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“Great experience”
Review of Pura Vida Hotel

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Pura Vida Hotel
Ranked #1 of 60 Alajuela B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
New York
1 review
“Great experience”
Reviewed 19 May 2011

We all loved our stay at Pura Vida. We stayed in the Katydid Casita, which fit our family of 6 just fine. My sons LOVED the garden and the hammock. They felt very much at home, and hated to leave to head to the next destination. We found Berni and Nhi to be great hosts, and really liked the personal attention you get at such a small boutique hotel. We stayed 2 nights at the beginning of our trip, exploring Poas and La Paz Waterfall Gardens with a guide that Berni arranged. We visited the local school and brought down books in Spanish and English-this is a great thing to do with your kids, to show them life for school kids in another country. We stayed our last night too at Pura Vida, and Berni and Nhi were thoughtful enough to provide all their guests with a lovely dinner-it was Good Friday and nothing was open, something we had not foreseen as we came back from the Osa Peninsula with 4 hungry boys! We loved the dogs too-very gentle and patient with kids. My sons are already talking about going back to Berni's place on our next trip.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank sxm1990
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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765 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (144)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Sacramento, California
Level 5 Contributor
45 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 April 2011

We stayed two nights at Pura Vida. We loved the atmosphere. The first night was after our long flight from the US so we just relaxed on the patio and listened to the birds.
We opted to have dinner here both nights. Reservations are required. The dinner was absolutely WONDERFUL (as was the included breakfast).
Our room was a two bedroom, two bath casita, that was newly remodeled in 2010.
They also arranged a driver for a private day tour. His name is Sterling and he is a wonderful young man who is a certified guide. His English is great and he is a wealth of knowledge. We also hired Sterling to take us to the airport on our last day. My husband wanted to stop and buy some Costa Rican coffee before we left, so Sterling took us to the market and suggested the coffee they have at Pura Vida.
I highly recommend staying at Pura VIda and hiring Sterling to do the driving.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Travelbug95682
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
alajuelanorth, Manager at Pura Vida Hotel, responded to this review, 7 May 2011
Thanks for the nice review . . . and Sterling also appreciates the comments. Certification is required of guides in Costa Rica and, of course, Sterling is a certified naturalist guide and also takes classes every month on topics like Orchids and Volcanoes to gain extra knowledge.

We appreciate your thoughts, best wishes, Berni
Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Evanston, Illinois
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 April 2011

Our last night in Costa Rica was happily spent at the Pura Vida Hotel. Our hosts went out of their way to treat us like family. Of unexpected pleasure, we were invited to dine with Ne and Bernie, at a local restaurant. Spending the evening in their fascinating company was so appreciated! Our casita was immaculately clean and comfortable. Sadly, our departure was so early that we were unable to enjoy the breakfast at the inn. However, a take away breakfast was provided. We would absolutely return to the Pura Vida Hotel -- and hope to do so soon!

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank nbkatz1218
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Burlingame, California
1 review
Reviewed 13 April 2011

We really enjoyed the beautiful garden, delicious food, and the causal atmosphere. A very convenient place to spend your first night in Costa Rica after a long flight, or your last night before flying out.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank dewitt44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Orleans, Massachusetts
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2011

My husband and I stayed at Pura Vida for several nights at the start of our Costa Rica vacation -- and it was among the highlights of the 10-day trip. Only a brief taxi ride from the international airport, innkeepers Berni and Nhi have created a tiny paradise: lush garden, exquisite butterflies and birdsong, orchids everywhere. Our room (Mariposa cottage, at the foot of the garden) was larger than we needed and utterly private. Not knowing what to do on our first day, we took Berni's advice and signed up for the market tour followed by dinner using fresh market produce -- and it was a home run. Even if you do not cook, you do not want to miss the huge market, where each piece of fruit on the tidily arranged piles is glorious perfection, and the vendors cheerfully offer samples. Nhi's cooking is amazing as well, and breakfast -- on the delightful patio adjoining the main house -- is ample and delicious. We cannot say enough good things about this place -- did I mention the free wifi? When we needed a taxi for the two-hour trip to the port of Caldera, Berni arranged it -- and a charming, English-speaking driver named Sterling gave us a first-rate guided tour of the local towns along the way. Okay, the water pressure wasn't great...but all in all, Pura Vida represents everything that a small inn should be.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank NancyBmillvalley_CA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lutz,Fl
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 April 2011

