into our Costa Rica itinerary (otherwise my husband complains, so I made sure to give us plenty of time to chill out and relax. Drift Away Eco Lodge was just the perfect place to do that.
Features at Drift Away Eco Lodge
Staying at Drift Away Eco Lodge truly felt like an escape and we relished it with long days at the swimming pool, sipping fruit smoothies and enjoying healthy local Costa Rican food.
The pool was our favorite spot at Drift Away — it’s big and clean, with a beautiful waterfall feature (not a jacuzzi as that doesn’t fit with their sustainability beliefs!) and a shallow wading pool perfect to keep the little ones safe. We spent every morning at the pool, doing canon balls and lazing on the noodle floats.
In the afternoon, we would swing on the hammocks right outside our villa or head to the pavilion. The space doubles as a yoga room and a play room for kids. There’s a whole collection of board games, dominoes and books here to keep you entertained.
The open-air breakfast bar at the Drift Away also has a pool table and ping pong table, perfect for surfing buddies and yoga mates to hang out at. We tend to chill out at the area after our heavy breakfast before heading to the pool.
Our Villa at Drift Away
Another thing I really like about Drift Away was how small and intimate it is. There are only 12 rooms at the lodge, ranging from standard twin rooms to two-bedroom villas. The property was also completely renovated in 2018, so all their rooms are brand new, fresh and spanking clean.
We stayed at a two-bedroom villa and loved the amount of space we had. I wouldn’t call it a “villa” though as it felt more like an apartment. But it was the right size for our small family (just my husband, our 4-year-old daughter and myself).
The interior of the villa is tastefully designed, with locally made wooden furniture and driftwood decor. The sofa and beds feature cotton sheets and pillow cases made from local textiles. Both bedrooms (one king and one twin) are decorated with ply wood headboards and shelves, giving off a beach-hut feel.
The open concept living and kitchen area was a great spot for us to hang out in the evenings, especially when we chose to stay in and cook our own dinner. Besides the standard cutler and utensils, the kitchen also has a French Press and organic artisan coffee and locally made loose leaf tea. I was very impressed by their minibar, which was stocked with locally brewed Kombucha, iced tea and craft beers — things that are hard to find in typical hotels!
Healthy Living at Drift Away
I absolutely loved the free breakfasts that they offer to all guests. You can choose from a typical Costa Rican breakfast, eggs and toast, or yogurt with granola — all served with a fresh fruit bowl, fruit juice and local coffee/tea. My favorite dish was the traditional gallo pinto (rice and beans) and I honestly looked forward to it every morning.
The juice bar is another awesome spot that serves healthy drinks and food all day. On their menu, you’ll find delicious lactose-free home-made coco mora ice cream and sangria made with local wine.
Their smoothies are absolutely yummy — I kept going back for the mint chocolate dream smoothie. I made a special request and they even turned my smoothie into an adult drink with some rum! They also serve simple, healthy lunch options including hummus sandwiches and quinoa with black bean salads.
Overall Review of Drift Away Eco Lodge
Drift Away Eco Lodge isn’t fancy or luxurious. It’s simple and rustic, perfect for those who are looking to immerse in a quiet part of Costa Rica where tourists are few and far between. It’s a place where you can go to get away from it all, and still have as many adventures as you like.
If you’re looking for the all-inclusive experience, this isn’t the place for you. If you are looking to go off the beaten path, completely let your hair down AND do your part to conserve the environment, then this place is perfect for you.
Disclaimer: Our stay was made possible by Drift Away Eco Lodge, but as always, the opinions expressed above are my own.