The Cataratas Bijagua Lodge is a fabulous oasis tucked into a volcanic paradise. The cabins are clean and well-kept and the comfy sling chairs can be pulled out onto your porch to really immerse yourself in the natural setting after a day exploring the area. If you've got back issues, the beds may give you a little trouble, but overall the accommodations exceeded our expectations based on the price point.
Do plan on arriving during the daylight hours - just like many area accommodations it can be a little tricky to see the signage after the sun has set.
Bring your English-Spanish dictionary as a few of the family members on site speak a little English, but you'll definitely want to be prepared to communicate in Spanish!
Breakfast comes with the room rate and it was definitely a delight. We also reserved dinner (just ask by noon or so) and we had the open air dining room all to ourselves - we'd recommend the chicken or the fish option - great as dinner options in town are somewhat limited.
If you want to have a cool drink, you'll have to get creative as there's no ice or fridge - a small travel cooler is recommended to keep your Imperials (the local beer) cool.
While we selected the area for the Rio Celeste hike, we were pleasantly surprised by other highlights of the area. The 3-hour round trip hike from the Lodge to a waterfall is strenuous, but well worth the effort - there's a stream crossing, so be prepared to go into rushing water up to your knees! If you aren't up for the long haul to the waterfall, the rushing stream that runs through the property is ideal for a refreshing dip!
The staff arranged a guide for us for our day at the Rio Celeste - which we'd absolutely recommend for wildlife spotting - although be advised that the park is fairly busy on weekends, so noisy humans tend to scare off much of the rest of the wildlife. The guides will try to rent you muck boots - I'd recommend against it - if you've got good hiking boots, just wear those - ill-fitting boots on a long hike are a recipe for blisters.
Our day guide, arranged a night hike in town (I wish I knew the name of the place, the people at "info Rio Celeste", the recommended day guides can connect you with the night guide.) It was the one thing from our whole trip that I would not miss. The tour started by crossing over a hanging bridge draped in a canopy of twinkle lights - we then were treated to a private tour of a small reserve which featured frogs, insects, sloths and we even had the opportunity to have a toucan perch on our shoulders - a night we'll not soon forget! The guide didn't speak English, but don't let a language barrier keep you from this unforgettable experience.