For a single traveller who isn't picky, this place is great. I walked around to several places before I stumbled upon it. It is close to the central park. I just stayed here 1 night but the bed was good and I got a sound sleep. The place has a nice art deco feel to it and the owner is very eco conscious. Tours can also be booked here and he deals with all the Tica buses in the region of Guanacaste. What could be improved: Because of its broken down look the place doesn't feel clean but it is cleaned every day. The equipment like the fans should be renewed and the walls are relatively thin. I did hear some iguanas (or fruit fall) at one point on the roof but I have heard that in many places I have stayed throughout Central America... part of the cultural immersion. Overall - for the price $10 a night it cannot be beat in this laid back city.
Interesting Decor and patio area
This hostel is located in the best touristic area of San Jose, close to the old town of San Jose. It has a unique colonial style, outside and inside.
Casa Colon is super clean, has spacious and comfortable rooms, wonderful staff, and offers amazing food.
We didn't stay at this resort, but I really wish we had!!! It was one of the most amazing resorts I have ever been to. Even if you don't stay there, you should make a day/night trip there to go in the hot springs, enjoy a drink at the cabana, use the waterslide, have dinner, or go on a hike.
The hot springs had adorable coves to sneak away in and there were a few water slides... the main one being the most fun! The food at the restaurant within the resort was pretty delicious and the drinks at the cabana pool-side bar were moderately priced and so good! They provide maps to the surrounding area for hiking, and I highly recommend exploring.
Hotel Fortuna was very convenient. It was right in the heart of La Fortuna, where there are many bars, restaurants, and while we stayed there - festivals. They have a complimentary continental breakfast of eggs, fruit, and toast, the staff is VERY helpful and accommodating, and the rooms are comfortable. I would absolutely recommend this hotel to visitors.
They have a very cute bar that is outside facing, with no walls separating it from the outside. There are computers with internet for you to use, free of charge, and the staff is unbelievably nice and helpful. The view of the volcano is absolutely breathtaking.
When on the pacific coast between Tárcoles an Jacó we avoided the crowd. Instead we found a cabina for COL 7.500 p.p.p.night at about 1.5 km north of Quebrada Ganado. Quiet, with a pool for ourselves and two steps from the beach.
The cabina had a kitchen and a bathroom on the ground floor, two bedrooms sleeping three and a bathroom upstairs. We had a balcony, fridge, and gas ring with LPG. Airco in master bedroom.
Our beach was visited by lots of birds: black vultures, wood storks, white herons.
We were told that in the rainy season the Río Grande washes dirt from San José all along the coast to the south. However, in March this was not a problem.
Directions: This and other cabinas were located on a dirt road going down from a turnoff marked AVILA. The turnoff was just 400 m north of Steve'n'Lisas Restaurant, who own the cabina. So we advise to look for that restaurant - 1 km north of Quebrada Ganado - and talk to the owners.
We checked in here because it was a convenient stop on our road trip. But if you would visit the Sarapiquí Neotrópical Centre or explore the adjacent Tirimbina Reserve, these cabinas might be a budget alternative to the SNC ecolodges going for about USD 100 a double.
Only one other of the row of cabinas was occupied, the restaurant was not operative. Perhaps at the height of the rainy season the river behind the restaurant attracts more guests, who come for rafting.
Rate: Cabin with fan CRC 12,000.
We had to stay over near Limón. There is ample budget choice west of town and most was empty due to a slump in tourism. We decided for Cabinas Roca Mar, closest to Playa Bonita (a surfers' beach). The rooms overlook the beach, you reach them via a steep incline.
Typical cabinas, minimal furniture but spacious and clean.
A simple hotel, with good and spaceous clean rooms. Very familiar, you feel at home.
They arrange also our trips, and we feel secure to leave our luggage there.
Just simple, very simpatic people. Clean and big rooms, fresh fruits and a good coffee at breakfast.
Near the San jose airport.
Maleku guide Max Elizondo guided us from the art shop on route #4 to his village Tonjibe on route #143. There he was joined by Dagoberto Elizondo and his wife Carmen. Dagoberto is the most knowledgeable on Maleku culture and history, having learned what he knows from his granny wo died 34 years ago. Carmen prepared our meals of traditional food.