Let me just preface this review with the statement that San Jose is nuts! Less than 15 minutes from the airport is a slice of Paradise that is the real Costa Rica. Forget San Jose! At Pura Vida you come expecting a nice place based on Trip Advisor but you get so much more! Berni and Nhi have created a slice of Costa Rica that only the lucky and smart travelers will find. It starts with the very helpful instructions on getting there along with the free cab and welcome drink that is part and parcel with their national motto-" Pura Vida" which means Pure Life. The grounds are beautiful with a tropical and exotic ambience that includes the homey casitas. You also get some world class chefs in your hosts. Nhi made us dinner both nights that were super fresh and delicious.You can believe all the reviews-You'll only be disappointed if you miss out! ( you have to book dinner ahead of time)
Out of his very busy schedule Berni took us on a tour of the local school they've adopted where we were treated like rock stars. All it takes are a few books (in your suitcases) to help the kids out!
On our first morning we had booked a white water rafting trip that meant we had to be up at 5:00! Berni met us with breakfast to go which were eagerly shared with our fellow rafters.
Unfortunately I didn't have the foresight to book a couple of nights at the end of our journey with Pura Vida!

Room Tip: We loved the Rainforest Casita and the Mariposa
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Flwaterbaby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bellingham, Washington
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 April 2011

We began our Central American adventure at The Pura Vida and could not have been happier. My teenage daughter did not want to leave and took photos of everything before I could pry her away- lovely (and clean and unique) room, tropical garden, charming restaurant/breakfast terrace, private hammock, etc. Since we arrived on a Friday, we went on the optional Market Tour with to buy supplies and to sample fresh coconut milk ( in the coconut), tropical fruits, fresh sugar cane juice, etc. Innkeepers Bernie and Ne (sp?) just loaded us into the car and whisked us off with them - we were instantly part of the action. They explained everything with intelligence and humor. A few hours later, we enjoyed the optional and absolutely fresh dinner made with the ingredients from the market dining and overlooking the hotel garden. Talented chef. Delicious and great fun.

The breakfasts of fresh tropical fruits, fresh sweet breads, yogurt, juices, and the famous Costa Rican coffee began our days. No hotel buffets of corn flakes here - just friendly service with answers to any questions you might have before starting your day. They arranged just about everything we needed from a custom tour of the nearby highlands to evening restaurant reservations (hard to beat the hotel itself but they don't serve every night) to a free pick up at the nearby (5-10 minutes) San Jose Airport.

We can't imagine staying at any other place at the beginning or end of any trip to Costa Rica. There is simply no reason to sacrifice precious vacation time in a soulless airport hotel coming or going when you can get this. Read their excellent and thorough website for all kinds of terrific, accurate and entertaining advice before you go. They'll put you in the right mood to begin or savor the end of your Pura Vida experience in Costa Rica.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Robert58350
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Pura Vida Hotel

Property: Pura Vida Hotel
Address: Tuetal Sur | 4km North of SJO International Airport, Alajuela 20102, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Alajuela
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 60 B&Bs / Inns in Alajuela
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Pura Vida Hotel is located 4km north of the SJO International airport - we provide a free taxi pickup for international arrivals. Breakfast is included and an excellent dinner is available with reservations (or late meals for late arrivals). Touring services include car rentals delivered here, private vans and as much touring advice as you wish - we are experts on Costa Rica. We have arrangements with Toyota Car Rental for deals on car rentals. Our idea is simply that this is a place we would like to stay at when we travel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pura Vida Alajuela
Hotel Pura Vida
Pura Vida Hotel Costa Rica/Alajuela

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