Iguana Lodge by Lauren Cleaver in Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica

Global Yodel recently had the opportunity to experience the Iguana Lodge in Puerto Jimenez on the beautiful Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica.

Lodge owner Lauren Cleaver says “the Iguana Lodge sits on the best beach in the Osa.” That’s a bold statement as there are a lot of amazing beaches on the peninsula. But she may just be right. 

This place is a dream. The lodge sits on a gorgeous stretch of dark sand that goes on for miles and miles. You don’t have to dodge any crowds here. In fact, you will probably run into only a few people on the beach.

The remote location and lack of people don’t mean you have to sacrifice eating and drinking well. There are two great restaurants on the property, one with casual food and one that serves gourmet dinners and breakfasts. 

This is a special remote place perfect for sun soaked days and dreamy starry nights. 

We sat down with Iguana Lodge owner/operator Lauren Cleaver to learn more about this special lodge on one of the most epic beaches in Costa Rica.

Name:Lauren Cleaver

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Place you live: Puerto Jimenez, Osa Peninsula.

Can you sum up the Osa Peninsula? The Osa is the most remote, tropical peninsula left in Central America. Located on the Pacific Coast near Panama, the Osa boasts Corcovado National Park and is home to a variety of flora and fauna.  National Geographic describes the Osa as, “the Last Great Peninsula.”

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Occupation: We own Iguana Lodge. Prior to moving down here 15 years ago with our children, we were criminal defense attorneys in Colorado.

Will you tell us about the Iguana Lodge? Iguana Lodge is on the best beach on the Osa. We have 12 acres, 19 rooms, two restaurants, two yoga studios, and a 20-meter pool with jacuzzi and spa.


What is unique about the Iguana Lodge? Iguana Lodge is the only high-end lodge on the Osa actually located on a beach, and a gorgeous beach it is. Iguana Lodge specializes in excellent food, adventures, yoga, community involvement, sustainability, as well as relaxation, joy and happiness.


Will you tell us a little about the history of the Iguana Lodge? We moved down to Iguana Lodge 15 years ago when it consisted of two small cabins and one employee. We didn’t know if we would enjoy owning and running an eco-lodge.  Fifteen years later is has grown substantially – we now have 25 employees – and are truly happy and enjoy just about every day here in our gorgeous part of the world.


What is the wildlife like? At the lodge we have three species of monkeys, as well as anteaters, sloths, coatimundis, kinkajous, macaws, toucans, and many other birds. In addition, we have three species of dolphins in the Golfo Dulce, and often see a variety of whales, sea turtles, whalesharks, and other sea life. On the peninsula you can see tapirs, wild peccaries, tyras and many other mammals.


What is a perfect day in the Osa Peninsula? That varies of course, depending upon your preferences. Most mornings start with howler monkeys at about 4:30 AM, followed by a gorgeous sunrise, fresh coffee, surfing, painting and yoga. After breakfast, check out more monkeys, go for beach walks and hikes in the jungle. The afternoon is for fish tacos, napping in a hammock, and more beach time, followed by Kraft Beer and a fab dinner, and then star gazing and possibly salsa dancing.

If someone was visiting the Osa Peninsula, what must they do? Take a hike in the rainforest, get out on the Golfo Dulce and see its beauty.


What do you love about the Osa Peninsula? The wildness, and remoteness; the ocean, jungle, its wildlife and the people who live here.

What do you dislike about the Osa Peninsula? No complaints.


What is a little known fact about the Osa Peninsula? We have the second purest gold in the world – most everyone over the age of 20 who grew up on the peninsula has mined gold. 



Name:Lauren Cleaver

City:Puerto Jimenez, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Best local cuisine?

Patacones – crispy fried plantain chips.

Best local drinks?

Iguana Lodge’s ginger spritzer.

Local tip?

Smile – people are really friendly, but timid. Always say hello and greet everyone individually (even ones you don’t know!) when you walk in a room.

Best daytime activity?

Hiking, surfing, swimming.

Best nighttime activity?

Salsa dancing