The Maleku tribe counts only 650 people, but are very active conserving their culture and language. The language which originally was never written, is taught at school; the children read the stories by their ancestors in printed books. There even is a radio station transmitting in Maleku language.
If you happen to be in te neighbourood on October 12, that is when the three Maleku villages celebrate their yearly festivities!
The village community has built a modest guest house where we stayed one night. Actually the rooms with tiered beds are more suitable for student groups, we had a room with eight beds for the two of us.
The deal included a cultural performance in the evening and a guided forest walk the next morning, see OTBP tips. We paid: for the accommodation USD 20 p.p., for dinner USD 7 p.p., for breakfast USD 5 p.p. , and USD 30 for the cultural performance and guided walk.
For visiting Río Céleste in the Volcán Tenorio National Park we chose to stay in Cabinas Piuri. It is closest to the park entrance, a walk of about 800 m.
We paid USD 30 for a double including breakfast. For lunch and dinner the additional charge was USD 7.
The property borders Río Céleste, and guests may take a bath in a set of cascading pools using water diverted from the river. But you may as well go down and bathe in the river itself (which you are not allowed to do in the park except at the hot springs). The friendly owner is still making improvements. He made a display of fossil wood in his garden, and was building an experimental cabin in the form of an egg.
Directions: This and other accommodation lies south of an unfinished bridge across Celeste river. So if you come by car your approach should be through Bijagua on route #6. The only accommodation on the other side of the river is the more upscale Rio Celeste Hideaway, which you reach by a turnoff from route #4. The access road from Bijagua is rough but passable - improvement work was ongoing
Of the 8 nights we spent in Costa Rica, 3 nights of those were spent at the Hotel Arenal Manoa located only 7km from the town of La Fortuna. The Arenal Manoa was my favorite hotel during our time in Costa Rica for 3 main reasons: an incomparable view of the spectacular Arenal Volcano; the verdant, lush and beautiful setting of the hotel property; and, the wonderfully comfortable room which had its own private patio that came with two rocking chairs and a small table.
The bungalow we were given had a very spacious bedroom with a tropical theme and 2 queen beds; large bathroom with tropical shower; coffeemaking facilities, mini-fridge; color TV; safe; and hair dryer. Our room faced directly on the volcano which was fabulous enough, but the room also had floor-to-ceiling windows so that you could actually wake up looking directly at the volcano each morning from your bed!
There was daily maid service and replishment of all toiletries, coffee, bottled water and fresh towels and sheets. The large bath had a tropical walk-in shower and as seen in the accompanying photo, it even has its own garden.
On property there were 2 excellent swimming pools, spa services for a fee, and a wonderful restaurant. The restaurant is almost totally open air although, of course, covered. The restaurant is somewhat divided into an individual restaurant for ordering from a very good menu, and the far side which is where buffet service for breakfast or dinner is served.
After arriving on the first night we were on our own for dinner. Not having transportation of our own, we chose to visit Arenal Manoa's own restaurant, La Saca. We ordered from the menu and I had a seared tuna steak with sauteed veggies and my husband had surf & turf with wine ($60 included wine & tax & service)---pricey, but the food quality and service justified the cost at a resort such as this.
Each day, our buffet breakfast was included in our tour, and although I love trying different restaurants, there was no good reason not to have meals which were already included. The breakfast buffet included 4 -5 hot dishes (always including rice and beans), made to order omelets, pancake, pastries, toast, yogurt, hot & cold cereals, fresh tropical fruit & coffee or tea. Each day of our tour while here, a buffet breakfast was included and for 2 nights, the buffet dinner also---each excellent.
Live music and entertainment were provided on our last night at the Hotel Arenal Manoa restaurant during the "farewell" dinner. This night was full of wonderful memories of not only Arenal, but of our fabulous guides, and the other families on our tour!!
Everything about this hotel was beyond our expectations. The bungalow room, the lush, landscaped grounds, the restaurant, the service and the incomparable views of the Arenal Volcano. I would highly recommend this hotel! It certainly was a major part of our experience at Arenal.
Leaving Braulio Carrillo National Park and the rainforest, we continued our journey toward the east coast of Costa Rica. Following a two-hour boat ride up the Parismina River from Caño Blanco, we landed at the place where we would be staying for the next two nights -- Laguna Lodge at Tortuguero. Located on a sliver of land between the river and the Caribbean Sea, Laguna Lodge is situated amid a tropical, dense area of vegetation known for its wildlife and wide variety of birds and butterflies.
Our tour group was housed in one of the several buildings which each contained about 6 cabin-like rooms. Each building had a covered porch running the length of the building and came with two rockers for each room making it a pleasant place to do a little bird watching and perhaps catch sight of other visiting wildlife. It was a great place to also enjoy a few minutes of down time, although there wasn't much to be had of that.
Our room came with 2 double beds, 2 night stands, open shelving for clothes, a floor fan and ceiling fan (no air-conditioning). There was no desk, chair, TV, or phone. The bath had a decent sink area and a walk-in shower with towels, soap & shampoo provided. It was impossible to do any reading at night for me because of the extremely poor lighting. Also, unfortunately but probably unavoidable, due to the nature of the geography and climate, all linens in the room always felt damp. Each night we stayed at the Laguna Lodge, there was a pounding rain downpour.
As part of our tour, all meals at Laguna Lodge were provided for and the open-air dining area located right on the river was delightful at any time of the day or night. The views here were wonderful, the food always good and plentiful, and with such a pleasant spot to dine in, who could complain!
The Lodge had at least two swimming pools, a volleyball area, a large room for movies, a small gift shop, and large bar area. As its location was nestled in the jungle, birds and butterflies were frequent visitors. From the Lodge's docks, river boats and guides provided us with a great morning on the river to scout all sorts of wildlife and scenic landscape or take us to the village of Tortuguero.
Because of its prime location, the Lodge was also only yards from the turtle nesting sites on the beach and Caribbean Sea. This feature makes this hotel quite special.
What was fascinating and unique in my mind were the Antonio Gaudí-like mosaics and architecture which were to be found all over the grounds of the Lodge. From the Parc Güell-type undulating bench at the dock, to the reception center, to the sidewalk mosaics and several structures---if you like Gaudí, you will love this place!! All in all, it was a unique place to be.
I liked nearly everything about the Laguna Lodge, except those things that I could do nothing to change. The humdity caused everything to feel damp and the heat was often oppresive. Night time lighting on the paths to rooms could have been better as could have the lighting in the rooms and bathroom.
The relative remoteness of the Lodge made you feel your surroundings intensely. The addition of a little Gaudi influence was a plus for me.
On the 3rd day of our stay in Costa Rica, we transferred from our hotel in downtown San Jose to the "Hotel Indigo" in Santa Ana to begin a group tour. Located in a prosperous-looking area, the hotel is within a 20 to 30 minute drive from downtown San Jose and the airport. This Hotel Indigo is only 2 years old. Close to restaurants and shopping, this modern hotel is a visual feast -- colorful, modern furniture graces the large lobby and bright light floods the room through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
We were greeted with fresh, cold strawberry juice in fluted glasses served by an attentive reception staff. The hotel offers a lovely restaurant, "Golden Bean," just away from the lobby, and meals, drinks, or snacks are also served in a breezeway called "Phi Bar and Lounge" just beyond the restaurant. The food was very good, though not inexpensive, but the service at Phi was slow and inattentive, for us at least.
Our spacious third floor corner room had a pleasant view and no traffic noise. The room was decorated in soothing colors for my taste, and a wall-size photo of an orchid, along with laminate floors made it all quite modern. The two double beds were wrapped in excellent linens and were extremely comfortable. The room also came with coffeemaking facilities; a large, flat-screen TV (with English channels); a desk, wardrobe, safe, etc. The bathroom was very modern and had a luxurious, walk-in shower. This was quite a treat after a very long day.
Our group was served an excellent buffet breakfast the next morning before beginning our journey and heading for first stop at Braulio Carillo National Park, and our final destination of the day, the Laguna Lodge in Tortuguero.
[All photos on this page are mine so please do not use without permission.]
NOTE: As Costa Rica, self-admittedly, is not known for it road signs or exact addresses, I had the Hotel Indigo e-mail me detailed driving directions to find the hotel. This turned out to be one of the best things I could have done because our taxi driver had no idea where the Hotel Indigo was located or how to get there. However, magically he still somehow calculated that our fare would be $30US to get there!! I tried to negotiate the fare, but he was intractable -- he received no tip!
Although I found the weather exceptionally pleasant and not hot or humid, there were plenty of people taking advantage of the nice hotel pool during the afternoon and evening. Pool towels were provided. Spa services are available here as well as a 24-hour fitness center.
Considering the extreme comfort of our room, the nice setting provided in the Phi Bar and Lounge breezeway, the pool, and generally good staff, I would definitely recommend this hotel if your budget allows.
Having stayed at several Sleep Inns in the US, and judging by its excellent location and good reviews, I felt confident booking the Sleep Inn Downtown San Jose for 2 nights.
Our spacious room came with two double beds, night stand, work desk, satellite color TV, mini fridge, safe, chair and bathroom with a large walk in shower. I have to say that the mattresses, which I usually find too soft in many hotels, were extremely comfortable here. Two computers were located in the lobby as well as WiFi and two nice seating areas plus another large screen TV.
A very good buffet breakfast was included with the price and this consisted of the usual cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit, sweet rolls, and toast. However, added to that were "make your own" Belgian waffles, as well as 3 hot dishes which over two days included scrambled eggs, and beans & rice each day, as well as an excellent shredded beef and potatoes dish or chicken and mushrooms in a "to die for" sauce. These last 2 selections were excellent though may make for better dinner rather than breakfast dishes. Still, I really, really enjoyed them. Tea and coffee were unlimited, but stay away from the "juice" which was some concoction made from something like Tang!
This was a very comfortable hotel and I would definitely recommend it. We obtained the AAA savers rate which was $91.80 per night, but including the standard 13% tax, the total came to $212 for the 2 nights. This may be higher than some are willing to pay; however, I've come to want and expect a standard level of cleanliness, comfort, and in this case, security. San Jose is known to have its fair share of crime and this hotel is gated. Also on property though in a separate building was a casino, bar and separate restaurant. We had a cold drink at the bar the first afternoon, but did not use the casino or restaurant.
One of the main reasons I chose The Sleep Inn Downtown San Jose was for its excellent location for seeing the most important sights of downtown San Jose on foot. It was directly next to the Parque Morazan, and within walking distance of the Teatro Nacionale, the Gold Museum, Jade Museum, the Mercado, the Post Office, and lots of shops and restaurants, etc.
The hotel was just very comfortable and the beds in this hotel really provided a good night's sleep. The mini-fridge was great for stowing bottled water, etc. The breakfast was excellent and saved a good deal of money as food is not as inexpensive here in Costa Rica as one might think.
Free WiFi in the lobby and the 2 computers also added money for value to this hotel.
Recently reopened with a fantastic staff and new owners, they have the customer service and the setting to make for a perfect small garden setting hotel shine brightley. Rooms are new, nice and clean with all the ammenities.
The restaurant is owend and operated by charming French couple who prepare high end cuisine at prices fantastique! We caught ftresh off shore game fish and they prepared it for a modest fee and did a tableside presentation including deboning and serving with thefresh local vegtables and a side dishes. Chef Vincent is always about with his wife Chantal at the bar and welcomes conversations with the guests.
The on site owners have a wealth of information for side trips, shuttles and because of their six years experience as a local travel agent, the ability to book rental cars, fishing trips and tours. Have a problem with the rental car agency? They are on the phone at once as your advocate making sure that their guests get the proper results.
The garden setting and nice pool / palapa bar area make it hard to leave for the few minute walk to the beach. But that is the big plus...your away from the noise in your own casita among friends.
I felt like family and friends owned the hotel/restaurant. So much so that in my month vacation I ended up staying at the Pasatiempo on three different occasions around my other adventures.
The small ( 24 casita / duplex units) size with fantastic pool area in a garden setting makes it a treat to come back to each day. Sometimes I would just stay at the pool with a book and perhaps a cool beverage.
The food was better bar none, and at a better price than most of the restaurants in the area.
On Wednesday's the locals and guests are treated to a fun musical night with a house band and many walk on appearances from the local music scene. Very well respected and recieved by both as seen by the attendance.
The staff was charming, fun and caring.
One of my top hotel stays anywhere.... anywhere!
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